Editing, Last Day 3: Well, we go on, editing through the Friday 9PM shipping deadline. (There go my 80K miles. And because of the Easter holiday, I have to fly through London to deliver the tape by Tuesday.)
Thursday night, we called a few friends over to screen the cut with fresh eyes, to see if it made sense, had any unintentionally unclear/unexplained parts. Good thing we did. A couple of key moments didn’t come across as I’d hoped. People wanted to see more at the memorial itself, for one thing. While in one sense, the “shortchanging” of experience at the memorial was an intentional contrast with the preceding experience at the crater, it was apparently overdone, an unconscious underestimation of the audience’s ability to identify the differences.
On that note, there were moments and ideas caught by new eyes that I hadn’t consciously considered. Dennis liked a physical contrast between the comparably scaled crater and the towering arch (positive/negative, raw/manicured, random/precise). Of course, Dennis is a sculptor, well attuned to such things. Patrick caught the naivete of the character’s quest, the “not knowing what he’ll find but needing to look anyway”. And the emotional ambiguity of the end, being left to feel what you will, not just what you’re made to feel. Andrew was the sharpest on spotting continuity & narrative flow issues, even spotting a sequence I’d put in of cutting back and forth from driving in the rain and searching online. “I want to see more rain. I know she’s still searching; she just said it.” And he was right. All in all, it was an extremely nervewracking but valuable session; if it’s this tough to show something to someone I know, what’s it going to be like to show something to the world? Or to the world that stumbles into the VFW hall where it screens on a Saturday afternoon?