Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A thousand toothless cuts

It’s been a mixed bag of mood down at Charmed Central over the last couple of days.

I blame the bloody edit. Not, I should mention, the sterling work that Sam and Alex have done to get the first assembly together, but the shear amount of wood that we are failing to see for all these damn trees.

So, we do indeed now have a cut of the movie to watch, coming in at around the 1 hour 45 min mark. And it does everything that a first assembly should do – it infuriates, reassures, depresses and occasionally entertains. It allows us to re-enjoy all the stresses of the shoot, but from the comfort of the office.

But deep in the heart of the footage, there is most definitely a movie screaming to be let out. Thank fuck.

Much of the chat over the last couple of days has been about where we go from here. Original plans were for the two of us to take the footage and stitch the movie together over the next few months using Sam’s assembly as a springboard, but this may have changed.

It’s because a few little things are niggling us.

First up, editing a whole feature (with action sequences, horror and quiet interludes) demands serious craft and experience. Sure, Jake and I have both edited stuff in the past, but not on this scale, and not with the same potential audience that we hope to coax into watching this film. A passing knowledge of the basic rules of how to stick tab A into slot B just isn’t going to cut it (no pun intended); we simply don’t have the chops that a proper editor does, and our film will be all the worse for it.

But more than that I have a fundamental problem with people that write, direct and edit their own stuff. Editing is the final opportunity to re-write the movie, and Jake and I are so mired in the minutiae of the film that we don’t have the required perspective anymore. If you want to see what I mean, go rent a recent Kevin Smith movie.

So, given our aim to hit Cannes next May with the finished product, the chat has been mostly about bringing someone in. A whole different can of worms.

Chief amongst these is gathering all the ingredients together in a palatable form to hand over to someone else. Which means ploughing through all the shots and trying to tie them up with the Continuity notes that Amy our Script Supervisor has meticulously prepared for us; making sure that we have all the available footage in one place and labelled properly. Our camera’s compact flash cards had a habit of corrupting the odd file, leaving us to dig the odd shot out of our back-up SD cards, we have to check that all our second unit footage has been logged, we need to tie together shots which were missing a slate for one reason or another, etc.

Ah. More Excel. Marvellous.

Actually, what it is is a slow and painful ball-ache, and should keep us suitably under-entertained for at least a couple of weeks. Don’t expect to read anything too insightful on the film-making process till October.

As an aside, I suffered a moment of consternation while we were filming when it turned out that an earlier blog about the joys of smoking had inadvertently lured some of the cast back into old and bad habits (at least for the duration of the shoot). Everybody parted ways after the wrap party vowing to knock their respective habits on the head before rejoining the real world; I am slightly ashamed to admit that I have made absolutely no leeway into becoming that cleaner, healthier Andy since then, and I hope the others have fared better than me. I am, however, sadder still to witness the early buds of a nicotine attachment from m’colleague at Charmed Central (although he does seem woefully late to the party). Double the reason to sort it out, Phelps, before the whole production collapses under the weight of carcinogens.

I blame the bloody edit, although I may have already mentioned that. Repetitive.

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