Assembly complete!

A quick note to say not only has work re-started on my latest film, but I’ve also (finally) finished the first full assembly! This is a major milestone. It’s the first time all the material I’d like to see in the film is collected in order on a single timeline. Now I can see the shape of it.

A process that ended up being tremendously helpful was to allow my intuition to make poetic associations between visuals, largely based on mood and emotion. Then I might write some music to match the mood, and edit a scene in that flow. This led to some surprising discoveries of connections between material and, I hope, a much more interesting film to watch.

It’s been a long, iterative process. I’ve been through three or four major reorganization of the material. As it stands the film is two hours and 40 minutes long, with 90+ scenes. Time to start cutting it down to just the essence!

422/129

Outline view in my writing software

I search for the line of the film from amidst a mountain of impressions, annotations and intuitive connections. To get there, each of the best moments receives a digital “3×5 card” with a title, impressions, tags for scene type, songs and characters, and a summary transcript or translation. With just the best material, I have 422 index cards—too much to parse. So I slice further to just the scenes that send shivers down my spine.

I must be easily impressionable because after the latest cull I still have 129 “so great it has to be in the movie!” scenes…

Phase 1 Complete! Begin Phase 2.

Fifty-one weeks after my last day in Argentina the process to organize, import, transcode, sort, log, keyword, transcribe, translate and most importantly review and annotate 128 hours of footage is complete. My bullet-point notes add up to 87000 words, 350 pages of observations and insights. My plan was four months. It took almost eight. It’s a tedious process, and though I learned a lot and experienced some spine-tinglingly-great moments, I’m very glad it’s done.

Now on to the next phase of creative work: to transform a few moments from the mountain into 90 minutes of movie magic.