So editor Simon Tondeur sent me the first rough cut of Where We Started
a week ago. I was both excited and anxious. Excited for obvious reasons - this is my film! But I was nervous because I had to re-engage with what I had done (about which I've felt pretty good) and whether or not it was working.
In other words, I had to leave my positive memories of the shoot behind and focus on what we actually got and whether or not it was working.
I closed my office door and watched the film all the way through with few interruptions, which to my mind was an important part of the process. You can look at an individual scene to see if it works, but employing that method makes it hard to determine if the film as a whole is doing what you want it to do.
And I came to the end of the film and thought that were some good scenes, but as a whole it wasn't coming together yet.
Simon asked me later that night to articulate what my favorite scenes were and what my least favorite scenes were.
As I wrote out those thoughts to him, it occurred to me that what was lacking in some scenes was the inclusion of more shots that had both actors in the frame (as opposed to lots of close-ups).
That sounds like a trivial thing, but in a film that deals quite a bit with the intimacy between two people, I realized that not seeing them occupy the same space in the same frame might be a part of the problem.
Simon knows that as well but was struggling with continuity issues. That is, the actions of the actors in the wider shots didn't often match their actions in the closer shots, so it was hard to cut between them (because there is a mismatch that takes viewers out of the 'moment'). Nevertheless, he dug back in to make those changes and some others as well.
I watched most of the second rough cut today (I couldn't finish because I ran out of time at the end of the day after numerous interruptions). And I have to say that the cut seemed to really work, so far, with the changes that were made. I started to sense this connection between these two characters like I hadn't felt in the first cut.
So that's a long-winded way of saying that I really think this movie is coming together.