Friday, December 11, 2009

6th Cut Finished!

Wow. That was fast.

The other day, the film's editor, Beth, and I sat down to watch the pickups and edit the film one more time. We were done with everything in about 3 hours.

Why? Because we rock it like that.

First I watched the much dreaded pick-ups. But there was no dread. The pick-ups looked amazing, thanks to our amazing cast and crew. As usual, Beth cut them in a way I had not even anticipated while shooting -- and of course it was better than what I had imagined. We had a quick discussion about sound design for the scene, matching the cut to our ideas about the sound design, smoothed out the transitions between the other scenes, and presto! We had seamlessly integrated the pick-ups with the rest of the film!

Then we watched the film, scribbling our notes throughout... and we were kind of taken aback that we didn't have any major notes for the film. The only notes I had were tweaking sound design here and there. Beth had some notes make a polished fine cut on a few edit points. We incorporated our notes and called it a day.

Yesterday, Beth met with her mentor Norm. He suggested a few quick little tweaks to the pick-ups and a few scene transitions that streamline the film, and I agree with all of his notes.

And this weekend, we export the film and have our last test screening. BAM. This picture is soft-locked, baby!

I'm totally amazed at the sheer magnitude of progress this film has experienced from the past 6 cuts in 4 months. I am so deeply grateful to Beth for lifting this material to the next level and higher, making the film exponentially better than either of us could have dreamed of on our own. She has helped me grow as a director and a human being, all the while making "Another Life" into a riveting and powerful short film. Also, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to everyone who lent us their eyes, ears, hearts, and minds in watching early cuts of the film and giving constructive feedback in shaping a rough cut into the polished gem it is today. So to the cast, crew, supporters, and fans of "Another Life," thank you. We could not have enjoyed this much success so early without you.

So that's it for 2009! See you after New Year's when we polish the final cut, hard-lock the picture for good, and move into sound design! Happy holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pick-Ups Shot and onto 6th Cut!

Egad, it's been a while. Because I've been up to so much:
  • enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving vacataion!
  • locked our sound crew!
  • shot our pick-ups!
  • jumped back into editing!
  • and got an internship in a TV series writer's room!
And much success and progress was enjoyed by all!

My thanksgiving vacation was cut short when we lost our location for our pick-ups, I had a 24-hour deadline to find one more sound designer for our team or else we wouldn't be allowed to continue on to the sound design semester, and I had to turn in 12 documents filled-out and signed -- all in one day. So I spent that day on the phone in front of the computer, much to the annoyance of my vacationing family members, and after a lot of work, lo and behold I had a full sound design team and all my paperwork turned in!

Later that week, the full sound design team met with Rich, the head honcho of the sound post-production facilities, and he approved all the sound designers and our schedule, gave us a brief talk-through of the sound design process, and we were greenlit! I'm so proud of my team! I can't wait to work with them in January!

But actually, to be honest, during that meeting I was mostly stressed out of my mind planning for the pick-ups. We ran through a five different locations, two camera houses, a different script, a different production design for the scene, a scare with the loss of cast/crew, running around and changing permits and insurance paperwork less than 24 hours before shoot... pretty stressful... but it all came together in the end.

And the shoot was such a breeze! It was like getting back on a bicycle. We all seemed to fall back into our rhythms of happily working together. Once we started shooting, it only took us about two hours and then we started packing to leave. Working with such talented and amiable filmmakers is so great.

Yesterday, I met with the film's editor, Beth, for the first time in almost 10 days. Kind of weird to admit that it felt too long to be apart. We're so used to seeing each other every other day!

Over the break, Beth tried two things to much success: slowing down the first flashback and taking out two lines of dialogue in the garage poker scene. In the first flashback, just that slight change, and we feel like we're watching Angela falling in love. In the garage poker scene, we don't even miss the lines of dialogue and it streamlines the scene, straight into Doug pushing Angela around and controlling her.

I had a few notes here and there, just tweaks to the overall film: trying titles over the first flashback, changing a take in the garage poker scene to add to Angela's panic, giving some air between scene transitions, and shortening the ending. Beth also had a Fine Cut meeting with her mentor, apparently a great session on how to polish *every* *cut* and so after we revised a scene from my notes, she took a fine tooth comb to the scene, worked on every edit point... and the scene was ten times better but I couldn't put my finger on what was different.

Guess why? Every. Frame. Counts.

You ought to know that one by now.

We're inserting the pick-ups on Wednesday! And we have our final test screening this weekend! Wish us luck and stay tuned!