MacVampire Production Diary: T minus What?

This is going to be a sickeningly quick series of blog posts as I attempt to make an eight-minute vampire movie in twelve sixteen days, using only what I can borrow from the office and bribe my friends into doing. At stake, so to speak, is $1000 in prize money and, now that I’m telling you all that I’m going to do it, my honor. This is the contest; entrants are invited to make their own episode of the vampire web series
The Hunted
. The deadline is Sunday Thursday.

There are not words to describe the epic of my fail, but in a good way: the deadline for the contest has been extended to Thursday the 16th, and I didn’t even notice until I was done shooting and already an entire night and day into the editing process. I haven’t looked at or really thought about the movie since Sunday night, made easier by the arrival of this kitten in my apartment.  Now that I have a little distance from the project, I’m ready to go back to it.

Editing satisfies my deep-seated need to obsess over details and is way more creative than lining up pencils on my desk. It’s another tool for telling the story: you write a script, which changes as the actors inhabit the characters, and the footage you get of them changes depending on how you cut, reorder, and otherwise tweak it. Going out in the field clutching a script and a camera was terrifying, and though I had fun with the actors and enjoyed everything they brought to the project, it’s a relief to be back at a computer, alone with Final Cut Express and a cup of tea.

I left everything rendering overnight, and my first task was to winnow out the totally unusable takes. (Hint: clips under ten seconds most likely end in “Fuck, sorry!”) This left me with an hour and a half of footage. A few scenes were done with one great take and I could just trash the other attempts, and a few more were complicated mash-ups of several shots that also whittled down nicely. My rough cut was ten and a half minutes long, two and a half minutes longer than the maximum. Something like six hours later, it was eight and a half minutes long, what with tightening up the beginnings and ends of scenes and actually cutting several lines. Those last thirty seconds are going to be painful, though. Lose some of the funny camera confessional? Go without the artsy angst? And I can’t possibly cut that long pan around the bloody corpses, can I?

Find out next time in, “A Tale Told by an Idiot,” or, The Final Cut

[Image of Clint and Danny is © the lovely and talented Ellen Wright and used with her permission; image of the kitty is by me.]


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