Thursday, October 20, 2011

Snip Snip - New Cut of The Big Deal

The original cut was almost 14 minutes long and the new cut is almost 9 minutes long. I applied to 10 festivals, got into four and won the 2011 Imagen Award for Best Theatrical Short.

Friends and family were surprised that me, their favorite optimist would be so devastated by this. Of course I am grateful for the festivals the film has screened at and winning the Imagen Award BUT, I want more for The Big Deal. My team and I worked too long and too hard on this film to have the film’s life end there.
I am a dreamer, an optimist and I am proactive. If I was  an optimistic dreamer without the hard work supporting those dreams then I would be very happy with the small successes that The Big Deal has been showered with. I worked too hard and too long putting this film together for me to be happy with just that.

The film has been well received by the audience but it was rejected by 6 of the 10 festivals.  I kept asking myself why. I asked some filmmaker friends for feedback and I think they were being polite because not one of them gave me the answer I needed.  
As luck would have it, one of my friends was raving about a book she had read and the book changed EVERYTHING.
When I was halfway through the book, I knew what I needed to do to make the film work. I wrote a short film following the structure of a feature film which was wrong (news to me until reading this book). I watched the film again and again and realized that the solution to my problem was luckily, very simple. All I needed to do was start the film about 5 minutes later. There’s a moment in the film (now the opening) where Alma apologizes to Michele, in her apology she kind of recaps the first five minutes of the film. One of the big mistakes many short films make is that they sometimes repeat information that was already conveyed. The book explains all of this better than I am so do yourself a favor and buy this book.
The decision to cut the film was very difficult and probably why I haven’t blogged in so long.  When I realized what I had done (make the mistake I mentioned above) I was devastated. I was depressed for about three weeks. I wanted to give myself time to grieve this loss, so  I marinated in my sadness and then, after I had enough of being miserable,  I got to work.
The reason why I was SOOOOOO devastated was 20% because I had to chop off that segment of the film and 80% because everything that was cut was EVERYTHING we shot on day one! I was mourning the loss of the money that was spent on day one of production, I could have done another short with that money! Everyone is usually surprised when I tell them we shot it the film in two days but the fact that it could have been done in one day, thus cutting my expenses (remember, I paid for this myself) still STINGS.
The good news about all of this is that every mistake comes with  valuable lessons. I would suggest to every filmmaker to do a script consultation with a professional before you shoot your film. Don’t just count on the feedback you get from your actors (every actor will like your script because of what they can do with it), your friends and family will like it too.
If I would have hired a script consultant I would have saved half of my budget. Lesson learned, next.
I did a script consultation with Roberta for Alone. I have a follow up session with her next week. I am very happy with where this project is going and am looking forward to all the work. Here's Roberta's website;
I’m taking a writing class where I’m developing my feature film.

No comments:

Post a Comment