Rough Cut - Complications Ensue
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Friday, June 08, 2007

I saw my rough cut last night. I was pretty sure the film would hold together, because I knew the script did. I was not too worried about whether it would all cut together because I had coverage for all but one scene, and a framing device I could always go back to it. My big question was running time. I had a 7 1/2 page script and a hard 6 minute limit from BravoFACT! I did my best during the shoot to keep the actors from getting pause-y, and 45 seconds a page is not unreasonable if you keep a sense of urgency in the scenes.

I was really happy in the event to see that the rough cut came in at 6 minutes exactly. We'll be trimming from there, so we won't be in the awkward position of wanting to do a 6 minute cut for Bravo and a longer, funnier festival cut.

Simon Webb, our editor, one of the best in Quebec, did a really great job. Not only does the cut move well. He also introduced some freeze frames and wipes that really add to the rhythm and tell the story more clearly. My notes were on the order of "hold on his reaction a hair longer" and "I think there might have been a take where Nick did this really funny thing..." and "trim the second sentence there, we don't need it." It's such a pleasure to work with crafty professionals.

I'm looking forward to seeing anothe cut this evening. I just couldn't be happier with the film. The actors are just brilliant -- human and real and even touching while saying some utterly ludicrous things.

Okay, I do have one quibble. The Red Rock M2 depth of field adapter threw anything that was not in the middle of the frame into soft focus. My fault for being too nervous to watch the dailies until the end of Day 2. (I did ask various people to check, and they told me everything was fine. As Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, but verify.") Either we put it on wrong, or it's crap. I don't think the softness will hurt the piece -- our exteriors look fine, and for the last day I yanked the adapter. It's only really annoying to me in two shots, and I doubt the audience will care.

But that is a quibble. I am thrilled with the results, and I hope you'll get to see the finished film at a festival near you some time this year.

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