Production Journal #6
I got my footage, I got my final cut pro, now it was time to put it all together. The editing process for this film was an approach I'd never taken before. I had 17 minutes worth of film footage to sift through and I had no idea where to start. I didn't know what I wanted to say, all I had were shots I loved and thought were interesting. So that's the first thing I did; I watched the footage several times and then one by one began to pull out shots that called out to me. Once I did that, I managed to narrow it down to just 8 minutes of footage. At this point my co-filmmaker and I had already aggreed we wanted to keep this project away from linearity and narrative. It was our chance to really try to experiment with movement, shapes, and space and create a piece wholly inspired by just those things. Well, as most things in life are, it was much easier said then done. I decided to approach it in an exclusively visual way; through the combination of movements and images that when juxtaposed flow together. The movement doesn't need to be fluid,I did include several hard cuts in the edit. What was really important was to find and combine the shots that had a sort of visceral connection between them.
As I edited, I tried my best to avoid thinking about it logically. I wanted to prevent myself from implying a kind of story or relationship through the editing. That is, of course, exactly what I did the first time. After looking at the footage for a while, I began to invent a sort of relationship growing between the dancers. There was one dancer who's movements tended to be more powerful and dominant than the other dancer; this was apparent through her dancing technique as well as the choreography she was told to perform. I soon began imagining a relationship between the two in which one girl completely controls the other; this began affecting the way I organized the initial shots I combined. Soon enough, after 7 hours of looking at my footage and trying to figure out what I wanted, I finally hit a wall. Editing is interesting in the way; you can never stop editing, you can always change something. The important thing to learn when to stop and walk away.
When I finally showed my film professor my rough cut, the first thing he noticed was that this relationship didn't really work for the project. I soon realized that I was trying to create logic in chaos and that I had to chose one over the other. The style of choreography called for this anarchic non-linear and editing style, logic had no place there. Hearing this from my teacher sparked a new motivation and I was finally able to finish, making a dance for the camera I'm proud of.
If you'd like to see my film, please come and see it at the JHU Film & Media Studies student screening, Wednesday Dec 8th @ 6:00pm Gilman rm 50. There will be a reception afterwards! If you're busy that day, you can find it here online.
Check it out and let me know what you think!