Yesterday, we received the final batch of special effects shots (and by final, I mean final-ish, as there are several items of clean-up to do, plus a special surprise if all goes well), and, to make room for the cable that transfers them into our computer, I temporarily pulled out the cable that attached our new Blu-ray burner to our computer.
Last night, before heading home, I sent the new, full version of the movie to export and burn to Blu-ray (we did a side-by-side comparison of a Blu-ray version of our movie with a DVD version of our movie, and I’m not really a techno-snob who turns up his nose at older formats, but even I can appreciate the difference; for example, text in opening credits has smooth, rounded edges rather than angry little zig-zags that could possibly poke out your eyes if you look at them too closely).
The export I knew would take about 7 hours, and the actual burn to Blu-ray would only add about another half hour, based on a test I had done a couple of days earlier.
So before dawn this morning, I ran to the office to pick up the freshly burned Blu-ray disc before Ken and I would start the drive to L.A. where our movie (“Jonah/Chloe”) was scheduled to screen as an official selection in the International Family Film Festival.
Problem was the Blu-ray didn’t burn. The 7-hour export had done its thing, but that’s where the process stopped. After about a half an hour of frantic troubleshooting, I figured out who the culprit was: me.
Hence, the scream.
The Blu-ray wasn’t plugged in.
But if there’s one thing working on projects like these has taught me is that when you hit a snag, there’s no time to bemoan what went wrong. Must immediately shift focus on what to do about it. We couldn’t bear the thought of giving the film festival people a version that was not only older, but was also on DVD, especially for projection.
Ken and I discussed some options. We even tested the concept of attempting to burn the Blu-ray via my laptop in the backseat of the car as we drove to L.A. But when we set it up at the Conoco by the freeway, we could see that the country wasn’t big enough to allow a drive long enough to accommodate what this export would take to burn from scratch.
So the next best option was to return to the office, pick up the giant editing machine, transport it down to L.A. with us, set it up in our hotel, and start the export/burn again. But when we got to the office, nobody was there, and Ken and I had both left our office keys home, since there was clearly no cause for us to need to go to the office for the next few days, right? We waited impatiently for about a half hour until someone showed up and let us in.
Then we hit the road, which provided me 12 hours to work on some deep breathing. Tried to fast forward emotionally to the time when we would be able to look back at this and laugh.
It’s just past 11:30 p.m. Pacific time. We’re in the Sheraton Universal, where the valet didn’t bat an eye when we asked him to load the giant editing machine onto his cart. (I gather this must be pretty standard operating procedure in these parts; frantic filmmakers scrambling to set up hotel-room-editing suites to finish their movies scarce hours before they are set to screen at a festival.)
In the corner of the room is the glow of the monitor as it counts down the minutes until the Blu-ray is done. It is saying 1 hour 15 minutes, but we know from experience that its time estimates are optimistic lies. In probably what will be closer to 3 hours, if all goes well, we will have our latest version of “Jonah/Chloe” on a freshly squeezed Blu-ray disc, which we will deliver tomorrow to the film festival people, like this is how we meant to do it.
If it doesn’t go well, people back home in Utah might be able to hear my scream if the wind is just right.