As anyone in the film industry knows, editing is a major part (if not the most important part) of post-production. I’d argue it’s also the most important part of what makes or breaks a film. Have you ever watched one of your favorite movies after it’s been edited for prime time? You scratch your head wondering why you thought the movie was so good. It’s because the original edit worked its magic, triggering all the right emotional responses…and the hack job done to fit in commercials and the cookie-cutter running time has destroyed every beat of the film. It’s a crime. And it happens all the time.
Now I hear you wonder: “What does this melancholic musing on the art of editing (or lack thereof) have anything to do with DEADLY REVISIONS?” My psychological thriller trapped in a horror film (or vice-versa…you be the judge) was shot on a small budget in a short amount of time–as most independent features must be; the editor would be the leading force in turning all of that mad-scrambled footage into a coherent piece of narrative film. One doesn’t want a nut job with a butcher knife for the task; you want an artist who can not only cut film (or video as is often the case, now), but sew it together into beautiful life. Like a Victor Frankenstein of film. Without the scary hair.
Enter our Victor Frankenstein.
His name is Bond. Barry Bond. I have name envy the minute I hear this. But his compact size, boyish charm and genuine enthusiasm win me over at our first meet and greet. My co-producer and I hand over our baby and wish him well with stringing together a first cut for me to begin working on with him. I have done my best to give him much direction via spreadsheets and whatnot as far as what takes to use, what shots are key, and so on; however, it’s still a daunting task of organizing, cutting and pasting innumerable pieces into a comprehensible work. I spend much of the time with my finger crossed. And my toes. When he finally calls me in to show me what he’s done, I realize right away how talented he really is.
Let me explain. The tasks at hand for an editor are manifold. The overall goal, of course, is a flowing narrative; the elements that make that happen, however, usually present many challenges. For example: the best moment of acting a certain line may occur in Take 2, but the best moment of acting for another line in the same scene may be on Take 4. The editor has to find a way to cut the pieces up and then put them back together so that all the best parts are used and the end result looks like one fluid scene—not the jigsaw puzzle it really is. Then there’s the unending battle of continuity: when you put the pieces together, does everything match EXACTLY from shot to shot? Shoulder straps fall, hair strands go astray, the lighting might change and so on. You do your best on set to watch for those things, but some always slip through. Thus, the editor is trying to get the pacing right, make the dialogue sound smooth and ensure the visuals fit flawlessly. So it’s actually not one, but three jigsaw puzzles…in 3D, no less! You have to be a magician to get it all synched so it can soar.
Barry is just such a wizard. He can make an actor or actress look like they didn’t ever blow a single line, he can make scenes that feel a little flat suddenly pop, he can erase a gaff or augment a nice moment into something truly memorable; all with the adroit use of the placement and timing of the sounds and images that make a film. It’s a master class in editing and I feel like Luke Skywalker granted an audience with Yoda himself.
Barry will probably try to kill me when he reads I’ve compared him to a chubby green blob with bad diction. Good thing I’ve got all the DEADLY REVISIONS prop weapons hidden away. On the other severed hand, when it comes to a horror film, what’s another body? And Barry is an editor who knows exactly how to slice things up, beautifully.
Check out Gregory Blair’s prior FilmCourage.com post:
Award-winning actor/writer/director/producer Gregory Blair was born and bred in Southern California. He is the recipient of a Geoffrey Award for Best Character Actor and an EOTM Nomination for Best Director and a Stonewall Award for his novel “Spewing Pulp”.
IMDB for Gregory
More on Barry Bond:
A video editor with over 10 years of experience. Barry works in Avid Media composer and Final Cut pro and is a “Video Cowboy”.
Hypnotherapy brings horror to an amnesiac writer; but are the nightmares real or imagined?
DEADLY REVISIONS – a film by Gregory Blair ~ Starring Bill Oberst, Jr. ~ Coming soon!