Tonight's editing session made me realize that it's time to stop tinkering with the film and move on. I'm definitely at that dangerous point where I'm losing all perspective, and could conceivably do damage. Most of the changes I made tonight were changes that I'd been resisting all through the screening process, deletions that mess up my carefully planned visual scheme and alter the flow of the script. None of the changes felt good, and at various times I thought seriously about jettisoning the night's work and going back to the last cut. Maybe I'll do it yet.
My overall goal tonight was to help the first half-hour, which is much less compelling than the final hour, by removing some of the less successful, more confusing elements. Because I storyboarded the film so tightly and didn't shoot coverage, I'm not in a good position to smooth over the jagged edges when I rip away pieces of the film. One of the changes we made (a shot pulled from the McGovern's bar scene) leaves us with a messy transition, which I can only hope that viewers won't mind as much as Robin and I do.
I had also planned to make one last change to the yard sale scene, but Robin was so distressed by the way the edit looked that I abandoned the idea, even though my poor overloaded brain started to get used to the cut after two or three viewings.
I'll need to see this version of the film one more time, hopefully with an audience, before I make the big decision to cut the negative. Robin probably won't be able to host that screening at her office--her month of relative unavailability begins tomorrow. She's going to try to find time to make a few tapes for me, one for me to look at and one that I need to send to my friend Jean Roy, who runs the Critic's Week section of Cannes.
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