The Final Laps

Fasttrack401 I’m nearly at the end of post-production on FAST TRACK. Thanks to the Internet, I am able to do a lot of the work from home rather than having to be in Germany.

Dirk Leupolz, our composer, uploads scenes with his score to a server, then I log on, download the Quicktime files, watch them and give him notes. The same goes for each cut of the main title sequence. This weekend, Dirk sent me the final scenes of the movie as well as some "fixes" on earlier scenes. I am really pleased with the way the score has turned out…and can’t wait for my own CD._sth8512 

The editors and graphics team did a fantastic job on the main title sequence. It looks and sounds great…all that’s left now is to choose the font, size, and actual placement of the credits that play out over the first scene or two of the movie (I’ve already approved the credit lists, and the order of the credits, for the German and International versions of the move).

I’m red/green colorblind, so I entrusted the color correction of the movie to our director Axel Sand (who is also our director of photography) and our line producer Heiko Schmidt. They are also overseeing the German-language dubbing, though I approved the voices for the non-German actors (I didn’t understand what they were saying, but I could judge the performance and the sound…I was sent scenes dubbed with the German voice auditions).

My final remaining post-production task is to oversee the final sound mix…when we bring together all the music, sound effects, and re-recorded dialogue for the English and German-language versions of the movie. I’ll fly back to Germany at the end of the month to do that.

And then the movie/pilot will be complete.

Fast_track055 But my work is far from over. I’m keeping a close eye on the promotional and publicity materials (the posters for MIPCOM and AFM, sales brochures, etc.) and am working with our international sales team to sell FAST TRACK to networks in the U.S., Canada and other territories.

Today, my family and I had nice lunch with Erin Cahill, one of the stars of FAST TRACK, and then she and my daughter Maddie spent the afternoon shopping together. Maddie just adores Erin and so do we. I’ve been staying in close touch with the cast and crew…and I’ll be heart-broken if we don’t get the opportunity to keep working with together.

(The FAST TRACK photos are by Gordon Muehl and Stefan Hoederath).

Mr. Jet Set

I have been on two flights a day each day for the last four days…and it’s getting to me. I flew from Montreal to Prague, then Prague to Berlin, then Berlin to Munich (and back), and Berlin to Cologne (and back). I am SO jet-lagged. I look like the living dead. This weekend, though, I won’t be seeing the inside of a jet…which will be a nice break for me.  On the other hand, I probably won’t be seeing anything outside my Berlin hotel room, since I will have to hole myself up writing to make up for lost time on the latest MONK Novel. Sunday afternoon I am going to the composers studio to hear the score and on Monday I am spending  the day in ADR…followed by dinner with the cast. I’ll be jetting to London on Tuesday morning, then London-t0-Munich that same night, and then Munich-to-Dusseldorf-t0-LA on Friday. All of this travel, for the most part, is for work on the post-production and distribution of FAST TRACK. Speaking of which, I slipped my friend author Paul Levine a DVD of the rough cut and he liked it.

News on the Fast Track

Now that FAST TRACK is finished, we are deep into post…working on the score, etc. I’ll be flying to Montreal later this month to record actor Andrew Walker’s ADR (to replace poor tracks and to record new dialogue) and to meet with potential Canadian broadcasters for the show. And then, in early September, it’s back to Berlin to record the ADR with our European cast. We’re also actively trying to find a U.S. broadcaster for the show…but more on that later. In the mean time, here are some publicity stills from the movie, taken by photographers extraordinaire Gordon Muehl and Stefan Hoederath.

Fasttrack023 Fasttrack393 Fasttrack233 Fasttrack185 _sth8516 _sth8575

The Cut

_gmu2194 I’ve finished my producer’s cut of FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS. The  studio loved it so now we’re just making some tiny, technical tweaks before I screen the cut for the network on Wednesday. Then I get their notes, do my final cut…and await the word on whether we go to series or not.

I really enjoy the editing process…the frustration, the exhiliration, and the discovery that comes  with it.

It all starts with the show you imagine…and then it becomes the show you’ve  written, which is always a bit different because it evolves as you are writing it. Then there’s the show that’s shot…which is never quite what you imagined, since you are taking a dream and asking hundreds of people to help you make it real. Their creative work, along with the reality of taking what’s on the page and making it live, shapes the show into something new.  And, finally, there  is the show you create in the editing room. You can’t expect to see the show that you first imagined. As you cut, rearrange, choose angles, drop dialogue, add dialogue, etc., you discover the show amidst the footage. Yes, the show I created  is still there…but it has become something else…and, luckily for me, something much better.

Back on the Fast Track

Today I head back  to Cologne, where a DVD of the director’s cut of FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS is waiting for me at my hotel. I’ll watch it tonight, make some notes, and then head into the editing room on Monday to do my cut. I can’t wait to get started. The movie has come in at 102 minutes and I’ve got to get it down to about 95, but that’s not going to be a problem. I’m glad I have some minutes to play with…it would have been a disaster if the cut came in on time or, worse, short.

Crossing the Finish Line

Today is the last day of principal photography on FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS… we have a 7:30 pm call, so we’re going to be filming until well past sunrise. It has been an exhausting shoot, but the enthusiasm of the cast and crew hasn’t dimmed. We were shooting yesterday until 5:30 in the morning today and yet, as tired as everyone was, nobody was surly or short-tempered. It’s amazing. My internal clock is all messed up. I only know what day it is by looking at the call sheet.

Sunday we have our wrap party…where we have lots of gifts and surprises for our great crew. And Monday it’s vacation for everyone but the editors.  I haven’t seen anything cut together yet, but from the dailies alone I can already tell that this movie/pilot is going to be everything I hoped it would be. Now it’s up to me to make sure that the post-production — the music, sound design and color correction — is up to the same level.

I’m also at the "finish line" for MR. MONK IN OUTER SPACE. I received the copy-edited manuscript at my hotel today and I’ll go over the edits between shots tonight/tomorrow on the set and during the day on Sunday. I hope to FedEx the manuscript back to my editor on Monday or Tuesday…we are in a rush to make the November pub date.

Towards the Finish Line

_sth8463c There are only two more days left of principal photography on FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS and one "pick-up" days to grab some stray shots that we missed or re-shoots that we need to do. But it’s far from over for me.

I am already looking ahead to post-production, lining up composers and discussing the main title sequence. I have a couple of weeks off to travel around Europe with my family, then I head to Action Concept studios in Cologne on July 14 to do my cut of the pilot and choose a composer…then it’s off to teach another Writer’s Room course in Lohr for a week…and then back to Munich on July 25 to present the rough cut to the network. After getting the network notes, it’s back to the editing room to work on the final cut in time to present it to the network around August 6th, then I return to Cologne for a spotting session and to begin work on the sound design. Fast_track_logo_with_gray_limits I go back to Los Angeles  on August 9 for a few weeks to await word on a pick-up, organize my life, and to do ADR with the American actors. If we get picked up to series, then I return to Berlin to oversee the writing and pre-production on eight episodes. Whether we get picked up or not, I have return anyway to do ADR with the British, French and German actors and to lock the pilot movie.

It’s been an incredible experience and I hope it’s only the beginning for FAST TRACK and not the end.

Variety on Fast Track

There was a short bit on FAST TRACK in Tuesday’s issue of Variety:

An English-language urban street racing drama being shot in Germany has just been sold to France’s M6, Japan’s Comstock Group and China’s Beijing Time Entertainment by veteran U.S. distributor Gavin Reardon.

"Fast Track: No Limits" is co-produced by Teuton outfit Action Image and will air in Germany on station group ProSieben.

Reardon last year set up his own international distribution operation in L.A. called And Action! Distribution.

Reardon said Monday that the popularity of automotive-oriented action programming in Asia bodes well for deals in that region. No financial details of the licensing arrangements were made available.

Series is written and exec produced by Lee Goldberg, who, with this project, is importing the American showrunner system into Germany.