EDIT, EXPORT, REVISE, THEN EXPORT SOME MORE.
That's what this week will consist of now that the production process is over. Editing may feel like a time where you can sit back and enjoy the final rewrite, but in reality, it can be almost as challenging as writing the script. All four of our films ended up being a little over three minutes even though we had filmed from three page scripts. Our obsession with tracking shots gave us all an extra minute and a half or more. Cameo said our films must be exactly three minutes long with credits. So far I've gotten my film down to 3 minutes and twenty seconds. shaving off these last twenty seconds might feel excruciating in the moment, but so far (surprisingly) I haven't missed anything I've cut from the film.
Mira Naira said it's better to not overstay in a moment, make the cuts quick, and smash cut from a cathartic moment to an absurd scene. This piece of advice really resonated with my style of filmmaking. Most of the films I make are fast paced with quick cuts that jump from one mood to another. I like smash cuts because it keeps me engaged and the goal is to be entertained by my movie all through post production. If I ever feel bored during the editing process, I'll add in some humor with editing. Zooming in on my actors faces or adding in a certain kind of music can really make any piece into a comedic one. The rule is; if i'm not laughing while i'm editing, something’s got to change.
Some of the feedback I received yesterday about my first rough cut was that the humor was lost in the last bit of my film. it was definitely strange that my tone wasn't present throughout the film. It was even stranger to have it suddenly end as some angsty melodrama -- ew. With editing I was able to tone down the moodiness and bring back the offbeat style that keeps me entertained.
A BIT ON PRODUCTION
Production was a crazy week but definitely the most exciting. My rule for being on set is similar to my editing rule; if I'm not laughing on set something's got to change. The goal is not necessarily to make the perfect film and get the perfect shot, (although that would be nice) the shooting of the film needs to be fun for everyone on set. If the day doesn’t end with more bloopers then good takes, then I won't feel like I really accomplished what I was supposed to. partly because I typically end up using the bad takes for the final cut, and partly because I hate the idea of making a group of people work at my expense for no pay and not even have a good time out of it.
Asking my friends who aren’t filmmakers to help me make movies is probably how I adopted this approach. Making movies had to feel like just another group hangout. It needed to be a fun experience or else they'd probably never want to help me again.
being on set for this film was a bit different. it was more official. I hadn't roped a group of friends into helping me, these were people who had committed to the job. I had sent out a call sheet and had a very detailed schedule written out. I wasn’t sure if we'd have much room for improv or goofing around. I was definitely pretty nervous after I had to run back to the office to retrieve an SD card we had left behind. By the time I arrived on set I was a sweaty mess and had honestly forgotten what my movie was even about.
The moment the camera started rolling, and my actors began saying their lines, my anxiety was gone and I was thrilled. Being on set was SO fun. For the first hour and a half almost every take ended with laughing.
Irene was my DP, sometimes we struggled to understand what the other person wanted or envisioned, but I trusted her camera techniques. her visual skills made my film more aesthetically appealing then I could have imagined.
Tamar acted in my film. She definitely carried the short and had a strong presence on camera. I barely directed her and Winnie (my second actress I casted from SF Casting) I trusted their take on the characters. They really brought a mediocre script to life.
By the end of the shoot we were tired and ready to call it a day. After two hours of filming the daytime scenes, we waited for the sun to go down to shoot the night shots. I was anxious about the period of time where nothing would be happening, and having crew members wait around. I didn't want the waiting to feel longer than the shooting itself. It ended up being alright. We talked and ate to pass the time.
When we finished someone on set asked if what we shot matched what I had envisioned. I wasn't sure how to respond because I couldn’t even remember what I had envisioned. It all looked pretty good to me, plus the guy who volunteered to do audio told me he this was the most fun he'd had on a set so that was honestly all I needed to hear.
Yesterday we attended a workshop at Filmhouse in Oakland about lighting a scene. After a week of being on set everyday with a different job on set (directing, scripty, audio.) it was nice to sit back and watch a scene unfold-- with the director (Cameo volunteered to do it) directing the actors, the DP handling camera, and the technicians sculpting the scene with lights. It reminded me of editing because the technicians had two different lighting setups for the same scene. it was interesting how the lighting could change the same bits of dialogue from a comedic scene to a darker scene.
Here are the two versions of my films.
My first rough cut. ROUGH.
This one has music added to it. the sound is still missing in some parts. and i'm not sure if i'm actually keeping the current music, but it's a good stand in to show how music can really effect the mood.