Thursday, November 5, 2009

4th Cut Finished!

Today, my editor Beth and I finished the 4th Cut! Hooray!

I came to Beth's editing suite this morning to a happy surprise -- she had already started work on Scene #15: Angela and Scott share their war experiences over dinner. She cut out 20 minutes, trimming the fat of the scene... and it works really well. Each moment feels just right and the scene just flows right along.

Then there was the always the dreaded climax, Scene #16: Angela pulls a gun on Scott. I came in expecting major surgery on this scene... and it didn't need it. I was just over-stressed from the thought of pick-ups and over-analyzing the scene. Beth found a great solution: she trimmed down the lingering moments on Scott, so there was an even amount of time on both Scott and Angela, and a natural pacing and organic suspense took over the scene. With this faster rhythm, the ending with Angela staring down Scott at her feet in near silence had us at the edge of our seats -- and with the small tweak of focusing on Angela's close-up when she pulls the trigger... shocking... powerful... We put the wide shot over the top of the scene to orient the audience, shaped a few edit points, and it was done!

Scene #17: Angela runs into Kaylie. Didn't touch it. Perfect.

Now Scene #18: Angela smashes her apartment needed some significant changes. A lot of the footage in this scene rhymed with footage we cut out of the film -- footage mostly on Angela's back, packing, falling apart, drinking, smashing the glass, throwing pots and pans, throwing papers, tearing apart all the pictures on the walls... and it was just too much. The scene felt too long and overstayed its welcome. Beth and I tried a lot of stuff, and a lot of stuff didn't work... but then we found a way to cut from Kaylie to Angela in the kitchen drinking, then smashing up her kitchen, and a powerful new close up of Angela stopping in her tracks and staring at the picture of Tom... we left the rest of the scene as is with a new piece of the final close up at the end... and damn, what a riveting ending...

We re-mixed some sound, shaped some cuts, and that was it!

Oh yeah, and the new and improved run time is 16min33sec -- we cut out 2 minutes and 45 seconds since the last cut! BAM!

Stay tuned for a long week of screenings and notes! Posting soon!

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