A Look Back…

October 6th, 2010

Years ago I was a film student at SDSU, where our days were spent watching movies, talking about movies, making short films, and attempting to get dates…most of us had success with doing all of those except the last.

The summer before my senior year, I was very fortunate and blessed to have been able to intern at Industrial Light and Magic. For those who don’t know who that is, it’s the special effects company George “Star Wars” Lucas started. If you’ve seen the Star Wars movies, Jurassic Park, the Harry Potter movies, or countless other films then you’ve seen their magic. While working there, I got the idea for what would ultimately become Bad Timing, my senior film project. I knew it would require some special visual effects, and so I asked a lot of people there how I could accomplish these effects with a tiny budget and limited resources. I got a lot of good advice.

The film was quite an undertaking, and for its time it was a first for the SDSU film program. Back in those days, we had to provide a finished film print to complete the class. Now days, you can provide a DVD – much cheaper and easier! In order to meet this requirement, we had to do a few extra (and expensive) steps. All the special effects shots had to have the camera original negative scanned into a digital format (in this case TIFF image files for each frame), and then those images were put into then current versions of Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere. Remember – this was 1997, and each of these 2K images took some time to load up on those older computers. We had to work on the shots one frame at a time – some of the shots were close to 200 frames and we spent 30 minutes or more on each frame.

Once we completed the visual effects, we then sent the new image files back to the lab where new negative for each of the shots was created. Again, now days with digital video cameras this wouldn’t be necessary, but in 1997 with 16 mm film this was how it was done. This whole process was expensive – 1/3 of our $12,000 budget. We cut the film together, got our film print made, and got an A for the film.

While the film is far from perfect, it stands as a testament to what we can do when we set out lofty goals for ourselves. Making this film was one of the most trying experiences I’ve ever lived through, but I’m proud to have accomplished what we did. It even was accepted to a couple film festivals. I’ve since gone back in and touched some things up – I tried to fix some of the shots we were unable to get right the first time. That’s the version you’ll see here.

This film embodies the spirit that I have for 100 ACRE FILMS. Just as I wanted a film that stood out then, I want all the projects we work on now to stand out. My desire is for them to rise above everything else out there, to reach its audience with a striking visual style, and touch the viewer emotionally. I want to help you tell your engaging story, share your vision, and do it in the most creative way possible.

I hope you enjoy the film, and thanks for taking a look back at where it began for me.

—Eric Addison

Bad Timing from Eric Addison on Vimeo.

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