Film Blog: Coming Soon — Tom Allen The Movie! (Groan)

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No no no, I’m joking, thank goodness, that’s not the title of the upcoming film!

But a few people joked recently that it might as well be. At 4am this morning, my mate James arrived home, having completed the laborious job of editing the story of the fragmented bicycle trip (and the very significant events which caused the fragmentation) that I undertook between 2007 and 2010. It has taken him and Rich (the editor) 8 weeks of full-time work, plus too many evenings and weekends to mention. I’ll swear I’ll never look at a film in the same way again.

Road through interior Sinai

The editing process has been incredibly interesting to follow, but I’ve kept at arms length from it, because my job was essentially done once I stopped recording one day in October last year, having cycled back into the village I’d left three and a half years beforehand (one wife richer!).

A huge amount of creativity happens in the edit suite, which I didn’t have the foggiest idea about, and having seen the final cut I’m more glad than ever before that I didn’t have to sit down and do it myself. Let alone being clueless about the software involved or the art of storytelling, I could never have been as objective and ruthless as James has had to be to cut 18,000 minutes of laboriously-shot raw footage down to 76!

With the power of the edit comes the responsibility to remain truthful, to avoid exaggeration and remain transparent, ensuring that the balance of what’s cut away and what’s left doesn’t jeopardise the reality of the events upon which the film is based. It helps to be honest with yourself and with your camera while shooting it in the first place, and to film the fears and failures as much as (if not more than) the successes and sunsets.

So I watch the result with no small hint of discomfort and cringing. But these blemishes and balls-ups are staying in. I’m not in the business of misrepresenting what I do/will do/have done, for reasons which are elucidated more succinctly than I’m able here and here. Even though I go on adventures, not expeditions, the sentiments still apply.

What happens next is all of the polishing stuff. A man called Steve will sit in a small foam-lined studio for two weeks, getting all of the sound levels right. Then a guy called Tom will sit for another week in a basement making all of the shots look as nice as possible by fiddling with the colours using a variety of complicated software and a really powerful projector. Hopefully I’ll be allowed to watch some of this stuff happening.

Then it will be completely finished and ready to be sent to the judging boards of film festivals, and we’ll all sit with our fingers crossed for a few weeks, waiting for responses! The tension is already killing me!

P.S. The film doesn’t actually have a title yet! If you happen to have read about the trips it’s based on, please submit your title suggestions in the comments. I know it’s not much of an incentive, but if we use it, we’ll credit you at the end of the film and send you a copy…

Comments (skip to respond)

6 responses to “Film Blog: Coming Soon — Tom Allen The Movie! (Groan)”

  1. hey tom,

    this all sounds very exciting… i’m so looking forward to the film… and i’m gonna see that i will be available as an editor when you do your next one 🙂

    all the best from munich!

  2. Can’t wait to see the movie!

  3. Congratulations on getting the final cut, well, cut there, bro. I’m very excited to see the result of the work eventually — only I’m not convinced it’ll be screening in Canada for a while unfortunately!

    Here’s to hoping

    1. You never know…

  4. All sounds very exciting Tom. I remember watching the Ride Earth video podcasts a few years ago so it’ll be nice to see the ‘project’ come to a conclusion in a longer film.

    1. Argh — those videos are seriously cringeworthy now! That footage constitutes about 1 minute of the finished film, thankfully 🙂

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