130 conflicting opinions

Location Noodle bar in Soho | Mood Physically & emotionally shattered | Date 8 September 2007
Author (full name): 
Franny Armstrong
Noodle bar in Soho
Physically & emotionally shattered
130 conflicting opinions whirling round my exhausted brain
Knife wounds to neck (from head on chopping board)
8 September 2007
Current crisis: 
We got a lot wrong
Current silver lining: 
We got a lot right

Ten weeks solid editing and we've got a new rough cut, a new title - "The Age of Stupid" - a new soundtrack, loads of new crew members and an empty bank account. So seems high time to hold another - should be the last - funding event. Gives us a chance to watch the latest version on the big screen and try to persuade a few more people to part with their cash. Lovely Rob from the Curzon Soho offered us his cinema for free at 10am any Saturday morning.


Producer Lizzie talks money

Composer Chris talks music

Which is how I got to be sitting up with a hot Avid - poor computer hadn't been switched off in 83 hours as David, Andy and I have been doing back-to-back shifts - at 3am this morning. Having just finished sorting all the sound levels and roughly mixing the music, that gave me two hours to make the screening tape, check it for any errors, then pop home for three hours sleep before heading into Soho.

Except, in entirely predictable fashion, the computer collapsed, taking the last couple of hours work with it. After about an hour trying to sort it out (4am), I had to resort to calling Andy and between us we eventually (5am) got the computer back on its feet, but when I started playing out the tape (5.30am) I realised lots of stuff had got lost in the crash (5.45am) and had to be rebuilt (6.20am), so called Lizzie up and got her to get up and come over and watch the tape as it played out (6.40am), while I went home, had a shower and fed the cats (7.15am), then back to the office to make a few corrections lizzie had noticed (7.45am), drop them onto the tape (8.40am), then into taxi (9.10am) down to Soho (9.28am), check the tape on the big screen (9.40am), drink more coffee (9.55am), then watch it on the big screen (10am).

The last time I stayed up all night was, er, er, must've been in my raving days in the early 90s.

Science Advisor Mark talks climate change Drama Director Bruce loves to talk    

So was feeling generally bemused as 130 friends, family, crew and funders (most in two or more of those categories - my dad in all four) rolled up. Did I mention that we've filmed stand-in actors playing the kids in the future, so the story makes some kind of sense? Obviously we had to use actors that were cheap and easily available for reshoots when we rewrote the script every couple of days. So that'll be me and Andy then. Hadn't quite thought through that I'd be watching myself on the big screen this morning. Alarming doesn't begin to describe it.

Gonna give us your money? The animation team meet in person for the first time  

All the viewers dutifully filled in their feedback forms, which we've all been reading ever since. Can't think of a single thing they all agreed on. More drama, less drama, more Iraq, no Iraq, more facts, less music, more Nigeria, can't follow the stories, don't patronise me pointing out the obvious... But the biggest problem was neatly summarised by my dad: "before I get inside I'm called Stupid, in the first three minutes I find out that the whole world is destroyed, then I meet two kids in the future only to find out they're running out of oxygen and will die in 90 minutes. If I turn down my washing machine that's pointless, if I take a flight I'm condemning 150,000 people to death, if I try to start a windfarm I'll lose, if I start an airline I'll win. And then 3 billion people die of starvation. It's the bleakest film of all time."

Even though we hadn't got round to including the upbeat, it's-not-over-till-it's-over bit, the general consensus was that you come out feeling so utterly hopeless you may as well keep burning up more and more carbon as the ship goes down.

So back to the scriptwriting drawing board for me. After a little lie down.

Filling in ye feedback forms