I have a movie for the IFC MEDIA LAB site, but it is 7 minutes and they wanted it down to 6 minutes, so that meant some cutting. I have never re-edited this movie & sure wasn’t going to go back to the raw footage so I watched it to see if I could just make trims from the movie as is. Since there was no music throughout until the end section, it was pretty easy to just Razor Tool out some lines of dialogue, and some (invisible to me for years) awkward pauses. In one spot during the section with music, I had to make a cut, but that was easily overcome with a cross dissolve on the audio track. Every now & then I tend to go back to my old shorts & re-edit them, mostly because I need to get some distance from my initial instincts of the first edit and sometimes from my own feedback during screenings. What’s funny to me is that it’s less what people say than how I perceive they feel during a screening. It winds up meaning very little to me actual criticism written or spoken, as much as how I feel the audience, as a collective whole, reacts to any given moment in a movie. When you edit your own material and you sit with it, you do lose perspective. It’s when you show it to someone that somehow it renews your take on how the emotional intentions work or fail and you see how maybe a fresh eye can vicariously open your eyes to changes & mistakes.
So with this case, a short film about racism I made a few years ago called BITTER OLD MAN, I wound up making the movie a lot better. As I get more experienced as a filmmaker, I find that instead of being pretentious and making my “director’s cuts” longer, I tend to make them shorter & tighter. Now that BITTER OLD MAN is now only 6 minutes, I’ve kinda fell in love with the movie again. It’s not a light piece, but it’s definitely the most personal movie I’ve ever made. I took elements from conversations with a good friend of mine, who has since passed (only 2 years older than me) and made this tribute to our many arguments of race and the fact that he went crazy when he found out I lost my virginity to an African American girl.
The only other time I’ve re-edited like this is when I got my distribution deal with BIG FILM SHORTS and they wanted more material, so I made a bunch of cuts and made shorter versions of my old movies as I felt they would play better shorter and some of the jokes weren’t as funny as I wrote them at the time. I made money on every single short film I re-edited at that time, so it was definitely worth it to me, plus the movies seem to play much better since I re-edited them with a more experienced eye.
Well, I was just informed via Email that BITTER OLD MAN on the IFC MEDIA LAB is ranked in the current Top 10, so I feel even better about the re-cut.
I woke up today to see another mound of snow on the world outside Rossdonia. This caused me to cancel my editing class for the 2nd week in a row. This depresses me a bit. I’m sick of the snow and cold weather. It was late coming, but it sucks nonetheless.
Our little kitty “V” is no longer very little and has started to enter sexual maturity. Poor old lady Cousette has become his target of any urges he has. “V” has tried to hump her in front of many a house guest, so like me, he has no inhibitions. His fur matches his personality. “V” has mostly a dark exterior and a white underbelly, and his personality is mostly this troublemaking rogue brashness with a sweet and loving aspect when he gets tired. He hates to be held, at least until he gets tired and then he falls all over you to be held and take a nap on my shoulder (still). Cousette is just lazy, but finally getting completely over the loss of her brother, Spaz. Most of the day is spent policing the public displays of affection this week.
Poor guy is gonna get snipped soon…
Because of a few unexpected gigs, February has been a very good month for me. I’ve gotten on a few shoots, camera gigs, and other miscellaneous paid work. I was able to do something the other day I haven’t done in a few years; I bought new clothes. Now, I didn’t go hog wild, I only bought 2 pairs of pants (a shock to most who know me since I hate wearing pants) and 2 shirts. Clothes have been a very low priority to me for a few years. Since I have a girlfriend, the need to try to look more hip has lessened for me. Overall, I spent all of $40 on the new attire, but it was more than I’ve put out for clothes since 2003. Next up – a new pair of shoes! Come on paid gigs, daddy literally needs a new pair of shoes. FYI – I bought my first ever pair of cargo pants and a new pair of jeans that actually fit, since the last pair has been horribly oversized, and baggy and I always felt like a whigger-type with my pants always lower than my waist. I may actually wear pants more often since these new ones are both a lot more comfortable than I am used to.
I finally got my final illustration for the book. With it came the last spell & grammar checks, thus the near-final version is done. Time to send it off to publishers. I’ve only waited 4 months to finalize this baby. It needed fermenting, like a fine wine, only words and illustrations that needed less procrastination on my part. Now that I uploaded the latest version, along with a raise in minimum wage, I upped the price to $14.99 plus shipping. It’s worth it. The book gives a lot of info and entertains; at least those who bought it so far liked it. A little over 100 books sold so far. The Boo is pleased.
As I await a little bit more info, my feature films will have more updates in the coming weeks. For 2008 I am considering a far more heavy and deep project. I want to direct a feature based on a true life book about the holocaust. Working on BITTER OLD MAN reminded me that I do like drama and like working with actors on the more emotional aspects.
We shall see what the future holds.
Keep warm & dry friends of Boo.
-=- Peter John Ross