Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 23 (April 11th)

Back at it this week. Last weekend was a total break and I even got some good nights sleep over it. The wedding was a French civil municipal affair conducted by the Mayor of Paris! I thought I might get a chance to hook up with Julie while there but in the end I didn’t get the time to even text her.

Monday was a hard slog. For 4 hours we were editing, re-editing and tweaking a 30 second sequence that eventually we got to work. It was real hard graft. By the end of the day we got to the end of the campsite sequence and the beginning of the second day in the forest. We cut a couple more small scenes and trimmed many others. Our net gain over the day was two and a half minutes excised. The ideas I’d been having of having the first pass shorten the film to two hours became discernibly unachievable.

At the start of the Tuesday the film was two hours seven and a half minutes long. We continued to cut until we got to the lake. The choices were quite straightforward and thus we had a real sense of progress. We excised another two minutes from the film.

On Wednesday we got to the end of the film. The final office scene was very tricky with all the tracks in and choices on who to be on when. The real big effort, though, was the tripping sequence. I am sure we will revisit that sequence many times. It really shows how something can mushroom and transform through the cinematic process! In the script it was two paragraphs, about a quarter of a page. You would normally expect that to translate into a sequence of 15 seconds or so. Currently it is 5 minutes 40 seconds!! I’m certain it cannot stay at that length EVEN if it is the best scene in the film…

Right near the end of Wednesday, Pete Stevenson turned up very jolly. I’d told him we were commencing the real work and that he could catch some of it for the documentary. I’d been expecting him since last Monday. He arrived an hour before we finished the first pass, filmed for half an hour and then disappeared. I had to leave before he returned. Caroline told me that an hour later she heard singing in the street, looked out the window and saw him merrily sitting on a wall singing to himself!

On Thursday we showed the film to Jonnie as promised. It was 2 hours 3 minutes 45 seconds long including a final shot that end titles will go over. I wanted him to see it before we got into the bigger and harder choices of cuts. I have many ideas of other things to eliminate or shorten but wanted Jonnie to see it before I did that. During the showing many things jumped out to me and Caroline and Jonnie came up with some good ideas for trims from scenes also.

I am glad Jonnie was pleased with the progress so far and wasn’t perturbed by any of the scenes we’ve already cut. As a writer he must be one of the least precious I have ever worked with. Probably a lot less precious than I can be sometimes as a director. As a case in point I felt my first painful twinge when he suggested the elimination of something that I love. Luckily, though, it wasn’t practical nor necessary. It won’t be the last time I have that twinge!

As of today the film is just under 2 hours and I have left Caroline alone over the weekend to tidy up things and try out some ideas on her own before we commence on a second pass on Monday if I get in that day. My father has just been taken to hospital.

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