ANATOMY OF AN INDIE – Good Is Not Good Enough
As I discussed in an earlier installment, the problems with the movie I am making weren’t discovered until after we had finished shooting, and for the most part boiled down to the animated character.
1. The character had a big presence in the beginning and end, but goes away for a long time
2. The audience didn’t understand who the character was or how to understand him
3. The audience didn’t like the character
4. Since the character looked like David, the audience stopped liking our lead actor
5. The animated character was not crucial to the structure or plot of the story
Fixing this would be a yeoman’s task if we were just renovating the script. But horribly, I came to this discovery after we had already shot the film. In the parlance of my people: “Oy.” Not Good Enough. Good Is Not Good Enough.
If I wasn’t in this for such a large amount of money personally, and worse, with my friends’ money, I might have been tempted to finish the film and put it out to market with hopes and prayers to see where it would land. Overall, people liked the film, but their reaction was tepid and hardly ecstatic. Good Is Not Good Enough. I owed it to everyone – but mostly to myself – to do everything possible to make this film great. But after shooting the film, was that possible?
First of all, it is amazing how much can be accomplished simply by editing. Words, reactions and even scenes can be taken out of context and repurposed. The first thing that we tried was to edit out the animated character. Richard Halsey our academy award winning editor, re-cut the movie without the animated character. I’m told that the movie works pretty well without the animated character – I wouldn’t know, because I never got through watching the whole re-cut.
Truthfully, I didn’t set out making this movie to make the movie without the animated character. I had this sick feeling deep inside that the movie without the animated character was good, but not special. I had no idea how to market the movie without the character. We have no major stars – and really what we have is good, but good isn’t good enough. Let me write that again because it is my life mantra. Good is not good enough.
I had a feeling that there was an equation to make this work.
Thankfully, the animated character gave me a shot to re-write the film without re-shooting a frame. I could drop the character into other scenes, cut to different moments, use the character’s voice as VO to perhaps introduce the movie and deliver much of the necessary backstory. It was possible. But I needed a fresh look and some new energy. So I switched editors and started to rediscover the film.
More in the next installment…. Thanks for following my story! [ratings]