The final end run of making a movie is probably the hardest part of making a film. It seems that if anything can go wrong it will. Maybe it's because you now have a more concrete goal you are heading toward. Things that you could of leisurely fixed before you now have no time for.
About this time last year I thought I would be done with Leonardo. The big plan was to finish the film to send to Annecy. That was my goal and where I hoped Leonardo would premiere. So first Craig Foster and I pushed to assemble the film for a test screening at 2009 BAICFF in January, in which it played great. Then we had a few more weeks to finish it up to meet the Annecy deadline. It turns out with festivals that your film doesn't have to be completely finished to be sent for consideration at a film festival. Which was a good thing because my estimate turned out to be totally off. Well, first of all Craig had his own work to do and was squeezing this in much like I had done for 10 years. The other thing was we were still playing a bit with the final look. We both underestimated the complexity of putting together all these elements. Not to mention sound! Dave Slusser after 10 years of patently waiting for me to be ready for him to start his sound design work could now start. Dave did a rough pass for our BAICFF goal but then needed much more time to do all the sound design for the final version. He too was fitting this in when he could. We made the Annecy deadline with a "Work in Progress" version of the film. Wether this hurt Leo's chances of being accepted I will never know. In the end, the big goal I had to premiere at Annecy did not materialize but Annecy's rejection was also a blessing. The only other festival I applied to at that time was Newport R.I. this was because the previous year I had shown Your Friend the Rat
there and knew the head of the children's programing Andrea Van Beuren. Andrea had just happened to call me looking to see if Pixar had any films, I told her I could connect her to the right people but if she was interested I had my own short. So Leonardo would premiere at a smallish film festival in the North East. Not the big splash I was hoping for at the most prestigious animation festival, but little did I know what was going to come out of Newport. But that is a later story. Now, Craig, David and Jennifer Chang (handling the final backgrounds) and myself had until May to finish the film and we used up all that time. I don't know how we would of finished it if we didn't have those extra months. My advice would be to budget in at least twice as much time as you think you will need to finish your film. Don't under estimate the amount of work that goes into polishing up, little tiny fixes, sound design, final editing, mistakes, not wanting to finish, and final output will take.