Finishing “special night”

   Now that production has ended, I began the agonizing editing stage.  I waited a week. like I promised myself, before I started to cut anything.  The first 3 days were really slow.  I couldn’t decide anything.  On the 4th day, I had a big breakthrough.  It all started to flow from there.  The rough cut was finished about 2 weeks later.  I was a mad fool while editing.  Very rarely did I even go outside.  I stayed in with my trusty iMac and performed edit after edit, render after render.  I definitely started to feel the limitation of my computer during this phase. 

    Now, that we had a rough cut, I started to solicit feedback.  This can be a great stage or just plain aggravating.  Got some good solid advice and took that back to the editing room, where I had to make some hard choices.  I also started to get to work on adding the music.  I spoke to Dan Beyer, who took a look at the rough cut and some music samples of songs that I was thinking about.  We talked about it, and settled on a style (somewhat anyway.  Mostly, he tried to guess what the hell I was talking about and then went to work.)  Dan took a few weeks and began developing the music.  It was all written specifically for this project. 

    With Dan working on music, I’m left with my decisions again.  During this phase of editing, I’d work on it for long stretches and then just completely ignore it for a few weeks.  I was having lots of problems with the audio.  There were some pops here and there, or some dialogue that I was thinking needed to be fixed.  I couldn’t come up with a solution and after one of my listening sessions with Dan to hear the music he encouraged me to seek professional help.  Not psychotherapy (although, it wouldn’t have hurt at that point), but a professional sound editor and mixer.  I spoke to a couple of guys and seriously thought about spending $500 - $1000 on the sound mix.  Even though I promised myself at the beginning that this was a short simple project that wouldn’t cost much to make at all.  Jacob Morgan, a friend from work, said he’d take a look.  He fixed most of the issues that I had and some he couldn’t do much with.  A lesson that next time out, I’d like the audio to be even better on location.  You just can’t fix it all in post.  Jacob made a few more passes at the audio.  I stopped tweaking the video while he was tinkering with the audio, so as not to lose any sync.  Jacob finished up.  I made a few more tweaks to the video and audio now.  About 4 full cuts of this project to get us to the final edit. 

    Dan finished up the music and it sounded unbelievable.  It was the icing on the cake and just added a professional touch to our little project.  We had a big party in July to show the cast and crew.  It was lots of fun and good to see everyone.  I edited together a behind the scenes funny video for all of us, very enjoyable.  It helped us to remember how much fun we had shooting.  I still had a few more tweaks to go.  Mostly, we were having incompatibility problems with the music files and my way of importing them into Final Cut.  Just a tip:  Just take them directly into Final Cut from the original file.  It works best that way. 

    Now, with the project finished.  I went to work and designed a VHS and DVD cover.  I wanted it to look “real” when I sent it out to festivals and gave copies to people.  Started playing with iDVD at a friend’s house and after a few tries got a cool looking DVD template.  Finished a video commentary.    Stared to burn copies.  We were looking slick. 

    Started to send them out to festivals.  Boy, it’s like the lottery.  You just send in your money and hope to win something.  Had a screening at the Mini DV Festival in Hollywood, CA.  It was a very gratifying experience and just managed to put the finish on the project for me.  I’m still trying to get more screenings, but now that I got it shown somewhere, I had completed all my goals for this film project.  I was energized and excited.  I sat down and got to work on writing something new. 

    You’ve seen it in this website tons of time, but this was a great experience for me.  It was liberating personally and gratifying professionally.  I had a fantastic time and want to do more.  More importantly, it gave me strength to keep pursuing this impossible goal.  Thanks for your interest.