Today I was booked for a daily on the TV show Rookie Blue but, because of the rain, the schedule was changed and I now have the day off! Raining = Writing!
After finishing PINK, and doing some networking at the fests, I’m finally ready to move the feature back to the front burner and get those re-writes cooking! But first… a little procrastination in the form of blogging and a lesson learned from PINK that is highly applicable to the task at hand, namely-
YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE THE STORY TIGHTER!
Yes, indeed. Being a fan of short films that are actually short (5 minutes or less), I tried to edit PINK to be the shortest, most compact, most economical version of itself it could be, and yet… I think it could be shorter still. One sequence I found particularly vexing was the beginning. The first shot was meant to set up the Ivy-head character as a character longing for something/someone. And, in my opinion, it works, because it’s ambiguous as to whether he’s looking at the flowers or the girl…
The next sequence (in front of the flower shop), while revealing the Ivy-head’s head, essentially does the same thing as the first shot but perhaps slows things down a little because it’s all about flowers and not about romance, or a question of both.
While editing the film I looked for a way to cut out the flower shop sequence altogether – just cut to Ivy-head walking and discovering Cherry-Blossom head, right?
A lack-lustre introduction of his Ivy-head! Plus, we’d lose whatever slight pay-off we’d set up with the ambiguous nature of the first shot. If, however, we’d done the shot of him walking through the parking lot but started on a close up of his feet shuffling across the pavement and then panned up to reveal his head- presto! Much more dramatic, no need for the flower shop, and on with the (shorter, better) story.
Of course it’s all very easy after the fact to talk about what would make things better, but it’s this kind of analysis that has to start with the script, and then again, with the storyboard… what is this scene for? What does this shot mean? Is it necessary? Is there a better way of saying this same thing that is more economical to the story?
With these questions in mind, I leave you to tackle the feature.
Wish me luck.