Sunday, August 12, 2012

I'll Take It

I recently returned to film production after nearly a decade of being 'just the writer'. It's been scary and exhilarating to see all the little holes & high points of my script come to life. I'm in love with my subject and over the past 6 weeks, I've poured my heart, soul and last dregs of energy into editing the film.

Today we invited a senior editor to preview the rough cut. After the 50 minute viewing he slumped back in his chair and said, "If I didn't have to watch this film, I wouldn't."

This creation I'm so in love with has turned out to be the world's most boring film.
The heart is there, he acknowledges, but who cares?
I can feel my windpipe constrict and my hackles being raised. I can't understand how something so meaningful to me can be so meaningless to someone else. There is deflation, a moment of 'don't mind me, I'll go back to my writer's dungeon then'. Then there's something else. I'm not 21 anymore and I don't need to run away for another decade.

"What can we do to fix it?" I ask.
And he tells me. It is a singular, most magical solution - the kind that takes my breath away with its elegance. Just like that I'm a student again and I can see why this film needed to suck. I think to myself, Damn it, if this is what it means to make a shitty film, I'll take it.

A scene from 'Jules et Jim', which is not a shitty film


  1. But what did he tell you? I know it's irrelevant...but still.....

  2. :D He said, if you fix the audio, you'll lift the narrative.
    The film is a non-fiction biography and the rough cut was becoming a one-tone film. I'd done all the storytelling I could as a writer and we just didn't have enough powerful visuals to create an impact because of budget restrictions.
    Theoretically, every film student knows that audio can make or break a film but I just hadn't experienced it firsthand on my own edit, ever.
    I suppose it's how folks must have felt when they first discovered the miracles of penicillin ;D

  3. Hey....Wish you a happy Independence Day.

    Yes, films have a lot other variables which contribute to its overall quality: lights, camera....But it's good that you're learning something new everyday and enjoying it. Wish u all the best with your film.