Music To Our Ears!

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We’re thrilled to announce that the music scoring process of the film is well underway. We just got some music tracks delivered by our composer Jonas Friedman and they’re awesome! Over the next month, we’ll be working closely with Jonas to fine tune the music and work it into the film. We’re so lucky to have him on board and we feel confident his contributions to the film will take it to a whole new level.

Here’s some background information about Jonas and his work.

Jonas Friedman is an innovative composer, music producer and sound designer of sound tracks for feature films, dramatic television series, video games and national events. He has worked on projects for Academy Award winning directors, multiple Emmy Award winning producers and he has collaborated on productions from all over the world including the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

Jonas Friedman started his career as a musician and music producer, playing guitar, producing records and co-writing with rock and pop artists both independently and on record labels. He quickly transitioned into producing and writing scores for film and television after being asked to score to the documentary film “Eleven – From WWII To Present Day”.

After composing for a number of other projects, 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 to the upcoming television series Copper by Academy Award winner Barry Levinson and Emmy Award winner Tom Fontana. The BBC America series aired in June of 2012 and was the highest rated premiere in the networks history. Jonas continued working on Copper’s second season as an additional music composer and lead ambient sound designer and in the fall of 2013 the show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.

http://jonasfriedman.com/

 

1001 Things!

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June was a whirlwind of a month. We’re just catching our breath!

We did two appearances at homeschooling conferences, the first in Los Angeles at the California Homeschool Network Family Expo (CHN) and the second in Portland at the Oregon Home Education Network Conference (OHEN). Both events, were well attended and we got great reactions to the sample film clips we showed. It was wonderful to put faces to names and meet some of you in person. We really appreciate you coming out to see us and show your support and we look forward to meeting many more of you soon.

Jeremy also was a guest on the Roadschool Mom’s homeschool radio network. If you missed it, you can listen to that interview here. It was great to connect with those of you who choose to learn while on the road. The world really is your classroom!

In the midst of all that, we also put out a homeschooling survey, in the hopes of gathering data and statistics about homeschoolers that we can use in the film as well as in other ways that might be helpful to those interested in homeschooling. We had hoped to get 1,000 responses, but thanks to our diligent group of volunteers and everyone else who filled it out and passed it on, we’ll soon have 5,000 responses!

Not only has the survey given us huge amounts of interesting data to sift through and absorb, but it’s also drawn attention to the film and alerted many people who might not have otherwise known about it. As a result, our page likes on Facebook increased by 8% and the post about the survey was seen by an astonishing 23,904 people! We’ve had a number of new signups to our email newsletter and a marked increase in our YouTube views. So a big thank you to everyone who participated!

We’ll be sharing some of the results of the survey soon, but now that we’re back home, it’s on to the thousand and one things we still have to do to get the film finished. Jeremy is busy with last minute revisions and tweaks on the editing. (We got some great feedback and suggestions from a recent early screening group, so those notes are being addressed now), and Dustin is busy sifting through all the data from the survey and working hard on planning our marketing and distribution strategy. We’ll have more news on that later.

So stay tuned. We have lots of exciting milestones coming up.

Thanks for all your support,

Jeremy & Dustin

P.S – Can you help us across the finish line? Our funds are running low so if you’d like to donate, please click the donate button on the top right of this page. Any amount helps!

Homeschoolers: Please Take the Ultimate Homeschool Survey

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Here’s the deal. We’re almost finished with a homeschool documentary 3.5 years into the making. It comes out this fall, but we need data that goes beyond the typical homeschool survey. We’re looking for at least 1,000 respondents, so if you are a homeschool family, please take the survey, then pass it on to other homeschool families you know.

All information will remain anonymous (that’s why we aren’t asking for your name or email). There are 23 questions. Please answer as many of them as you can. Thank you in advance!

If the survey doesn’t load properly below on your device, you can use this link instead.

After submitting the survey, feel free to poke around the site, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media. The movie will come out this fall.

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer for Class Dismissed

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We’ve made great progress in the post production phase of creating the Class Dismissed movie, but now it is time to prepare for the third and final phase of the movie: marketing and distribution.

We have great ambitions to share this amazing movie with as many people as possible, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help! If you can spare a little time to help us out over the next few months, please fill out the form below. Some of you filled it out a year ago & should have received an invite from me in May.

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer for Class Dismissed:

  1. Bring Class Dismissed to your hometown! We’d like to host screenings in as many cities as possible, but we can’t do that without at least one volunteer in each city we show it in.
  2. Earn credit in the film. It’s not often you get to see your name on the big screen. This is your last chance to “join our crew” by becoming a volunteer.
  3. Enjoy the perks. You’ll be in direct communication with the filmmakers. You’ll be an insider who gets to know and see things before they are public. You’ll even help us make important decisions. And best of all, you’ll make new friends from around the world.
  4. Change lives. This movie will change some people’s lives! We shared a rough draft with a couple non-homeschooling families. Within a week of seeing the film, they decided to start homeschooling as well.
  5. Supporting a good cause. We’ve put in many years of hard work to create the first feature length documentary showing what homeschooling really looks like. We’ll be educating the public about homeschooling, plus the expert advice and family storyline will inspire those who already are.

Thanks for your consideration. Please fill out this form to become a part of our volunteer team.

Upcoming Events and Appearances

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We’re very honored and thrilled to have been asked to attend a few upcoming conferences in the next couple of months. What with finishing up the film and attending these events, the summer is going to be very busy.

Here’s where we’ll be. If you are planning on attending any of these events, please come up and say hello, we’d love to meet you.

June 19th- 22nd, 2014 – California Homeschool Network (CHN)

Torrance Marriott Hotel, 3635 Fashion Way, Torrance, CA

http://chnfamilyexpo.com/

Jeremy will present at 2pm, on June 20th. He’ll be sharing all the latest news about the film and showing some never before seen footage. He’ll also be available for a Q&A afterwards.

June 28th, 2014 – Oregon Home Education Network (OHEN)

Saturday, June 28, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm at Valley Catholic High School, 4275 SW 148th Ave, Beaverton, OR 97007.

http://www.convention.ohen.org/4.html

OHEN have been big supporters of the film since we began filming and we’re honored that Jeremy has been asked to be the keynote speaker at this wonderful event. The theme of the conference is The Uncommon Core. Dustin will also be in attendance and we’ll show footage from the film and take questions afterwards. Come and join us!

July 31-Aug 3 2014 – HSC- Adventures in Homeschooling Conference, 

Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA

http://www.hscconference.com/main.html

(Date and time has yet to be determined)  We’ve come full -circle, and we’re very excited to be presenting as this is the very same conference where we began filming almost 4 years ago! We’ll be showing footage from the film and making announcements about our upcoming release and distribution plans.

That’s it for now. Thanks to all the conference organizers for inviting us and thanks to all of you for your continued support.

Jeremy, Dustin and the Class Dismissed team.

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