Sunday, May 22, 2005

[The 48] Cutting the Script

So, we needed (roughly) a six and a half minute long script. By 1am we had a 22 minute long one; by 4am, it was 15 minutes long.

Everyone left Svend's at 4.30 in the morning after a gruelling cut session. It was my responsibility to deliver a workable script to the production meeting. I knew I wasn't going to get any sleep before I took up being Assistant Director at 7am.

On the car ride home with Gino (he crashed out on my couch for an hour and a quarter before becoming the lead actor in the film), I tried to control my panic as he suggested what to cut. In fact, most people on the team made really good suggestions - and they all seemed pretty relaxed when I assured them that stuff they loved would be gone when they read Draft 3 in the morning.

But there was no defensiveness. I guess another good thing about the 48 is there's no time to grow attached to what you've written. Proof of that is that the first cut I made was to eliminate the 5 pages of set-up that I'd spent most of the night labouring over.

What takes that sting away is the sense of satisfaction I get from excising things that don't need to be in the script. It's the same pleasure in the editing room: each time you cut, you're getting a little closer to the true story. And each cut also changes the story; it's a weird, gripping feedback loop.

As Gino slept, I cut and cut and cut.

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