Wednesday 8 August 2012

The Making of THE ATTIC - Part 5 - The Final Cut


With writing, filming and editing complete, it was time to release The Attic for everyone to see. Originally the film was planned to be finished and released in 2011, probably towards the fourth quarter, but due to aforementioned circumstances this was eventually not possible.

When we resumed filming in October 2011, the release date was obviously going to be 2012 but we had not decided on a specific date or even a month/season. As no posters or trailers for the film were going to be made at first, it was decided that we upload the film whenever it was finished and not build a campaign building up to a specific release date. However, as the film grew bigger and bigger alongside the audience, we decided it would be best to treat the release like a proper film.

This scene was shot on April 21 after filming went on a month hiatus.
When the CarrCom Films Youtube channel was launched on February 18, the planned release for the film was a tentative Summer 2012. No month was set at this time, but I was leaning toward July a bit more, thinking the film would take much longer to complete. Eventually, when filming progressed quickly, the first teaser trailer (released on March 1) confirmed our planned release date of May 17, 2012. Back in early March when the date was set, it was believed to be rather easy to meet this deadline, but as filming went on over time some delays ultimately occurred and hindered the process.

As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, filming went on a hiatus between March 10 and April 21 due to contraints and other matters to attend to. Shortly before filming resumed, it seemed highly improbable to meet the May 17 release date in a month or so (especially when considering our personal lives, dedication to college etc) so we knew we had to make some alterations. As a result, the film was postponed till June 28, 2012 to allow more time for filming, editing and potential reshoots. This delay was announced on March 24 alongside the release of a clip from the film which depicted an anxious Joseph answering a call from Mike at a train station.

This short extension was shot on May 18, the day after the initial planned release date.
The decision to make no posters or trailers for the film at first was to avoid leaking too many details of the plot or ruin the scary moments. If anyone observed the marketing campaign of The Woman in Black (2012), you may notice that all of the trailers and TV spots combined reveal every single jump scare except one or two, which is not what I wanted. However, I eventually conceded and wished to build more hype, and so I decided that releasing a variety of trailers, clips and images would do a good job. I was very careful, however, to avoid giving away any significant moments of the film, especially jump scares which only have their unique effect the first time round. As the opening scene had already been viewed by many of my Facebook friends in October 2011, I decided to upload it as the first appetizer for the film to the CarrCom Youtube channel when it launched in February.

I went for a generic approach to the trailers, starting with a teaser, then a full trailer and finally a longer full trailer that reveals some more details soon before the film's release. The second trailer proved to be the most popular both on Youtube and Facebook, though the third one is ultimately my favourite. Clips were chosen carefully to provide some minor hype and insight to the film but avoid revealing any scary scenes; otherwise, the effect of watching the film for the first time is utterly ruined. I also chose the stills carefully (they were all screen caps with titles added) so they would subtly hint at the plot and scene content but never outright show anything; The Ghost's appearance was never going to be unveiled as it is one of the biggest moments of the film.

This was the final shot that was filmed, before Nathan finally got to wash his makeup off!
Upon resuming, filming surged forward at a brisk pace; throughout most of May and early June, we were off college due to study leave and had a lot of time to finish up the forthcoming scenes. As we committed a lot of the time to filming, we finished it all on June 2, 26 days before the film was planned for release. I decided to maintain the distant release date and use this time to build up anticipation with more stills and trailers and also give a couple of my friends and family special advance screenings for early feedback, which was very positive. On June 21, I went to upload the massive 3GB file to Youtube and list it as a private video, ready to be unveiled for June 28, but upload problems hindered this process for a day or so. Eventually the video was uploaded on June 22, taking around six or seven hours, ready for the scheduled release date; however, hype and eagerness made me resign myself to the annoying wait and publish the film on June 23, 5 days earlier than usual, ready for the world to see.

Having a college train pass at the time sure came in handy for such scenes.
I used Twitter, Facebook, this here blog and Youtube to provide as much plugging as possible, asking all my friends to view it and leave comments and then share it via their own Twitter/Facebook/Youtube pages to grab more and more audience members. The film became the most successful video on the CarrCom channel, reaching over 1000 views in just under 2 weeks and is now approaching 2000 steadily. It has received a ton of positive feedback, as well as constructive criticism which I also appreciate, and has even been shown to my Film Studies lecturers at college who have deemed it a highly impressive effort on par with the student films of other directors such as Edgar Wright (who actually attended the uni I wish to go to, funnily enough). The film was screened on July 5 to my Film Studies class and received very warm feedback and some genuine screams!

And that draws my The Making of THE ATTIC blog series to a close! I shall be submitting The Attic to the 2013 London Short Film Festival and will keep everyone posted with the outcome, be it success or failure (worth a shot in the end)! Thanks a lot for reading and for checking out the film, and keep on the look out for news of my next film Nightmare, coming 2013!