Update from the Cutting Room (part 3)

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It’s been a couple of months since we last gave you an update on our progress, and lately we’ve been getting quite a few emails asking us about the status of the film, so firstly, sorry for the delay, but it’s been a very busy and productive couple of months!

In our last blog post I mentioned that I was knee-deep in footage and that the current cut of the film was running about three hours long. Clearly there was a lot of trimming to do and that’s exactly what I’ve been up to since then. Last week after a lot of wrangling I managed to get the film down to an hour and a half which is about target length and although there are things I want to try and work back in (sometimes it’s possible to cut out too much) it means we are much closer to having a really good rough cut, which is very exciting!

So what’s next?

After the film is at rough cut stage, there’s still a surprising amount of work to do. Here’s a few things that have to happen soon:

  • Get feedback – We’ll show the film to a few select people to get their first impressions, comments, praise and constructive criticism. This will help us determine if there are problems with any sections of the film, and also tell us what’s working well. We’ll make adjustments accordingly.
  • Record the narrator – No good documentary is complete without a professional voice over and we have an amazing talent lined up to help us with this. (More on this later.)
  • Music scoring- We mentioned in an earlier post that we’re really fortunate to have Jonas Friedman on board who will be composing original music for the film and based on what he’s sent us so far it’s going to be awesome! His music will bring a whole new dimension to the film.
  • Mixing session – This is where all the sound elements, from music, natural sound, interviews and sound effects are all mixed and balanced so the film sounds its best.
  • Color-Correction – Even though the film was shot in HD, it was filmed over three years in 5 states and multiple cities using several different cameras, which means the look changes quite a bit throughout the film. Color correction by a skilled colorist will give the film a uniformed and consistent look throughout. It’s the icing on the cake.

Once all that is complete, we’ll be ready to release the film and get it out into the world!

What’s the time frame for all this?

That’s a big question and it’s too early to answer specifically, but many of the above tasks have already been arranged and if everything stays on track, we’ll have some more specific news about the release date in the next couple of months. We’re also planning our distribution and roll-out strategy so stay tuned and we’ll do our best to share the latest updates as they come in.

Thanks for your continued support,

Jeremy, Dustin and the Class Dismissed Team.

You can help us to the finish line by donating here:


Update from the Cutting Room – (part 2)

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It’s a little late to be saying this, but Happy New Year everyone!

2014 started out full-steam ahead for the film and I got right to work picking up with the editing after a much-needed holiday break. It was actually great to have some time away from the project because I was beginning to feel like a fish in a fish-bowl, swimming around and around and trying to get some perspective on all that footage. I’ve been living and breathing this project for so long now that it’s hard sometimes to see straight, so when January rolled in and I got back to work, I was able to see the project with refreshed eyes and renewed mind, and more importantly, I was able to get lots more done!

As of this writing, I finally have the whole film strung out in one piece (rather than the many pieces that I’ve had until now.) This is a hugely important step because for the first time I’m able to see a complete picture of what we have and what might still be missing or needs work. First off, it’s way too long, clocking in at just over 3 hours! I’m not making Lord of the Rings here, so it’s going to need some major trimming to get it down to a sustainable length, and this is where some difficult decisions have to be made. There’s a lot of great stuff, but much of it will end up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. But don’t worry, we’re already planning ways to re-purpose some of that footage, particularly the amazing interviews we captured with all our experts. As for the rest, it will just get tighter and better as the editing continues and that’s the exciting part!

So, the story continues to unfold and we’ll keep you updated along the way.

Stay tuned….2014 is going to be a big year!

Jeremy, Dustin and the Class Dismissed team.

 

Please help us finish this film!




Support Comes In From The Home Learning Association

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We are excited to announce that the Home Learning Association (HLA) has stepped up to support the Class Dismissed movie with its post production budget needs by donating $2,000 to the cause.

Home Learning AssociationHLA is a national membership organization that provides comprehensive access to the things a family needs to homeschool their children from birth through college. We are grateful for their donation and support and hope that it may inspire other organizations or individuals find ways to support the movie as well.

As you may know, we’ve wrapped up 95% of our filming, so every dollar donated at this point goes towards helping us polish up the film, market it, and distribute it. Your donations help with expensive needs like color correction, sound editing, scoring, film festival submissions, and travel. We also hope to host a number of film screenings across the U.S. (and abroad if we are lucky). You can make a donation here.

Thanks for your continued support!

Update From The Cutting Room

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Greetings from the cutting room!

It’s currently 2 a.m. and I thought I should take a break and give you a quick update.

Since we finished principle photography at the end of August, it’s been full steam ahead with the editing process. Editing is very time consuming, much more so than the actual filming and comes with its own set of unique challenges. As we’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts, a documentary doesn’t have a pre-written and approved script unlike a narrative fiction film, so much of the story has to be constructed out of the reality of what was captured; and that requires a lot of shuffling things around, a willingness to experiment and the patience to constantly re-examine the footage to find what you might have missed. It sounds chaotic, and at first it is, but somehow in the midst of all this, the story emerges.

So after several intense weeks of this process, (and way too many late nights!) I’m happy to report that progress is being made and although there are still many moving parts, I have about a third of the film structured with the remainder gradually coming into focus. How long the rest of this process will take is hard to predict since there are so many variables, but rest assured, it’s all moving in the right direction. As I’ve mentioned before, our goal is to have a rough cut of the whole film by the end of the year, at which point we’ll really know what we have and what we need to do to refine it and bring it to fruition.

So far we’re on track and we hope this momentum continues. We’ll try to post a sneak peek every now and then on our Facebook page, but in the meantime, I have to get some sleep before jumping back into the cutting room tomorrow for another long day and night spent trying to find that one scene that’s going to make it all work!

Goodnight and thanks for joining us on this journey.

Jeremy

 

Please help us finish this film!



That’s A Wrap!

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Just a few days ago, we were in Los Angeles again filming with the family we’ve been documenting on and off for almost a year and a half. And after 3 long days of chasing them around, and filming their final interviews, we can safely say:

“That’s a wrap!”

It’s been an incredible journey both for them and for us. When we first met them, they were just pulling the girls out of school and really had no idea what they were going to do next. Along the way, they’ve tried many different approaches, had some ups and downs, and have learned what it means to be homeschoolers.

We leave them in a place where they’ve found what works for their family (at least for now) and with the confidence they need to move forward in their journey into independent learning.

We’d like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to them, for trusting us and allowing us into their lives to document what was a challenging transition. It’s one thing to jump ship from years of public schooling with 2 pre-teen girls, but quite another to allow a camera crew to follow you around and document it. We’re confident their experiences will serve as inspiration to other families who are considering similar choices.

Where do we go from here?

Finishing our filming in Los Angeles was a huge accomplishment, and aside from some smaller pickup shoots, we’re basically done with production. But all that work has also depleted our funds. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, what lies ahead is editing, editing, editing and all the final elements that go into finishing a film. So as much as we hate to ask, you can still donate to help us reach the finish line. Neither myself or my co-producer Dustin have received any payment, so every dollar ends up on screen and that’s exactly the way we want it. Please do what you can. You can use this paypal button:

or if you want to make your donation tax-deductible, we are still being sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society and you can use this link instead.

Thank you so much for your support.

Jeremy, Dustin and the Class Dismissed team.

The Number One Question

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In just over a month from now, I’ll have been working on this film for 3 years. And it seems that wherever I go these days, everyone I meet has the same question. In fact I get asked it so many times that I’m calling it: “The Number One Question”. And that question is:

“WHEN WILL THE FILM BE FINISHED?”

I always feel slightly uncomfortable when I’m asked this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an important and very valid question. After all, it’s been a long process and some of you have been following the project from the start. Many people tell me they can’t wait to see the final product.

I can’t either!

I get uncomfortable because I can’t answer the question. I wish I could do what the big studios do and have a release date planned a year in advance. But I can’t. There is so much that goes into making a film, especially a low-budget, independent, passion-driven project like this one and there’s lot’s that can get in the way. So when I’m asked the “Number One Question”, I try to explain that I’m a homeschooling parent, time with family is precious, I have a tiny film crew (3 people) and on top of it all, I still have to find time for that pesky activity called “making a living.”  If I had a big budget and oodles of time on my hands, things would be different.

But the flip side to that slightly uncomfortable feeling, is that I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled that lots of people keep asking because it always fills me with a new sense of purpose and helps to re-focus my efforts.

So for those of you out there who may be dying to ask that “Number One Question” yourself, here’s what I can say:

* We have a shoot planned in July with Blake Boles and we’re currently planning what may be our final shoot with the family we’ve been documenting in LA. So aside from some  pickup shots here and there, and any additional things we forgot, we may be very close to completing the actual filming portion of things. Then it’s full steam ahead in the editing room. If all goes well, I’m hoping to have a rough cut of the film by the end of the year. It’s about 300 hours footage to sift through, but I’ve been squeezing it in here and there and have already made some progress.

Once I have a rough cut, we’ll have a few private screenings for friends, peers and a select few people so we can get feedback and make changes. Once we have a fine cut we’ll send it off to our fabulous composer Jonas Friedman to be scored. Add on some time for final tweaks, mixing and color-correcting and voila, you have a movie!

That was the long answer….the short one is: it’ll hopefully be ready for release in early 2014. But as I mentioned earlier, there’s lots of other things to juggle and contend with.

So uncomfortableness aside, thank you for asking “The Number One Question” and keeping us on track. Thank you for your patience and continued support.

I can assure you we’re doing the best we can to stay on track and meet our goals.

Blessings,

Jeremy

 

 

 

Class Dismissed Seeking Volunteers

Some say it takes a village to raise a child and those in the film industry know it takes an army to make a film. If you don’t believe us, just look at the credits at the end of nearly any film. Until now, we’ve managed to get by with a small team, but it’s time for us to grow. We are excited to announce we are recruiting homeschoolers to help with research and marketing of the film.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in helping us reach out to homeschool groups and the masses and can spare a little time, we’d like them to fill out the form below. Depending on their efforts, volunteers will be rewarded with various perks and prizes, including various levels of credit in the film, sneak previews of footage, signed DVD copies, private screening invites, and exclusive phone calls and communication with the filmmakers. They’ll also be rewarded with the knowledge that they helped paint a better & more accurate picture of homeschooling to the general public.

Please share this page with your friends and followers and consider volunteering yourself as this effort can benefit from even small contributions of time. Volunteers can be anyone 13 and up from any type of homeschooling background – in fact, the more diverse the volunteers in location, skills, & homeschool ties the better.

Thank you for your consideration. We promise it will be a fun & fulfilling experience!
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the form and click the submit button. If it doesn’t load for you correctly, use this link.

Announcing Our Composer

We’re thrilled to announce that we’re bringing Jonas Friedman on board as the composer for Class Dismissed. Music plays a really important role for any film, both in helping to create a tone and to carry the audience on an emotional journey, and as a very skilled musician and composer, we feel confident that Jonas will bring the film to a whole new level.

Here’s a little more about Jonas:

Jonas Friedman is an innovative composer and music producer of sound tracks for feature films, television, video games and national events. His emotionally driven scores immerse the audience in a unique world of sound styled by orchestras, acoustic instruments, audio manipulations and ambient sound design. He has worked on projects for Academy and Emmy Award winning directors and producers and scored for various production companies all over the world including the United States, Canada and United Kingdom . Jonas has also collaborated in some of the most elite recording and production facilities in the world with other Grammy and multiple Emmy Award winning composers all while making a name for himself as a professional, quality driven artist.

In December of 2011 Jonas was asked by award winning director Nick Forte to score to his film “Eleven – From WWII To Present Day”, that premiered at the GI Film Festival and was later broadcast on TPC. The success of the film and Jonas’s score opened several more opportunities for Jonas including scoring Forte’s upcoming feature length documentary “They Shall Live” (which features two time Academy Award winner Kevin Costner) and the award winning feature film Brilliant Mistakes.

In the summer of 2012 Jonas was brought on by Grammy and four time Emmy winning composer Brian Keane to do the musical sound design for the score on Barry Levinson and Tom Fontanna’s television series Copper. The BBC America series aired in June of 2012 and was the highest rated premiere in the networks history.

To listen to some of his work check out his website here.

As the editing continues, we’re really looking forward to collaborating with Jonas and can’t wait to witness how his music will help bring the film to life.

Jeremy, Dustin and the Class Dismissed Team

Upcoming Events

It’s been a little while since we blogged and we have a few things to update you with. Over the past couple of months, we’ve mostly been focusing on editing and sorting through the vast amount of footage that we’ve accumulated over the past 2 years. We’re happy to say that the process is going well and we have some sections of the film edited together that are starting to work very well. There’s still much to do in that area, and the editing process by it’s very nature is somewhat amorphous, meaning things are changing a lot as the story progresses. But we’re happy with what we have so far, which brings us to the next piece of news: we have 3 events coming up in the next few months where we’ll be able to share some of that footage with you all.

May 23-26th  – Dustin will be presenting some footage from the film at the Life is Good Unschooling Conference, in Vancouver, WA. He’ll be on-hand to talk about the status of the film and answer questions. In addition, he’ll also be presenting a funshop called “Let’s Make An Epic Stop-motion Video,” where you’ll have an opportunity to learn the craft of stop-motion. So if you are in the Vancouver area, or are planning to attend the conference, be sure to stop by and say hello.

May 30th - Jeremy has been invited to the 10th anniversary celebration of Village Home Education Resource Center, in Portland, Oregon. For those of you that don’t know, we spent 4 days filming at Village and got some great interviews and footage of the activities. Jeremy will be showing a section of the film that includes much of the footage we captured there. Unfortunately, this is not a public event, but if you don’t know about Village Home, please look them up. Their work is essential and inspirational. UPDATE: Actually, we made a mistake, this event is open to whoever would like to attend, so please click the link to get details and we hope to see you there.

August 22-26th – We’ll also be showing footage and talking about the film at the Rethinking Everything Conference, in Irving Texas. Jeremy will be presenting a funshop all about making independent documentaries and answering questions about Class Dismissed. By then we hope to have even more of the film put together, so it should be fun. Again if you can make it, please come by and introduce yourself.

UPDATE: Unfortunately we will no longer be appearing the Rethinking Everything Conference in August. We apologize to those who were expecting to see us there.

In between all that, we’re continuing with the editing and also doing some smaller shoots in areas where we need additional footage. So stay tuned for more and we hope to see some of you soon.

Thanks for all your support,

Jeremy, Dustin and the Class Dismissed team.

Finding a Path Through The Trees

It’s been a couple of months since our Kickstarter campaign ended and although we haven’t blogged since, things have been far from quiet. Filled with fresh enthusiasm and with a new boost of energy after the campaign, I spent most of December hunkered down at home digging into all the footage we’ve amassed over the past two years. This is a BIG task! We’ve been so busy filming and taking care of all the other aspects of production, that I hadn’t even had a chance to look at some of the more recent footage, so it was a nice surprise to re-visit much of it and get a clearer picture of what we have. Christmas came and went uneventfully, as did New Year’s eve, where I worked right through until 3 a.m, hoping to put a dent in the workload. I’m happy to report that I did make a dent and at the same time got a much clearer picture of where the film is heading and what we still have to do.

One of the difficulties about making a documentary is that there is often no script. Unlike a fictional feature film, where you have a detailed script and storyboards before you even begin shooting, with a documentary you often just have to jump in with nothing more than a great idea and trust that you’re getting what counts as it happens. The story comes later. That’s not to say we had no plan at all, because right from the beginning we’ve had a pretty good idea about what we wanted to do with this film and what is was we were after. One of the great things about this kind of process is that the footage begins to tell you what the story is, once you’ve collected enough of it and once you’ve had time enough to start finding a path through the trees.

So in case you’ve been wondering where we are….we’re still here, finding a path that will lead us through the story towards the finish line. The dedicated time I spent over the holidays sketching out sections of the film and digging into the meat of what we have has really helped forge a path for where we need to go. Certainly, we have plenty more to do, but there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel, so onward we go. Thanks for hanging in there with us.