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Editor’s Journal – September 1, 2009

cobb-menuI wrote a journal entry yesterday while waiting for the latest cut to burn to DVD. It didn’t have a lesson or an angle so much as it was just me venting in a round about way. I think I hesitated to post it because there was something not quite right about it, something was missing. That’s kind of how I have felt about the cut for the last 5 weeks. I had lost my momentum and my enthusiasm. As an editor, I was kind of just stuck.

The last time I enjoyed watching Heart of Now was at the test screening we had at the end of July. It was a very solid cut, not a perfect cut mind you, but it worked as a whole experience from beginning to end.

The focus group gave some really great feedback on things that we could improve and I’m grateful for that. The most significant critiques pointed toward a few pacing issues, a desire for more music, and a certain supporting character who was painted a little too black and white. This lack of grey was perhaps even influencing their perception of another character to boot.

So Deklun has been working on a few more cues for us, and I’ve been finding places to pick up the pace, as well as trying to find that delicate balance of painting in the grey for the character in question. Luckily the improv process has provided us with different options to address everything of concern. Footage that I never thought would be used is now getting the screen time it deserves. And 8 more minutes have been shaved off of the total run time.

While I liked the individual changes we were making, the film as a whole just wasn’t clicking. For 5 weeks I’ve been stuck in this seemingly never-ending cycle of trying to perfect the items on my list and then watching the cut again. Every time we watched it, it was just kind of unenjoyable and the list of things to tweak grew longer. It was becoming quite tedious.

On top of that I have been learning how truly thin-skinned I actually am. I was well aware that by having a focus group we were inviting criticism. And immediately following that process I was newly energized by their feedback. But as the days past I really started to take a few of the comments too close to heart. I’ve invested so much of myself into this movie that it was hard not to.

But finally, after watching the latest cut tonight, the 5 week bad spell has been broken. The movie has emerged more streamlined, more clear, and more enjoyable then it has ever been. My guess to the last few weeks discomfort is that the test screening cut had its own rhythm, its own pulse if you will. And by implementing these new changes I was adding a new rhythm and a new pulse that wasn’t quite connecting with the old one. And tonight the movie finally found a new groove. Granted I still have a new list of things to tweak, but now I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

A huge thanks to everyone for their interest and support in this long and ongoing process. I say with much hope that we are finally in the home stretch towards picture lock.

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