With Redneck Weddings, in the can I needed a break from everyone. Not that I didn’t like my cast and crew and appreciated all their hard work…. now I had to re-tell the story and shape a show from scratch. Editing is like doing surgery or like doing a science project on re-creating a monster! LOL. Remember those old B movies!
One of my favorites movies is Citizen Kane. I love that film. It is a masterpiece and still holds up today. It came out in 1941, but the camera angles and the story telling is something that we have lost today with all our special effects. I am not comparing Redneck Weddings with Citizen Kane but I wanted to bring to all of you some mistakes in editing that can happen even on a masterpiece.
An example in the film:
When Kane and Susan are speaking in their mansion, Susan is busying herself with jigsaw puzzles. The wide shot shows the jigsaw puzzle almost completed, but Susan’s close-up shows the jigsaw puzzle in pieces.
So, you see it happens.
I worked with the late Betty Garrett from MGM days a wonderful actress.
She and I would talk about Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, the MGM studio days, and Orson Welles she worked with him on a stage in a play in 1938 on (Broadway) in New York. I would pick her brain about what it was like to be around the studio system. Her memories of Orson Welles was that he was a genius and would have rehearsal all day and all night at times. His wife Virginia Nicholson would come around and show him examples of what color she wanted the couch in their home because she would never see him unless she made a visit to the theater. He would sleep in the theater consumed with the show he would change the script, the set and blocking at a moments notice. He would tell the actors once what he wanted and they better do it or they would get the stare or get fired. He would work his cast to near exhaustion for that glimpse of perfection he so much desired.
When I worked with Betty Garrett in “Waiting in the Wings” at Theater West we became friends. We would be in a cramped backstage area putting on our makeup (grease paint) as she would say. As we sat together side by side I began to hear her life story and she would give me tips and talk about old Hollywood and TV she had appeared in Norman Lear shows such as Laverne & Shirley and All in the Family.
Betty would hear my dialogue on stage from the speaker intercom backstage. I would come off and she would be there sitting in her seat. She would look at me with those wonderful blue eyes and say I do take notice of your laughs . Those laughs are in the same place every time every night. That takes skill my dear! I would do the same in a play many years before with Imogene Coca in New York. Sitting side by side in a dressing room it is the most revealing time for an actor when he is about to go on.
Imogene and I sat next to each as we put on our makeup and again I became friends with her. Imogene had some really great wigs and stories about early TV…. a gift to a very young actress at the time (Me) . She would stare in the mirror before going on and that flicker of that great comedic spirit would come alive right before your eyes.
Back to the dreaded thing called EDITING!
“Redneck Weddings” had about 3 hours of footage. But where to begin? My husband Peter would edit he has edited his shorts and his pilot Late Bloomers. So I was in good hands.
I now became the assistant editor to Peter. That is the person who logs each scene or take and logs all the voice files. Yeah. Even before any editing is done. The map has to be laid out. I could just imagine what it was like in 1941 editing. Cutting each scene by hand. We now are in the digital age computers. It has made the process quicker but not the creative road. I had to forget the script so to speak and let the process begin.
As I started looking at each scene I could see the beginning of a show. Primal but it was like that monster being created that I mentioned earlier. Editing can make or break any project. The months to come would drive Me and Peter and Michael into an obsession to get Redneck Weddings in shape.
The process now will begin getting “Redneck Weddings” on that road to perfection with all of it’s imperfections.