Tuesday, November 3, 2009

4th Cut Almost Done!

What a session! 14 out of 19 scenes finished!

Yesterday, my editor Beth and I picked up where we left off at the Scene #5: Angela meets Scott. We took one more pass over it, Beth doing all the hard work cleaning up edits and shaping cuts. Trying to incorporate a note to linger on Angela longer, we added a few more frames of Angela listening to Scott's pick-up monologue... and she gives this evocative, emotional glance to him...

Every. Single. Frame. Counts.

On to Scene#6: Angela stalks Scott at home... major restructuring here. We re-shaped the scene to focus it from Angela's point of view. We dropped the classic intercutting suspense structure and just went from Angela leaving her car, marching up to Scott's window, seeing him inside, getting her gun out -- the machine-like speed with which she prepares to kill him is so much more real and suspenseful. Plus, the sound of a gun cocking at the window really works!

And for Scene#7: Scott sees Angela outside Kaylie's room... we cut it. Instead, we ended the scene on Angela's face, staring longingly at the heartwarming scene between . Not only an emotionally effective cut, but it brings us deeper into line with experience of Angela's dilemma: she can't do this, but she has to.

Then for Scene #8: Angela prepares to kill Scott. This scene wasn't working. With this new organic structure, we felt emotionally sucked into Angela's experience: following him, liking him, going ahead with anyway, seeing him with his daughter, then unable to do it...

But then we don't have anything that pushes Angela back into trying to kill Scott. We need some reminder of Doug's hold on Angela's life. A story beat that shakes Angela to her core, lets her know that Doug could kill her right now if he wanted to...

It's just not in the footage. So we have to do pick-ups.

That's right. Pick-ups. More on that later.

As for Scene #9: Angela and Scott connect over war experiences... we could barely touch a frame of their conversation. It was near perfect. We tightened a few moments in the beginning that felt overlong, cut out an extraneous line of dialogue, but this scene is working so well... my heart wells up every time I see it.

Scene #10: Angela starts to fall for Scott over drinks. This started to feel like, "Hey Audience! Here's the love montage!" And that's probably because the music fades in strong right at the top of the scene. We tried hearing the start of the conversation, watching Scott gush over Kaylie, how it plays on Angela's face, and then fading out Scott's dialogue and gently bringing in the music... just magical.

Moving on! Scene #11: Scott asks Angela out on a date. Near perfect. Just some shaping and trimming here to boil the scene down to a size that matches the pacing of the other shortened scenes... god, I'd go out with Scott if he asked me like that!

Now Scene #12: Angela prepares for the date has some major structural changes. Instead of talking to Scott on the phone, she's talking to Doug -- telling him that she will be going over to Scott's house tonight and "getting it done."

Then, when Angela finishes her make-up in the bathroom -- HERE is when she flashes back to Tom's death in Iraq. We tried so many different ways about it: what pieces of the flashback to use, what sound design to use as an audio flashback... but when we found the right pieces of the performance of Angela in the present alone in the bathroom, synced up with gunfire and shouting, and bringing us right into the moment Tom dies in Angela's arms... really powerful. Wow.

Scene #13: Doug threatens Angela. Again, near perfect. This just needed some trimming.

Scene #14: Scott invites Angela in for dinner with Doug outside. We cut out all the flashbacks here and put them into Scene #12. This is *so* much more effective as we get a real sense of Angela's terror and conflict, that she's stuck inside here with this loving, caring father who is prosecuting Doug as a district attorney, and she can't leave until she kills him. We feel that here, and throwing in flashbacks is just too much for one scene... Some shaping, trimming, and we we're done!

Stay tuned as I meet up wtih more sound designers during the week and we finish the 4th cut by Friday!

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