Monday, March 23, 2015

Notes on Editing... Part 3 (the turn)

We're about 3/4 of the way between a first and second cut of the film.  The biggest changes have come in the last few weeks, and the film it wants to be is more clear now than ever.  Even when I thought it was pretty clear a couple of months ago, I was misguided in that assessment.  I can make the observation that the way we shoot our films, the post production process becomes a living, organic being, and very rare is the scene or character that is sacred.  I'd say that there are maybe a handful of scenes that are absolutely necessary in moving the characters and story to where they need to be to be satisfying.  That's not to say the rest is fluff.  Not at all.  The other stuff is what shades the characters and relationships, and gives the film a very distinctive, humanist feel.  But, because ultimately the plot weaves in and out of these moments subtly, I can be very picky about what makes it into the final film - rather, I've found that some things are just kind of falling out by attrition of feeling out the textures inherent in the film that we shot.

I stated in an earlier post that I felt the film had revealed itself to be a comedy.  I was wrong at that time.  This film, now having made it all the way through a first cut, distinctly rides a line right down the center between comedy and drama - there are funny bits and dialogue, but I wouldn't call any one scene particularly "funny" as a whole.  The comedy kind of exists within the framework of some very serious themes, and I've become conscious of not letting that invert itself.  At times in the earlier version of the film, we let certain scenes turn themselves inside out, but the alchemy didn't quite work that way - it undercut the drama on the whole.  There are still a few scenes where we're trying to find that right balance, but I think we'll get there through screening the film for test audiences in the coming months.

A video posted by Bobby Putka (@bobbyputka) on

I can now see a bunch of different influences in the film.  I think the film plays to the kind of emotional pitch of comedy and drama inherent in something Alexander Payne would make, which I guess is fitting since that's who some of the industry types that read the script early on(back when I thought I could wait, schmooze, coast by on snappy dialogue, and try to make this movie for a lot more money than ended up happening) compared it to.  Hell, I wouldn't mind at all if people called this film poor-man's Alexander Payne... because I am a poor man.  Obviously, I learned everything I know stylistically from watching Judd Apatow's films a million times, which obviously means I have no handle of what style is or means - but it helps the performances, I swear!  Of which, we've got some excellent ones... the trio of women, I think, feel alive.  They bounce off each other and all over the place with unpredictability.  They're funny at times, and almost always raw.  Whether raw means sometimes uncomfortably mean-spirited or openly vulnerable will be up to the audience to decide, but they're definitely doing good work here.

A video posted by Bobby Putka (@bobbyputka) on

I think something I'm most proud of, and something that will rouse absolutely no one other than me is this shot that references one of my favorite frames of all time from the great film (and not just  guilty pleasure) Valley Girl.

Current runtime w/credits: 96mins.
Prior runtime w/credits: 104mins.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Screenings Galore

Last spring and summer I shot three short films as exercises in readying myself for making MAD.  All three will have screenings over the next two months.

Both Dad's Dead and The Peter Party will screen at the Florida Film Festival, where I'll be attending screenings on 4/12 and 4/14.  The Peter Party and Brontosaurus will both screen at the Boston Underground Film Festival on 3/29. And finally, Brontosaurus will be screening at the Calgary Underground Film Festival in April.

I've had previous work screen at all of these fests in the past, so it makes me feel, like, loved, that they're having me back.

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