Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 22 (April 3rd)

What joy!

Monday was a revelation. Secretly I had not been looking forward to the edit. I was unmotivated probably because of the five month lapse waiting to start something that should have started a week or two after the shoot. But all was forgotten on Monday. It was the most creative day I’ve had since the shoot wrapped. From the first 14 minutes of Caroline’s first edit of the film we cut 4 minutes and moulded the rest. The film was shortened to two hours twenty one. It really worked. The beginning I was quite unhappy with when watching the assembly. Now I have an overpowering feeling of its success.

On Tuesday we cut another 6 minutes from the film. I was tired as I couldn’t sleep much the night before with things whizzing about in my head. We got to the Ferry for France which is about 40 minutes in to the film so net we cut a fifth of that footage. Film length two hours fifteen minutes.

On Wednesday we tackled the driving through France montage. It was a lot of ground to cover. Instead of the word games improvisation we decided to use all the other conversation snippets and reduced the film from two hours fifteen to two hours fourteen. Not much gain but a lot of work done.

On Thursday we started on the forest scenes and progressed to the campsite and along the way cut another four minutes reducing the film to two hours ten. The end of this day was a sequence I wasn’t satisfied with in Caroline’s first cut as I didn’t feel the journey and the progressions were there. Now I think they are.

So we are now over half way through our first pass together on the film. Until we watch it all, though, it’s impossible to have a total appreciation of the shape and flow. Already I’m thinking about further excisions. No matter what, the film is greatly improved from the first assembly I saw three weeks ago. Greatly! Some times it flies!

At the start of the week the film was 2 hours and 25 minutes long. Now it is 2 hours 10 minutes. So that’s 15 minutes gone in the first week. I’m sure this rate of reduction will slow down dramatically and eventually we’ll be glad of a few seconds here or there! But for now it’s satisfying. We’ve only cut two whole scenes, though. Many others have been reduced. But only two have totally gone. I’m certain also that those two will not be the last.

Today I can’t go to the cutting room as I have to attend a wedding in Paris tomorrow. It’s an unwelcome distraction from the work in hand but I’m sure I won’t be able to switch of my brain from it. All week my head has been swirling with cutting points, choices, cross cuts, cutaways, eliminations, possibilities.

I feel great. Alive. Postive. Happy.

Also now the contract with the Cornish writer is signed so that is progressing at last. When one things works, everything works…

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