What We're Up To This Week
Announcing Google Play Release
This week the "Where's My Food?!" became available on Google Play. Not just for Android lovers, Google Play is growing in popularity with Apple iOS users, because their movie library can can accessed on all their devices...including their at-home television.
Announcing Amazon Instant Video Release
This week we went live on Amazon Instant Video, one of the largest platforms for HD documentaries. You can watch "Where's My Food?!" on Amazon Instant Video on smart TVs and Blu-ray players, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, Wii and mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire tablets and the Fire Phone. Of course it's also viewable through Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.
Announcing Online and DVD Release
This week "Where's My Food?!" became available for rent or purchase on Apple iTunes. DVDs are also now for sale. More online outlets are coming soon, including Amazon Instant Video.
A Wonderful Evening at the Film's Big Screen Premiere
Launching the New Trailer
After a few weeks of intense editing, we just released the new movie trailer for Where’s My Food?! You can view it here.
The new trailer is only 107 seconds long, but it captures the impact and passion of the full documentary in a rapid-fire, high-energy style. With a pulsing musical beat that sounds eerily like a Nirvana tune, the trailer moves fast! If you take your eyes off the screen for a second you will miss something. Let us know what you think.
week we completed the labor-intensive task of Closed
Captioning of the documentary. This step is required by
federal law to help people with hearing impairments enjoy
films and television. Closed Captions are quite different
from subtitles, which are intended for viewers who hear
normally, but who simply don't understand the language
spoken in the film. Closed Captions must convey all relevant
meaning, including non-verbal sounds, collectively
known as "atmospherics."
One tricky element of Closed Captioning was repositioning 5% of the 3000 or so total captions -- which are normally at the bottom of the screen -- above "lower thirds," which are speaker-identifying information inside a colorful frame, as shown in the video captures above.
Reading a Review
“Where’s My Food?!” is the MUST SEE documentary of the year. Something is cooking in the food and beverage industry, but from within the ranks. Workers are rising up and speaking their minds about the difficult issues they face in an industry that doesn’t take care of its own.
With excellent editing pace, director Lee Godden’s 75-minute film takes the viewer into the dark side of the profession, showing the lives of several food service workers.
In Europe, this is a true and honest profession and
career. But in America, it’s not allowed to be, due to a
severely reduced minimum wage, usurped through Congress.
Caught in the middle between establishment owners and NRA
(Restaurant, not Rifle) lobbying dollars, servers come home
with a zero paycheck. It’s about time someone brought these
dirty little secrets to the nation’s attention.
Kyle Branche, author of “Life Behind Bars” and 30-year veteran bartender
Enhancing the Story with Music
What’s a movie without good music? We layered in a total of 34 songs to the 75-minute fine cut version of Where’s My Food?! We took our time selecting only the scenes and sections that called for musical enhancement. Instead of utilizing the entirety of each piece, we edited them down to somewhere between 20 to 60 seconds each. Some fade out, yet some have the song’s original beginning and ending intact, with the middle surgically excised.
The pieces we selected vary wildly in style and feel, and were applied based on the emotion of the scene they support. For example, upbeat: ukulele. Oppressive: cello. Nostalgic: country guitar. Sad: ethereal (Werner Herzog-style) guitar. For the “History of Waiters and Waitresses” section we used a timeline of 17th century harpsichord minstrel, 19th century French accordion, 1920s ragtime and 1950s big band swing. Most frequently we went with piano to express everything from sadness to hopefulness.
The advice we received from our music consultant Charles Wiley was invaluable.
Polishing the First Rough Cut into a Fine Cut
After seventeen months of work we viewed the film's first rough cut from start to finish. (Yes, we've seen and tweaked every second of video and audio hundreds of times, but never the full 75 minutes as a whole.) The rough cut has no titles, no credits and no musical score, but nevertheless we allowed ourselves a brief celebratory smile at this milestone.
Now the really detailed work begins. In addition to title, credits and emotion-supporting music, subsequent rough cut versions will have better color, sound and graphics. When all that looks good we'll have a fine cut, from which we'll create the documentary's updated trailer. Following that [cue fanfare]: final cut.
The Rough Edit
Sixteen months into this project we've completed the assembly edit (see below) and have begun working on the rough edit. Coinciding with this progress we are rolling out our new logo, a vector graphic showing an impatient restaurant customer clenching a knife and fork in his fists, hovering over an empty plate, with the unspoken thought bubble of Where's My Food?! (You can click on this thumbnail to see a bigger version.)
The 3-part (set-up/conflict/resolution) story structure is in place and first phase of fine-tuning is underway. What were placeholders for narration are now being filled with actual narration. What were markers to add specific graphics are now being filled with those graphics.
The first rough cut is only a couple of weeks away. Producers and other stakeholders will view it and submit their comments, then editing will continue. Every week more visually-exciting and story-enhancing components and graphics are being added.
Rounding out the rough edit process will be color correction and sound normalization. Placeholder music and sound effects will also be kept until most of the rough editing is complete.
The film’s goal remains clear: to accurately portray the profession and professionals of food service in a manner that’s timeless, relevant and appealing to a wide audience. Onward!
The Assembly Edit
After 14 months of shooting we’ve finally made it to the “assembly edit” phase of the documentary filmmaking process. From the dozens of food servers and experts we’ve spoken with and interviewed, we’ve narrowed the list down to 12 individuals (not counting our person-on-the-street interviews) whose on-camera stories and expertise will likely be included in the final cut of Where’s My Food?!
Countless hours of raw footage were reviewed, then distilled down to an "unassembled" 180-minute collection of short clips (ranging from 3 to 30 seconds), each of which was identified by data location, topic and segment, and all of which tell part of the story.
The target TRT (total running time) goal of the finished documentary is 75 minutes. During this assembly edit phase we're focused on preserving only those clips that help move it briskly through a classic 3-part story arc involving set-up, conflict and resolution.
During the set-up we introduce viewers to the industry, to the job, to the psychology and affects of tipping, and to the servers and their personal stories and goals. During the "second act" (or conflict phase) we detail the servers' struggles with the physical demands of the job, with customers, with the BOH (back of house), with "the other NRA," with poverty, discrimination, addictions and with healthcare issues. During the fast-moving, high-emotion resolution, viewers learn if the servers achieved their goals. (Some do, some don't.) Viewers can then draw their own conclusions about the story's meaning.
After the assembly edit is complete we'll move on to editing the rough cut, which involves story flow, graphics, color correction, sound correction, music, titles and helpful B-roll.