Film Editing

February 4, 2001- Editing away, finding music

I've been editing away for the past month and I'm starting to get some interesting results. I while ago I got all 8 rolls of film from Cinepost in Atlanta. I was relieved that see that practically everything was in focus and I had no major technical screw up of any kind. The focus had pulled forward on a long shot of John Horrigan as he does his fart spiel in the first office scene, and a close up of Johnny talking at the coffee shop was un-useable. Out of 8 rolls of film, that's about it. (Note: since most of the set-ups were done in ONE TAKE, I usually only had 2 shots of coverage for any one thing. So if I lost ANYTHING, I'd be hurting when it came time to edit.)

I was forced to shoot some double-perf film instead of single-perf for the final portion of the Amanda party sequence. This was transferred slightly blown-up so the offending sprocket holes wouldn't appear in the frame. That stuff looked reasonable. (I still have to go back and re-shoot that little sequence if I want to ever strike an actual film print.)

I also sent off the last of nightclub sequence with Beth Lahr. That came back and everything looked fine 'n dandy. (Woo hoo!) Well, except for the fact that I lost the audio for 4 takes on that roll. During the shoot the DAT was left running, and when we rewound the tape, we went back too far and missed the spot where we left off. 4 takes gone. Mercifully they were only of close ups of Johnny, so I was able to steal the audio from the reverse angle on Beth.

I now have large chunks of the film assembled. I edited the nightclub sequence together and that cut together very well. It was amazing how much the background music/ambient has alot to do with "selling" the illusion of a busy nightclub. When we shot in there, it was dead silent except for the actors talking. Listening to the scene "dry" just doesn't have the appearance as a legit environment. I tossed on some quicky background noise and music and vola...one busy nightclub! I've shown the sequence to a few people and they commented that it looked like an 'actual movie!' I still got laughs when the scene was taken out of context from the rest of the film.

I've been getting laughs from the cow sequence that's intercut with the Amanda party with Kim Lannon. I still need to add background ambient to that. The beach scene came together nicely too. The sun kept popping in and out during filming, and I thought that it would looked totally screwed up when cut together. Luckily I had all my close-ups in sun, and the longer shots without. By cutting on some action and reversing angles, you don't really notice it much. Since the close-ups were strung together, they all matched so it wasn't really an issue.

As I've been editing the sequences together, I've started to slam some transitional music into the mess. These are basically up-beat rock tunes that I like from a bunch of different sources. One great source has been the Internet. I've been scouring all the MP3 sites on the web (IUMA.com, MP3.com, Boston.com, Lycos.com) for tunes that I like. There are A TON of bands out there, unsigned, with already recorded music looking for exposure.

The problem is, there are just too many unsigned bands that are just plain mediocre, and since any nitwit can post their stuff...they usually do. Since I have a cable connection, I can tear through about a hundred songs in a night. I download them, usually listen to the first verse/chorus (if that) and go, "ack...NEXT!" I've found the ratio for interesting to bland to be about 100:1...easy. At times I've felt like e-mailing most of these people and going, "What the hell's the matter with you? You think your crap is any different from the shit's that already out there already? Do something DIFFERENT...PLEASE!! Smash your guitar, drop your speakers, make funny noises...ANYTHING."

So far I found a guy called Scott Acomba with his band called 'Satsuma'. (I'm gonna use his tune "Blue Rinse Poodle" during the nightclub sequence.) A band called 'Fernachur' (from Vermont) has a tune called 'Fuzzyhead' which works as we leave the coffeeshop for the nightclub. I'm also pursuing some bands that had great tunes a while ago, but have disappeared from public view. Two Boston bands I've got lined are The Atlantics and Dumptruck. The Atlantics had a song around 1981 called "Lonely Hearts" which got a ton of airplay around Boston, but was never released nationally. Dumptruck had a song called 'Back Where I Belong' (circa 1986). I've had to plow through many websites and e-mails to find the authors of these great songs. I can only imagine what a music lawyer would be charging me to find these guys.

At the moment, all of the musicians have at least given me a verbal go ahead on using their stuff. I have no idea what the formal contract will look like, but I'm hoping everyone will agree to a percentage deal if/when this project ever gets sold. I've heard that securing music rights to all your songs is vital if you want to get a distribution deal, so at least I'm half way there. Since most of the music I'm seeking isn't 'signed' but wants their stuff to get heard, I'm hoping that that is half the battle.

February 25, 2001 - Siamese twins & Mongo

It's kinda surprising how this all came about. This is the payoff scene where the audience finds out WHO on the Internet has actually been antagonizing Geoff and John at work 'n home. I originally wanted it to be a young kid in a wheelchair attached to a respirator who could only communicate through a pointing device held in his mouth and a keyboard. John and Geoff THOUGHT that the bad guy was the fierce biker dude, but how can you beat the crap out of a kid in a wheelchair? People who are severely handicapped are always portrayed (in movies/TV) as pathetic and helpless, one look and your supposed to feel sorry/guilty and out comes the checkbook for whatever cause some PRODUCER is championing. It also implies that if you have something terrible happen to you, you'll automatically turn into a good person. (They DESERVE this money. ) I've always felt that if I were severely handicapped, this would bug the shit out of me. I initially wanted to show someone like that as being in control and capable of outsmarting everyone. Once on the Internet...appearances don't mean a thing.

The problem was, I didn't have a very funny ending to this scene. I had the kid spot Geoffs Newton, make a comment, laugh, then cut away to John describing this meeting to Enigma online. :-P The other problem was where was I going to find someone who can play a kid in a wheelchair, a wheelchair, the necessary live support equipment for this person, etc. I had brought this scene up to Emery and Brandon Bond (my identical twin brothers sound crew). I asked if one of those guys wanted to be the kid in the wheelchair. (I'm sure neither one of them wanted to be seen like that in front of their friends.) One of those guys had joked that they BOTH should be in the scene as a pair of siamese twins. We laughed our asses off for 10 minutes then got back to work.

For the next few days, every time I thought about it I started laughing at how stupid it would be. That was it, they had to be a pair of siamese twins. I still didn't have an ending to the scene, and I wasn't too sure how well I could "sell" the image of them as conjoined twins. I had enough money for a pair of identical shirts ($10 at Walmart), let alone hire Tom Savini to do that make-up effects. I figured; why not destroy the illusion at the end? I had them pull themselves apart and start taunting the adults like the two little shits that they were. If you didn't believe they were siamese twins, I now had a good reason WHY they were trying to do it.

This damn shoot took about 2 months to coordinate. Every time I scheduled a day, something or somebody couldn't do it. NOW it's done. :-P At this point I've only got to shoot Johnny at his home and his computer on film. I've got to create the cheesy industrial video (on video) that will be shown during the final office presentation. Almost all of the film is edited in some form, and lots of it has been through a final cut. I just need to do more audio work on things. (ambient sounds, a little bit of foley, some ADR.) Getting there.

The big Dick Dahl Boston Globe article should be coming out this Sunday. That oughta be interesting to see what kind of reaction we get. (If any) Hopefully this website will get some more hits from it. I'm also planning on doing a wrap/one year anniversary party on March 10th. I want to have a full length rough cut of everything I have at this point and get some reactions from the cast and crew. I also want to start looking for an agent of some sort. I like how the nightclub sequence cut together, so I'm hoping I can use that to showcase what this film is about. I'll still be needing something like 14 grand for an actual film print, so I'm hoping I can get someone else to pay for it so I'll be able to have frivolities...like dental work. I guess we'll see.

Interesting side note: I got hired at my corporate gig (Liberty Mutual) to FILM their president for a promo. It was my first paid job as a filmmaker. (verses video schlep) I've been updating everyone down there about my exploits on this production, and recently I did a little mini-preview of some of the finished scenes. They were impressed. The guy in charge, Nic Ciantra, wanted to film their president for a broadcast spot, he liked what he saw so I got the job. Woo hoo! This project is starting to payoff in some manner.

Geoff, Johnny & Tony

Generic long shot

Bond twins, Johnny & Brian


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