Those Who Cannes… Do!

No, one hasn’t finished one’s second film yet. Please keep asking, though. One needs all the motivation one can get.

Today I phoned The British Council, a useful organisation that can pay for shipping costs when sending one’s films out to international festivals. They can also contribute to printing costs and the person I spoke to also mentioned something about helping with travel expenses if the producer or director gets invited to the festival. That’s if a film is accepted by them and acceptance takes six to nine weeks.

That means the deadline to get Fate & Fortune finished in time for Cannes grows shorter by about two months. Cannes is like a key to the year because they won’t accept films that have been shown elsewhere before them.

Incidentally, Fate & Fortune is too long for the short film category at Cannes as it has a running time of 16 minutes. Their max duration is 15 mins including credits. Bastards. However, I notice on the Cannes website something about special waivers and invitations so I ask The British Council folks if that’s the sort of thing they’d be able to arrange. I drop into the conversation that Fate & Fortune is excellent (and other superlatives). They’ll call me back.

Then I play the ‘phone up the editor’ game. I am tired of this game. Even after ten hours of soul-enriching sleep I am tired of it. I punch the numbers and today’s result is ‘Answerphone.’ I leave no message. Instead I ring another neg cutters, Sylvia Wheeler, and tell them of my plight. Would they be able to cut the film based on the videotape I have rather than using an EDL? They ask for the details to be emailed to them which I’ve just done.

After that, I call the original neg cutters, True Cut, who have all the cans of negative and they are happy and friendly to the point of me feeling a touch of guilt about taking the neg elsewhere, yet I know they will only work with an EDL. I tell them I’m worried about the cans sitting there–they’ve been there for nearly a year now!–and maybe it would be better if I pick them up. They go off to check where they are and they’re calling me back in ten minutes.

In the hope that one will soon be collecting heavy film cans, one braces oneself for driving into central London, which is loosely based on Dante’s final circle of Hell but with more traffic nightmares, and one waits for the phone calls to come back.

True Cut call me back and let me know my eight cans of negative are sitting in their vault. I think to myself, ‘Hmm, do I really want to store them on the staircase in my centrally heated flat (apartment)? Or would it be better to leave them where they are?’ I opt for leaving them where they are and wait for the call from Sylvia Wheeler’s.

So I call my cousin’s husband to see if there’s any chance of getting into an edit suite where he works but it’s Christmas and it is the maddest time of the year. So, no. However, he suggests that I can call up the EDL on any machine and simply edit the numbers rather than loading up the whole project. This sounds promising.

I call the other editor. Answerphone again. I leave a message suggesting this idea of just altering the list. Can we do that on any Avid or does it have to be a computer specially set up to deal with film? I wait for the call back.

I call Andy, the composer from Last Train because, well hey, he’s an editor! We chat, we laugh. I suggest something about skating pigs as an idea for a video for his CD. He chuckles indulgently. I tell him of this EDL idea and he says he will ask, although he doesn’t use Avid personally. Also, again, it is the run up to Christmas and the busiest time of the year.

Interesting sidenote: Andy has a week off and is spending it down in Devon, in the countryside. Why Devon? Because he gets away from the city and feels inspired to be creative. He’s currently surrounded by music, rhyming dictionaries, recording equipment and who knows what else and writing lyrics for two songs that already have the music finished.

This getting away from the regular environment to be creative strikes me as an extremely good idea. I’ve been thinking over the weekend about the importance of having a creative environment and people around you to bounce ideas off and all of that. I’m one of those people who needs a bit of competition to propel me forwards.

Along those lines I was also thinking that I seem to be a member of various professional bodies and never attend any meetings or social gatherings. I should do that as a New Year’s resolution. I bet, for example, that someone in the Director’s Guild knows an editor with Film Composer.

Anyway, for today I think I can do no more. Then a friend I work with calls to ask if I can cover for them so they can go out partying. I remember that they know a few editors. I’ve even met one of them. I mention the EDL thing and they say they will ask around.

Now I really have covered all the bases for today so I go out and buy cake.

Answerphone editor calls me back. Uploading the EDL into another Avid isn’t as straightforward as that, which is what I thought. There are two types of Avid–Avid Media Composer, which is used by loads of people and is for television, and Avid Film Composer, which is used for film (surprise!). Of course, we edited on the latter and hardly anyone has it. However…

I am told they are going to sort out my EDL on Wednesday night.

Oh, please please please please please let it be so.

Of course, once this is finished I will immediately go out and shoot something else and start the whole nightmare again. But still.


I finish all the cake in the house now and pass out.

Oh, yes, other high points of the day have included buying a new suit, paying my phone bill and convincing the bank to refund some bank charges they were going to slap on me. Just in case you thought it was all cake and Cannes here.

December 12th

I am told they are going to sort out my EDL on Wednesday night.

Of course, they phoned me. Today is apparently the day for moving the server so there is no edit facility available and it won’t be today after all. This week is also what’s known as the ‘final lock’ on the feature film the editor is working on so time is even tighter. They’re going to try for Thursday. Or Friday. Honest.