The edit has begun (again)!
We're now a couple of months into the editing progress and things are shaping up. Admittedly we don't have a finished film as quickly as we'd hoped but with this being a passion project, annoyingly, I guess that's to be expected... especially as we've been even busier than usual here at 3AM HQ.
Having ingested everything (including the processed film), our in-house editor, Jon and I sat down to start assembling an edit. It can be tough going keeping the ball rolling on a side-project like this, so we made a pact to dedicate our Thursday evenings to getting through it. Bit of a commitment but it's been worth it.
I've worked with Jon for a couple of years now and both being in-house means that we've developed a really good, sometimes slightly scary, understanding - we already know what each of us is going to like and shortcutting the usual get-to-know-you slow start you sometimes get with new projects.
And shortcuts are a very good thing when you've got as much content to play with as we had. 45 minutes of interview audio per contributor meant that we faced a real uphill struggle getting to a manageable edit - not helped by the fact there was SO MUCH GOLD. Honestly, these guys are amazing to listen to. I could happily make a film about each one of them.
What really helped at this stage was the extensive conversations I'd had with the team (Kezia, Charles and Jon) earlier in the planning process, it gave us a really solid focus in the early cutting stage and empowered us to make some pretty brutal decisions about what to bin from the timeline.
Before long we had a first edit we were pretty happy with so we booked in a crit session with Guy and Thom (3andgrymen founders), who'd so far left us to our own devices.
Getting fresh eyes on a film for the first time is always a slightly nervy, sensitive moment, you've built your house of cards and you'd really rather someone didn't come and knock it down. It turns out it's no less difficult when it's a project that you feel so personally invested in.
The results were in and the feedback was mixed. The shots were lovely and the edit was undeniably tight and while they could see how amazing the raw materials were, as a documentary, it felt a little flat. This is probably because Jon and I have worked together so much on branded content films for our clients, it felt like it was trying to give a balanced overview rather than tell a powerful story. With no time limit, with no specific message or brand to promote, there was room to make something different, something more personal, so what was holding us back?
Weeks into the process we all agreed we could do better, we decided to begin again, to start from scratch. And weirdly, rather than disheartened, I found myself more excited for the film than ever. We're already deep into the second cut and I can already feel a more emotional, resonant story emerging.
Did I mention this was the first documentary I've ever made?
(Special treat, here’s a little snippet from our first edit.)