The Guidestones project has been a getting lots of great reviews. If you haven't checked it out. Join.
I give it my "Sopranos recommend", watch 3 epidosdes and if you hate it, stop watching. it's not for you.
My previous Blog post about the Guidestones postproduction got me some great verbal feedback (write something in the comments if you like this or hate it). People seemed to enjoy getting a behind the scenes look at the process. So, when I got an episode to post up on my reel I decided to go back through my notes and communications with the director about episode 35 (officially released as Episode 29 in the series) and give some more info on the Behind the scenes of a low budget post process, the story end of it anyways.
Because Jay Ferguson, the director/producer, was around the globe shooting, we used the email for notes/feedback. I would assemble and rough cut based on the script, try to sort out any tech or MIA footage with the post crew. Then post up a locked Vimeo version of my cuts for him to screen from wherever hotel/motel he was in the world.
So, I initiated my search for Guidestones notes episode 35 (released as ep 29)... "nothing". Curious.
I am an email hoarder, so I went my backup email program that I use as a catch all/archive... "nothing". Well, technically not nothing. This email:
Date 17 April, 2011 8:32:27 PM EDT
"This is cool....toss some dramatic music in and we should see what happens....do we need a couple feet / blurry running shots? At the end?"
If anybody knows Jay, he isn't a man of few words. So, I looked at the early episode notes (ep. 1-8), to compare. There was lots of back and forth for the first 2 episodes but a significant falloff on volume after those episodes. The notes transformed or evolved into a more coach on the sidelines of a game style or even better it was more like a conductor of an orchestra; "Faster", "Slower", "Good".
At some point in the process most of my successful projects have had this type of relationship. Trust.
A good director/client after the "tonal" tweaks of the beginning starts conducting not micro managing a.k.a. "use this shot", "cut that head move out" , (insert your favorite post production cliche). They trust you to put forth the best shots, performance even reference music. Not Blind Trust but a confidence that your choices are valid.
I have been a little lucky and I realize now that I seek out that type off relationship and if my gut tells me that this is not going to be that type of situation. I walk away. And in all fairness, me and Jay have worked together for a while, so this type of Trusting collaboration happens a little earlier in the process. Or in this case, I can jump in as the process has already started. (see previous blog).
So, when you look at the evolution of the episodes cuts ,you don't see the obvious drastic changes in alternate cuts, but the more critical eye can see the subtle tweaks, push and pull in the story and pace. More importantly you still see that the essence of the episodes and its initial rough cut story. The tone is still in there (my responsibility on this project). The color on the walls of the house has changed but the support beams have not been touched.
A things that I thought were interesting: Final is 1 minute shorter than rough but pacing is the same, music tone changes feel of final scenes and reaction shots change interaction of characters (I think if you watch the series you'll get it). Here is the final episode.
As a filmmaker, I find this type of subtle comparison more helpful than the wacky scene that obviously doesn't work that was left on the cutting room floor (see Bill Paxton scene in Aliens).