The Cuts: Why We Must Cut Fast and Deep
I’m actually not paraphrasing George Osborne, and I’m not talking about government spending or the UK deficit. I’m actually paraphrasing Nick Woolgar, my DoP on the Class Heroes shoot.
When I cut the first drafts of the mini movies, I showed them to Nick. I wanted his honest opinion and I got it. “Be brutal. Cut. Cut again. Even when you think it's too extreme, cut.”
He gave me honest, constructive and specific advice on each of the films as to how I could improve them. He’s got a lot of experience of the film making process and a good eye for storytelling, pace, tone and what looks good.
I have to confess, it was hard losing some scenes. There was footage that I thought looked really good and I really wanted to keep. But Nick was right, paring the films down to the bone made them so much better.
I like how film making is a collaborative process, and from the reviews of the films, I think I’ve got four mini movies that I can be proud of.
Originally, there were going to be three. A character introduction piece for Sam, James and Lolly each. But out of the review came the idea to produce a proper movie-style trailer, just two and a half minutes long, which captures the key moments of each of the first four books.
So as well as cutting away at films 1 to 3, I started planning out the storyline for the fourth. Fortunately, Nick, Jess and Luther were all up for some more filming days (and yes, I probably did say ‘just one more’).
So on a rather grey, wet day in early November, the four of us went and filmed in a spooky church in the middle of nowhere; an underpass under a motorway; some wasteland in Ipswich town centre, an interesting looking courtyard amid some flats which looked very London-y; an alleyway behind some warehouses; and while it p’d it down with rain I took the guys for lunch in Pizza Express.
I had a La Reine, if you're interested.
Another really fun day despite the cold and wet. We got some excellent footage (and a lot of that I had to cut!!! So cruel.) All three of those guys are great to work with, we had some laughs and got most of what I needed. So another big thank you to Jess, Luther and Nick for your great work when the weather and conditions were less than conducive.
You guys deserve to make it in your chosen professions. So... there was only one more shoot to go...