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For The Love Of Post

October 29, 2011

I love post-production. I’m in love right now with my short film, “Street Language.”

When I get to post, it’s me, working alone in a studio. I have an array of materials and a blank canvas. It’s as I imagine painting to be, and different from writing, where everything is imagined. And there’s a bit of security in knowing that the canvas isn’t totally blank – I usually have a script of some sort – but it’s not paint-by-numbers. Today I’m polishing a rough cut of my film so my canvas has been prepped well by another editor who generously did lots of the grunt work.

And today, of course, I’m only dealing with bits of data that appear to be visuals and sounds, but it still feels real and concrete – even without reels of film and tape. (I think I heard that Walter Murch keeps little pieces of 35mm film around when he edits – he wants to feel that organic connection but is happy also to have the benefits of technology.)

I guess I love all of the stages of a film’s production because they all offer something different. I love to write and to see characters and drama appear – as if out of nothing – but out of my life and history and people I know.

Production is all about the joys and pains of collaboration. It’s where I get to blend my gifts with others’ gifts and we get to see what new things come from the creative synergy. But it’s the most fatiguing to me and I feel the most pressure as the Director. There is an appearance of control but it’s more like riding a runaway train over which you have some ability to steer, but not entirely.

So I come to editing with a sense of relief and anticipation. The film has grown and changed since it first entered my writer’s mind. It became something slightly different in the hands of actors, crew, and the vagaries of principal photography. Now, the results of that synergy are sitting on a hard drive in neat little folders, awaiting yet another transformation.

My images and characters are just there, waiting for more direction – a bit less on this line, so I grab a take that wasn’t circled – and they tell me something familiar, yet more real than I might have imagined when I first conjured them up in a coffeehouse a year ago.

Sweet candy.

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