Requires Review – Post Production Blog

4th March 2015
Thanks for clicking through. Here you will find some behind the scenes/images/stills and teasers for my new short project ‘Requires Review’.

After a few months of letting the footage sit and organising it through several hard-drives I sat down to begin putting together the edit. Boy oh boy was it placed all over the place. As I was shooting the doco all over Europe I have footage in folders within folders within different folders on different hard-drives. Let that be a lesson, if you’re shooting a documentary whilst taking holiday video-snaps, try and differentiate them to make future Joshua’s life a lot easier, or future-who-ever you are. Nevertheless the footage has been ingested and now I am busy logging the words from the interview/interviews here’s some insight into the timeline.

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I am hoping to post some editing tips/directing tips along the way too, which might be useful for anyone new to using Premiere CC and whomever might be interested in what the hell this film is about!

LESSON ONE: use ‘LABELS’ to differentiate takes/good cuts/useless parts. Probably a good idea not to layer audio like I do also!

Stay tuned! Here’s a still to tide you over (featuring the wonderful Tom Raudkivi)

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13th March 2014
So it took me a little bit of time to get back into things, but I am happy to say I have 4 minutes cut of the rough cut. It’s been a massive job piecing together bits of the interview with my B roll footage. I just watched it back and I am very pleased with the shape it’s taking but it is too early to say what the film is shaping up to be! Here’s a timeline update as proof! Ignore the craziness. When I assemble documentaries like this I like my footage close by with colour coded rushes of course.

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One thing I’ve noticed whilst going through my footage is that a lot of my B roll whilst fun I probably won’t be able to use due to length constraints. I am at the crossroads where the script goes out the window, the blueprint having served its purpose is tossed aside. Now is the time to decide whether to focus on the film as a character story unleashing a movement or a movement unleashing a character story. I am leaning towards the former, focusing on telling the story of this character rather than everything else around it. No massive editing tips to report other than: don’t edit your main edit off a hard drive with a power supply, they will fail and not boot properly and you will rue the day you thought that JB HI-FI sale was worth it.

Anyway here is a still from the film featuring it’s elusive, enigmatic protagonist. I am so excited to reveal him to you all but until then here’s a little teaser.

still

Requires review rough cutting – MAY 2015

So it’s been a while since my last entry. I’ve been busy working through the film, fine cutting it as much as I can. The benefit of having Ryan Patric O’Donnel and Stuart Beedie providing feedback and criticism as I submit edit after edit has been unbelievably helpful. Massive thank yous to them for all their effort and assistance.

Let that be a lesson, gaining many different pairs of eyes on what you believe to be the best feature in your film is invaluable. They will make you rethink and justify every second of your film, re-consider every cut, every detail of the mise-en-scene. From passersby subtly noticing the camera crew in the smallest part of the background to the tiniest eyebrow movement of your protagonist. If it cannot be justified, if it doesn’t advance the character’s motivation, the story or the audience’s understanding then it should probably be removed.

The best piece of my own advice that I’ve followed here is following the beats of the film. I’ve tried to allow a fluid pace and the tone to change in a consistent motion. Changing the order of scenes in the script is a necessity but here it helped bring the layers of this story to another level.

I have done various test screenings of the fine cut before taking it to colour grade and sound mix- to ensure the film’s meaning and message is sound. Any other work on the film from here on out is a massive bonus and I cannot wait to finish the film.

One thing I’ll mention here is that no matter how fast your hard drive or computer editing system, editing blackmagic pocket cinema camera raw footage natively is not a good idea. Always transcode proxies and do an online edit if you can. Might seem obvious but it’s worth stating!

I am hoping to collaborate with a composer in the USA and a colour grader in Sydney. I will keep you posted how this goes.

July 2015.

I’ve always been a firm believer in the notion that if you hold yourself out to be an amateur at a certain task you are always open to new ideas, opinions and collaboration with others. You are receptive to what the world is trying to offer you rather than closed and in your own cocoon of self-worth and ideals. The second you deem yourself to be a ‘professional’ at all things you do not leave yourself open to new ideas, other’s opinions and as a result you limit the scope of your creativity. I wrote the script for this film on the train from Town Hall to Bondi Junction and finessed it over the next few months while preparing for the trip and even whilst casting the film!

You have to walk the tight rope between success, failure and self-doubt. If you aren’t walking that tight rope and you’re always following the rules, well the content you are making is probably not worth being made or seen. I doubted myself endlessly with the film and so did some actors I showed the script. This forced me to change and adapt the script, which ultimately ended up making a more polished film as the end result. The script being the blueprint that allowed that to take place (it’s not a sacred document in the land of documentary!!).

Never is this process clearer when being told to ‘kill your darlings’ and remove a moment, a scene or a shot from your film because it does not advance the story. And of course always look at where the feedback is coming from before you kill your darling… Well I had to do just that, with my favourite scene in the film, which I felt and still feel actually enhanced the audience’s engagement of the story.

The scene was beautifully performed by Stefan Eriksson and involves a magician giving Bj√∂rn Lindvqist everything he desired in life. It wraps up the film a little too neatly. The problem? We did not film it like a documentary and it broke one rule too many. It was a stylistic and tonal shift from the remainder of the film! I tried to be an amateur fly on the wall documentarian with this film, and I let myself be open to the idea of combining narrative elements with documentary elements, akin to one of my cinematic heroes Werner Herzog. Herzog combines elements of falsity and factual truth, distortion and narrative to reach an ‘ecstatic truth’. In the context of my own work I had to make the judgement call that the film was stronger without the scene, despite my personal affection for everything in it! It was only through filming another documentary that I became acutely aware of the importance of staging ‘organic’ action vs ‘inorganic’ action. A beautifully simply concept. I would ask myself two questions:

1. Did the filmmakers stage this or instruct this?
2. Is it believable that a camera crew would be filming this?

Applying the questions allowed me to ruthlessly cut through the bullshit and focus purely on ‘performance’!

August 15

I should at this point point out that my efforts to write this blog took a turn for the worse due to other film commitments. Though I am happy to report many developments! For one, I achieved a fine cut and was lucky enough to engage the services of Sean Morris Group to colour grade the film. Working with them was a real treat, with every detail and colour and frame given due consideration. I am looking forward to seeing the finished results.