Running a production is tough stuff and can feel incredibly overwhelming, so I wanted to share my experience with you guys! I kept a production blog for my newest piece, Classic Alice, and tweaked it a little bit to make sure the experience was educational for anyone out there thinking about working a production.
Jan 2014. We wrapped! After two days of shooting, we had 33 pages of material ‘in the can’ and we passed everything off to our editor. Things were quiet for a little while as she assembled all our footage and started to compile things for us to watch. We consulted with her and were able to lock down a start date for the run, which meant that now we were on a deadline!
Feb 2014. So many notes! Editing can really bring a show alive and I think a lot of amazing stuff happened in our editing room — and a lot of trial and error went into making sure we had exactly everything we needed. As we continued, we had the post production process down to a few steps:
– Nicole would give us a rough cut of the episode so we could see where things were taking shape
– Our director and I would confer and I’d compile notes
– I’d communicate notes with Nicole & she’d adjust. She’d send a ‘fine cut’ to us.
– We’d watch, approve or ask for changes, then lock the episode & it’d be off for color correction.
I highly recommend, for the sake of your post team’s sanity, that you streamline everything you can. Have ONE point person for notes — that’s a lesson that we had to puzzle out during this production. If there are too many cooks in the kitchen, things can get muddy and too many voices always leads to confusion.
We edited our show weekly, which means that we were editing as we released. In our case there was no other way, but it does add a time crunch on production. If at all possible, you want to try to edit things at once so your release schedule doesn’t feel so crammed.
March 2014. LAUNCH! We ran for six weeks and, as I said, we also edited during that time. It was toward the end of our run that I really got to see some very cool editing maneuvers go down — when people say that editing can change a performance, this is what they mean:
In the last episode of Classic Alice, Alice and Andrew have a huge fight. On the page, it worked. In the room, it worked brilliantly — it was one of the most satisfying scenes to film. But when we saw the rough cut, something was missing. I asked our director what happened and he explained that in this instance, the format (vlog) was hurting us — what you might be able to capture in a traditional filming environment (glances, intense expressions, movement, etc.), we were missing because the camera was stationary and couldn’t find us — and couldn’t move to highlight the tension.
Nicole to the rescue! And Josh — both were totally relaxed and knew that some good editing would tweak the fight to where we wanted it. We visited Nicole to lock the last episode and, sitting in her bay, I watched as she just quickly flew different takes in and out and rearranged the pace of the scene to completely change the tension. It was amazing. We went from a scene I was afraid dragged to exactly what I felt in the room when I was acting — heated, tense, and full of conflict. And the camera didn’t even move! Be nice to your editors, you guys: they can make magic out of anything.
See you guys next time! As we at Classic Alice say: Top Aces!