PART V: Editing & Post-Production
To edit the film I re-formatted my entire computer system from Windows 2000 Professional to Windows XP Home so that I could run a simplified version of Avid Xpress DV. I used this to quickly cut the film together and submit it to a few festivals, which I had been weary of as a result of my experience back in Portland (see earlier blog). At the time I had the intention of re-editing it before any mass-distribution takes place-the cut I made on this system is the cut that exists as of 2006.
Between October and December I finally received our effect shots-Frank and I had hired a professional f/x artist to add some signage to several of our city shots. We had him
replace the MetLife sign on the MetLife Building with the name MOYNIHAN. As well we had him replace the Roslyn Bank sign at the Roslyn Bank in Syosset to the TRAMAIN CREDIT UNION. There were other smaller fixes, like adding digital golf balls in the scene where Moynihan is smacking golf balls off his Manhattan rooftop. So with complete on-location filming, Hollywood level effects, I have, up to this point, achieved the most so far in a movie, on a technical and aesthetic level.
On July 11th, 2006 we were set up to premiere the film at a lower east side establishment called “The ——-.” This was done through a connection with Shareef, our beloved
Brooklyn Borough President. Now, by this time, Frank and Ana have quite literally dropped out of the film, as well as a few others involved. Mostly because of Frank’s college programs and work etc. But in general, people lost interest in it, very quickly. As well many festivals had been rejecting the film. So I was ecstatic when I learned that The ——- wanted to premiere “The Long Island Project.” Well, the night it was slated to happen I showed up with my DVD of the film and a MiniDV tape. So not only did I have a perfectly written DVD, but I had a wonderful backup.
Well, I arrived several hours early to see if they needed help setting up the showing. Dana (the marketing person for the establishment) proceeded to tell me that there were no
technical people working on the night – and I had to set it up myself. I said that would be fine. So I went upstairs to the projection room – and found the worst system I’ve ever seen.
It was a make-shift projection system, they had strange adapters linking guitar cables to the DVD Player, and there was no power going to the projector. Well, after screwing
around with it for about an hour I decided to take the DVD Player down and see if I could get it working with another outlet. Well, their DVD player is a portable DVD player from a company called INITIAL, a company which I’ve never heard of before.
It failed to play my DVD. So I looked to see if there was a way I could link a camera to the system… there appeared to be a way, except those funny little adapters that were linking
the guitar cables with the DVD player were going to pose a problem. So I ran all the way up to 13th Street between Avenues A and B to ring JT, see if he could help me out with this problem. But I forgot which apartment he lived in! I ended up asking around until I got escorted out of the building. So I ran back down to Delancey Street to find my friend Manuel waiting. I told him the bad news, but said that I had to wait around to tell other
people as well. Within the next fifteen minutes (fifteen minutes from Showtime) only three of my actors showed up, and two of my friends from work. Five people showed up. Most of the cast was missing, my co-director was missing, and my producer was missing.
This was without question the ultimate failure of an independent film. It was humiliating and unnecessary. A film that is original by someone who is passionate, to bomb because it never got seen. From here on in I was far too exhausted to continue pursuing it, as well, I had been completely drained of funds. I blew a lot of my own finances on this, and starved myself for weeks while paying for the post-production and the festival
submissions. So the way my mind was set, no one will see “The Long Island Project.” At least not outside of the circle that made the film.
PART VII: Distribution
There were several cool things that happened during production and post-production. The first was that we put out a trailer for the movie on YouTube, before it was bought by Google. We were one of the most popular videos on YouTube that week and even made the week’s top video list and was featured on the front page. Now that YT is owned by Google, that would never happen. Secondly, the programming director of the Swansea Bay Film Festival reached out to us and said he wanted to program our film, just based on the trailer. I wanted to take him up on it but could not afford to make a PAL encoded DVD at the time.
In 2009 I stumbled across Amazon’s indie-film distribution site called CreateSpace. They publish self-produced works, whether it be a film, a book or music – and provides you with
an opportunity to not only publish it, but distribute it on Amazon.com. This ended up being the final delivery method of getting The Long Island Project to the public. A two disc
special edition was created using a professional grade DVD authoring program I had purchased for my relatively new production company (at the time). The DVD was available
May 2009 and copies sent to actors who had managed to keep in touch.
Someone later on asked me why I fought so hard to find a mechanism for getting this out into the world, since few from the cast and crew seemed to not care much about it. I told
them that I still remembered where the project originated from – that little alcove in Virgin’s Customer Service. And there’s a story to that alcove, to that store – a story too big even for these chronicles.