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What a year!

Shortly after the last newsletter (almost a year ago) production took an "interesting" turn. To cut a long story short, rendering was taking much longer than anticipated (what a surprise), and with the world's economy in the toilet, it was becoming difficult to maintain Autodesk's support. By June I had lost my sponsorship and was forced to explore other options in order to continue production.

After discussing my predicament with a few local post-production companies, it looked like a viable option would be to have them take over the rendering. After a more detailed assessment, however, it seemed initial estimates were a pipe dream. I was back to square one.

While the rendering of the film was in dire straits, the music, on the other hand, was progressing well. Liam Flenady and Lisa Cheney had composed the final score for the film by March, and in the same month formed a ten piece ensemble to perform and record the music at The Queensland Conservatorium. With sound engineer Reilly Smethurst at the helm, the recording was mixed and the final music handed over in May. Kudos to the entire music team for doing such an amazing job, you exceeded my expectations. Thank you!

Also making significant progress was the sound design. Led by John Willsteed, and with the help of Michael Mader and Tfer Newsome, a final vocal recording session took place in April at LCR Film Sound. With the vocal talents of Ray Sinclair and Jacob Worth, and the assistance of theatre director Brad Jennings from Markwell Presents, we managed to give my characters a voice. Though mostly gasps, grunts and gibberish, the sound design team did a great job syncing up the vocals to the image, and continued to chip away at the sound while I was figuring out my post-production woes in the foetal position.

As I rocked back and forth under my desk one day in July, all the relevant celestial bodies that control my life must have aligned, as I caught wind of news that Autodesk's next release of Maya, due out in August, would be the answer to all my problems (well, not ALL my problems). The better "Unlimited" version was now to become the standard, and the "Limited" version, which I have, was to be no more. This may have seemed like a bad thing, but with my subscription I would automatically receive an upgrade, getting me back to where I was with Autodesk's sponsorship, at no extra cost. I would be able to continue rendering, still at a snails pace, but nonetheless moving forward not backward, upward, not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom. All I had to be concerned with, it seemed, was my mental health.

With some modifications to my render farm, and some streamlining of my workflow, rendering officially recommenced in September and with no sign of slowing down, the film SHOULD be finished in a couple of months.

Until next time... keep creating!


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