The 4th round of editing

On Friday, September 19th, I finished the fourth round of editing on Stuck. This was after the rough, and then notes upon notes from Julie Sisson and Lynn Mancinelli, my two producing partners.

Some time in July, I think, I also brought onboard my now friend Vicky Lucas to help with some day-to-day editing, since Julie and Lynn both have full time jobs. Vicky does, too, but her schedule was/is a bit more flexible.

So, I don’t know how many of you have been following the legacy that is Stuck the Movie, but over the last seven months I’d been agonizing over the rough cut, then the first revised cut, the second, the third… and this is mainly due to the fact that I’m being overly critical of myself, since I’m the lead in the film.

It’s quite hypocritical because in September of 2013 I shot a feature film for director Kelsey O’Brien called Enchantments, in which Kelsey was the writer, director, and lead actor. There were issues that came up with having the director in front of the camera instead of behind. This is where trust comes in, where the people you hire help make your vision a reality. Depending on the level of trust, this can be a good or bad thing.

I have worked on two web series where the director was the lead actor, and it can work. Depending on the production schedule, the budget, the leeway of the DP to know instinctually what the director wants, and so forth.

I left Enchantments knowing that, even though things worked out (in no small part thanks to Kelsey, who was very specific on a great many things), it’s a stressful situation for everyone involved.

And then I go and make Stuck.

Silly me.

The initial plan was to get an actor to play the lead, as you do, so that I could shoot my own film. My love of solving problems behind the camera knows no bounds.

As we moved closer to production, it was clear we weren’t going to find a lead who could give us 16 days in a row for very little money, and who was non-union. So I said ok. Lynn and Julie pretty much knew this was going to happen. My only real acting was in 5AM, and that was basically a goof.

Which reminds me. A couple of nights ago I almost completely forgot about watching the (2nd) premiere of 5AM on TV in NYC, channel 25. I missed the original air date because I wasn’t paying attention, and I thought I wouldn’t have a chance to watch it again. The producer thankfully told me they were replaying it this passed Sunday. I set it to record, was editing for the past two hours, and almost forgot about watching it AGAIN.


Here’s 5AM if you haven’t seen it:

So, after watching myself getting interviewed on TV, my only thought was “Wow, I need to lose 20 pounds.”

Great, though, that 5AM found its way onto TV! A big thank you to Melissa Unger and the good people at NYC Close Up.

Onward and upward.

So, yeah, 5AM was a goof. Well, more of an experiment than a goof, but I’d never expected to enjoy acting.

Stuck was kind of a no brainer. The character’s name is John, it’s basically me. I just had to get over some fears. Still, internally I fought it.

Editing 5AM was nowhere near as difficult as this process has been, and I think it’s because the stakes are greater. I’m not even certain what the stakes are, to be honest, but I figure that there’s much more of a spotlight on features than there are on shorts.

It took about a month and a half to work up the courage to edit the rough cut on Stuck. From there, after I got initial reactions from Julie and Lynn, it was easier to tackle the style and overall feel and pace of the film.

Over the past week I’ve received notes from Julie, Lynn, and Vicky on the 4th version of Stuck, and I’m very pleased to say that we’re very close to being picture locked.

For the last month I’ve been working concurrently with Kelsey O’Brien to edit her feature film, so that we could get it out to festivals before their final drop dead deadline. It’s been interesting, going from one film to the other. I try and take some time between cuts, so that I can watch it with fresh eyes, and the distraction of editing Enchantments has been helpful. Not to mention, it’s allowed me to see clearer to the story, instead of being wedded to shots and takes that I might be in love with, but ultimately have to be cut.

So, here I am, October looming, weeks away from being picture locked and one step closer to putting the film out into the world.

I couldn’t have done it without these three lovely ladies. They’ve all been helpful, inspiring, and truthful with their critiques and comments.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s the first screen capture of the film. A big thank you to Michael ‘Boofa’ Hobbs for his fine cinematography work on Stuck. It’s been rudimentarily color corrected, but I thought I’d share it all the same. Hopefully within the next month or so, I’ll have a teaser to share.

Thanks for reading.

John Painz


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