At the glacier speed that post production is moving I finally got around to synching dailies on the last week of photography… and just discovered that the entire day’s audio for Day 15 is lost. The 50 audio files I do have are a fraction of what we shot. It’s been 149 days since then. Four months, twenty-seven days. The chances of ‘finding’ that media now are slim and none, and Slim’s out of town.

It’s all gone. The whole day.

I have fucked myself more ways than can be counted.

Here’s the ultra low budget Sophie’s Choice: Do you want to make the movie or not?


Well then, you have *this much* money (This is the where you hold your thumb and index finger about a half inch apart).

That’s it.

You want to Make It then you make it for that amount. You have no investors. You have no production deal. Hell, you haven’t even Kickstarted or Indiegogoed. You have a checkbook tied to a bank account that seems like a draining bathtub. So you make compromises. You double, triple, sextuple the jobs that everyone has.

And shit slips through.

It can’t be helped.

To be able to make “Clocking The T” meant I had to write, produce, direct, schedule, location scout, be the director of photography, the gaffer, the PA, the editor, the assistant editor, graphic artist, accountant, props, and in some cases set decorating. Not to mention the members of the crew, all of whom juggled First AD/Script Supervisor or Set Decorating/Gaffer/Extra or Make Up/Camera Assistant/Actor combinations on set. You think shit didn’t slip through?

Shit slipped through.

But we couldn’t have made it otherwise.

There were times I was so inundated by the weight on my shoulders that I wasn’t as attentive to the actors or the scene. I let them down (sometimes). I let the movie down (sometimes). But that was the price I had to pay. And the price I paid was this: By not hiring an assistant to ingest dailies and synch them put me months behind as well as finding out way too late that media was missing. If I’d had an assistant I would’ve known the next day that shit was missing, not five months later. Because now it’s past the point of being tracked down. It’s gone.

And every time I think I’ve got a colossal fucking mess on my hands, in every way that can be counted, I remind myself that, hey, we were going to have to loop that one scene anyway; it was next to the 210 and traffic was roaring that day. The other scenes… well, we’ll loop them too. We still have picture. It’s married to the camera mic audio which means I can still cut with it. Count your blessings. You went five months without a major problem.

Five months.

Jesus Christ, will this film ever end?

I remember watching the commentary on “Open Water” where the filmmakers mentioned that it had taken two years to edit the film, plugging away on it after work every night on a MacBook in the closet of their New York apartment. It took so fucking long that in the film their daughter appears in two quick beauty shots on the beach, one after another. One was shot at the beginning of production and the other at the end… and she’d noticeably grown. And I think about that all the time. Because I remember when I watched that and thought, ’Man, they sure did take their sweet time makin’ that movie.’

And now I Get It.

See, everyone has grown up with an idea of What It Takes To Make A Movie. Cinema is a huge part of our culture with the promotion of the industry injected into every part of our culture. Entire sub-industries of books, magazines, television shows, theatrical and home video sales, podcasts, and websites that exist solely to promote The Silver Screen. And even when it’s done out of enthusiasm, as many fan sites and podcasts are, it still has the same result: Movies Are Important. When was the last time you drove anywhere and didn’t see a billboard for an upcoming movie? When was the last time you saw a talk show and there wasn’t, at least, one actor or filmmaker appearing? Or the last time you talked to somebody at work that didn’t mention what’d they’d Netflixed or Amazon Primed or Vimeod or Hulu’d the night before?

DIY filmmaking is a different beast.

There is no support system. No studio to manage the massive movement of people and equipment. It’s more like a walkabout where they give you a knife and tell you, ‘See ya in a month,’ before kicking your ass into the outback. And if your budget is low enough, like ours was, then it’s more like a knife made out of chipped flint. Good luck taking down a koala bear for dinner with that when your credit card has been frozen because you bought a Starbucks gift card online so you could caffeinate the crew to jump start filming in the morning. Remember that ‘accountant’ part of your job? Yeah, well, this is when you have to call the bank because it’s your credit card (I’ve totally mixed metaphors here but fuck it). Don’t worry, you can do that during lunch. Wait, lunch? Did you think you were breaking for lunch? No, that’s the crew. You have to set lights for the next scene so that you’ll be ready to shoot when lunch finishes. You know what, you can call them from the car when you’re driving to set. Hopefully you won’t hit a pedestrian while you try to read your credit card number to an outsourced service center that keeps mispronouncing your name and asking, “Did you say Z?,” every Goddamn time you say ‘3’. And stop calling me Mr. T-High-Bullet, you fucking moron. Yeah, you could do it then while barreling down Beverly Blvd after four hours of sleep.

Because that’s the price you have to pay.

© Michael Thibault 2015, All Rights Reserved. May Not Be Printed, Published, Posted, Transferred, Or Duplicated Without Permission.