Well, howdy. We’re here in the nitty gritty of movie finishing. And let me be the first to say, ugh. I’m kidding a little, but mostly not. How many times can I say it? I’m so, so, so ready to be done with June Falling Down. And yet, here we go, another afternoon of opening up Final Cut Pro and making cuts, making sound adjustments, etc. etc.
The truth is, it’s not that bad. It’s a lot like writing or running. Once you get started, once you get over the hump and get a solid pace going, you’re fine. It’s just all the time I spend worrying about it when I’m not doing it.
One thing I’ve been really resistant to in post-production has been ADR (re-recording my dialogue) for certain scenes. Chris really wanted to do it, and I wanted to avoid it at all costs. I was worried it wouldn’t be believable, that it would look obvious that we’d recorded over my lines. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It just takes a lot of work.
One of the wonderful things that happen when you do too many jobs at once (ahem) is that mistakes get made (I mean, who, us? No mistakes, never….). Luckily, we didn’t have too many big mistakes in this movie, but a few times we did have a couple mic buzzes we didn’t catch while filming, and one night when we were completely freezing doing a bonfire scene in the 40s (no coats…it’s a summer movie…) we left a heater on during one of my takes. My best take, the take I absolutely want in the movie. Buzzzzzz…..
So…that’s where ADR comes in. Luckily the mistakes are on my side, so we’ve been able to fix it out here in LA.
And let me tell you – man, doing ADR is haaaaard. We worked a little bit with one of our wonderful sound wizards and then eventually, after learning just how many takes it requires to get the lines just right, we set up a “studio” in our apartment. As in, Chris took all our blankets and tacked them all over the walls and ceiling. Voila.
Very homemade, but it does the trick. And it allows me to do twenty takes and to curse and get angry and to try again in the privacy of my own home (I had no idea that I was doing a different voice when I played June…lower and tougher than I usually speak, and also with a biiiit more of a Wisconsin accent than I have out here. Interesting…). That said, we’re still limited in our skills with sound, so we’ll be taking the new recordings in to our sound magician for him to mix in.
So it’s a lot of little things. Re-mixing Chris’ music in the movie. Adding more songs to add to the ambience restaurant noise. Adding some very faint bass to the party scene. Slicing just a few frames here and there. (and cutting two solid minutes elsewhere…ahhh my heart, but it’s better for the movie) It’s funny how writing all this makes it sound easy, but it’s a lot of hair pulling – but worthwhile hair pulling. I’m currently working through seven pages of notes.
But, it’s that last ten percent of work that polishes the movie. And I want a polished movie. We want to feel proud when we eventually show the movie in a theater and at film festivals. It will never be perfect or as completely slick as a big budget movie, but we’re going to make the best indie feature we possibly can.
And truthfully, every little problem we resolve is very satisfying at this point. I love this movie – full on. I love seeing each scene reach its highest quality. So we’re working toward that, and come January….we will be free….