Editing: When I went to bed last night, I thought the village montage was nearly done. But watching it this morning, I wasn’t satisfied at all, so I recut the whole thing. Now, at least the raw material for a strong montage of village residents is in place. Most of the afternoon was spent stumbling over the crater. There were strong dialogue scenes with the caretaker and emotional scenes at the crater itself, but no real logical way to sequence them. AND, since the guy didn’t set out looking for a crater, there’s basically no context for the audience; what’s this got to do with anything? why is this guy there, seeing as how no one’s ever mentioned it before? and so on.
Well, a really simple, straightforward solution presented itself, and I’ve been flying through the scene for the last hour; everything seems to fall right into place. The audience should get information about the crater (and in a powerful way) and the guy’s reaction to it is actually set up and enhanced by the way it’s cut. Or at least it will/should be, once it really gets cut. That leaves only Thiepval for tomorrow morning. Nearly on schedule.
Not to turn this into a Soderbergh shrine or anything, but I’m sorry, I was at Sundance in 1989 (and managing the foreign film program at my university); I’ve been influenced. On Avid’s site, Soderbergh talks about editing his films, including Ocean’s Eleven and Traffic. A “radical” change editor Stephen Morrione made to one scene in Traffic illustrates the potential power of editing. [scroll down to “Half a Step Ahead”]. I felt that tonight. (Although so far, the closest I’ve gotten to Traffic is scoring one of the promo t-shirts that’s wrapped like a brick of cocaine.)
Tonight, I’ve been editing to TCM’s showing of All Quiet on the Western Front, the 1930 war/anti-war classic, directed by Lewis Milestone. Milestone was a lion of filmmaking, starting way back in the silent era (remember, sound movies only really came out three years before AQOTWF) and continuing into the sixties. His second to last film? The original Rat Pack version of Ocean’s Eleven. Hey, I don’t make this stuff up; it just happens.