Neg Cutting

This is where you take the negative for your precious film and leave it in the neg cutters’ vault for the best part of a year. You then try to find an editor who will work for nothing to sort out the problems you created by not using Avid Film Composer (ie. proprietory technology) to recut a few bits. Finally you find such an editor.

Your editor berates you soundly for mixing images recorded at 25 frames per second with images recorded at 24 fps. You learn the perils of sync and bang your head against the wall until an egg appears–your Knowledge Bump. You watch your offline video and figure you can get away with it anyway.

Next you take the Edit Decision List (or EDL) generated by this (free) editor on their (rare) Avid to the neg cutters who tell you (a) it is way too short being only two minutes instead of the required sixteen, and (b) it runs at the wrong speed. You then phone your friendly free editor and ask him please please can he sort this out. While he has access to the rare Avid. He agrees.

You then phone the neg cutters the next day who tell you the editor has indeed delivered a new EDL to them but they haven’t had time to check it yet. They promise to call you back later. You wait two days and call them again. Not checked yet. Tomorrow. A week of this goes by and on Friday they tell you they have been extremely busy. In January. The quietest month in the film production calender. No one is working. You bite your tongue.

To give yourself some sleepless nights you recall what happened last time the neg cutters said they had ‘a problem with the EDL’. They lost it. Yes. Then they said (chirpily), ‘Oh, please get us another one.’ Which you did. It took three months. Because you don’t actually have Avid Film Composer. Or access to same. Remember the key words here–‘free’ and ‘rare’.

So, on the last call before heading out to spend the weekend partying and drinking to excess, you remind the neg cutters of your lack of professional gear. You envisage them nodding sympathetically on the phone (rattling noises) while they tell you ‘We’ve been having a bit of a crisis this week.’ Uh oh.

Which brings us to today. Still no phone call.

But the first draft of my new script is done.

Today, at last, I finally speak to neg cutter and she has checked through EDL and, yes, it seems to work. In the meantime, I also have a proof of the artwork for credits. So, at risk sounding like it might almost be done… I think it might, possibly, be at the stage where it’s cut.

Shove shove… boulder… up… hill…

Oh, plus I spoke to the director of photography from Fate & Fortune to see when he’ll be around for grading. I also told him I had another script which I’d like to film later this year. His comment: “You’ve forgotten how painful it is, haven’t you?” My comment: “Yes. So let’s do it anyway.”