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Week 5: Post Production Pandemonium

We’re in the final stretch and it’s time to edit our short films! Last week we went into production and filmed/supported each other’s short film projects. After I imported all of my footage into Premiere I realized…this isn’t going to turn out how I planned.

As I was watching back the footage, I realized that it was hard for me to organize my footage and audio, I missed a couple of shots, and most importantly, if this video reflects the current version if my script it will be 5:30!! The max time we can have is 3 minutes! So needless to say I have a lot of restructuring to do. Nonetheless, the production process was a huge lesson and I had a few key takeaways from it.

  1. Be Organized. Making sure I had all of the shots detailed for my DP and notes for my script supervisor would helped in the organization of my visuals and audio.

  2. Be mindful of the pacing of my actors. I had on scene in particular that was supposed to be 20 seconds and it ended up being almost a minute long. If I would've kept up with my actors’ pacing while delivering their lines, I most likely would've been able to edit to the script as written.

  3. Demand what you want. There were a few times on set that I felt that I lost control of my vision and allowed a lot of outside suggestions on how to trouble shoot certain situations (i.e adding more depth/lines to my 20 second scene). I value everyone on set and I couldn't have wished for a better cast and crew, but in certain situations I have thing orchestrated in a certain way for a reason and I need to stand by them.

This experience overall has helped me a lot in terms of how to operate on set. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to be on set whether it’s for someone’s film or one of my own. Something that I didn’t really get to learn much about was lighting. Luckily, last night we all the opportunity to attend a lightning workshop through Cinefemme and we were able to watch how grip and electric work on set and proper lighting techniques. Grip and electric is something that I always found interesting, but I always seen it as “the boys club” on set. So seeing 2 women killing it yesterday was really inspiring. Hopefully I will have an opportunity in the near future to learn more about grip and electric so I can add it to my list of production skills.

Now that production is officially over, I have to sit down and face the problems I’m encountering during my editing process. Luckily, I was able to rely on some tips I learned from Mira Nair when it comes to editing your film. She mentioned that the editing process is where you can reformat your story. Which is something I rarely do, but I need to do it this time around. One of the things that I’m lacking in my rough draft is having a rhythm or timing with my shots. Since I didn’t have music or a solid way to reformat my story, that was tricky to do. In the masterclass, Mira Nair pointed out that editing with rhythm and having a musical mindset to help your edit be more fluid and timed correctly. Reflecting on these tips helped me construct a great idea for a way to restructure my film that way I can make it more engaging, keep my story, have those clean fluid edits I love, and most importantly stay within my time limit.

Another obstacle I’m running into is how music will effect my story. Unfortunately my rough cut doesn’t have music since the film will be restructured, so now I’m exploring different possibilities with tone and need to find music after I defined that. Sound design is something I planned in the beginning and so far that’s working out well, but because of the way I want to change my film around, I have to be very careful of what music I select. If I choose slow music it may come off as a horror. If I use mellow music it might be too depressing. And upbeat and light hearted seems too out of place. So, either I have to make up my own music genre in 5 days or do some more

The balance of silence and music is something that I need to play around with. Mira Nair talked bout how she still references how she went about sound design in Salaam Bombay! One thing she mentioned about her process that helped me out is when she talked about the importance of temp tracks to get the feel of your film and not having to include music in every aspect of your film. Silence can play a key part in the tone of your film and that’s something I want to explore as I restricter my film. I thought that I need to have music at all times to keep the viewer engaged, but it really is up to the filmmakers preferences on how their film should be sound designed. I think that if I concentrate on sound when I want the audience to dive deep into the mind of my protagonist and use music during my longer takes that I want the audience to be engaged in.

The tips form the masterclass weren't the only things that helped me, but the feedback session with everyone helped out a lot. Here’s everyone’s feedback and suggestions helped me get the ball rolling on how I can fix my film. For our next review session, I want to keep the following things in mind based on the questions from the masterclass

  • Have viewers write down key moments that stuck out to them as well as constructive criticism

  • Ask the following questions

  • What are they unclear about

  • What do they think the story is about

  • When were they bored

  • When they were most engaged

That way, I can get more feedback on what’s working and what isn't vs. personal artistic direction. In the past, I had trouble determining what was feedback to enhance my projects and what people would suggest based off of their personal style preferences. So I think rewording the questions will help me get a better understanding on how the viewer is receiving the film and not how they’ll change it if it was their project.

Speaking of feedback, what do you think about my rough draft? Watch it here below (at your own risk because this version is ROUGH! You’ve been warned).

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