Friday, October 23, 2009

State of the 4th Cut

Notes, notes, notes...

What a busy week. Beth, my editor, and I spent the past seven days getting thorough and transformative notes from Beth's editing mentor, my directing mentor, and our producers.

In the past three cuts, we have been very faithful to the script. We've moved a few scenes, cut lines, and repurposed some footage, but the overall emotional experience of watching the film closely resembles reading the script.

The most unanimous note: forget the script.

French director Robert Bresson put it best:

My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.
If Beth and I were to remain entirely faithful to the script, we'd kill the film. So we have to walk into the editing room as though our film never had a script, write the film with the footage, with cuts instead of words, and develop an organic, emotional editing structure that has nothing to do with page count or inciting incidents.

Yesterday, Beth and I met over a late lunch to discuss all the notes. Wracking our brains on how to incorporate the each note got our juices flowing and ideas started to bubble up. We kept discussing, flowing, throwing out ideas, and after 2 hours or so -- lo and behold, we had a comprehensive outline for how to restructure and revise the entire film, scene by scene.

Aren't great editors great?

There are some exciting changes ahead. Cutting scenes, moving them around, reshaping for emotional impact... the film will get leaner and meaner and have a whole new look and feel from the 3rd cut. This is going to be exciting!

Also, I've narrowed down 300+ submissions for composers to about 6 top composers and I've met with nearly all of them. I've contacted many, many, many sound designers, and it's getting down to the wire before I pick the new crew!

Last night I saw Tracy Coogan in the scary new thriller Dark Woods. Check it out. As usual, she's amazing. A riveting performance and a treasure to work with. It's only a matter of time until I'm saying "I knew her when..."

Not only that, I ran into Kharrison Sweeney at the screening. God, that man makes me laugh non-stop. Any of you would be lucky to have him on your project.

So, next week we'll be adding sound designers and a composer to our crew and jump right back into editing. Stay tuned!

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