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Filmmaking | First-Hand Adventures of a First-Time Filmmaker | Reports

First-Hand Adventures of a First-Time Filmmaker, Part 8: From Gigabytes to Soundtracks

1 Feb , 2001  

Written by Lorre Fritchy | Posted by:

From gigabytes to movie trailers to soundtracks, Lorre Fritchy takes us on another filmmaking adventure.

Gigabyte. It sounds like a word from "Back To the Future." As if it’s so gajillion big you could never fill it. I’m here to tell you, brothers and sisters, nothing fills a gajillion faster than video clips. From my original 20 GIG drive, I added an internal 30 GIG drive and more recently, a 60 GIG external FireWire drive from in order to handle all the footage being used in my documentary. At a few hundred bucks a pop this is no cheap endeavor, but it’s a necessary one, and one I had to do in stages in order to afford it since I’m footing the bill myself.

See, there were a few key phrases in my last Adventure a few months ago. One was "after seeing this trailer." Meaning, sponsors would be throwing money at me "after seeing this trailer." The assumption I made is that these people would actually WATCH the trailer. Some gave me the "Oh, I never got it" runaround. Others said, "Oh, I just haven’t had five minutes." And others actually said point blank, "Why should I help YOU?" Well, isn’t THAT the behavior we want to emulate! And there’s disgust in their voices over the "You" part that implies all filmmakers should die, and do it quickly to decrease the surplus population. Rejection is part of the process, I realize, but I don’t forget when people cop the unprofessional ‘tude.

In the end, I know some of them just can’t see potential until it’s already realized. And that’s okay. Why? After showing the trailer at the Harvard Square Scriptwriters in September, I got confirmation that Real People "get it." Furthermore, a sports catalog company has expressed interest in carrying the spinumentary ™! They said that the trailer was "extremely well put-together" and showed the uniqueness of Sandy’s career and personality. That was a welcome boost and a good reminder that these are the people I need to focus on.

Momentum built, I submitted a free listing to The Music Report (fax Breakdown Services at 310-276-8829 and request a Music Breakdown Information Submission Form) and got quite a number of demos from musicians and composers. I received more CDs from this than I did from a Hollywood Reporter blurb. Of the few dozen CDs submitted, one song stood out as being especially perfect for this project. Contracting a Master/Sync license with an indie musician, I have an original song in the film! That’s in addition to getting a few months of exclusivity to give me a head start before the musician markets it to other places.

This inadvertently led to the possible discovery of why I had problems with music CDs on my G4. I’d get to a certain point in this CD and it would stop dead. Wouldn’t play, wouldn’t import. Tried it on another system with no problem. Other "professional" audio CDs played fine. My co-executive producer saw this scenario outlined at where others reported the same problem. There were documented problems trying to play or import audio from blue CDs that have been burned rather than pressed. I had to import the track onto another edit system, and it sounds great.

Still editing, I am structuring each chapter of the anticipated 50-minute piece. A composer is working on the themes for the score based on some rough-cuts I’ve sent her. I’m also lining up an audio engineer because no matter how "fine" you think your audio is you need one — if you’re new to this, there are more pops, buzzes and clicks in your audio than your Rice Crispies. Meanwhile, because I had the opportunity, I added another couple of filming dates including a shoot on the Celtics’ home court — see, sometimes we get to do the fun stuff, too!

Some of you have written me, "I have a great idea for a documentary but I don’t know where to start…" Start by planning. Just as you would any other major, life-changing endeavor. It is akin to buying a house. You have to do a lot of research, talk to other people about their experiences, learn the pitfalls, secure financing, and plan how to pay this off for the next 20 years. Do not enter into this lightly, thinking that a "good idea" is enough to carry you through the slim times. Which leads to the next Adventure topic, "Self-Financing A Film" or "Why Buy A House Only To Re-mortgage It When I Can Just Keep Renting…"

I’m only partly joshing. But if I didn’t believe in the project, I would never have survived to this point. My associate producer’s mantra has been, "Advance the cause." Every day, do one thing to keep the project moving forward. You don’t have to sculpt an entire statue today, just work on the base. When this started in April 1999, it sometimes seemed laughably impossible. But the spec of light I now see at tunnel’s end assures me that taking one small step each day — all this time, even in the dark — was the one giant leap of faith needed to arrive right here.

How will you advance your cause today?

If you've missed any part of 'First-Hand Adventures,' please check out the complete series below. All Parts to the Series: Part 1: Starting Out Part 2: On the Set Part 3: Wireless lavs.  Editing choices. Airport redtape. Time code hell.   Must be your first film. Part 4: Burnout -- Hang in There Part 5: Back in the Spin Part 6: Post-Production and the Discomfort Zone Part 7: Happy 'Adventures' Anniversary Part 8: From Gigabytes to Soundtracks Part 9: It Ain't Over Even When It's Over -- From Music to Film Festivals Sandy 'Spin' Slade: Beyond Basketball is now available on video at