Saturday, November 22, 2008

Long Road of Consultants

After graduating film school I had a film in my hand but it was far from done. I knew this because upon showing it to people they would ask me questions like 'what was the name of that kid in your film?' and 'who actually won?' - they couldn't follow who was who and they didn't care about any of the characters in the film: slight problems. I began to work with another consultant, Eric Taylor. He created the series Unsolved Mysteries. He's more 'old school' in his approach to filmmaking, we worked off paper-cuts (scripts) of the film instead off of the computer. Eric really helped make the film not suck. He helped me find a narrative through line that made sense. After 5 months of editing with him, he said we were done and it was time to go to a fine-cut editor.

I showed the film to several editors, about 10. Many said the film was done and they were willing to work on it. Which was great. But two said the film was far from done and needed major work. One of them was Kurt Engfer, who edited many of Michael Moore's films. I respected his opinion. He had agreed to look at my film for free and offer his critique, which was far from pretty. One of the other editing-dissenters was Flavia Fontes, she agreed to work on a consulting basis with me to fix the film. For another 4 to 6 months we worked on the film, meeting on a weekly basis. She was phenomenal to work with; she had a knack for creating likable characters and expressing universal themes. Eventually, she, like many others before her, said the film was done. Flavia and I talked about going to sound design. We also talked about several film festivals to enter into but I was hesitant. I had been here before. I showed the film to two new faces. People that never saw the film before. One was an editor who I highly admired, his name was Chris White.

After showing Chris the film, he said something I had heard before: 'you're a loser, why did you make this piece of sh*t?'. Just kidding, he said it wasn't done. The good news was he thought the last 2/3rd's of the film just needed to be touched up. The bad news was the first act needed to be re-structured. I worked with Chris only over the phone on a consulting basis and continue to work with Flavia. Chris and I didn't meet more than 5 times total, but in those few meetings he helped me solve the beginning of the film.

Finally, I took the film to Sound Design with Mike Furjanic, who also did my sound design for a short film I made in grad school. I also began music composition with Nadim Issa who is a member of the talented, New York based band Mancino. Nadim also did music composition on my short film. Both are very talented. Mike did the sound design for Jesus Camp and Mancino has been featured in We are so close to finishing, can't wait to be done.