Memento Mori

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Some things have no daylight

Edited the ‘memento mori’ monologue last night – one of my favorite pieces.

45 seconds monologue – 45 seconds that took several hours to shoot - it was a dolly on a track shot - we did 11 takes; yes 11 takes (which is a lot since we had at least 5 cameras rolling and typically we did 3-4 takes); 11 takes because of technical problems with sounds - take – dolly move – take - camera move retake – dogs barking, airplanes flying, pigeons cooing retake after retake after retake.

Danielle was going blue in the face. Literally, she looks like she is running out of oxygen, out of blood, out of sanity. She’s half angry, half defeated by the whole thing; at the end of each take, her eyes scan the room for support, she forces a smile as she knows she has to go again – the clapper board clap now an unbearable intrusion – as if this is a bad dream she’s stuck in – strapped to a chair having to repeat the same lines over and over again hoping that a dog or a bird won’t destroy the poignancy she’s trying to imbue into the words. [note to self - I can see why there is a movie to be made from the happenings on a film set - the tension is unbearable for us]

On that day I thought – what a trouper – what great effort.

So last night I edit the scene – I’m excited – I know how to get around all the technical hurdles and discover the wonderfulness of the performance.

And it just wasn't there – there’s nothing – no thrill in the camera move (no fault of CHW – camera moves have to fit with the mood of the scenes otherwise…) but worse of all, the performance was - it was...soft.

It seemed to be tacked on – like it didn’t belong to the scene or the story…how could this be…? The writing? The performance? The direction? All the above? No matter…I thought, I’ve had to fix worse than this…

Worked on it all night: jump cuts, cross-fades, dissolves, compositing - five hours to edit a 45 seconds segment.

Ten past midnight - screened it: It just lay there - soft - squishy - lost all its bite – I gave up and went to bed. Restless night – then a flash of insight.

This morning at 6 am – went to the edit suite and cut it all out. The whole monologue gone before breakfast.

11 takes, all on the cutting room floor.

The scene now works.

Memento Mori.

 
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