Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 18 2007


I am no longer stuck on page 143. It’s a metaphor. It happens now and then in the editing process. Sometimes it’s an avalanche of unscripted action that I need to plug through in order to get to the next page. Sometimes I can’t find just the right shot, or am flummoxed by an apparently unsolvable continuity error.

I’ve been trying to finish the rough cut for months now. I’d wanted to have the rough cut done by the time Dean came back, but I’ve still got several pages of script to go. Rushing doesn’t help, as I find I’m always editing, even when I’m not. That is, I’ll do actual editing for a bit, and then find I need to do something else while my mind works something out. I admit that a lot of the editing decisions I make are based on feeling rather than logic, though when you step back the two are actually one in the same. I’m trying to shape an emotional arc, and while there are logical means to do so, feelings have to enter into it at some point.

Although I can’t “rush” editing, I have put it at the top of my priority list. Dirty clothes spill from my laundry hamper. Dishes are stacked in the sink, and have been for days. I’m out of shape after not getting much exercise because I’ve been skipping badminton and Tai-chi classes. I stare at the screen at work and then come home and stare at it some more. I tell friends I can’t go out with them because I’m busy editing, morning and night. I haven’t been blogging because every time I think about it I think I should be editing instead. Got to get this done. Right now, at this stage, there’s no one else doing this; it’s all me. Listening to film scores helps me stay in the mood as I go.
There are other effects: Being in an editing frame of mind, when I do stop to watch a DVD, while I’m eating for example, all of the continuity errors jump out at me. How can they not match up the positions and facial expressions of each and every actor in the scene? But of course, I realize that normal people aren’t looking at that kind of thing. They’re caught up in the emotion of the moment and simply don’t see that things don’t match up. How obvious can you be with continuity errors? I’ve come across a few, but nothing major. With the sword fight I might end up with more due to quick cuts, but sometimes I find it difficult to be objective about how hard I can push the envelope.

Finding good performances has been easier than I expected, but sometimes it can be a bit trying. I had been under the impression that I had actually done very little directing because I was always busy with the camera, but looking at the footage I see myself actually doing more than I’d thought. Still not enough, probably, but then again we simply didn’t have time for it even if I had been able to concentrate solely on directing. While I love finding little bits and moments here and there to string together into the narrative, there can be precious little to work with sometimes. ADR might help in some cases. We’ll see.

When people say to me, “Boy, I bet you’re sick of editing this thing by now, eh?” I have to say no. I still find it fascinating and fun. I often laugh out loud or shout in pleasure at a particular shot I’d forgotten about works particularly well or when a scene comes together in a certain way. I also curse violently when I can’t figure out how to resolve a problem I should have seen coming a mile away.

Somehow, I’ve managed to figure them all out, though, to varying degrees of success. After the rough cut is done I’ll hand it over to Darrell and Dean for music/sound work and special effects.

And then I’ll start editing again. Tweaking. Cutting the movie down to a reasonable length. Killing the proverbial babies. It will be a whole different kind of hard, but I’m looking forward to it.

By the way, you’ll notice that the layout of this blog has changed. I’ve moved all my public blogs from Blogger over to WordPress, and added a new graphic, taken from a shot from the film, as the banner. For your reference, the new URL is poagao.com/blog. Thanks for reading.

posted by Poagao at 6:20 am  

1 Comment »

  1. […] haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been editing night and day. Every time I feel like posting something, I tell myself I should be editing instead. But here I […]

    Pingback by Poagao’s Journal » Still around — May 18, 2007 @ 7:15 am

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