"Coffee feels like love." Producer Alex Cendese tells me this as I brew a third pot of coffee for today's/tonight's editorial extravaganza. For the whole week, I've been working with editor Alex Kopit to refine the current cut of the film. It's been extremely helpful to have someone liberate me from my restrictive knowledge of Final Cut Pro. "Yeah, we can do that" is an amazing thing for a director to hear, and Kopit is generous with the statement. The daily routine has been me and Kopit at my desk in my bedroom with Ryan or Alex producer-ing on their laptops behind us. We break for dinner around 7pm and move the entire operation out to the living room so my wife can sleep. I'm cranky and irritable from start to finish. Not sure why.
Much of the focus has been on cleaning up audio, integrating music cues, and generally polishing what's already there. But that's not nearly all. Alex (Kopit) has really opened up the editing process by continuing to ask challenging questions and insisting on trying out every option of an edit. I brought him on for just this reason. I needed some fresh eyes, a boost of energy, and some technical know-how to polish what I already have.
Things are going well. But our schedule is tight. Festival submission deadlines loom and I am moving my life across the country amidst all of this (why not, right?). We are going on our 15th hour for today and there is still plenty to do before I start a DVD compression for a screening tomorrow for my team of producers. No one has really seen the full cut of the film yet. After all, we only finished shooting the thing last Friday. It will be nice to hear a small audience for the current cut.
Everything is coming together very well, but I do feel like it needs more time. It needs not just more time to work and tweak, but time to walk away, think, and return with fresh ideas. There are so many versions of this film that can work and work well, it's just a matter of being specific about each plot point, character, and moment. Without time and without breaks it's incredibly hard to make bold creative decisions because I don't want to risk wasting time on something that may not work. But taking the time to take these chances is where the good stuff comes out.
The next few days are about tightening the current version of the film in order to diminish technical distractions (sound, edit, color) and make it easier to focus on story. From there, I will be able to take aim on all the other specifics that need to be explored or honed. For now, I am taking aim on my Chock Full O Nuts and hopping back in the edit chair with Kopit.