Throughout pre-production and principal photography, I kept dreaming of the easy-going days of artistic contentment when I would just sit and edit my film. "Oh, to have it in the can and just focus my energy on shaping and perfecting it!" Well. It's kind of like that. Don't get me wrong, I am loving every minute of this process, but it is still work. In fact, I am somehow managing to get even less sleep on average than I did when we were shooting. The main difference is that I can edit in my underwear whereas I can't do that while directing (except for that one scene). I suppose many filmmakers long for the "hard part" to be over, so they can sit back and enjoy their movie. I'm starting to realize that all the parts of making a movie are hard. You can't escape it. Fundraising is hard, prep is hard, shooting is hard, and post is hard.
I'll focus on post-production here. Sitting in a post-house on a leather couch while your editor and assistant editor cut away sounds nice. More like luxury than work. But in do-it-yourself indie world, it's a little less glamorous. Sitting at my desk in my bedroom, I edit every minute that I can. I still have to work, audition, and deal with every day personal stuff, so some days it's just a few hours here and there. But even those few hours are indeed awesome. I'm still having a terrific time with the footage. Now that I am in a flow of editing, my stress has shifted towards the remaining shoot days we have to do. We have festival submission deadlines as early as the end of September which means between now and then we need a polished edit, we need to shoot those two days of footage, transcode and edit them into the whole film, and integrate temp music and tweak the audio. I don't hope to do our color-correction or sound mix prior to submitting to festivals. Our production picture and audio are pretty sexy and if people don't like this movie, don't think it will be for any technical reason.
So for the next month, it is all about finding the story and tone of this film. Shaping, molding, and refining. By the time we get to a worthy cut, we will shoot the remaining few scenes, drop them into the edit, tweak the whole thing, plug in some music, and mail it off.
This whole thing is a series of moving targets, deadlines, and goals. Each new "hard" part gets me excited all over again. By the time it's all over, I'll likely be working on my next one just to keep the flow going.