• Bernard A. Kyer

Prime Survival Pt VIII - Final Thoughts

Updated: May 23, 2020

Here we are now, all these years later looking at the first DVD release of Prime Survival. What a journey it has been... from original inception on JPToys, those early talks, early promo tests and development, and the final product. I don't think there are any among us who are disillusioned enough to not recognize that the film has its issues but as Jack rightly says in the Director's Note at the beginning, "remember, we were kids." I think too often we are quick to judge those who create for not achieving as high or as far as we'd like, but we don't allow for people to learn how to get there. In a way this is even a theme in the films. I challenge those who feel this way to Imagine if the space program gave up the first time something failed or if Steven Spielberg had given up on JAWS when the shark broke! What triumph and artistry would simply be lost for thinking that way.

Prime Survival was a learning experience for all of us and I'm very proud to have played my small role in it. You have to remember that although I've discussed these topics in a somewhat modular way, most of the production was happening at once. While I would receive a cut of a scene, I would begin working on the sound. A new cut might come in and I would have to revise that sound. All this while trying to compose music to these scenes which were arriving as they were filmed/edited (ie: out of order). Film production is hectic. It is crazy and it can be hard to keep up. This was my first production and I know that was a struggle I deeply faced.


In all, the final cut of 'Prime Survival,' with the Director's note intro, is roughly [40:10].

I composed [2:02:14] of music for the project with [01:22:17] specifically for the film.

To say that there was a lot done for the project is a bit of an understatement! Many of the tracks would be work versions, alternates, overlays, and revisions which contribute to the total. We were all still learning our craft.


The Unfinished 2016 Attempt


It's important to note that this does NOT includes the, until now, unreleased tracks I wrote in 2016 when we had first attempted to release a DVD. (Which, now that I've been able to do the math, brings the total to [2:35:34]!)

When Looking back at the project in 2016, there were two pieces of music I'd never managed to write due to the rush and need to finish. These became my TOP priority to tackle before any other changes could be made. The first track was the opening shot in the film. Due to the lateness of the shot being completed, the opening shot was only ever scored in script form with an early demo on the 'm-audio Sessions' setup. That intro didn't feel right against the final film and thus was not used in the release. (Although it can be heard in a few of the promotional videos I released) Thus, in 2016 I went back and created a new track which is more appropriate for the scene. The second piece was a short source cue. There is a small piece of radio source music I helped produce for the film (from a song a friend had shared with me) but the one I mean is during the lunch scene in Costa Rica. I had always wanted to write some sort of source music for the scene but didn't have the time to complete it. In 2016 I had written some versions for a possible slow source cue which I then took and adapted for the new 2020 release.


The 2020 DVD Release

The story of how this came to my attention is rather amusing. I had just spent the better part of three days doing everything within my power to save THREE external hard drives with approximately 20Tb of data from death. This would have included not just movies and music I had collected over the years, but pictures, project files, and all my compositions. Due to an issue on one causing files to be overwritten and the other two being incorrectly disconnected on accident (while unplugging headphones of all things) I had spent every resource I had to try to get these drives back online, including buying a brand new 10Tb drive! On the morning of the third day, after I had managed to resurrect all the drives, I logged onto my computer and finally set out a sigh of relief. In this very moment, Jack De La Mare messaged me asking about possibly getting some music for the menus on the DVD. With the current situation going on and being at home (and having found backups of a lot of my OLD project data on old hard drives), I decided to take it upon myself to finish the last piece of the 'Prime Survival' puzzle: the 5.1 mix. After all these years, I was able to open the original work files and, for a day or so, was able to find ALL the original sound files except two! After some cross-checking with the macbook I used at the time, I found every single file I had used to create the sound for 'Prime Survival' some 10 years earlier. In the end I was able to finalize the full 5.1 surround sound mix while creating a new stereo down mix. Both of these will be available options, with the intended but previously unreleased 2016 tracks mixed in, on the new DVD release of 'Prime Survival.'


Prime Survival was my first true music project. As I've discussed, there was a LOT that went into the product and a lot of delays were caused across the board. In the end I am proud of the work that I produced. It was a journey for all of us and our first steps into a larger world. I hope you enjoyed this little insight into our project!


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