I haven’t posted recently because I have been locked away in a dark room with only my hard drives for companionship while I slave away at my computer for twenty plus hours a day to finally get a cut completed of the documentary. Ok, that’s not exactly true. Mostly I have been in my parents dining room, which is sunny with a nice view of the mountains and llamas grazing nearby. During the days I work there while my daughter plays in the backyard. When I was younger, well, before my daughter was born I worked under the normal constraints most editors lament about (see above description). Glued to my computer I wouldn’t get up for barely a water break in four hour increments. I would go upstairs to work with directions that no one bother me.
I no longer have that luxury. If I get a completely quiet thirty minutes I feel pretty good. Nap times can vary from non-existent to three hours and I have to be ready at a moments notice to fit in some editing time. Because of this I work out editing problems in my head much more than before and find myself contemplating themes and story in a much more in-depth manner. I think when you stick yourself in front of the computer for hours on end you become entrenched with small details. When you have limited time at the computer you make everything count.
Now, I find myself at the park with a notebook and pen working out problems and writing out story lines. All of the interviews are transcribed and I have the time to read and reread them because it is much easier to carry around a notebook with toddler in tow than a computer and an external hard drive. These are things that we should always do as filmmakers, but nowadays it is so easy to get in front of the computer and skip these steps. More often than not I solved all story problems when I was away from the computer. And then when I sat down at the computer all I needed was thirty minutes.
I hope this new way of working will result in a better film. When I first started editing I thought there was no way I would meet my deadlines without working through the night. Yet, I am currently ahead of schedule; finally at a place where I can start showing it to a select group of people to determine the final cut.
Even as I write this my daughter is pulling at my arm and telling me it is time to brush my teeth (shouldn’t it be the other way around?). I think my thirty minutes is up.