Saturday, April 6, 2013

On the chopping block: 7 minutes.

With some good rest having re-fueled my brain, I can now coherently share the last day of picture editing. It is a big relief to have this big chunk done, as all of the other elements-- color correction, audio, scoring-- rely on this process being complete.

By yesterday morning (or... two days ago evening, yesterday afternoon, 4am? who knows), Ruan's office looked a lot like a dorm: a lot of socks on the floor, a nap spot on the floor, M&M snack mix bags, pistachio shells, gatorade syrup, melted iced-coffee, wires and iphones and CDs, half eaten tortillas, questionably runny guacamole, cereal bars, and 4 wide eyeballs. We were seriously hunkered down. By midday we happily trimmed the last clip of the final scene we had left to work on. Then we got ready to watch it over, thought about what fresh yummy lunch we could make, talked of a jog later in the afternoon, maybe a rent a movie and put our feet up, get some wine...?? The possibilities were endless, and seemed so relaxing and like the things real balanced people do. Then just as we were ready to watch, movies and jogs and sugarplums dancing about our heads, Ruan's mouse hovered at the end of our last scene, and he looked at me. Not a good look. Then he delivered the news: twenty-seven minutes.

oh. BLEEP.

Our festival short film rules say 20 minutes is the max. In this editing situation, 7 minutes is FOREVER.

Nope, I thought. Simply, NOPE. I like it all, it works this way, this is the story we are telling, and Ruan you maniac we're not cutting 7 minutes from this film.

But we had to. And we worked all day, and up until around midnight cutting that 7 minutes out of the final edit. We must have gone through and through and through that film at least 11 times, each time shaving a mimute, or 2, or 45 seconds. We didn't have even ten seconds of time to spare, because audio needs to time to bring quality into the work as well. The longer we wait to give the final film edit, the less time they have to do their work. By midnight yesterday my eyeballs had found their way safely back into my head and my scales receded, and we had 20 minutes and 4 seconds. Ruan's cold sweat dried up,

It occurred to me as we were trimming down our edit that finding rich details in a mere second, or finding one look, one line, delivered so well that it tells a full feeling as fast you can blink is a real art. It's an art that happens in the shot choice, in the directing, in the performance, in the editing, and in coalesces in a magical way sometimes. It's a doozy. And discovering this is what got us through, as we began to get the hang of not relying every time on one long beautiful 9 seconds of a moment between actors, and instead recognizing the punch these performers delivered in one powerful second of being in the moment with each other. I won't say it wasn't stressful, or that I didn't almost deny Ruan the right to eat because those bleeping-ing 7 minutes we had to trim... but we made it down to the time we need, and I don't feel that we sacrificed story to do so.

Again: Ruan's patience is a blessing, Jason Roberts' our 1st AD is a rockstar for his enthusiasm and willingness to help at every stage, each of your (72 of you Kickstarter backers!) support is inspiring and motivating. Thanks also to my dad for his daily emails of encouragement, my mom for her positivity and guidance for LUNAFEST, Ruan's parents for feeding us and keeping us warm and with a roof while we've gone through this process for the last several days. Looking forward to details soon about how the audio mixing is going!

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