It’s Sunday, January 27th.
Now, if you read my last post, about having a problem with the short film I have been working on, you’ll be up to speed. If not, head over here.
After making the decision to re-shoot the entire character, due to the book being present in the scene, I took it upon myself to try and re-create each and every scene in its entirety.
And made all new mistakes in the process. I wanted to scream, after I returned the lens, sat down with the footage, and had an internal war between compromise and the unyielding nature of what one has envisioned in ones head.
Out of plain necessity, compromise was winning. I spent hours color correcting and piecing together the scenes so that they were merely ok, which reads as me not being on suicide watch.
I should point out that both Karen and Julie thought I was being overly dramatic. That was helpful. Being close to a project puts ones mind on a path of confusion, in many respects. Once an idea floats to the surface, it is quite difficult to get said idea out of ones head.
Case in point.
Since I had the opportunity to re-shoot this character, I decided to introduce alcohol into the equation. I thought it would be another element to the world, and, in particular, this character. He’s scholarly, unemployed, and an alcoholic. Sounds about right.
Well, the b-roll I shot was ugly. The problem is, the b-roll was incredibly important, because it set up the bottle of alcohol for future use.
I shot the character, the bottle clear in the background. I didn’t do any takes, all day, with the bottle not present. So I gave myself zero options, just in case it didn’t work.
The light, over the course of the day, changed. I fought with that.
I tried to figure out a way to incorporate the bottle, and finally settled on something that looked funny… but then I started to think of the universe the short took place in, and my idea started to unravel.
So, I decided to forgo the incorporated bottle shot. Take the humor and antithesis of the character situation out of the equation.
But all of the footage had the goddamn bottle in it. All of it. It was there, prominent, in every shot. And there would be no goddamn reason for the bottle to be there, unless it was going to be used.
I showed it to Julie. She called it set dressing.
That made me feel better.
I showed it to Karen. She thought I was nuts.
And so on.
It’s hard, without pictures, to make you, the reader, understand my dilemma. The thing is, from a director’s perspective, unless something is benign, there’s no reason it should be in the shot. A bike in an apartment is benign. A painting or a photo or a table. They belong.
A bottle of bourbon behind the head of a main character, to me, is a bit more specific, and needs to be utilized.
Could I have gotten away with it? Of course. I’m not completely full of self-loathing and narcissism to realize that I’m taking a point too far. But the initial freakout is necessary to begin the process of problem solving.
In the end I –
The phone rings. At the moment the crisis has come to a head, and the wheels of invention started churning to figure out this problem.
You see, it was Friday, the 25th, and four of the festivals Julie and I want to try for have drop dates of the 31st and the 1st. Time was running out. I could re-shoot, again, and say the lines I said over and fucking over, more times than I can count… I could deal with what we had. Or I could role the dice, use the original footage, and hope we didn’t get sued.
And the phone rings.
On Wednesday, after trying to figure out what to do with the book footage, I had called Harper Collins to talk about getting permission to use the book. I left a message with the permissions department. I called back Thursday, spoke to a person. They said permission took 8 weeks.
On Friday, I received a phone call from Harper Collins Permissions department. They explained to me that prop permission takes 2 weeks, and costs $200 per book. I explained to them my situation and time restraint. They said they’d push the contract through.
The relief was palpable. Seriously. I stood up, raised my hands to the sky. Or the ceiling, and I just stretched and felt wonderfully relaxed.
The takes in the original footage are better. The color is better. The timing is better. The book makes a weird kind of sense, for chrissake.
I spent the next two days touching up color. I still have a final sound mix to do. I’m not even sure how to do that, but I’ll figure it out.
By 6 or so this evening, barring some disaster (which happens, don’t get me wrong), we’ll have a locked picture on the short, and will be able to send it out into the festival world… see if people enjoy it.
I also did a re-edit on The Difference Between, which I should be able to release this week. One of the biggest issues I found people had were the credits. After piecing together this short film, I know they were right. When it’s just a couple of us together, me, Julie, Producer Julie, Drew and Gen… I don’t really have to go out of my way to create a lengthy credit sequence. I just have to re-edit the opening footage, which will be fun. Music prompts are fun when they work right.
Anyway, dear reader, it’s Sunday and I’m awaiting my producer to move forward with our latest project. February brings upon us casting for the pilot, some DP work on Internet Affairs, more of The Thing, and some unknown opportunities.
I will leave you with this fantastic short film I recently watched. It’s really unbelievable.
Thanks for reading.