Last thing I knew, it was September and we were getting back to putting this movie together. Now it’s… what, February or something? Huh.
After months of struggling to work around wonky schedules and other commitments, Matt and I finally managed to have a lengthy edit rundown session Saturday. Unlike last time, when we watched the entire first rough cut as a whole, we focused on the film on a shot-by-shot basis. Matt spent the past few months making plenty of tweaks, which we reviewed in length; some of this was minor “we should cut away a half-second earlier here” type discussions, while other was of the more complicated “do we have a better take we can use?” variety. Six-plus hours of this got us through the first forty-five minutes of the movie. (Current run time is somewhere around seventy-five, without credits. That’s shorter than originally expected but longer than recently expected, so I’m OK with it.)
One major change was Matt’s idea, and I like it: ditch the original introduction (which, as written, is a lengthy, pseudo-pompous bit of expository narration, inspired by many a 1950s sci-fi flick) and replace it with a flash forward that steals footage from the end of the picture. It’s a technique I’ve always liked in other films, but Matt’s inspiration was to turn it into an almost-parody, playing off the joke that (um, spoiler alert, I guess?) we don’t meet the film’s true hero until the last ten minutes. This new opener places that hero at the front, making the audience wonder when – or if – he’s ever going to show up.
It’s a change that takes us yet another step away from the retro feel of the piece as originally intended, but I’m willing to lose a little homage if it means a better film and, more importantly, a funnier one. This new opener emphasizes the weirdness to come, a weirdness Matt loves to increase as he plays around with just how long we can hold an awkward glance or an oddball reaction and still make it funny.
We also started discussing what to do about an opening credits sequence – a sequence that never existed (the original idea was a simple title card, nothing more) until we both started thinking how much the right sort of opening titles can set the tone. We settled on something loud, animated, and bizarre, although we may need to bring in some outside help to achieve such things, since the “animated” part might be a bit out of our grasp. (Same goes for a possible intermission sequence, which we originally included as a lark and now think we might want to keep.)
We worked our way through the Creature’s arrival at the picnic. We’ll meet up again next month to focus on the last half hour-ish of the picture. Stay tuned… well, as tuned as one can be with monthly gaps in between.