May 30, 2007

The Moment of Truth

The time has come to edit the footage I shot last week. My editor is back from Buenos Aires where I hope he fed himself with great beef and ample quantities of wine, cause he's going to need it.
David Mamet mentions in his book Bambi Vs Godzilla that it is said that you make a movie three times; once when you write it, next when you shoot it and finally when you cut it. I already know this is true from the first two steps. Because as you shoot what you wrote, you may realize it's too wordy or too slow. Mamet advices the neophyte director: pick up the pace. I had the instinct to do just that in a couple of instances, but I'm afraid not enough. One of the things I criticize in other movies is when actors seem to move in slow motion. It just kills the pace of the film. It's very amateurish. But that's what the editor is for, among other things, to chop things up to a reasonable clip.
When you are standing on a set, the takes may look better or worse than when you see the footage. I'm really curious to see whether the takes I thought had nuggets of good in them, actually do.
Film is a multi-craft product. It takes way too many special skills. I was thinking of when I simply write. It is myself v. the page. It is only me and whatever skill I possess as a writer. Movies, on the other hand, depend on the very specific and different skills from a little platoon of people. And everybody better know what they're doing! The beauty of even the most horridly mercenary American films is you can see the astounding level of craftsmanship. But that you can also see in a much more satisfying way in modest, but spectacularly well made French films. You look at the way they are acted, staged, shot, edited, and it is a sheer frisson of joy, they are so well made, and so not vulgarly calling attention to their expense, like our unfortunate American counterparts do.
So I need to learn to do things well in film. There is a lot to learn...

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