February 6, 1997

Robin and I secured the editing room tonight and made the most of the opportunity, finishing up all the changes we wanted to make for our next screening. Edith, gracious as always, agreed to come in to dub yet another line in the yard sale scene. We had a lot more trouble making the dubbed line match the live soundtrack than we did last time, but we eventually solved the problem by adjusting how far Edith was projecting her voice.

After Edith left, Robin and I spent another few hours sweating over the yard sale scene, which is by far our most perplexing and long-standing problem. Aided by Edith's new reading, we ended up with the simplest version yet--more than two uninterrupted minutes of the yard sale man talking, and one brief shot of Edith at the end. Given that this scene is already tedious to most audiences, I may be crazy to make the presentation even more static and unrelieved. Robin thinks it's a mistake, and I certainly don't believe that I'm getting rid of all the scene's problems. But I feel as if this is the only way the scene will have a chance--even if nineteen out of twenty audience members are more stupified than ever by the minimalism, one out of twenty might be led closer to the feeling I want. We had come up with an alternative edit that was the most conventional, speedy, and painless version yet, but it would have been pure compromise, diluting the basic concept in order to ease the pain for people who won't like the scene anyway. Taking chances is always exciting, and I went home happy.

South by Southwest turned the film down this week. I'm waiting on four other festivals.

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