How I know when the editing is done…

It’s sound mix time on my newest feature, EVERY EVERYTHING: THE MUSIC, LIFE & TIMES OF GRANT HART.  This is my fifth truly independent film in 9 years.  My sixth, BROKEN SIDE OF TIME, is also complete and will be mixed next month.  All at DuArt in NYC.  All with Matt Gundy at the boards.

One realization came to me as I was completing these films over the past few months.  The moment when you know the film is ready to unleash upon the world.  When the tweaking is over.  And there is not one frame that you’d change.

This is how I knew for certain with EVERY EVERYTHING.  The first cut, the assembly of every scene ran over two and a half hours.  So I was already cutting as I was assembling, as the goal was between 90 and 95 minutes.  That was what I knew was perfect for the format I chose.

I got the film down to a respectable 99 minutes, then down to 97, and that’s when the real work began.  Removing pauses.  A frame here or there.  And remember, one frame is 1/24th of a second.  Doesn’t seem like much, but it can make all the difference in the world.  And then, last week, the film was down to 93 minutes even  And I sat down in my living room, and once again watched it from beginning to end.  And that’s when I knew I was close.  Because instead of having to trim just a little more, I knew I needed to put a little back in.  Not a lot, but a pause here or there.  A breath.  A break.  And heading back into the editing room, I ended up adding 17 seconds to the film.  Again, not a lot, but just enough.  And that’s when I knew it was done.  That moment when I stop trimming, and put something back at the very end.  That’s when the film is complete.

It happened a month earlier with BROKEN SIDE OF TIME, which I had down to 119 minutes.  The locked and final running time is now 126 minutes. It happened with COLOR ME OBSESSED, YOU ARE ALONE and FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS).  Hell, it even happened with my Archers of Loaf Concert film WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? when I realized I had trimmed the band interviews too far down.

That’s the point for me.  And it’s always a little sad.  The people who had kept me company for weeks if not months in a darkened room, in this case Grant Hart and only Grant Hart, were moving on.  When I hear people talk about having kids, I secretly relate, because what they’re describing is what I feel.  I look at these films and see a part of myself, but also know they have unique personalities.  And I love them, unconditionally.  And even if they annoy the piss out of me at times, I always will.  They are my creations, from the heart, from the soul.

And now I begin the mix and get ready to send EE out into the world.  What fortunes with await it?  What will it become?  With others bully it?  Or adore it?  Or ignore it?  Will it live and long and happy life?  Only time will tell.

In the mean time, I begin anew.  A DOG NAMED GUCCI.  This child I know will break my heart.  But will make me proud in the end…

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Filed under documentaries, editing, filmmaking, independent film

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