Worst. Christmas. EVER.
The following is a conversation with writer/director/producer Johnny Chechitelli. His feature film Worst.Christmas.Ever. made its VOD debut November 3rd, 2020, and is now available to rent on Amazon Video.
What were your initial plans for post-production on Worst.Christmas.Ever.
My initial plans for post-production were to use Red Point Digital for all editing and VFX work. I have an editing background myself, but since I was already serving as Writer/Director/Producer, I thought it was a wise move to wear one less hat and let someone else edit. Of course, I’m too much of a control freak and ended up co-editing with Patrick Casteel of Red Point Digital, but I was able to wear a half-less hat than I planned! RPD also created a fantastic flying spitwad and assembled our completed trailer.
Overall, this movie evolved over the four years it took to go from script to screen as a completed project. Initially, I wanted to feature an animation sequence similar to the old stop-motion Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer Christmas special, featured in the beginning, middle, and end of the movie. Budget restrictions forced us to scrap those plans. We relied entirely on Youngstown artist Craig Latchaw to illustrate and animate new sequences written after the film wrapped production.
How did you end up working with RPD?
I became aware of Red Point Digital through Producer Alex Tennent. Alex and I met in Los Angeles several years prior. One of my best friends stayed on Alex’s couch, and I would frequently come by and talk about future projects with them. In 2016, after over a decade of living and working in LA, I decided to move back to NE, Ohio, and make a movie. As luck would have it, Alex began working for Red Point Digital in 2016 and moved to NE Ohio. It only made sense to make this movie together.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in post-production?
The biggest challenge faced in post was running out of money. We wanted to have this movie done at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, but we had to take a hiatus as we raised additional funding. The next biggest challenge was working with an editor since I had previously cut all of my own stuff. The third challenge was finishing the cut and delivery during COVID.
How did you overcome those challenges?
It took some getting used to working with an editor, but Patrick could bring a different point of view to certain scenes and was a big help. Working through COVID was difficult. Getting on the same schedule was challenging, and communicating was more challenging than usual. We had to do several exports with multiple corrections to meet the distribution deliverables. Not being able to be in the same room together made it very challenging to get on the same page, but we persevered and met our deadlines.
Final thoughts on the process and result
Overall, I’m happy to have had the opportunity of working with Red Point Digital on post. It was eye-opening in many regards, and I feel like I grew a lot as a filmmaker from it.