The Ian Report #493 – The Grand Illusion
Apr 2010 23

So Saturday got me totally pumped for the future. Some local filmmakers and the sound design team attended a screening at the Grand Illusion Cinema, and it went smashingly. We got some very useful feedback, and I’ve assembled all the collected input into a list, and just looking it over it’s becoming obvious that we’re really going to be able to take this film to a new and better level.

The most frequently given suggestion is to shorten the film by 10-15 minutes. I agree; this is a great idea! It’s a tricky thing for me to do after seeing the film so many dozen times, which is why folk’s advice is really helpful. A few folks at the showing pointed out some key scenes that could be trimmed, and they’re absolutely right, so I’m hoping that the process of cutting those down opens my mind to thinking in that direction. I’d much rather have a one hour film that’s crazy awesome than the current 100 minute film that may drag at times.

Basically, for every cut line, a few questions have to be asked. What is this line saying? Is it vital to the story; is it said anywhere else? If not, could it be said through other means? Would it still be vital if we cut out that whole plot line? These are some hefty questions to answer, especially since judging the value of a plot element is hard to do in the big scheme of things. Personally, I love it when I realize a dragging plot point is non-vital. BAM! Gone! Blam-O! So often I get stuck thinking, “Can I shorten this? Or give it some pizazz?” without ever asking, “Can I just eliminate it?”

Ross pointed out that we only used titles a few times, so when they popped up it was jarring. Thinking it over, I realized it was true; apart from the opening and closing of the film, we only have one title, “One Week Later”, and immediately after it a character repeats that it was a week later in dialogue- BLAM! Gone! Nice clean fade to black instead. Where this is really driven home is that I had just redone that title for the third time a week prior.

So that’s that. They say the film is created/written/edited/whatever three times. Once in the script, once on set, and once in the editing room… but I think this is probably gonna be the third or fourth time it’s been rethought in post.

I remember seeing the first edit of the film. Oh geez. It’ll actually probably be pretty startling for me to go back and see. So many scenes dragging, so much unnecessary exposition.

All that said, we are so close to finally being able to call the edit done. Not as close as I thought prior to last Saturday—but it’s also going to be a lot better than I suspected prior to last Saturday as well.

Ian Hubert
Writer Director

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