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October 09

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D I R E C T O R ' S C H A I R H OLLYWOOD — It's hard to be- lieve, but it's been 16 years since the multi-faceted Mike Judge first burst onto the scene with Beavis and Butt- Head, which debuted on MTV back in 1993. Now the writer, actor, producer, director, composer, animator and musician, whose credits include the cult hit Office Space, the film Idiocracy and the animated TV series King of the Hill, is back with a new film com- edy, Extract, in which he returns to the fertile territory of the American workplace. It stars Jason Bateman (Juno, Arrested De- velopment) as a company owner about to sell his flavor extract factor y and retire to easy street. But then a freak workplace acci- dent (a worker loses a testicle) sets in mo- tion a series of disasters that put his busi- ness and personal life in jeopardy. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, Judge talks about making the film, which also stars Ben Affleck, Kristen Wiig (SNL, Ghost Town) and Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Mar- shall), his love of post, and how his degree in physics helped with visual effects. POST: What sort of film did you set out to make? JUDGE: "Another workplace comedy that's more about ordinar y daily life than most movies, but this one is told from the point of view of the boss, as opposed to that of the employees, like Office Space. And it's also about a guy who's in a bit of a mid- life crisis. He's reached a point where he's had some success, but doesn't quite know where to go from there." POST: What were the biggest challenges? JUDGE: "First off, I was a little afraid we weren't even going to be able to make it be- cause it's set in this factor y that makes vanilla extract (laughs) and to build one of those is really expensive and to do it digitally is also really expensive. So it wasn't going to happen unless we could find a place that looked just right. We also had to find a fac- tory in LA. "We actually began discussing different ways we could greenscreen half of it, story- board and shoot all the coverage one way, and then rent a bottling machine and shoot it all again that way. But then we found the perfect location — a real water bottling plant that was laid out exactly as I'd imag- ined. That made it much easier. It was still tough, because it was a working factor y and they had to keep bottling while we were shooting. "We ended up adjusting things so we could run our own bottles and labels when we had to, but there are a lot of times, espe- cially in the office scenes, where the workers in the background on the floor aren't pre- tending to work — they are working, and they didn't even know we were shooting a lot of the time.We shot there for a couple of months, and we hardly ever went over on a day. We actually made all the days and came in under budget, enough so I could pay a lit- tle more for visual effects and music. And it was nice to have that extra money for post." POST: Do you like the post process? JUDGE: "It's my favorite par t, other than writing. I love editing and all the post stuff. Ever y time I've shot a movie I can hardly wait to sit down in the editing room and put it all together and do the sound and ef- fects and so on." POST: Where did you do the post? How long was the process? JUDGE: "We did most of the post in LA and rented some offices in Encino and spent about five months. I have an Avid on my Mac laptop, and with just a couple of external hard drives I could work on the edit. I'm based in Austin half the time, so I could be there and work on the edit and just email EDLs back and for th." POST: Extract was edited by Julia Wong. How did that relationship work? JUDGE: "She came to the set a few times for specific scenes. She'd only bring some- thing to my attention if it was something she didn't understand or that didn't seem to work. One I remember was the scene where the whole assembly line jams up because the woman refuses to shut it down, and Julia came to make sure we got all the coverage we needed because it was a tricky scene. "Assembly lines now are designed to safeguard against glitches like that, so it was difficult to do, and make it look right. She's a really great editor. I was planning to edit a lot of the scenes myself, but right away we got a great system going that made it ver y easy for me. She taught me about a selects reel, where you string all the bits you like together. Mostly she'd do an assembly, but in some scenes I'd do the selects reel and then she'd mold it into a real scene. It was a great experience." POST: Had you worked with post super vi- sor Christy Dimmig before? JUDGE: "No. She just showed up (laughs). I think she'd worked with Miramax before, and she was great too. Really, the whole post experience on this was great compared to Idiocracy, which was a train wreck! That had a lot of different effects Mike Judge — Extract By IAIN BLAIR Instead of going with a DI,this director chose a more classic film look. Mike Judge: "Every time I've shot a movie, I can hardly wait to sit down in the editing room..." 12 Post • October 2009 Extract features VFX from Look Effects and Pixel Magic — some obvious and some transparent. ALL PHOTO:S MIRAMAX FILM CORP/SAM URDANK

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