Editing, Editing, Editing . . .

I understand that logging and storyboarding and lots of the grunt work of post take up 95% of the post-production time.  At some point, everything is supposed to begin to just land in place and the last 5% occurs in a flurry of creativity and revelation of the kind that they make movie montages about.  (Produced that the montage has been logged, storyboarded, etc. . . .)

That part must be just around the corner.  Or so it seems.  All of the aerial sorties are now logged.  All of the ground footage from Cam A is logged.  I might head back into the footage from Cam B, most of which turned out to be unusable (because the camera decided to but everything into tiny little  bits of a few seconds in length).  Some of the Cam B stuff is a minute or more in length, so I might take a little time over the holidays to browse that.

But the best part of such time as I can take over the holidays is going to go into editing a couple of the film sequences so I can have stuff in watchable form.  I think that it’d be reasonable to think about having a rough cut by March, but it’s going to depend a lot on how  the day job goes.  I really need to have a couple of long weekends where I can go at it 20 hours at a time and get completely out of synch with the way the planet rotates.  Then I’d have a much better idea of how things are actually hanging together.

Bottom line:  I expect to have a couple of good three-day periods of pounding on the film over the next three weeks or so.  Stay tuned!  There really is a movie in there!

Studio 360‘s episode this week contained a quick shout saying that the show’s staff is looking for people who are resolving to accomplish or finish an artistic endeavor in 2013.  If ever there was an artistic endeavor that ought to be completed in 2013, it’s Acro Camp.  I have no idea what the show is planning to do.  Maybe check in from time to time or offer encouragement.  If that happened, it’s be a great kick in the ass.

And, frankly, publicity for the film.  I’m close enough to finishing this thing that I’ve begun to think in earnest about marketing.  If you’re read Kevin Smith’s Tough Sh*t – especially the three chapters about about four-walling theaters and taking Red State on the road himself, you get a sense of how cool (and terrifying) that might be.

This evening, I called up the phone line that Studio 360 and left a voicemail.  Yeah, I wrote a script before calling, but if you’ve listened to Airspeed, you know well that I work a lot better from a script.  Here’s what I said.

Hi, I’m Steve Tupper.

I’m a lawyer with a great day job, a family – the works.

I’m also a part of a small but energetic group of pilots and aviation enthusiasts who produce podcasts and other media.  My show is called Airspeed.  It’s in its seventh year with more than 200 episodes in the feed.  My friends produce other shows. We’re spread out across the globe.  We rarely meet in person, but we’re pretty tight-knit.

A couple of years ago, I had an idea.  Let’s take four pilots.  Two men and two women.  None had ever flown an airplane upside down or in similar attitudes (we call that “aerobatics” or “acro” for short).  We’d line up a couple of instructors and three aerobatic airplanes and we’d wire up the aircraft with HD cameras and digital audio systems.  Then we’d try to capture the experience of these four pilots over the course of four days as they learned to fly aerobatics for the first time and make a documentary out of it.

We did it in May of 2010 right here in Southeast Michigan – the buckle on the rust belt – in the middle of a recession.  We shouted theater in a crowded fire.

I talked my podcaster friends from all over the country into flying in and working on the movie crew for food, lodging, and airfare – and nothing else.  We shot more than 40 hours of flying and about that much on the ground.  We got enough to make the first-ever feature-length documentary film about learning how to fly upside down – And conquer fears, stereotypes, preconceived notions, and gravity.

I used a network of friends and fellow enthusiasts to Tom Sawyer myself a movie.  Even the soundtrack is entirely written and recorded by the cast and crew of the movie and fans of my podcast.  Not until very recently have the cameras, the editing tools, and other resources necessary to do these kinds of things become available to folks like us.  We’re really not supposed to be able to do this kind of thing.  But we did it!

I’ve been working on editing the film since that time.  One guy with a shelf of big hard drives and a Mac in his basement.  I owe it to the cast and crew to finish the film and get it out to whatever audience will receive and adopt this labor of love.  Everything’s logged.  Everything’s storyboarded.  Now it’s just a matter of putting it all together and getting it onto screens and DVDs.  I’m resolving to get it done in 2013.

If you’d like more information on the film, check out www.acrocamp.com and www.airspeedonline.com.  My phone number is 248-470-7944.  You can also reach me by e-mail at steve@airspeedonline.com.


No idea if I’ll capture their imaginations.  The only thing that really matters is that I have, to some extent, captured yours.  Otherwise, why would you be reading this?  And just writing that little missive gave me a chance to again focus on the unbelievable outpouring of time and energy that so many of you have poured into the film and how much I need to reward your kind attention by giving you the movie.

I’ll try to post some more frequent updates over the holidays.  And, as always, check out the film’s Facebook presence, where I’ll post more frame grabs and other cool stuff.


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