Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 21 2007


It's Alive!After an exhausting weekend, I was so close to finishing the rough cut that I decided to not go in to work and just stay at home editing. Also, Dean came over and we downloaded a basic DVD authoring program so I could make copies for the core crew members to review. Then he left, and I began working on the last scenes as the sun went down.

Countless times during this process I’ve run into what appeared to be insurmountable walls. Mostly my fault, of course, for not realizing that something I’d planned wouldn’t work, or just the result of a rushed production schedule. Each time I had to come up with a fix, and if I did a good job, nobody would ever know there had been a problem. If I did a poor job, people might notice that there was a bit of clever editing, the reason for which critics would eventually assign to some childhood psychosis of mine if they were ever set loose on the film. In any case, I was stopped cold many times, but eventually pushed through. Lack of exercise and poor sleep lately have made me sluggish and cranky, and the pressure of getting the rough cut done has been looming over me for months. Rodriquez had four hours of footage to work with on El Mariachi. We had over 50.

The last scene seemed very long, though it’s not, really. But it’s especially important to me, as it’s what you give to your audience to take with them out of the theater. As I’ve mentioned before, I cut to online music to keep me in the mood. I had just pasted the final bit of footage, which centers on an element rising from the bottom of the screen to the top, into the editing line and was watching it when Last FM kicked in with a song from Ernie’s radio list, and in my mind I saw a list of credits following the element up the screen and a fade to black as the music shifted gears from the broad swells of the ending to the pumping techno of the end credits. A thrill went up my spine and I jumped out of my chair. For the past five months I’ve been watching this movie, and now, finally, I’ve seen the whole thing. It lives!

Not quite, however. Much remains for me, Dean, Darrell and Paul to do, to put it under the cold light of reason and figure out where the many problems are and think of what we can do to solve them at this point. The running time is over two and a half hours, something we hope to get down to 90 minutes. Regardless of the runtime, making it the best, most entertaining movie it can be is the top priority.

After setting up the program to burn the DVD copies, I went down to JB’s, where Dean was waiting for the good news. I found him there, sitting at the bar in between an older fellow who somehow mistook me for Gavin and a foreigner who was practicing his Chinese with the bartenders, and he proceeded to treat me to a series of whiskey ginger ales. We talked with the boss and arranged to hold a cast/crew/wrap party at JB’s on June 9th at around 8pm.

As usual, my mind is still getting around going from one phase to another in this production. There’s always something to be doing, though. Next up on the plate is ADR work, which I hope to use to improve some of the performances.

posted by Poagao at 11:13 pm  

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