Tuesday, June 28, 2005

This is ridiculous. The structure of this film keeps changing. I have worked it over so much in the last week I am beginning to feel like I should screen it with a constanly changing structure. I don't know how this would work technologically. Maybe we would somehow set a scene selection to random on a DVD and just see what happened. But...

I think I know when to stop editing. That is really one of the things that is going to determine the strength of the film I think. I should not overedit. I saw a film recently that I think... oh yeah, it was Crash... if they stopped editing 2 weeks before they actually did, the film would have been better. Not so trite, not so tied up, not so intricate in cliched ways. Yes. That is it. But right now I do not need to stop. I need to keep going. Though I could use Andrew's help. He has had to take a break. He doesn't feel it.


Can somebody make him feel it please. Get his ass back in here.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Trying to avoid the computer all night, I have hit a spot of quicksand. But...

I am pushing forward.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Let's see if I can recap and categorize our editing process in a way that may be helpful to myself or others.

1. Shoot a movie.

2. Begin editing on individual scenes, focusing on obtaining a rough cut of each scene. Follow your instinct, your heart, your intuition, your head... whatever you trust the most. I personally cannot tell you exactly why I chose to edit the scenes in the order that I did, except to say that it wasn't my head that was leading me.

3. As you edit individual scenes place them on a master timeline, each scene a single clip. (i.e. drag the sequence with the scene on it down to the master timeline and it will appear there as a single clip in FCP).

4. Once all of the scenes are on the master timeline you can watch what you have all the way through and decide whether you wish to continue being an editor/filmmaker or whether you would like to go be a shoemaker in Italy (I read that Daniel Day-Lewis did that not so long ago). In my case I have decided to be continue being a filmmaker after watching the 2 1/2 hour version of Dollars & Signs.

5. Based on reactions and notes from the rough cut, cut out all of the scenes which you have doubts about, and keep only the strongest individual scenes.

6. Arrange the remaining scenes in a structure that works loosely. (Dollars & Signs has greatly benefitted from Andrew's willingness to work long hours during steps #5 & #6. He was able to cut stuff out that I would have been too attached to, and the result was a version of the film that was 90 minutes long. He accomplished this by working one scene at a time and piecing them together in TEST SEQUENCES. By the time he got to the 90 min. version he had four of these test sequences.)

7. So now what we should have is two master timelines. One with each scene as a single clip and another which is all of the individual clips. I think it is helpful to have both of these because, say, I decide I want the first scene to be the second to last scene it is so much easier to make that change on the master sequence made up of whole scenes than it would be on the master sequence made up of all of the individual clips. The problem here is that you may have to make changes to two sequences instead of one, depending on how major the changes are.

8. Now watch the 90 minute version, and "based on reactions and notes from the 90 minute's, etc." (i.e. see #5), although the only difference is here you may be adding some stuff back in. Stuff that was cut because it was assumed to be non-essential may need to go back in, depending on your reaction to that 90 minute cut.

8. So, that's where I am right now. It was so much more messy than this of course, and this enrty itself I find to be fairly messy. I am currently burning a DVD of the 90 minute cut with a few things added back in from Andrew's version. I am going to watch it on a different TV to get a fresh perspective on it. And then return to it with a vengeance.

Hope all of you are well.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Well, Adam emailed me three very small quicktime movies of his footage, and it's on. We got it. That's the good news.

The "other" news is that after a night of editing I am concerned about the arrangement of some of the essential elements of the story. I mean, I know I just have to go with my feeling. Admit the fear then set it aside, but I am afraid I am going to dig myself a structural hole that I will not be able to climb out of.

"Onward through the fog."

I'll tell you what. Yesterday afternoon I was freaking out. I had been searching through all these stock footage archives looking for footage of a polar bear eating a walrus for the first scene with Mike and Dave. Well, I was starting to get that feeling of one who is engaged in labor they know to be fruitless. I was feeling frustrated, banging things around, and just had to walk out of the apartment.

I walked to Nicki's. She's gone to a script supervisor workshop in NY, and she left me somethings on her back porch. Right before I left, though I had emailed, this one guy, Adam Ravetch. He has a video production company in Victoria, B.C.. His website listed some footage of polar bears so I told him what I was looking for. I admitted in the email that it was a shot in the dark. I mean, hell, I'd been to National Geo, the BBC, and all the other huge corporate stock footage houses and hadn't found what I was looking for.

Well, when I got back, I had received an email from him and he described his footage and we agreed, it was a shot in the dark that hit right on....

More later, the person who is going to help me with my sound just got here...


Sunday, June 12, 2005

I kind of wish I'd made Dollars & Signs a cartoon. Oh, well. Maybe there will be a afterschool spin-off. It will come on right after reruns of Voltron.


Are you conventional?

Please feel free to expound on any response to that question... what does conventional mean? is it a bad thing? a good thing? Tell me please, I must know. I really encourage anyone who is reading this journal to answer that question. Believe it or not it will help both Andrew and I in the continued editing of this film.

Things are lovely. Andrew through a cut together over the last week that ended up being 93 minutes. I watched it and made notes and a few small changes and it is not at just a little over 90 minutes. For those of you who didn't know, that was my original goal. Of course that doesn't mean we are a few days away or anything. Somethings need to come out, other things added.

Do you think there is anything else to discuss?


Saturday, June 11, 2005

I told Denny he would get a one month warning on any premiere screening, so everyone else can rest assured. You will also have a month warning. And that means I am not thinking about anything before the second week of July, unless it is a small rough cut screening.

The issue with music clearance was part of my focus last night. Ron Franklin cut a song for D & S with Valerie Joyner singing, that I was going to use in place of "I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free", because of cost and a general uncertainty about how to proceed with the process of clearing music. Well, I found some great online resources last night via the following website....


What else is there?


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dramatic realization today.

Andrew and I shot a dialogue I wrote last night, just for fun/practice. I cut it last night and he looked at it today. Afterwards he said "I don't know why anybody would want to see that." I thought it was funny and I agreed with him.

I continued to think about why scenes such as that were important, and what I realized is that I am interested in scenes which are not strong on their own, but become strong in a context. This is really where my mind has been at lately. Thinking about the positive side of groups. This scene we shot last night is not a "compelling" scene on its own, but if you put the right scene in front of it, and the right scene behind it, then all of a sudden it could take on a new profound meeting. So for me, it was good to finally be able to articulate a feeling I have had for a while about the type of work I am leaning towards. It is not as important to me, to make every scene "tight", and to get rid of all the weak scenes, as it is to find the best combination of scenes which are both challenging and engaging. There I said it. I hope I remember it always. If you see me around, making a film perhaps, help me won't you? Just drop me a lil' reminder...


P.S. This is for Nicki... I think that where I fell off the wagon with Nobody Knows is in the engaging scene category. Sometimes I just wasn't engaged in the scene. I was often challenged by the scene. Therefore the balance we all know that I am seeking was not there.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hey, I'm pretty happy about all this. How 'bout you?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

After looking at this new test sequence, these are some of my thoughts.

It is difficult to figure out the best way to work with someone else. It is also an ongoing process, although I do believe you can get better at it over time.

I think it was in this very blog that I called out Memento as the sort of movie I don't want to make. In that I mean there is a certain amount of gimmickiness to it, and it is a film that is primarily crafted in the editing room. I only want to use creative editing here, when it is necessary or serves an immediate purpose. I think I needed to see Andrew's test sequences to reaffirm that in relationship to D & S.

A part of me likes the departure from the sequential set-up we had a first. Another part of me thinks we are losing something I don't want to lose, and that is the notion of scenes. That is groups of events linked together. If you pick 30 scenes then try to tell the story in those scenes, that is interesting to me.

Now, instead of wasting more time talking to you folks, I am going to go back to the other computer and start cutting.

I am getting ready to look at the work Andrew did today. He spent most of the day on it. We are all lucky for his interest, because it will be such a better film because of his work. No doubt about it.

There is a good feeling going around here.

More to let you know soon. Maybe even a screening date is coming up. If anyone wants to do film festival research for me, I am now accpeting applications, and offering, um... um... Danver's burgers. If you're vegetarian you can have the salad bar. It's all-you-can-eat you know.



Saturday, June 04, 2005

Andrew and I watched all 2 h, 40 m of a rough cut today. I'm liking what I'm seeing. I think Andrew is too. We're both going to start working on it simultaneously here at the apartment.

I spoke to Holly on the phone yesterday. She is going to come by on Wednesday to look/listen to some of it, and help with audio post.

I am going to Harlan's show at the Hi-Tone tonight. I hope he's got a CD for me, with a rough cut of a song that I will be using in the movie on it.

Good stuff.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Met with Andrew. We're both back Home-Memphis. We looked at a bunch of scenes and both of are happy with what we saw. We just hope it can come together in a really good way.

Tomorrow he will take a firewire drive and laptop to the Co-op and start cutting.

I will be working here at Ron's.

Like I said, two weeks editing is the goal. Beginning today.

(But keep it quiet okay, I didn't tell Andrew about that two week thing. I didn't want to stress him out with more of my unreasonable and obviously unrealistic deadlines.)