Monday, 11 April 2016


As you're probably too well aware by now, the film is finished! A big fat pat on the back for Callum and myself.

I probably should have been keeping you updated over the last week, but in reality, there really wasn't time. In the two days leading up to the release of the film, I didn't sleep at all, I just sat at the computer hardly recognising when the day shifted to night and back again.

We had a lot of technical problems over the final week of post-production and I hark back to Callum and I sitting on the phone between Ireland and New Zealand and the moment our computers simultaneously crashed as a moment that was too real and too funny to be sad about.

We got there though! We got there.

The film would not have been completed without Callum's tireless work ethic. If you need anything cut, anywhere in the world it seems, he's your man. Visit his website

As for the film itself, you can view it here

Sales have actually been unbelievably slow, at which I cannot hide my disappointment, but I have a few theories.

1) All the hundreds of facebook likes, trailer views and shares on twitter show people are excited there is a film about the Ice Blacks, but perhaps not that they're excited about seeing the film.

2) $4 is just too much for people to stomach parting with to watch a movie. Which seems weird based on how much coffee people drink.

I need about 2000 paid views to break even on the project and that doesn't include the thousands of hours myself and everyone else have thrown in for free. While I don't really expect to reach 2000, I still had a worst case scenario in mind and we're well below that figure. I am going to have to take a second job.

While the sales have been poor, the feedback from those who have seen the film has been overwhelmingly positive and Callum and myself are chuffed you have enjoyed our movie so much.

I can't lie and say it was a joy to work on, it was the most difficult project I've ever had, but I am very proud at having completed it. There were many times I nearly gave up or wished I could, so to see it through to the end is like falling over the line of a 5 year long marathon.

There's an enormous list of thank you's in the credits of the film, to all the people who helped, pledged or provided moral support, I thank you. I don't know if I'll ever make another full-length documentary film, but it's kind of cool to think it will out-last me and that we've put a bit of untold New Zealand history out into the world.

Enjoy it and do try to watch it before the Ice Blacks play Australia on April 15th.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016


We're in the home stretch with the film, we've removed most of the technical glitches in the cut and are now very much focused on massaging story elements for emotional effect.

We're still waiting on archive photos and video to arrive in the post, hopefully tomorrow, which means it's the first 6 and half minutes of the film which are the most incomplete at the moment. The last thing we will do is cut the start of the film, go figure.

Today I designed and made the baseline keys in Photoshop, while Callum did another sweep of the film to make about 40 important changes. My friend Tony has agreed to help make the closing credits and Vilja has pulled out all the elements he needs for that while we go over everyone who requires attribution.

Providing the old photos and video arrive tomorrow, I'm hoping to cut the opening titles then. There's still an outstanding issue with music though, we would like to use two commercial songs in the film, but may have to bite the bullet and accept we can't afford them. That means picking something else which will effect the final outcome, but as no one will have seen the version with the commercial songs in it, no one will be any the wiser to what it could have been like.

Once we lock the film off, hopefully on Thursday, it will go for a sound mix. This should take a few days, but leave us with enough breathing room to have the film ready for everyone to watch online next week.

We can't afford a professional colour grade, so will do the best we can ourselves. If lots of people pay to watch the film and we find a television broadcaster who wants to screen it, then we can look at regrading the film then.

Right now we're on track, but we really need the archive material to arrive.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

USB's & DVD's

I had to make a hard decision today to change our promise of a USB or DVD for our donators on PledgeMe. We don't have enough money to finish the project and are calling in all our favours, but there are still things we need to pay for. A good sound mix is essential to how watchable the film is, so we are using the money we had set aside to buy and send the USB's/DVD's to pay for the sound mix.

In lieu of not sending out hard copies of the film, we will offer people who pledged a digital download. The internet and data rate have improved a lot in the last couple of years and I don't think it will effect anyone too much. If there's anyone out there in extreme circumstances, we will send them a USB, but otherwise we think most people will understand and want the film to be as good as it can be.

In other news we're battling a bit to get our hands on old photo's and videos of the Ice Blacks. We know this material will really improve the film, but actually getting our hands on it is proving very difficult.

Without the hockey community being proactive, that important historical element will be missing from the film.

If you can help, please, please contact us

Sunday, 20 March 2016


As promised, here is an official update on the documentary as of 20/03/16

The rough cut of the documentary is almost done. This would not have been possible without the editing talents of Callum Macdonald who was able to pick up the project and run with it. Despite it being in all sorts of pieces when he came on board and myself being a skittery wreck, he was able to take what I had and work with me to turn it into a coherent, watchable story.

There's still a way to go, we need to make opening titles, closing credits, do a colour grade, a proper audio mix, sign off on the music and insert the historic photos and video as they came to us. We're going to try to get as much of that done as possible in the next week, but it's no easy task. It may be that we don't get everything perfect, but I can now confidently say we will be releasing the documentary in one form or another before the Ice Blacks begin their tournament in Mexico on April 9.

Anyone who donated their time to the project or money to the PledgeMe campaign will be able to view documentary for free and before the rest of the world. Everyone else will be able to view the documentary for a small fee and we hope you will all share the link far and wide.

The reason we'll be charging a small fee is two-fold, firstly because it would be nice to get back some of the money I've ploughed into this project and secondly because if we make it freely available, no television broadcaster will then agree to show it. We don't have a broadcaster lined up yet, but we are going to try and find one so we can reach as many people as possible.

Eventually the documentary will freely available to everyone through the NZ Film Archive and nzonscreen. We will also donate the film to the hockey hall of fame to accompany the NZ exhibition.

The NZIHL AGM was yesterday and at the end of the day we showed a portion of the film to those in attendance, I am mighty relieved to say it was well received. Public screenings may be organised in the future and you should look out for them as a way to support both our sponsors and the ice hockey community.

As for the rest of the AGM, I glad to say Slapshot Productions will once again be carrying the live streaming of the NZIHL season and there will be more announcements about that soon. I tabled a discussion document about forming an NZIHL second division and we discussed a number of marketing, merchandising and entertainment objectives for this season. It all sounds great.

It may just be time to get excited.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016


This week has seen some considerable progress on the rough cut despite having to work on an Irish religious instruction video and a dip in weather and traffic that means I'm writing this from a cafe in Paekakariki.

Act two and and three are taking real shape now, which is to say the middle and end of the documentary is becoming watchable in terms of story. There are still changes to make as we work to make it better and iron out the kinks, but it's as positive as I've felt about the project in years.

Act one on the other hand still falls well short and we're once again asking that you take a minute to think about ANYONE, anyone at all, who might have video footage or photos from any of the Ice Blacks matches against Australia in the past 30 years.

Please take a moment to think about Mum's, Dad's, dubious relatives, former players, people you know in another country, anyone who could possibly have anything we could use. We desperately need this content now. If you know of anything or have any leads, please contact us here

We're trying as hard as we can to get the film done, but we really need your help!

Saturday, 12 March 2016


I haven't felt particularly useful this last week as I've wrestled with my bug, a fever and some sleepless nights. I needn't have worried though, for while I was out of it, Callum has been creaming the re-cut from Northern Ireland.

This past week has been all about compromise and with me out of commission, Callum has stepped up emphatically. First we had to compromise on the editing software, choosing to cut on Premiere instead of Avid because we just couldn't get the systems to talk to each other properly. Then we compromised on the workflow because I wasn't able to string two thoughts together, effectively doing a retrograde cut where Callum is pulling out the grabs from the interviews of his own choosing while I will fill in the narration afterwards.

These aren't ideal situations to be in, but we're making real headway for the first time in a long time and you just can't argue when there's progress right in front of you. We may hit some issues later on in regards to getting the grade and audio mixes done, but for now the offline cut is coming together.

Because we're on opposite sides of the world, Callum is finishing his day when I'm starting mine. This means I can look over his work when I get up, make a list of notes for him to review, then cut and supply any vision I need to from my end to send back to him so it's ready when he wakes up.

This process is slowed considerably by our inability to get the Avid's (editing computers) to communicate, we just have to go with what is working and if that means many more hours spent creating mixdowns, transcodes, exports, conforms then uploading/downloading the whole lot, so be it.

There's still an awful lot of extra bits and pieces to sort out, music, titles, graphics, stills, on top of the grade and audio mix I mentioned earlier. We're also still looking for old photos/videos of NZ playing Australia, so if you know ANYONE who might have such material, please contact them for us.

We would love to have something/anything from every time NZ and Australia have met on the ice since 1987.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Get down with the sickness

Have hit a few snags, one of which is that I'm now petulantly unwell. I suspect this is because I've been pushing myself a bit hard, but it is very unwelcome and very ill-timed. I spent this morning at the doctors and now have a myriad of medication I can down as part of a rainbow pill party three times a day.

We've also hit a technical snag with editing between countries. Despite being assured there would not be a problem, the bins from differing Mac and PC Avid systems just do not want to play nice. We have some functionality, but not everything we need and certainly not something workable.

I've had a couple of very late nights trying to find solutions to these problems, but come up stumped. The only real solution seems to be borrowing or buying another machine and neither is really feasible.

This is typical of what makes this project so hard, you feel like you're making progress and getting some momentum going, then wham! hit another brick wall. I'm trying to be open and honest about this entire process without complaining, but these sorts of setbacks really do add up and take a big toll.

I'll give it a couple of days till I'm back on my feet and let you know what we are going to do.