A Filmmaker’s Journal

Getting to the Premiere!

My new feature film Notzilla, an affectionate send-up of old monster movies, had its world premiere last week! Cast, crew and invited guests gathered at a vintage movie theater, to watch our dinosaur, a not-so-scary Notzillasaurus Partiontilldon from the Late Bodacious Era, wreak havoc on Cincinnati. And we all had a roaring good time! But how did we get there? First some stills from the movie, and then the story (below).

If you don’t make movies you may not know that shooting is actually the shortest part of the process. More time is spent preparing to shoot (pre-production): writing and re-re-re-writing; scouting locations; honing the budget, and then re-writing the script to make it fit that painfully low budget; hiring department heads (camera, lighting, design, more); creating sets, props and costumes; casting actors; renting lighting gear and tons (literally) of grip equipment and vehicles; assembling a crew; and scheduling the shoot while juggling dozens of often conflicting factors.

Even more time is spent in post-production. First, there’s an assembly edit of all the pieces. It’s clunky and awkward and the director (me) has a well-earned panic attack: “I’ve created a monster!” (Which in my case was actually the plan). Then the editor begins calmly massaging those pieces (shots) to make them fit together better, adjusting the timing (quick cuts for action, breathing room on emotional moments). But even after a meticulously planned film shoot, some holes will appear. E.g. We’re in her office and then we’re in his living room—how did we get here? Solution: We need a shot of his apartment building. So we assemble a skeleton crew to go out and do pick-up shots.

And Notzilla has a whole other layer: Special effects! Even though we shot our film in cheese land—with a guy in a rubber-suit on a miniature set projected behind gloriously over-acting actors—there were tons of post-effects, as well: fire, explosions, blending separately filmed layers together, erasing wires (some we proudly kept), and removing wrinkles from painted skies!

What about sound? We shot many scenes MOS (“mit out sound” = a term coined by an old German director). Our creature’s roar, stomping feet and swooshing tail, along with the zoom of toy jets, boom of tiny tanks, and marching of plastic soldiers, all had to be added in post. And finally, of course, there’s the wonderfully over-dramatic score! Music completely alters an audience’s perception. In a famous test, an audience was shown an expressionless man reading a newspaper–with no music. Their reaction? Meh. But when they were shown the same clip with tense music added, they insisted they’d just viewed a different–much more exciting–movie scene!

And so on it goes, tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak…until finally, somehow, we get to…

The Premiere!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to A Filmmaker’s Journal

  1. roninjax says:

    Very nice Mitch. I’m sure it was exciting, and a bit nerve-racking as well. Wonderful shots that build the excitement. I’m glad the premiere went well. I trust you had some great reviews. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m literally speechless 🤭. lol Looks like a lot of fun. Congratulations 👏👏

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Congratulations! Looks like a fun film.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mary Jane says:

    Well done! It looks like so much fun!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Way to go, Mitch.
    👍👍
    Making a movie is a big accomplishment.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Mischenko says:

    That’s amazing! Congrats! ♥️

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Vera says:

    Wow, Mitch, that’s pretty amazing. Congratulations! How and when can one get to see it?

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I’m laughing my way through all your stills and captions! It’s a monster masterpiece of that I am absolutely sure! Congratulations on your premiere, my witty friend! Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  9. revruss1220 says:

    Fantastic! Congratulations on bringing this vision to fruition. High fives all around… but mostly to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. How fun! It looks like a great movie…so glad you are doing this sort of thing! Congratulations all around!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. smzang says:

    Congratulations!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Looking forward to seeing this one. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  13. What fun!! And a big accomplishment. Congratulations!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Narfphagus says:

    Awesome! That’s some serious work and dedication. Congrats.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. tref says:

    Congratulations, MT!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Joan says:

    Love the stills and the characters’ names and look forward to seeing it when it becomes available. Congratulations, Mitch,

    Liked by 4 people

  17. cricketmuse says:

    Sounds like a roaring good time all around.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Rhonda says:

    It all looks like so much fun! Congrats 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  19. grAnnie Roo says:

    Congratulations, Mitch. Thanks for the clips and the juicy, behind-the-scenes details.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. It looks like a REAL good time:)

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Ann Coleman says:

    Congratulations, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. The “Putting it together” is what makes it happen. The rest is just fun stuff to get you there. I hope all works out for a banner run. I hope that I will be able to see it in Dallas.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Thanks for sketching out what is involved in your work, with your usual humor. Congrats on finishing this project!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Dan Spraul says:

    Congrats! Can’t wait to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Great job, brother. Where can we see your films? Are you able to see them online or a streaming service?

    Thanks,

    Gary

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Looks like a really fun film – the kind I love. Keep me in mind for your next venture.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. When we married, I had to educate my husband on what made a good movie GOOD, especially pointing out the better points, the finesse of it all. I still point out great acting, how some character could have been better cast, etc., along with intro shots (like of the building), and scenery. He developed a good ear for scoring, and will point that out to me.
    Congrats on the new movie! I hope it finds its audience.

    Liked by 2 people

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  29. Now this movie looks compelling. Looking like a funny movie and I love funny. Good luck with the movie and congrats on the premiere….now to show it to the public.

    Jean

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Pingback: Music from My Movies | Mitch Teemley

  31. bekitschig says:

    This looks absolutely fabolous! Kudos and good luck with the box office …

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pingback: Music from My Movies | Mitch Teemley

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  35. Alexis Schneider says:

    Hey Mitch! Long time ago I had the honor of being directed by you. This Notzilla does not surprise me for some reason. It makes me smile. Pages fall off the calendar and the world goes on.
    Hugs from Alexis.

    Liked by 2 people

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