We're making a movie of The Whisperer in Darkness. We figured some of you might want to read along as we go through the process. Click here for the HPLHS Home page.
In addition to the festivals where we've been screening, we've got more lined up across the globe. This weekend Whisperer will also screen at the Berkshire International Film Festival in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (Mi-Go country!), and mid June we'll screen at the Southside Film Festival in Pennsylvania. Things turn international again in July with screenings at Fantasia in Montreál, Canada; Fantaspoa in Porto Alegre, Brazil; PiFan in Puchon, Korea; and RioFan in Rio de Janero, Brazil. We have more festivals later in the year in Warsaw, Reno, Buffalo, and of course the HP Lovecraft Film Festival. We anticipate adding more festivals to the lineup; most of them dont notify films until roughly 8 weeks before the festival, so if you're wondering if we're coming to your neighborhood, our answer at the moment is we really don't know.
Beyond festival life though, we continue to work on the assets for the DVD. Prepping a DVD is actually a pretty involved process. For the special features, we have to find, digitize and organize all of our Behind the Scenes footage and photos (and there are several thousand photographs from the making of this film). The we have to to schedule interviews, shoot them and edit the whole mess in an effort to make something that should be fun to watch. So we're working on that.
The DVD also has its many languages. The HPLHS Volunteer Translator Corps has done a great job of rendering the final text of the film into a translation. We then take that translation and break it into timecoded phrases which we then synchronize to the actors' performances. As some sentences require many more words when translated (I'm talking to you, Finnish), each language is a sort of a jigsaw puzzle with 1,100 or so pieces. We are getting there though.
The final arrangements with distribution are still in discussions. Believe me, it's more frustrating for us than it is for you, but we hope that by July 1 we will have a firm plan in place that will ensure you'll be able to either see the movie at a theatre or get it on disc well before the year is out.
Now that we're done making the movie, we begin nursing it through the next phase of its life. We have begun screening at festivals and are working hard to line up additional screenings worldwide throughout the year. We're working on the other items that go on the DVD or BluRay in addition to the movie: special features and subtitled translations. And we're working on some poster designs to help promote the film.
In March the movie finally had its public premiere at the SFF-Rated Film Festival in Athens, Greece. The folks there were incredibly hospitable and Whisperer screened at a pair of sold-out showings. The film was very well received and they even sent us home with their Audience Award for Best Director. We thank Alecos Papadopolous and his team for providing an outstanding premiere. Click for photo of a real Mythos sighting in Athens.
April 1 we screened at the Belfast Int'l Film Festival in Northern Ireland (click for photo of venue). A good crowd turned out at Belfast's Waterfront Hall to see Whisperer along with AM1200 and Die Farbe - a new German adaptation of The Colour Out of Space. We had a lively Q&A following the screening - we offer our gratitude to Andy Thomas, the crew at the Waterfront and the rest of the Belfast FF team.
Coming up in mid-April we have screenings at the CPH PIX festival in Copenhagen Denmark and the Imagine Festival of Fantastic Film in Amsterdam. And American audiences will be pleased to know that we've finally lined up the US Premiere at the one of the US's leading festivals, the Seattle International Film Festival where Whisperer will be screening on June 3 and 5. We hope those of you in the Pacific Northwest will join us. We hope to announce additional screenings soon. And come September, we'll be screening at the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in San Pedro, California.
Many translations of the film are now complete and the final translations then need to be matched up with timecoded subtitles that will match the actors performance. There are 904 subtitles in the movie. There's about 25 languages. There's a lot of work in managing subtitles, especially when we can't read Hungarian.
We pretty regularly get the question, "When can I get it on DVD?". We are in discussions still with a couple of possible distribution partners. Once we finalize a deal, we still have to complete the other contents that would need to go on the disc, then we have to master the disc and send if off for replication before it finally becomes available through our site or at a store near you. Believe us, we are working hard on getting it ready, but at this point, it's unlikely you'll be able to purchase your own personal copy before the fall. However, it's highly likely that you'll be able to get your own copy before the year is out.
And it's done. Really. Finished.
What does that mean? It means the final audio has been completed, screeners have been made of the movie in its final form. It means tomorrow we'll be having a screening for the cast and crew. It mean's we're not reworking the content of the movie in a significant way. Now we're putting it on different media - we burned our first BluRay this week - and testing it on different audio and video systems. So far the results have been pleasing. The HD image holds up very well on BluRay, and the Dolby Surround Sound sounds great when you play a DVD or BluRay back in an environment with the right hardware.
This month the movie will premiere at the SFF-Rated Film Festival in Athens Greece (I leave for Athens Monday). The next screening after that will be in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the Belfast Film Festival on April 1st. In April we have screenings lined up at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam and the CPH PIX festival in Copenhagen, Denmark. Yes, we'll be screening it here in the USA too, but as these festivals were the first ones to leap on it, they lined up the first screenings. Naturally, we're very excited to share the movie with an audience.
We'll turn our focus now towards finalizing a relationship with a distributor and working to get it into theatres, on the air, and of course on discs that you can play at home. We'll keep you posted about that process. Right now though, it's a good feeling to scroll down this blog to when the movie was just an idea, then a script, and then realize that tomorrow an audience gets to watch it.
OK, folks, we're getting pretty close. Completion of Whisperer is now scheduled for February 16. Woohoo! We're closer than ever to figuring out how the movie will be distributed and are doing our utmost to help make it so as many of you as possible will be able to see it before long.
We've talked here some about the process of mixing. Last night we met with our Production Audio Mixer, Erin Rettig, in a mixing room on the Fox studios lot here in LA. If you've ever seen pictures of this kind of work being done, the film is projected up on a large screen, and the mixer uses a board with 10,000 knobs on it to tell a computer what to do with each and every bit of sound in the movie. We're pleased to tell you that Whisperer has never sounded better than it did while being played through this fantasically high-end audio system.
We're making a couple of last minute adjustments and changes to the picture. One fun detail is that the camera we used on a few days of shooting had a dead pixel on the CCD. What that means is that each frame of the movie consists of exactly 2,073,600 pixels of information. And exactly one pixel in every frame shot on those days is dead. So we have to go back to every frame (and there's 23.97 frames in every second) and repair the dead pixel. This is why we are so glad there are powerful computers and great piecs of software to do this kind of thing.
Now that completion of the movie is nigh, we'll be back in touch with our team of translators to do some final adjustments to the translations to ensure they match the picture. Production of the DVD and BluRay is next on the agenda.
12 January 2011
When can I see it?
As the movie is finally completed, we'll begin work on prepping the DVD and BluRay version of the film for release later in the year. As we learned with The Call of Cthulhu, making a DVD is quite a labor intensive process. We'll edit the behind-the-scenes footage, shoot some interviews, design menus and dive in on all the prep that goes into making a DVD. We don't know when it will become commercially available, but it's unlikely that would be before this summer. The good news is that it's equally unlikely that it will be later than this summer. We'll keep you posted.
We've just released a new t-shirt design based on one of the poster designs we're considering. As soon as we finalize that decision, Cat Staggs will dive in on the actual illustration for the movie poster. We'll keep you updated here when we have something to show you. Thanks for your support - we can't wait to share the final film with you.
2 December 2010
In terms of the picture, we've been tidying up a few details - and we added one additional rotoscoped shot. We looked at the picture again and tried an alternative edit in two scenes which we were all happy with. It cut about a minute out of the film, but we think it's the better for the trim. Just before Thanksgiving we finally locked the picture's timing. That means we will not add any extra time in nor take any out. This is important as Troy is scoring the movie and it's a real headache for him when he writes a sequence of music to match the picture then we suddenly make the picture longer or shorter. Speaking of Troy, he's about 90% done with composition and we've been delighted with what he's done. We've engaged the services of Erin Rettig as our Re-Recording Mixer. He'll be blending all of the audio, setting the volumes of the many tracks of sound and then outputting it for 5.1 surround and stero mixes. His work should be done around the end of the year. And when he's done, the movie's done.
The other arm of the operation has been our plannig for how you'll see the film. We've been submitting it to film festivals worldwide and talking with distributors. For a little indie picture like ours, distribution is a challenge. We've got offers on the table and we're looking at them carefully to see who is the right partner to help us reach as broad an audience as we can through theatrical, broadcast, DVD/Blu-Ray and Video On Demand channels. It's unlikely you'll see it at your neighborhood multi-plex, but maybe it'll screen in some art houses, maybe it'll screen on television and it's an excellent bet that at some point this year you'll be able to get your own DVD right here at the HPLHS website. Right now Whisperer has been submitted to more than a dozen film festivals and we're waiting to find out where it will have its premiere.
We're also getting word out with a new poster design and a new t-shirt that we hope to be able to show you quite soon.
2 November 2010
We've submitted a cut of the movie to about half a dozen film festivals. We made a screener with a temporary score made mostly from music Troy composed for us on other projects. We send it off to them and then wait and hope for the best. We should start to hear back from the first of them in December.
As we've told you, we're hoping to get the broadest and best distribution deal we can for the movie. To that end, we'll be at the American Film Market in Santa Monica in early November, discussion distribution possibilities. So, no, we don't know when you'll be able to get a copy of it, but we're doing everything we can to ensure it's soon.
Wow, what a month it's been here at HPLHS World Headquarters. We shot again on August 27 and 28 and finally wrapped all photography on the film. No more cameras, no more lights. No more renting a deck to digitize footage. Farewell to the jib and the kinos. This round of photography was all about miniatures. We shot the Round Mountain miniature and returned to a few other setups where the footage we shot the first time around wasn't quite perfect. But this time around we got the footage we were after and were finally able to put the camera away for good.
So why aren't we done, you ask? The new footage had to be captured and cut into the picture. We also have some very special special effects shots which are being done by some of our colleagues. They're not quite done with their work yet, and the movie wouldn't be complete without it. But as they finish up each shot, they send it to us and we cut it on. These effects shots are looking great and we'll be able to tell you more about them soon. So we're finishing off the last work we have on the visuals, doing a preliminary audio mix. When that's done, we'll test the movie on a few close friends, see what they have to say, make any last minute changes, and then burn a couple of DVD screeners.
We're under deadlines to send the first screeners of the film off to some film festivals in late September. The version of the movie we send them wont be in its final state, but hopefully it'll be in good enough shape to warrant the possible inclusion of Whisperer in these important film festivals. The version of the movie we'll send on these screeners won't have our final score (it's still in the process of being composed) and the audio won't be mixed. We may continue to polish the visuals this fall until they are just right. But the movie will be pretty darned done.
20 August 2010
We've made a lot of progress on the Round Mountain miniature, which is taking over a lot of floor space here at the HPLHS. There are now several hundred handmade miniature trees planted on its verdant slopes, and about three or four hundred to go before we point the movie camera at it, which we'll do next weekend. The miniature is made of paper and foam and chickenwire and plywood and moss and about six kinds of glue. Here's hoping it all holds up in the blistering heat wave they're predicting here for next week....
5 July 2010 - See?
Sorry, we've been terribly remiss about updating the blog. We'll try to be better as we move through these final phases of post-production. The good news is that we're still on track for an October 1 completion date. What's taking so long? Well, there's still a lot to do. Our miniature crew of Jason, Fred and Andrew have been working away building a variety of beautiful and small things which you'll see in various places throughout the film. Super-sculptor Dave Snyder is back with us again, creating another very special scary prop. Troy had some serious computer hardware problems, but he's back up and running and composing away on the score. Sean's sound effect work is mostly done and he's adding some polish to the sound design (after all, our fungi need to sound just right). Speaking of fungi, we've added some team members who are working specifically on some of the more fungoid parts of the film. In the spirit of keeping surprises, we won't say much more on that topic now. Dan Novy has signed on to help us with a couple of small but very tricky visual effects shots. Dave's been polishing some of the visual effects and we're getting ready to make our last round of decisions about the edit of the picture. So, you see, we have been hard at work and expect to remain so throughout the summer. But we are getting closer to being done and are happy with the progress we're making.
Trial and Error
20 April 2010 - Final Pickups
At this point, we're prepping for shooting this weekend what should be the final scenes involving cast members. We have a few setups we weren't able to get to due to time constraints on our March filming session. So, we'll be doing one night of exterior pickup shots and one night of interior pickup shots. Once we have those, Wilmarth and Walter Brown can retire their costumes as their shooting will be done. No more makeup, no more wardrobe. This will be our last chance to make it rain copiously on Matt Foyer.
What else has been going on? Dave edited the footage we shot in March into the rough cut. We've started work on a few of the visual effects. Troy's started working on the score and we're cataloging all of the sound effects and foley work that will be needed, plus the few lines of dialogue that will need to be re-recorded for various reasons. Completion of the live action shooting will allow Andrew to move forward with construction of some of the miniatures that will be incorporated into the picture. As suggested in the trailer, we're gunning for having the film complete by October.
1 April 2010 - New Trailer
28 March 2010 - And...Action!
It looks like we'll still have two more days of shooting - one night of exteriors and one day of interiors - which we'll try to knock off in late April. Once we get those, we'll be done with shooting the cast and will be working on visual effects, sound effects, mixing, editing and the musical score.
5 March 2010 - No, Seriously, What Are You People Doing?
The backbone of the project is now the rough cut of the movie. It shows us what we've got, what we dont' have and what we need to work on. It shows us pretty clearly the things we need to do in order to get from where we are to completion of the movie. First and foremost, we have to shoot the scenes that have yet to be shot. There are live action sequences that we had to scrub when we were shooting last fall. We're now preparing to shoot the largest and most complex of those in late March. In fact, we're looking for a few good men (sorry, ladies) to join us as background players. If you'll be in Los Angeles in late March and would like to be involved, email us.
We promise from here on out we'll do a better job of keeping you posted with production news.
OK, we've been very quiet here on the blog lately. Sorry about that. The HPLHS has been inundated with holiday orders. Then, right on the heels of our busiest time of the year, we had to move out of our old digs. We found a building about five miles north of our old location; it's a former rivet factory and is now our creative playground. We chose it and are setting it up specifically so we can shoot some of the miniature and model sequences for Whisperer here. There's a lot more room for us to work. We like it here.
We are also getting ourselves ready for the next phase of principal photography. I know, we've said that before, but a lot of planning is involved to make sure we can work efficiently when we shoot.
Dave completed the rough cut, and we've had the chance to watch the entire movie start to finish. There's a few scenes which aren't there at all or don't have their special effects in them, but nevertheless, it's very pleasing to be able to sit down and actually watch the movie. We still have lots of work to do, but it's an exciting milestone in the process.
5 December 2009 - Cutting and Plotting and Moving
Most of you have never visted the glamorour HPLHS World Headquarters. It's very near the famed Forest Lawn cemetery in South Glendale (a suburb of Los Angeles). We've been there ever since we first showed up to built the set of the Alert wheelhouse in our friend Nick's woodshop. Five years later, we've filled every available nook of space and Nick's ready to have the rest of his wood shop back. So, it looks like the HPLHS will be moving to a new World Headquarters building a couple of miles away (near where Glendale and Burbank meet for those of your who know the area). It's a cool old building and provides lots more space for the nefarious goings-on of the HPLHS.
We still haven't shot the final live action footage. We're continuing to meet and conspire with others on how to execute some key effects shots. There's really no point in us shooting additional footage until we've got our effects plan firmly in place. This week there were meetings with potential effects collaborators and the whole thing is moving forward. Albeit slowly. And, of course, this time of year the HPLHS is very busy shipping tentacles, Dark Adventure CDs and other weird stuff to holiday shoppers around the globe. We really appreciate the business you guys bring us as that's what keeps the whole operation afloat. We're hoping you all are enjoying a great solstice season.
So, now that all of the footage is digitized, David, our editor, has been sitting down to make sense of it all. He's putting the pieces together and seeing what we've got. The process of editing is largely about what's the best way to tell a story with the pieces that you've got. What we've seen so far has been heartening. The footage looks great (if you look at it in black and white) and the pieces needed to tell the story are largely there. For those of you interested enough to read this, we thought we'd finally share a couple of stills from the actual movie with you. So far, we've only shown behind-the-scenes shots, taken on set with still cameras. The photos here are actually from the movie footage. If you click on them, you'll see them at the full resolution captured by our HD camera. Enjoy! And happy Thanksgivings, Americans.
The top still is from Wilmarth's first encounter with Akeley in Vermont. Depicted are Matt Foyer as Wilmarth and Barry Lynch as Akeley.
The second still is in Mr. Noyes' car as he gives Wilmarth a lift up to the Akeley place through the wild hills of Vermont. Daniel Kaemon is Mr. Noyes. This scene was shot on location in New England.
Third, Professor Ward tries to talk his collegue Wilmarth out of debating the existence of hill creatures in Vermont. The scene was shot at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Matt Lagan plays Professor Nathaniel Ward.
Voices in My Head
The Final Shooting
Now that we've largely recovered from the big wave of shooting, we're planning how to knock off the few remaining shots that we have. Originally we'd planned to get this footage while we were shooting in the studio, but due to some scenic and prop issues (see below), we had to push some stuff off our schedule. So now we're working to determine just where, when and how we'll get this footage. Because the equipment is expensive and rents by the week, we're trying to find a week where we can get to all the locations that we need, line up the cast and crew and get the remaining footage as efficiently as possible. Hopefully within the next 3-4 weeks we'll do our next (and hopefully final) round of shooting with cast members.
In addition to shooting on location, we also have to record some voice overs. Those of you familiar with our Dark Adventure Radio Theatre programs might have read about our sessions at Jamnation in Venice, CA. We'll be returning to Jamnation with the cast members who need to lay down some voice-only recordings. Hopefully we'll get that lined up in the next week or so.
Too Many Notes
Feed the Machine
24 October 2009 - Polyglot
So, what's next? Well, we have three sequences of live action still to shoot. So, right now we're working out where, when and exactly how we'll shoot them. In the meantime we also have about 50 hours of HD video tape which needs to be digitized so we can start to edit the footage we've shot. Getting HD footage into the computer involves a high-end video capture card and renting a deck to hook to the computer, so just capturing the footage is an involved process. But not to worry, we have top men working on it. Who? Top men.
20 October 2009 - Studio Life
Shooting in the studio proved every bit as challenging as shooting on location. We had plenty of noise issues (see below), but we also had the constant need to prep (design, build, paint, dress) every location in the studio, which meant wrangling plants, furniture, hay, rain (lots and lots of rain), animals, fog, actors and much more. Our stalwart crew was tough and resiliant and we somehow managed to work our way through our most challenging difficulities (see "Hiccups" below) and get the footage we needed. Hours were long, but no one cracked under the pressure.
We did have to shuffle our schedule some, we did run hideously overbudget to get things done in time, but we now find ourselves quite close to being done with principal photography. The screenplay is 94 pages long. Out of that, about six pages remain to be shot. So we are indeed getting there. That said, there really is no need to write us and ask when you can see the movie. We have lots to do and will continue to update you as we continue through the production process.
Rain, Rain, Go Away...
After the wilds of New England we were able to setup shop in our rented "sound" studio in Los Angeles. Our schedule has us filming three weeks in Los Angeles before we complete the portion of the film involving actors. Of that three weeks, two days were on locations in Pasadena, but the rest of it was slated to take place in the studio. As of now, we're in the middle of the second week and are bracing ourselves for a final push to the principal photography finish line.
We had an even bigger herd of background players join us for a shoot at Pasadena City College, where we booked a period-appropriate lecture hall. Another group of lovely volunteers donned their period attire and joined us for a fairly long scene in which they got to be an audience attending an event at Miskatonic. They did a super job and spurred our actors on to terrific performances that we hope you will enjoy.
Live from Portland
OK, we're back from our adventure to New England. In the end, 17 of us made the trip to shoot footage in Massachussets, Vermont and New Hampshire. Over the course of six days, we shot at numerous outdoor locations to take advantage of access the story's real locations. Where we're not on the story's actual locations, we found first-rate local substitutes. Our hearty cast and crew endured long hours, long car rides, long shoots, and fleeting moments of sleep to capture the exterior footage we shot for Whisperer. We thank them for their suffering. We hope you will too.
Back in Los Angeles
We already miss the verdant, Mi-Go infested hills of New England. But it's great to be working in a studio and not having to deal with many of the issues that come with shooting on the road. Three full weeks of shooting still to go...
Today, we put our intrepid crew members, Troy Sterling Nies and Amanda Deibert into the Fungi-Mobile and they began the trek from Los Angeles to New England. The Fungi-Mobile carries the essential gear needed for making the movie: lights, costumes, and many cases of Diet Coke. There are several people on our crew willing to work without pay or sleep, but who cannot work without Diet Coke. Regardless, the FungiMobile is on the 3,000 road trip and we wish Troy and Amanda godspeed.
Find the Fungi Contest
Late summer is a very hot time of year in Los Angeles. Locals in the know tell us this is not the case wtih early fall in New England, particularly this year. We hear it's chilly there at night. It may rain. Lucky for us, we'll be shooting at night. In the cold. And the rain. But our cast and crew are looking forward to the experience of shooting The Whisperer in Darkeness on location in Lovecraft Country. In some instances, we're shooting directly on the actual locations listed in the story. We'll try to keep you updated on the production experience.
In late August Sean and David Robertson completed the final scouting trip to New England. We looked at all the locations where we'll be shooting, met with everyone we needed to meet, and generally did our best to ensure that everything's ready on the New England side of things when we arrive. We were once again hosted by Mat & Susan Jacobson, who receive the highest HPLHS praise for their hospitality. Mat also earned our admiration for his uncanny ability to remember rural dirt roads which he visited with Sean and Andrew two years ago.
Overall, we were delighted by how friendly and cooperative everyone we met was. We would come up to people and ask if we could film their house. Most people said, "Sure! Would you like to film our barn too?". This is a pleasant change from filming in Los Angeles where such requests are often met by a crusty look, thousands of dollars in location fees, and a demand for a multi-million dollar insurance policy. People were nice to us. We were glad to be there. We're renting to houses to accommodate our cast and crew, and both are situated on lovely properties brimming with rural New England scenery.
One of our key locations is Miskatonic University. We've found a lovely and cooperative New England college where we'll be filming. We think it's got the Miskatonic vibe and its period architecture will look great on-camera. Most of our other New England locations are outdoors, several of which are the actual locations Lovecraft describes in the story. While it's expensive for us to haul all our gear and crew back east, we think it's well worth it to be able to shoot in the legend haunted mountains of Vermont and among the ivy-clad walls of a prestigious New England college.
The cast is now fully in place and our Costume Designer, Jessica Dalager, is working on getting everyone fitted. Our makeup artist, Glenn Alfonso, is studying everyone's faces and cutting hair as needed. Andrew Hildner is drafting construction drawings for the Akeley house set - the most complicated of the sets which will be built for the production. Line Producer, John Younger, is working on logistics for vehicles and rented equipment, all while relocating his home from Tennessee to Los Angeles. Sound man, Troy Sterling Nies, is preparing to drive from North Dakota to LA, where he will get out of his car and get into our gear truck and drive it to New England with Production Assistant Amanda Deibert.
We're still looking for Background Players both in New England and Los Angeles. If you'd like to be in the movie, this is your last chance. Email us at email@example.com and we'll give you the dates in question. We also continue to look for translators.
20 August 2009 - Happy Birthday, Howard
Casting the Cast Cast Member
Veteran film, TV and stage actor Barry Lynch will be playing the role of Henry Akeley. Barry's no stranger to HPLHS projects, having performed in The Call of Cthulhu and several episodes of Dark Adventure Radio Theatre. Special effects in the movie required that we make a life cast of Barry's head. Our special effects makeup artist, Dave Snyder, did a full cast of his head and teeth. Click here to see a video of the lifecast being made. (iPod version here) Dave is a highly experienced professional makeup artist whose work includes (among other things) many of the corpses from HBO's Six Feet Under. From the life cast, Dave then makes a separate positive version of Barry's face which he then sculpts. After he sculpts it... well, we wont tell you exactly what we're up to, but we'll have a version of Henry Akeley that'll look really great and can do things that even Barry Lynch cannot do.
More Art and Props, or It Takes Brains
3 August 2009 - Art Department and Casting Calls
We've continued to flesh out the production team. David Robertson, our Director of Photography for The Call of Cthulhu is back and will be providing his keen eye for shooting in black and white to Whisperer. We'll be shooting in HiDef on the Sony F900 camera. It's the same camera we used for shooting the Whisperer teaser. The most recent Star Wars films were shot on the same camera. We've also managed to talk Troy Sterling Nies into joining the Whisperer team. He'll be on-set capturing production sound and then he'll switch to composer mode, creating another lush period symphonic score. We're busy wrangling many more members to join our crew.
We have published our casting notice and are actively engage in assembling a cast of actors for Whisperer. We know there are a great many of you who would like to be in this movie. We were fortunate with Call of Cthulhu that we were able to hire professional actors and with this one, we are once again only casting it with professionals who have significant experience. In the first 12 hours that our casting notice was out, we received well over 4,000 submissions from actors wanting to be in this movie. If you are an actor, you can find the details of what we're looking for in the major actors' trade sites. If you don't have a lot of experience, we're still happy to try and include you as an extra. We need extras for scenes being shot in both New England and Los Angeles. If you can get yourself there, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to see if we can get you on screen.
Beyond the casting, we now have a pretty firm production calendar. We'll start shooting in New England September 22nd. We'll be there a little less than a week and then we return to Los Angeles and shoot through October 17. At that point, we'll be all done with actors and full-sized sets. We'll move on to work with our Miniatures Unit and will film miniature and stop motion sequences through the fall. We'll start editing the movie at this point too, and hopefully sometime around the end of the year we'll have a rough cut of the movie. Then we move into adding music, some special effects and putting polish on it. If all goes well, we'll have Whisperer done in early 2010.
17 July 2009 - Lawyers, Guns and Money
Making a movie is complicated, and for every cool thing you see onscreen, somewhere there is paperwork that describes it, secures permission to film it, releases it, etc... As we move closer and closer to principal photography, we have are dealing with more and more pieces of paper. We had to drag our lawyer into it all to make sure that we're doing everything right: protecting ourselves and the film from any legal issues which can be avoided.
In order to keep the process of getting ready under control, we hired John Younger, a line producer. Basically his job is to really study the script and how we're planning to shoot the movie. He then figures out everything we'll need in order to do that, and from there he figures out a schedule. Once there's a schedule, we start figuring out how much everything will cost. Once we know what it will cost, then we start securing, making, fabricating, building, painting, borrowing, etc... the 10,000 things we will need to make Whisperer. It's John's job to keep us in line and let us know when we're spending too much time or money. He says, "No, you can't have Cthulhu leaping out of the sea to take down the zeppelin". He knows the zeppelin is borrowed from the National Museum of Lithuania and must be returned in pristine shape for us to get our deposit back.
Now that the legal and financial aspects are coming into focus, we're about to hire on some of the rest of the crew. Those of you who have seen the Call of Cthulhu special features may recognize some faces. And there's plenty of new faces too. Our quest for props continues to grow and we're making friends with lots of people who sell items from the 1930s on eBay. So boxes filled with strange things regularly show up at HPLHS World Headquarters these days.
Speaking in Tongues
25 June 2009
We spent a couple days out hiking among the ruins, making friends with stray dogs and the wild horses that roam the island. In addition to the many wonderfully mysterious and awe-inspiring sites above ground, we took gear to explore some of the hundreds of caves that are on the island. In searching for the entrance to one well-known cave, we happened upon a number of other caves and ended up exploring those. The experience was like something out of a Call of Cthulhu roleplaying adventure or an Indiana Jones film: standing among piles of lava rock littered with countless animal bones, breaking off leaves from a banana tree to clear away the spider webs, and descending into caverns once used by and ancient islanders but clearly not visited in a long, long time since. And in crawling further and further underground we eventually found ourselves a deep, nearly airless chamber where someone long ago had set something special up on a ledge above the wet floor of the cave. Looking closer, we realized the odd object had the unique curvature and suture marks of a human cranium - one that had been put there ages ago. Deeper in the same chamber, we happened on another one set on a ledge. Were these the remains of ancestors or enemies? We did not know, but thrilled at exploring one of the few places on earth so remote, that a couple of guys with some helmets and flashlights could descend into a dark, sepulchral world touched with a unique chapter of human history.
I have wanted to visit Easter Island since I was a kid. I've been fortunate in my life to be able to travel to a great many places and see may fascinating wonders that remain from earlier civilizations. But Easter Island really is an incredible place and dramatically exceeded my expectations. The sad history of the island is terrible parable of sorts as the archeological record documents the rise and violent fall of this impossibly isolated civilization. The story of Rapa Nui is a cautionary tale of environmental wrecklessness, cultural upheaval, warfare and social collapse. But from the wreckage of the ancient islanders, modern Easter Island has bounced back as an amazing destination for those who would haunt strange far places and whet their appetite for adventure. - SB
"a kind of apologetic hacking or whispering sound drew my attention..."
1 June 2009
But I've Seen the Trailer
Words, Words, Words
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