September 27, 1996

Robin and I showed Alex the first 20-25 minutes of the film tonight. It was the first time in a while that we had gone back to look at our work, and it was on the whole a pretty enjoyable experience. When you are in the editing phase, you and everyone around you is elated to see an actual film emerging from the process, and a general sense of euphoria sets in, not to be dispelled until the rest of the world gets a look at what you've done and injects a dose of reality into the proceedings. But you need the euphoria to keep you going.

After we looked at the first section, Robin and I went back and sweated over some of the cuts until we liked them better. It's astonishing how different you can feel about issues of rhythm and timing after you stand back from a section that you've been going over with a microscope. One scene in particular, in which the couple agrees to get married, is giving us a lot of trouble, and we are not only changing its rhythm but also substituting different takes to bring out the emotional meaning we want. The original purpose of the scene was to provide a motivation for the couple's unusual decision to get married before having had sex. But something funny happened. When choosing which takes to use, we originally gravitated toward the smoothest, least flawed readings, which in this case happened to be the most dreamy and romantic readings. And somehow the scene was feeling very strange and giving off all sorts of unwanted meanings--my girlfriend Donna found the Mimi character manipulative, and Robin kept referring to a "Stepford wives" vibe. We are now starting to think that the dreaminess and steadiness works against the purpose of the scene, and we are going back to find a more excitable, less controlled quality which does more to explain the couple's elopement. It's very easy to lose perspective in this way during the editing process.

I started a full-time job a few days ago, doing technical writing for a computer company. Working could easily get in the way during some of the busier parts of post-production, but I need to keep my savings from diminishing any further if I hope to finish the film without raising money. So I really didn't have much choice in the matter.

We've been finding very little time to get into the editing room this week, and we won't be able to schedule a full weekend of work either. There is no hope of making the Sundance deadline, and it's not even clear that we will be finished in time for a late submission. I would get frantic if it would do any good, but there's nothing to do except chill out.

Click here to read the next diary entry, here to read the previous entry, and here to go back to the main menu.