Here’s a screenshot of our rough-cut timeline. It’s weird to see all the elements being built upon one another like little blocks of data… each representing a shot, a sound effect, a burst of dialogue or a transition. Pretty cool.
Eric and I burned the midnight oil to deliver a cut to our producing team. Editing, like the shoot, has been harrowing, hilarious, terrifying and all the flavors in between.
Much has been said about the whole editing process. ‘You can make your movie in the editing room’, ‘the best part of my performance was left on the cutting room floor’ to the all-time favorite, ‘Aaaaah, we’ll fix it in post….’. I’ve also heard that ‘editing is like writing’, ‘editing is the only TRUE aspect of filmmaking’ (in that doesn’t borrow from other disciples like photography, writing, music or even – ahem - directing), and that editing is a slow heart attack that occurs over months and months (okay, this last one is from me…).
Be that as it may, I’m very excited as to how the edit is shaping up.
In a way, editing IS a little bit like writing. Only this time I’m not the writer. Eric Dow, our editor, is. I’m more like the project crossing guard. Making sure my little characters make it across the proverbial street all safe and sound. How we’ve been working is that we go through the script of the scene that we’re about to cut, talk about my original intention, the plot/character points that we need to get across, any additions or subtractions that came about on set – and he then goes to work slicing and dicing.
During that time, I usually try to occupy myself and not glance at the monitor because I want to save my comments until he’s ready to show me something. This time is usually devoted to important things like, surfing the web, working on the comic, surfing the web some more and fighting the urge to look up. At some point, he shows me his version of the scene, I make my comments, we discuss, sometimes agree, sometimes not, rinse and repeat.
Right now we finished our initial rough cut and are working to incorporate the comments that the producers made into our next editorial pass. It’s odd, because at this stage in the game, I kinda feel the way that I did during the writing process – where there is a flurry of work on my end that I then put forth in front of a few sets of eyeballs for feedback. Once that feedback rolls in, I determine the commonalities of what everybody is saying/feeling, take a deep breath, scratch my noggin, and dive back in. Again, rinse and repeat.
Clearly what’s happening now is that the film itself is becoming its own, living, breathing entity. I have a theory, that at some point, the thing that you’re making starts talking back to you. It could be a soufflé or a symphony, but eventually it starts to dictate what it needs and constructs an internal logic that’s all its own.
I can’t explain it, but it definitely occurs. It becomes a roadmap to the finish line, and if you listen closely, you get a much better project. Different from what you originally intended, to be sure, but hopefully more interesting and true to itself. The tricky part is that sometimes it doesn’t give up its secrets so easily. You have to try a few things first. Go down a few blind alleys or weird-in-retrospect-tangents. Sometimes you have to romance it, cajole it – or even worse, just be patient.
Currently, at any given moment, there is a growing amount of brainpower obsessing over our little film. Our editor, our producers, our sound designer, our composer, everybody is truly putting their heart and soul into ‘Shockwave, Darkside’. And all those opinions, contributions and impressions stretch, pull and push the film in surprising and often amazing ways. As the project instigator, it’s pretty heartening to watch as the final shape of ‘Shockwave, Darkside’ slowly comes into focus. And, at times, incredibly moving.