Yesterday at Darkstone HQ, I got to watch the rest of the first cut of the movie. It weighs in at the 20-30 minute range, as expected, but I expect it’ll be shortened a bit.
The first thing to go: some of the 17 bazillion “I’m sorry” lines that Jennifer says! It’s totally my fault, because I wrote it that way. But I didn’t realize until watching the movie how jarring it is to hear so many of them. “She sure apologizes a lot,” I said to director John Johnson during the screening. “Well,” he said, “she is going crazy.” Still, I hope we can trim them down.
While I was there, we listened to Richard Adams’s latest version of the title music, and I think we have a winner. To test it out, John played it on his computer while the movie’s opening sequence rolled in a separate media player. “I think I want to cry,” I said. His response: “Have you read your script lately?”
Another area he’ll be retooling in the next cut of the movie is the opening scene’s pacing. Again, thanks to my scripting, there’s a special effects shot within the first few seconds of the film. I’m now concerned that that’s not enough time for viewers to register the basic facts of the scene — that there’s a woman sitting alone in a restaurant — before they have to parse this new thing we’ve thrown their way. Is the answer to slow the effect down, front-load the scene with some extra footage, or reorder a couple of the shots? I expect this will shake out in the next cut of the film, when John starts to add sound effects and music.
Anyway, it’s all coming together! I think we’re on track to finish up in July.
When I got home, I had an email waiting for me from a reporter at the Staunton News Leader. She was writing about the Virginia governor’s signing of a new law that gives tax credits to film makers. I didn’t have much to say on the topic other than, “Duh, me makey movie good,” so I referred her to John. His quote wound up on the paper’s front page this morning. You can read the article here.