A Final Version for “The Barrier” ?


A few weeks ago I wrote about my plans for my next project. I had decided my next project would be my Agatha Christie in Egypt video. Since then I got some encouragement to do a final version of “The Barrier”. That got me to have another look at it.

Two Barriers

There were two barriers I have to over come to make a final version of “The Barrier”.

The first was that Xtranormal, the program that used to make it, had been shut down and was no longer legally available. I did look at what other similar programs were available that I could use, but didn’t find anything I felt would work for me. Fortunately, the  rights for the Xtranormal software was sold to Nawmal, which has made it available again as NawmalMAKE. That solves my first problem.

The second was that I want to replace the artificial voices with voice over actors. Several people said they found the synthetic voices annoying. I didn’t mind them, but I they do lack emotion. Voice over actors would bring more depth to the characters, and would be more pleasant to listen to.

Unfortunately, I can’t commit to any kind of schedule to work with the actors or attend recording sessions. I’ve started to think about ways I might be able to work around that.

Option 1: Co-director

The first option I came up with is to recruit a co-director, who could work with the actors and attend the recording sessions. The big advantage of this approach is that the actors would have a better opportunity to collaborate with the director. In my experience I know that when actors are given some flexibility, they can often come up with something much better than what I wrote.

The issue for me is that it may be difficult to find an appropriate collaborator. The movie is very personal to me. With its focus on transportation planning, people with out that back ground may not be attracted to work on it.

It might also leave me out of the loop.

Option 2: Independent Recording

A second option I thought about earlier was to arrange for the actors to record their parts on their own. This would make it easier for me, and give me the flexibility to use actors from out of town. The downside is that the actors will not have the same experience and direct feed back.

A short time ago I read some where that when Douglas Rains recorded the voice of HAL for 2001, the recording session was in Toronto. I had expected that Kubrick would have attended the session, but if it was in Canada, he would not. While I can’t be sure if this is a true story, it does make me wonder if I need to attend the recording sessions for “The Barrier”. I am no Kubrick though.

Supporting Actors

Another issue that would come up for either of these options, is do I have the actors work on their own, or do I try to have them record scenes as a group? When I did the voice recording for “Who Shot the President”, I wasn’t able to get both actors together at the same time, so I recorded them separately. I had the first recording available when I did the second, which made it a little easier for the second person.

On the other hand, I know that some actors prefer to have the other actor there to help them. I suppose the best approach is let the various circumstances dictate the approach. If it is easy for the actors to meet, and prefer that, then that is what I should try to do.

Script Revisions and Notations

I want to work on the script some more. There are a few places where I want to make changes. So far, nothing too major. If I try to make too many changes it could delay completion of the project for a long time. I would prefer to get it done sooner and then move on to new projects.

Since I wouldn’t be able to work with the actors directly, I would want to add notations to the script to indicate to the actor what I had in mind for the character. That could be a lot of work. For that matter, I don’t really have a script anyway. I did the writing inside of Xtranormal. I did, at one point, export the dialogue into text files and reformat them into a script, but that wasn’t from the most recent version of the movie. I did set up a converting program, but it didn’t work the last time I used it.


There is a final problem: money. With the uncertainty with my wife’s health, I worry about how much I can afford to spend.

I know some actors would be open to working for the credit. However, I really would prefer to pay them, even if it is only a token payment. I would need to work out how much I would need to spend.

At any rate, I do have a lot to think about.

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