We screened a new cut today for Bill, Alex, Linda Glasser, and Nancy Larsen. I'm finally starting to feel better about the first half-hour of the film, now that Robin and I have made the early phone conversations a little snappier. I think I was wrong to try to make these scenes more leisurely in the editing room: they are plenty leisurely enough at the performance level, and my dawdling over each cut had a lugubrious effect.
The six of us sat around the editing room all afternoon, chewing the film over. Most of the reactions were pretty favorable, as I would expect from a hometown crowd. The scene that gets the most negative comments is the yard sale scene--it has struck everyone as too long and irrelevant. I still basically like it, but maybe we'll try to shorten it somehow. Robin and I are also thinking about cutting parts of the McGovern's bar scene, which comes very early in the film and isn't working too well.
It's interesting how one would never notice some problems without showing the film to others. For instance, Nancy pointed out to us that the Hunter College scene doesn't look particularly collegiate, and that an early snippet of dialogue had led her to believe that Mimi was a temp worker and not a professor. Bill, Alex, Robin and I are too used to the original concept to tell exactly what has made it to the screen and what hasn't.
I suppose we'll go on tinkering and screening for a while. It's important that we get some feedback, but before too long we have to start making a print, just in case we are accepted by one of the January festivals that we've applied to.
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