In this long week before the winter holidays, I've been combing through the edit one last time going over scenes, moments, and performances with perhaps more scrutiny then I've yet done. We are locking our edit tomorrow and delivering he remaining media and XML file to our colorist/on-line editor, Seth. Once we conform the edit to the original RAW footage, we are pretty much committed to all the edits of the film. That's it. No more changes. No more tweaking. No more testing things out to see if they hold up. I've had a list of notes from myself and Alex Kopit that I've been working through and each new adjustment I make has me reflecting a great deal. These past two weeks, if I had a new thought or an idea of how a scene might play better, I'd put in the hours to retool it and then play it back against what I already had. Most of the time, I would end up going with the original edit and remembering how I had arrived there in the first place. The edit is becoming cyclical! I think that is as good a sign as any that it is time to move on.
Of course, there are the odd tweaks here and there that have had significant impacts on how things play and I'm baffled that I've only noticed them this late in the game. All in all, this final pass is just about refining the film as a whole and making sure that I can squeeze as much as I can onto the screen in the way I had envisioned once upon a time.
I have mixed feelings here. It's hard to accept that the story-telling part of the process is done. When I was writing, I took comfort in the fact that I could make new discoveries while shooting. When shooting, I took comfort in the fact that I could make new discoveries while editing. Now that I've completed the edit, that's all there is to discover. It is what it is aside from color and sound and music. Obviously those things will have a big impact on the final product, but the story is there. The things we see will be the things we see.
The flip side to this sense of finality is the supreme sense of accomplishment: We are completing a very cool movie. It's the culmination of a year's worth of work and lifetime of of collective ambitions. I am also eager to have a finished product to submit to and screen at festivals.
There is plenty of work yet to do with the movie until we have a final sound mix, color, etc. But with the editing done...well, I don't have to edit anymore. That will free up my time for other producery tasks as well as permit me to begin working on my next project. Naturally, there will be plenty of blogging along the way.