Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Under The Stairs - The Cutting of A Broken Line

Yebo good people!
Piece by piece, cut by cut, everything is steadily falling into place. Over the past year this movie has seen several revisions, including some really heavy ones, with the most notable advance being between first and second version as I changed the format completely for both picture quality, ambition, and length altogether. Sound has always been intended to be top-notch though, no change there.
As a mainly improvised movie, any new idea, technical advancement or notable location gave new ways to proceed the story, sometimes pushing the entire movie to take a new direction even I couldn't had predicted before that. I was fully aware, even from the very beginning, what my choice in style would mean in technical terms, and that there would often be no way that I could predict exactly how the material would end up in the final movie. That meant that I, already from the very first shot, had to make sure everything was shot in a way that it could be assembled into a serious movie intended for an actual release without ever compromising with the scenes, and never letting it appear static or staged. The camera is always in motion and there isn't any (visible) cuts at all, yet, I'm proud to say that I never had to revise the original method as it never failed me in any way. It was indeed never revised, but it was eventually exchanged though as I found new and vastly improved ways of shooting this movie.
That also meant everything I had recorded for about two months ultimately had to be scrapped.
Not exactly health-food, but good for the morale.
The original methods wasn't discarded altogether though, many of the original tricks and techniques traded well to the new format, and gave me several new ways of splicing the movie together. But where the original photo, due to the limitations of my then equally limited recording-equipment, called for a pretty limited form of processing, the new photage did not. I not only managed to reach a dark, gritty, unforgiving photo I'm actually proud of, in the process I managed to untie the limitations something tremendously and opening up doors I though was practically welded shut! In a figure of speech, of course.

Now, for quite some time, the extreme spontaneous alterations has basically leveled off completely. The basic storyline is fully developed, and large portions of the film has reached first cut.

Whenever I work, I have some basic guidelines I always follow, and this project is no exception - I'm practicing something called KyokushinKai, a full-contact style of Karate, and as such, trying to make overly fancy moves while fighting generally results in severe pain and a hurt ego.
The first major principle is to always find the most effective way to do something. Many goals demand very complicated solutions, and what has to be done simply has to be done. But you should never do anything more complicated than absolutely necessary - in fighting that would mean you'll give your opponent lots of time to beat you silly (I've been training for 11 years and I still remember my first time in the dojo..ouch...). In professional life that might very well mean a mix or cut you seriously can't get a grasp on and a missed deadline. Unacceptable.
The other principle is to never do anything without doing it for a reason. Sure, sometimes you have no idea what to do and does something just to get something done. That's also a reason - in fighting you might try a few moves in a more careful attack to see how an opponent you don't know reacts. It might fail, but then you know and can try something else, until you find a strategy that works for the real attack. In movies, you might not have a clear view of the material at first, and need to fill the timeline with random clips just to see what you have. That is okay as you do it to get to know the material, and as you go, over time this random collection of clips will begin to make sense, and everything unrelated or not having a real purpose will get trimmed, scrapped and forgotten. Fucking this up and and sprinkling the poor movie with random "cool clips" however might not result in a bruise the size of Africa, but will result in a confused and ultimately unwatchable movie.
Especially for a movie already heavily based in confusion of the protagonist, claustrophobia, and paranoia, that would be disastrous.


From the Kyokushin-movie "Fighter In The Wind"

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