24 hours in the dark
I spent much of the weekend in a small editing room with Editor Tom and Co-Director Frank. Tom was getting quickly fed up with the project (in a very jovial non-annoyed Tom manner which we took to be quite a dangerous situation indeed) and because he is doing this for free, we realized we needed to finish, NOW. So as our drives crashed and we got kicked out of our free space all at the same time last week, we decided to take this weekend, rent drives, use another AVID for free, and finish the bitch. And we did.
Well almost. Tom and I are meeting tonight for a couple hours for a little more sound mixing and to do the credits. And then were done.
Well with this version. (We might do a longer version, we might not. Everything floats in the air, way above my head. Above the city in which I live. Above the proved limited range of my control over my life.)
Editing is damn fun. It really is. The stuff we had to do this weekend was mostly dull, though. Cutting in new songs my composer just finished, cutting in sound effects, a trim here, a snip there. As Tom worked on Election, we stole the "ugly freeze-frame" bit from that great movie as an introduction device for Todds character (basically my bitch-boy.) It works quite well.
I suppose now that its almost done I might as well describe the piece, this short film I shot in April and have been sporadically editing ever since; I wrote and co-directed and star in the thing, along with most of my currently-on-hiatus-because-were-all-too-busy comedy troupe Film Pigs. The piece is about a cheesy commercial actor (me) who saw Al Pacinos documentary Looking For Richard (in which Al Pacino deconstructs Richard II) and, fancying himself a similarly scholarly and artistic guy, decides to do the same thing. However, not "getting" Shakespeare, he deconstructs a script he does understand, The Karate Kid.
So in the film everyone plays two characters: one of my dim actor friends, and a character from KK Johnny, Daniel, Ali, Kreese, etc.). We recreate the key scenes from KK (with full costumes, sets, and music) and then discuss it and try to "dig deep" and uncover the subtleties of that seminal 80s film. I play Mr. Miyagi (as Pacino played Richard) and thus, the short is called, Looking For Mr. Miyagi. Editing the thing was a bit of a challenge because everything we did we had to sort of do from the point of view of this dipshit actor; as if he were editing it, because the film is actually this guys version of Looking For Richard, and thus, pretentious, cheesy, and ultimately, stupid. (We, naturally, play it very straight.) But once we understood what that meant to us, we were free to play around with hokey AVID effects and a general sense of good intentions/bad execution and bad everything else.
And with the project coming to a close (for now) tonight, I am tempted to get reflective and philosophical but with the play and writing and life Im too busy for much of that. The reason I made this thing was firstly to test myself I was in a bit of a creative funk back in January when Frank and I, over a couple pints, were saying for the millionth time how we were sick of waiting for X and Y to come together, and we should just up and film something. So I actually up and did. And yall dont need to hear the "I couldnt have done it without ____ speech", but the actors are all great and sweetly donated their time, as did editor Tom who really deserves something more than a credit and a hearty thanks, but he makes so much money at SONY that whatever pittance I could give him would mean nothing.
And funny thing: at this point Im not even sure what Im going to do with the thing. Have a little premiere for cast and friends. Make tons of copies, I guess, but then, exactly what? In the last 6 months it seems everyone and his mom has made a short comedy video (usually parodies) that at this point I feel like I dont want to put myself out there as part of that mostly distasteful crowd. But at the same time, this is no Shaving Ryans Privates or The Blair Bitch Project. Its not an overly long SNL skit, like many of these things seem to be. Its funny. Its well put together. And its deeply stupid in a very thoughtful and intelligent way. I made the whole thing SAG-legal so I can submit to festivals, but we sort of thought the longer (more Guffman-esque) version would be better for that. Between the two of us, Frank and I have about 40 professional contacts waiting to see the thing, both in the writing, directing, and acting worlds so they come first. Then who knows?
Obviously Im a bit overly tired and punchy from the editing room, but it tonight we finish. And it feels really really zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I just deposited a residual check from a TV show I was on years ago. The check is for $7.61! Whoo-hoo! I tell you, show biz is nothing if not glamorous.
The Larry King Happy
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