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Picture Lock!

It’s taken us a long time to get here, but we finally have picture lock!  The edits are complete.  The color has been corrected.  The credits have been added (and we hope, hope, hope that we have spelled everyone’s name correctly and that we haven’t left anyone off the list).  The visual part of the film is DONE!  Whoo hoo!  So it’s now up to Fred and his Concentrix crew to take over with the audio part of the film. 

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A Hard Lesson Learned

We kept hearing the same thing from our experts in the film festival world – if we want to give Saying Goodbye the best chance on the festival circuit, it needs a running time of less than fifteen minutes.  So we took a deep breath, ignored the sick feeling in our guts, and started cutting again.  A few seconds here.  A big painful chunk there.  A quick trim over there.  At some points it almost felt like we were slicing off body parts.  But if it didn’t move the story forward, we cut it.  We consoled ourselves by saying we can have a deleted scenes section on the DVD. 

After the bloody massacre was over, we’d cut more than a minute.  The official running time is now 15 minutes and 58 seconds.  We just couldn’t make it under that golden fifteen minute threshold without losing vital parts of the story.  So we’re hoping that a running time of 15:58 will have that magical psychological effect similar to pricing something at $19.99 rather than twenty bucks.

We definitely learned an important lesson about short films we wish we had known before writing the script – SHORTER IS BETTER!!  For all you aspiring independent filmmakers out there, make sure you plan your short to be less than fifteen minutes and within that small window, make it as short as you possibly can while still telling your story.

Here's one of the scenes now on the cutting room floor. :-(  You can also view it on YouTube.

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The Envelope, Please . . .

It’s kind of exciting to be announcing the winner of our contest right after watching the Emmy Awards.  Hopefully we will soon have our own opportunities at various film festivals to experience the thrill of getting all dressed up to anxiously wait for someone on stage to announce our names as winners.  In the meantime, the winner of this week’s building buzz contest is . . . PETS inc.

At first glance, this might seem like an unusual winner; however, as embarrassing as it is to admit, not a single person entered the buzz building contest this past week.  Whether it was because people were too busy with end-of-summer activities and school starting or maybe because people were already burned out from our earlier contests, we’re not sure.  Since there was no one to give the prize to, we first thought about putting the money into our film-festival-entry-fee fund.  But then we were inspired by the fact that our feline stars Marmalade and Mason were adopted from animal shelters, so we decided to donate the money to a local shelter.

PETS inc. is an animal shelter down the road from Brian’s house in West Columbia, SC, that does amazing things with very little money.  In fact, Jocelyn’s dog and another Rish family dog were lovingly adopted from PETS inc. several years ago.  PETS inc. cares for dogs and cats, and while the donation is only a small drop in the giant bucket of need all these shelters face, we know they’ll make the most of it.  Hopefully it will help keep an adorable cat alive long enough to be adopted, whether it’s by an animal trainer looking for a new star or a senior citizen looking for some companionship.

And with that, the “trailer celebration” contests are now officially over.  A huge thank you to everyone who helped spread the word about Saying Goodbye in any way, shape, or form over this past month!

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The Inside Scoop

Chris Holland's Book Film Festival SecretsThere’s a lot of advice floating around about film festival strategies, so as we’ve been finishing the film, we’ve been doing our homework.  One of the books we bought was Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook For Independent Filmmakers by Christopher Holland.  I thought it was great – tons of information delivered in a succinct engaging format.  In fact, I’ve become a bit of a fangirl: I’ve practically memorized many of the sections; I quoted Chris in several of the classes we taught the students; and when Brian and I have conversations about our film festival plan, I’m always going, “Well, Chris says we should do so-and-so.”  So imagine my excitement when I saw on Chris’s website that he offers his consulting services for a very reasonable price for shorts.

We contacted Chris and sent him the latest version of Saying Goodbye.  He then emailed us his thoughts on our film, a list of fifty film festivals where he thought Saying Goodbye would be a good fit, and marketing suggestions targeted to our movie.  But today was the most exciting part – we got a one-hour phone consultation with Chris.  It took all my willpower to reign in my groupie-like gushing so I’d seem like a professional.  Chris had some really nice things to say about the film, especially the acting and production values.  He was also impressed by the jump we’d already gotten on marketing.  His main concern was the running time of the film, just like our other professionals Jennifer, Roberta, and Ann.  Although we’ve done a lot of cutting since the first rough cut, it’s still at a little over seventeen minutes, which makes it too long for most short programs at festivals.  Chris reiterated that our chances for acceptance at festivals would be greatly improved if we could get it under fifteen minutes.  Looks like it’s time to take out the pruning shears again.

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And the Award Goes To . . .

You all sure made it tough on us!  There were such fun taglines to choose from, which ran the gamut from poignant to funny.  Thank you so much to the people who participated and came up with such clever and creative taglines.  Each of you is a winner in our books, but after much debate we finally decided that the award goes to . . . Adriana for her tagline “Live like you have 9 lives!”

It really captures the movie’s theme of living life to the fullest AND it weaves in a cat reference.  That’s a lot to do in six small words – and its short length keeps it catchy and memorable.  Congratulations, Adriana, we’ll contact you via email about delivering your Amazon gift card.

So now that we’re entering the last full week of August, what contest do we have in store for our loyal fans?  This one is more of a free-for-all that’s about helping us build buzz through your favorite way of reaching people.  So Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, blogs: whatever your preferred method, tell people about Saying Goodbye and then tell us what you did.

  • For each tweet you send, you’ll get 1 entry.
  • For each post on Facebook or MySpace, you’ll get 1 entry.
  • If you write a post on your blog, you’ll get 5 entries.
  • If you utilize another creative method, you’ll get 5 entries.

Whatever method you use, make sure you mention Saying Goodbye and include this link to our trailer:

Then come back to this blog post and in the comments tell us what you did and leave links so we can see all the fun ways Saying Goodbye is being buzzed about.  The contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Sunday, August 29th, when we’ll randomly select one winner from all the entries.  This lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.  Click here for all the details.

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And the Winner Is . . .

More hearty thanks to everyone who participated in this week’s Facebook contest.  One of the major challenges of independent films (especially shorts) is getting the word out about them.  So we truly appreciate everyone who helps us spread the word about Saying Goodbye

Now on to the winner . . . Congratulations Danielle Pritchard!!  We’ll contact you via Facebook about delivering your Blockbuster gift card.

So what exciting contest do we have planned for the third week of our trailer celebration?  This time it’s all about creativity.

First a question for you: what do the following phrases have in common?

  • In space, no one can hear you scream.
  • Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...
  • Love means never having to say you’re sorry
  • They’re here…

These four phrases are examples of famous movie taglines (Alien, Jaws 2, Love Story, Poltergeist).  A tagline is a catchy and enticing phrase to sum up the premise, tone, and/or theme of a movie.  Most movies have one, but only a few are so memorable they become a part of pop culture.

The current tagline for Saying Goodbye is “The cat foretold their deaths... yet taught them all about living.”  And while we really like it, we’re not sure it has that special something that will make people remember it for years to come.

So your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to come up with a new tagline for Saying Goodbye.  We know it’s a challenge since you haven’t seen the movie yet, but watch the trailer and read the synopsis, then create something that will wow us.  Post your new tagline in the comments section below.  We will choose our favorite tagline and award the author a $25 Amazon gift certificate.  And if you really blow us away, we’ll make it the official tagline for the movie. 

You may enter as many taglines as you want.  The contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Sunday, August 22nd.  Click here for all the details.

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Drum Roll Please

Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s retweet contest!  We really appreciate your help spreading the word about the trailer.  We’ve been getting great feedback about it; and we’re so thrilled each time someone tells us it gave them goosebumps or made them teary, because that’s how we hoped people would react to it.

And now, without further ado, the winner of the retweet contest is… twitter user Shareewash.  Congratulations!!  We’ll contact you via Twitter about delivering your AMC gift card.

So now the big question is… what is the contest for the second week of August?  This week it’s all about spreading the word through facebook.  All you have to do is go to the Saying Goodbye facebook page and both share and like any of our posts that have the Saying Goodbye trailer attached to them. We'll be adding multiple FB posts with the trailer linked to them throughout the week, so share and like them all to increase your chances of winning. The contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Sunday, August 15th, when we’ll randomly select one winner from all the participants.  This lucky winner will receive a $25 Blockbuster gift card.  Click here for all the details. 

Good luck!

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SURPRISE, it's our trailer and a month of contests!

At long last, it’s finally here – the premiere of the Saying Goodbye trailer!

Extra special thanks to Fred Story and his team at Concentrix for the poignant musical score. It really sets the mood, and this sneak peek (uhh… listen?) makes us even more eager to start the film’s scoring process in September.

To celebrate the trailer’s debut (and to help promote it), we ran contests throughout the month of August. Each week we featured a new contest with groovy prizes. We had fun with the contests and are sad they are over - find out how they turned out on our blog.

As part of all the trailer excitement, we also entered the Saying Goodbye trailer in the International Movie Trailer Contest. If you have a spare moment, we'd be very grateful if you voted for us.  Click here, then type saying goodbye in the Title search box and hit Enter. Our trailer should appear and then you can vote for it.  Thank you!

So, what do you think of the trailer? Click on the comments and let us know.


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Saying Goodbye to Lou Kaplan

On July 6th, Columbia lost beloved actor Lou KaplanLou was the star of one of our favorite scenes in the screenplay: when a man with a walker encounters Gabriel and backs up crossing himself.  Lou played the scene with the perfect amount of fear with undercurrents of comedy that we imagined when we wrote it.  Unfortunately, due to timing issues, we had to cut the scene, but our production was better off for having Lou on set.

He brought with him a joy and enthusiasm that perked all of us up after several long days of shooting.  It was hard to believe he was 95 years old since his energy put the rest of us young whippersnappers to shame.  Because he shared his scene with the contrary cat, he had to repeat his takes many times, but he met it all with good humor as can be seen in this funny behind-the-scenes interview with him.

May his wit and zeal for life be an inspiration for all of us.  Our condolences go out to Lou’s family and friends.

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We’re baaaack!

Birthday bash at AgapeThe one consistent piece of feedback we’ve received from test viewers is that the time jumps are confusing.  So we decided to go back to Agapé and film more scenes of life around the home as transitions to give the feel of time moving forward.  And fortunately for us, Agapé welcomed us back with open arms, so we must not have traumatized them too badly last time.

Today we assembled a small, but mighty team (thanks Cliff, Lamar, Sherard, John, and Chris!) and headed back to Agapé in the blistering heat (always a fun time to be toting heavy filming equipment).  There we met with Cynthia Scherbaty and Amy McCormack.  Last time we were there, Cynthia exhibited superpowers in helping us get extras in the scenes.  This time she and Amy blew us away with their awesomeness.  We just hope that when we reach our golden years, we are fortunate enough to have people as caring and enthusiastic as Cynthia and Amy in our lives.

It was a lucky day to be at Agapé, since the men were having their annual summer cookout.  We got to join the party and film some of it as one of the transition shots.  Today also happened to be the day of the June birthday bash (including a lady who was turning 101!!), which was a perfect activity to shoot.  The bright balloons and decorations will look great on screen, and a birthday celebration is a terrific way to show the passage of time. 

The third scene was one Cynthia and Amy set up especially for us – BINGO!  Since seniors love their bingo, we just had to have a bingo scene in a movie set at a retirement home.  We picked an adorable lady to get bingo, and as we filmed the scene several times with her winning again and again, one joker in the crowd shouted out that he wanted her bingo card.  Once we finished, we got out of their way and let them play for real – they take their bingo very seriously.

It was a fun day of filming.  We got some excellent shots (including a nighttime shot of the exterior of the facility), and it was great to see the residents and staff members again.  They even fed us another delicious lunch and “forced” us to eat cake and ice cream.  Thank you for having us back, Agapé!