Good Lord. Seriously. Why did I think the Post production on this project would be smooth sailing? I’m a total delusional idealist ~ emphasis on the delusional.
Carrie Bush, my 1st AD (and an accomplished director in her own right!) and I were having a “catch up” the other day and I heard these words fall out of her mouth, “Didn’t you say we were going to see a rough cut of the film in May?”….uh. really? What month is it? Who said that? For future reference: Do NOT listen to nor believe anything that comes out of a director’s mouth within the first 48 hours of wrapping a shoot. I would imagine it’s like asking a woman who’s just given birth if she wants a beer and a bag of Doritos now…or in six months.
After months and months and months of editing this baby, I finally had a day when I just watched the film, BY MYSELF, for myself and I said TO MYSELF, I’m done. PICTURE LOCKED. Because, at the end of the day, everyone is going to have an opinion, a thought, a suggestion, a realization - and it’s all WONDERFUL, but as the director YOU really need to have the final say - and that can be really hard to hear with a thousand other voices ringing in your ears.
I took my picture lock EDL/XML (?) upstairs to Pixel Farm where the wonderful colorist, Dave Sweet, was going to reassemble my film transfer according to my final digital files, and then we could start color correction. A couple days later I get a call from Mr. Sweet saying, “you know, I think your time code is messed up. I’m having trouble reassembling your cut”. Cue technical mudslide.
With the unrelenting help and assistance from Mark Steele and Carl Jacobs, editor at Splice Here (that was a PLUG in case it didn’t read as such…) - I was able to figure out what went wrong (my timecode in my Final Cut project got messed up when I did the synching work, i.e. matching up the sound files and picture files, and then REIMPORTED them back into Final Cut) - it was a manual task that only took me about 2 hours to fix!
Then Mark Steele realized my frame rate was incorrect, than John Sims (sound mixer/designer extraordinaire) realized the frame rate of the sound files were no longer matching up to the “fixed” picture, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…seriously. It felt like the mud slide of tech words that would not end. BUT the learning curve was also fast and furious. I have great respect and appreciation for everyone who kept me calm (Mark Steele/Dave Sweet/John Sims) - this process has been no less harrowing (for me) than what I can imagine it was for those guys landing the 25th mission of the Memphis Belle. That’s a complete exaggeration, but I refuse to erase that last statement.
…and the reality is, I’ve been through so much on this marathon of a film that it seems perfectly within the natural order of things to have to push and struggle through these last few miles. I’ve run marathons before, and I have to admit the harder you have to push at the end, the more it hurts, the sweeter the feeling of crossing that finish line!