Today the film I've been working on for two years, Sleepless 'til Seattle, was finally finished.
The edit decisions of the film were complete about a week ago and the past seven days have all been about tweaking the technical issues with the film. It very nearly wasn't of course, when the main storage device collapsed last week.
Back in September 2010, having just returned home from cycling the Camino in Northern Spain with Pauline, the idea was first suggested by Pauline that we should cycle across the USA together. This would be just one section of her bigger round the world adventure.
Ideas went back and forth of where to start and whether to go west to east, the accepted direction of travel, or east to west, which would be against the prevailing wind. But there had been a later than usual record snowfall, and some of the passes we would have to cross in the Cascades and the Rockies were not yet open in May and unlikely to be so for many weeks yet, so the decision was made for us.
I came up with the idea of making a film all about it early on, but this would end up presenting challenges not just technically but personally on a daily basis.
So we met up in Plymouth and set off in the direction of Seattle from Plymouth, camera in hand, with no idea what to expect.
Six months later, and the adventure of a lifetime behind me, I was back in the UK to start post production on the film. That was last October, so it's been just a month short of two years in the making.
I am surprised now, all things taken into consideration, just how much this low budget documentary has actually cost. And it isn't over yet. There are many high costs ahead in terms of providing an exhibition quality version plus all the festival entry fees and postage. FedEx to the States for example is £40 each time, on top of the entry fee. It all adds up.
I think had I known how much it would cost at the start I would probably not have done it.
But it is the emotional cost that has been too high. On reflection I missed so much of the adventure, with my focus on capturing all the footage and interviews most of the time. This had a direct effect on my fellow adventurer too of course, and I marvel now at her high level of patience throughout. I had also decided to make and post video diaries along the way, and this was definitely a mistake. It meant whenever we got a day off I would be working away trying to complete the next instalment, so I never really had a chance to relax.
The frustration of not getting "thee" shot on occasion also led to high stress levels, and at the end of the day it was meant to be a fun and chilled out ride. But despite all this it was an incredible experience, and the people of America that we met along the way will stay in our hearts forever. All said and done we have a great visual record of the adventure.
These things are easy to see on hind sight. I know I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Pauline, and a very big apology. I hope one day to have an opportunity to make it up to her. Hopefully something positive will come from the film for both of us which may in some way make it all worth while.
It is now in the process of being made ready to send on Monday to it's first festival, Sundance.