The trouble with filmmaking as a creative outlet is the tremendous amount of time it takes from getting a spark of an idea to releasing a finished piece. Without going into the gory details you'll have to take me at my word that it's a very long time. I wrote the screenplay for "Serena and The RATTS" when I was 19, now that I am 27, things are finally progressing towards a legitimate release. While I am extremely excited about this, the idea that I will be releasing a movie that will represent me currently but lacks about 8 years of creative maturity that I've experienced since I wrote it, has muddled my confidence a bit. 8 years is a long time for one project. To put that into perspective; consider that the Sistine Chapel took about 4 years to complete (not to compare the quality of work, just the timeframe)
While I was cutting I noticed there was this removed sense of perspective in the footage, like we were seeing things through JT, rather than seeing him in the shot. I decided to minimize the shots of his face in order to support this. I though I could get the audience in his head and thinking about the surroundings more if they weren't focusing on his face. I could make the audience see things through him, as if he was having a sort of out of body experience.
This must be his delusional fantasy, something he relives over and over, to keep his mind from breaking under the oppression of institutionalization. We would need to hear the story from him, so I wrote it in the form of an interview, between doctor and patient that would play out in voice over the visuals. They go back and forth in the original script, the doctor prods him for more information throughout and I thought this would make for an interesting dialogue. I sent JT the script and he jumped right on it, recording a take at home and sending it back to me the same night.
When I put the track down with the footage I cut in my editor all I did was take out some gaps of silence and I decided to play it back to see how it felt, I would just imagine the doctor speaking her lines....
When I heard him start to speak though I forgot all about the doctor, I didn't want to hear a word from another person. This was John's world and to bring someone else into it felt like it would be an intrusion. No, no doctor, we only needed his side of the conversation.
I made some attempts to manipulate and adjust the cut and timing, I gave JT some direction for a second take but none of that ended up being necessary,. I had shown the very first cut to Evalena, the one I did only by visually cutting out the silent parts on the wave form of the audio track and everything just fell into place perfectly. My attempts to improve upon it only took away from that magic, Evalena told me she liked it more before I edited it, before I started down that chain reaction path where one change necessitates another. After I was finished being sore about it (is random chance really a better editor than me?) I put my ego aside and realized she was right, it did come together perfectly the first time, it felt honest and real
This is "directing" sometimes after all, knowing when to do nothing, knowing when not to manipulate.