Within a production that demanded a tremendous amount of multitasking and multiunit coordinating, The Two Towers--as the middle film--must have presented an added layer of challenges. The appendices material below gives us a glimpse into those challenges and some strategies used to meet them. See if you can get a sense of how well people coped with their challenges and how much it might have impacted the final product. Consider similar situations that you have faced and how they might compare or contrast with the working environment of the LOTR movies.


Text in brown: descriptions and transcripts from the Appendices material

Text in Black: my comments, conversation prompts and resources

Most of this got reposted at TheOneRing.net's forum where a discussion then ensued. Those old boards are cranky. To find a copy of that discussion, go HERE.











Peter Jackson: The key point with the post production on any movie is the delivery date. And the delivery date is like the religious moment that cannot be altered and which the filmmakers have to hand the finished film to the studio. And from the end of October, they have enough time—just—to make the ten thousand copies of the film to get the film into cinemas all around the world.


Barry Osborne: Even while we were scoring the movie and Howard had written his music, Peter was still cutting and recutting the film.


Peter Jackson: It really meant that where the crunch was going to be was all around the time that Howard was trying to write the music.


Paul Broucek: We started to do the math as Howard likes to do. And we realized that we had to put Peter on a formula. That essentially he had to turn over five and a half minutes worth of locked, edited picture.. a day. But that's how we worked backwards knowing that was the only way were going to make it so we could start recording our music in London. Efficiently, we should have had everything written... in a perfect world, we would have everything prepped... ready to go and we would just record, edit, mix until we're done with all the music. But Howard hasn't even seen the final version of the locked picture. (pause) It's gets a little hairy.


Peter Jackson: It became like a twenty four hour a day production.


Paul Broucek: We had music copyists working around the clock... in shifts. That said, we had to get clever and realize, okay, Howard can't be at every choral session. Howard can't handle the vocal soloists. So we put our heads together and we figured out a little divide-and-conquer. We had a little system. The base of the technology that's available (Magpie: I'm not sure I've transcribed this phrase correctly)... his team... and put together the ability for him, not only to see us, with a video conferencing unit, but we also had high quality phone lines. So he could essentially produce the sessions while he was writing. For instance, when I was doing vocals, let's say, with Abbey Road Studios, I ring his cell phone. And the code is, "one ring... to rule them all". (smile)

Sound of: phone ringing

Howard Shore: The "one ring" was a code that we used for signaling that a mix was ready. So it was a way for you to be in... four places at once... effectively. (tone indicates that he means in an effective manner, not as in 'for all intents and purposes')


Rick Porras: So all these kinds of things conspired and our scoring very much came down to the wire. It was actually overlapping when we doing our final mix.


Paul Broucek: So now the mix crew in New Zealand needs Peter as much as we need him in London.


Rick Porras: And so Peter then flew back to be there for the mix team and the fact that we were scoring while you're mixing... you know, that's like, (makes a kind of sick sound) something you always try to avoid. And luckily, technology, you know, came and saved us.


Paul Broucek: Based on the Polycom video conferencing, we'd have a camera in both places.


Barry Osborne: Peter could be just like he was in the control room with Howard and have a video conferencing as well a sync to the 5.1 Dolby music.


Howard Shore: I think there was a few instances where I was on the podium, Peter was in New Zealand, and he's able to talk with me as if he's in the booth, you know, 20 feet away.


Peter Jackson: So, I'm seeing Howard conducting and I'm hearing him live in my room in New Zealand in perfect quality.

On Screen: The orchestra playing the destruction of Isengard. The camera cuts to the control room where we first see a screen of Howard conducting and then, next to it, Howard sitting on a couch.

Howard Shore: And now we're like a well-oiled, international machine working in different countries simultaneously.


Paul Broucek: I threatened to have t-shirts made up, "Around the World in 80 Days - Film Score - The Two Towers". We finished around November 1st, 2002 and it pretty much ramps right back up and by December we're in the process of gearing up, getting footage. Peter's locked the extended cut version of The Two Towers in April of 2003 and, boom, we're right into the cycle of getting footage on Return of the King.








Magpie Conversation Prompts:

Coping: How do you think the various company units and personnel coped with the challenges of having the work of The Two Towers sandwiched between the FOTR and ROTK while having key people scattered across the globe? Do you think the final film product was harmed, enhanced, or unaffected by these challenges? Do you have any insight into how common these issues are for film production? Was there anything particularly creative or heroic in their efforts or is this all 'par for the course'?


Real Life: Could you personally relate to any aspect of this section? The crunch of deadlines -- The difficulties of multitasking, either yourself or the person who's attention you need -- The necessity to problem solve in creative ways?



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Above comments transcribed from The Two Towers Extended Edition Appendices Material: Music for Middle-earth

Howard Shore: Composer
Peter Jackson: Director/Writer/Producer
Philippa Boyens: Writer
Paul Broucek: Paul Broucek; Executive Music Producer, New Line Cinema
David Salo: Tolkien Language Translator
John Kurlander: score engineer
Barry M Osborne: Producer
Rick Porras: Co-producer
On Screen: the image shown on screen other than the narrator/interviewee
Music Playing: the music playing under the commentary