HIIT Training: An Editor’s Journey to Getting Fit :3

I‘ve been working towards getting into better shape for over the past year. Many of you who have been following me might see me talking about HIIT sessions or sandbags, dip stations, and ugi balls, OH MY! :3 Even protein powder. I started the adventure December 2010 when I felt absolutely fed up with myself. I’m not only losing weight, but I’m adding strength and really caring about my health as well. A recent strength goal I made was being able to hold myself up during knee raises on the dip station. I can now do 10 in a row before I drop! 😀

What’s the benefit to HIIT Training? It’s intense workouts done in a shorter bursts for certain amounts of time. You gain immense new stamina and strength doing these type of workouts. It mixes up cardio and strength training so you’re burning fat and earning muscle, which later burns more overall. You may find as you feel stronger + more in shape, you’ll want to workout more often. That’s the idea, too. ;D I prefer to work out right at home or outside. I think HIIT is great for editors who are busy with little time some days to workout. These intense intervals can be as low as 10 or 12 minutes + warmup/cooldown. You can pick and choose. Since quite a bit can use your bodyweight (or the few equipment as you advance is easy to travel), you can do these workouts easily in your editcave, at a hotel, at a gym, small space, outside, wherever! Now the idea is to exchange time for intensity. Instead of say moderately to low energy working out an hour, you’re pushing at your maximum intensity for less time.

Why do I like HIIT? For me, it felt less intimidating to start a workout routine to say, okay – I have 20 minutes to do this. I was at first kinda intimidated by the style. Make no mistake. There will be much sweat (maybe tears?), but great reward too! For instance, I live on the third floor. I’ve noticed a huge change in bounding up the flights of stairs with groceries. I feel better, stand up straighter, and have more stamina, agility, and strength. Who doesn’t want that!? 😀 I have grown to love it. It tests myself, I get out a ton of stress from the day, and have no energy left to fret about stupid crap – which has made me overall a lot more positive of a person than I used to be.

What do I do? HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts + strength training. I have alternated the cycle of days. 2 days on, 1 off. Rinse, repeat. or 3 days on, 1 off. 2 on, 2 off. etc. Constantly changing the cycle challenges your body. It never knows what to expect week to week. Sometimes I’ve done it 6 days a week. Try to aim for 3-4 times a week spaced out however you deal best with it. It’ll ebb and flow as your schedule allows. I think at times I was pushing way too hard. Recovery from sore muscles is very important. You’ll learn what works.

I do them two ways: Intervals and Time Challenges. You need an interval timer. I use my laptop with this timer, or you can buy one. I enjoy the cat growl at the end and having the fight bell go off each round. It amuses me. Interval sessions are a set amount of time, divided into single intervals ON and OFF. Commonly, I’ll do 50 seconds on with 10 seconds off with a certain amount of ROUNDS. Time Challenges are going to be longer – as in, timer keeps going until you complete a certain set amount of reps. There are a number of 12-20 minute interval sessions that can be completed on a pretty busy hectic day. Longer & harder routines when you feel up to it and time allows.

  • I found a great source of HIIT exercise routines through my sis, who showed me Bodyrock. I just hopped right in on whatever schedule they had going and modded my way as a beginner. It’s free, they’re pretty knowledgeable, they use video, and they usually prepare workouts in a way that if I’m one day behind, I always have something waiting to do. They have a huge archive that you can dive into anytime you like which is great.
  • These days however, I also incorporate other methods of exercise routines, such as ZWOW workouts (she’s one of the original Bodyrock founders) or make up my own strength/cardio routines for heavy cardio torture… I mean, FUN EXERCISE ;3 I admit, it can be overwhelming at first glance. You may be convinced there’s no way you’d be on a dip station holding yourself up. Change is scary. Your body wants to protect you, but can try to hinder you on the same coin. Be open to it.
  • Wanna test your fitness? Do this warmup. I do this warmup every single time I work out. And I cool down by doing basic stretches, nothing fancy. You’d be amazed how hard this warm up is at first.

The combination of eating every few hours (protein + fiber combos) with the intense sessions at least 3-4 times a week has been working for me. I am not in it for a race. I have no wish to power push into unrealistic shape only to plummet backwards. I have an incredibly high bar set for myself, and I’m not ready for judgement yet… so sorry I can’t provide necessary photos to show progress yet. Though I appreciate hearing from people that they’ve noticed changes. That means a lot and helps more than you know since we’re all our own worst critic 🙂

Before you go running full tilt into working out, take a moment to figure out an overall plan for yourself. They say abs are made in the kitchen, and that’s really true. Working out is great, but if you turn round and have 5 beers and empty carbs and goodies, you might not move forward very fast. It’s a hard lesson. What you eat is a large portion of it, and the exercise keeps you feeling good, helps you lose weight, and will tone you up. But it won’t cancel out bad eating habits 🙁 That is not to say never have goodies or treat yourself. Just be smart. If you were like me, going all day without proper food, it feels weird to eat every 3 hours. Breakfast was a battle, I never really enjoyed eating it at breakfast time (maybe for dinner lol). I invested in protein powder that I drink every morning in my coffee. Give yourself time to make mistakes and bounce back with fists forward.

These are the things I did for myself in preparation for getting healthier:

  1. I stopped drinking soda and juice. Diet is debated, I drink it with rum here or there. Eat fruit vs. gulping juice. Make it special when you have it, if you must, but not the norm.
  2. I quit smoking cigarettes. At least if you smoke, switch to an e-cig. I use waffle vapor 😀 Happy to share my experience with that if you want.
  3. EAT more often, every 3-4 hours with combo of protein + fiber 3.5) Keep majority of carbs to 2 hour window after workout (burns faster!), when you can.
  4. Sleep. No…really. 🙂 And with the workouts, you will wanna sleep. Broke my insomnia right up.

Before starting workouts:

  1. Every time you work out, write it down.  Workout, Reps, & Mood. Not only does it hold you accountable, it helps you in the future when you want to beat your best score or see if you increased reps. And the little habit of writing it down will help get you some of that lovely discipline you’re going to need for these workouts anyway. It’s like the pre-warmup ritual. 😀 I usually drink my amino acid energy and have already changed by then, so I can’t turn back. 🙂
  2. Start out with only your bodyweight. Your body is the perfect weight for you to start gaining strength now. You don’t need tons of hand weights and machines and crazy shit. You just need YOU. And shoes. And maybe a foam mat when you slam yourself down to the ground in a fury during exercise. As you get more advanced, you will find you will want to add in something to challenge you. I use a sandbag for most of my added challenge purposes. It’s great for sandbag lunges, squats, rows, situps, everything! You can fill it with sand, or birdseed, free weights wrapped in old towels, or whatever you have laying around. Later, you can add dip station and weighted ugi ball. Or heavy backpack works. Be creative with what you already have in your house, and don’t go buying em all now til you EARN IT 😀
  3. Invest in good shoes. This really helps. Bonuses: bought a pair of Gold’s gym gloves to protect my hands – plus it feels cool. And a foam thicker mat.
  4. As you can guess, you don’t expect to bound out of a few months or even a year effort looking like the Hulk. Or Batman. Or Catwoman in some crazy tight outfit. 🙂 Be patient and realize this is a very long term goal that goes on forever, even when you get in shape.

It took awhile to get where I ended up, so it’s going to take awhile to get back yet surpass that. I think not trying to get exactly where I used to be has helped me mentally. It’s like starting fresh with a new image of myself to work towards. When I get to feeling down, I remember that wherever I was today won’t be where I am tomorrow or the next. Every time you make a better food choice or get up and exercise, you’re doing SOMETHING to make it better – and dammit, that counts! 😀 Setting mini goals really helped so I can feel that sweet, sweet accomplishment for the larger picture.

While you’re stuck to a chair, try to stop edits every hour and get up, take a brisk walk around the office. On breaks, go outside. Seriously – fresh air if you can. Being prepared ahead of time for things sounds like work, and IT IS. I can’t sugarcoat that part. You gotta make up snacks or at least keep healthier ones around to toss in your bag before being in a situation where you are starving hungry with nothing good to eat. I always have protein in a baggie and a container. Worked wonders. Nuts (not overly salted) or Kashi bars can be great last minute grabs before you head out.

Far as tracking progress with scales or measurements or using clothes, do the method that works best to hold you accountable. I detest scales, personally. Maybe a tool to use once every 6 months, but I’ve gone over 2 years without one. I used to take measurements every month. But I’ve learned the best one for me is to keep motivating myself and paying attention to how clothes fit or how you feel. There are many ways to reward yourself. Eating clean, then having a special meal, lowfat frozen yogurt, or slice of pizza. Of course, rewards come non-food related, as well. New mmo? Snazzier clothes? Spa/Hair/Nails? Concert? Movies? Some event that is entertaining that feels like something to work towards and is special 🙂

Keep Moving. That’s the key. Even when you feel like you can’t. Just move, mod the hell out of exercises until you get stronger, and give yourself time to adjust. Having to face being on the utter edge of fear, where I think I can’t go on or can’t do one more rep, then do it anyway – seriously cannot be described with the right words how positive I feel afterwards. 🙂 I’m stronger, more disciplined with myself, and I feel like a true ninja some days.

GOOD LUCK!! :3 if you ever want any specific info or advice or wanna buddy up or like have some encouragements, give me a nudge! :3

End of Year 2011 Thoughts + Goals for 2012

So…2011 has finally come and passed. I’m not sure if I entirely loved or hated it. If I had to sum up the year, see below:

In yer dreams!!

Yeah. That’s it. It improved at one point I’ll admit, but I could have done without some of the bumps along the way.

I thought it might be fun if I went back and thought of the various editing and/or production adventures, projects, freelance etc. and also the future ones to come for 2012.

2011 year in review: In almost a backwards, sort of random as it comes to mind way 🙂

  • Love Dance – boom op & co-editor with @kyl33t
  • He Who Watches – co-director/editor with @kyl33t and boom op
  • 48 Hour Film Project “Support Group” (dark comedy + other required elements) – editor
  • Cutting Room Editing Challenge – entered piece I edited using their footage
  • Distractions: Texting & Driving PSA – won first place in local contest
  • Cooper O’Brien and the Magical Moustache cycled around some festivals and won 3Fest’s ‘Best Film’ award and also showed at Geek Independent Film Festival, then again with Kate Chaplin’s “Leah Not Leia” premiere. Cooper originated from our first 48 Hour Film Project participation, and remains one of my top favourite short films we’ve ever shot. It won Best Musical Score ;D
  • Leah Not Leia Behind the Scenes – was PA on the set, now co-editing with @kyl33t
  • Freelance Projects (How It’s Made type carpet cleaning process, promotional interviews for variety of schools, student interviews, promos, stock footage, etc.)
  • Totally revamped website. It’s still not 100% -me- but it’s way more interesting than it was prior. Just wait til my logo goes up 😀
  • Started this amazing script by chance (Due to Kate Chaplin’s suggestion to participate in this April contest to write for, which I totally failed due to RL happening, but it got me started on the path) It was developed from  a wonderful dream I had that -should- and -needs- to be a movie. It’s above our skills at the moment :c Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Adventure! The Tale of Down Below & Inbetween shall happen one day I hope 🙂
  • Literally jumped right into a position at Tour Design Creative (for Live Nation: like concerts, comedy shows, theatre, etc.) in their Markets Dept. as the markets editor. It does involve some editing, but mostly it’s more technical side of the world. I think I am getting good Asst. Editor skills from it, but I crave more edit experience it’s lacking. AE titling, logos, a ton of Squeeze + exporting, emailing acct. reps/clients with video links once uploaded, etc. It’s mostly :30, :15, and :10 second spots for broadcast, which is cool. At least it’s going out to a larger audience all around the world. Wheeee. I also prepare the videos for Beta, Digital, and other formats for deliverables.

Other edit related activities: FINALLY bought a Macbook, Avid, and Magic Bullet Suite 11. I cannot express the happiness I have gotten since then, but I feel a lot more valuable having a better laptop for one. More mobile if need be. I do not have Final Cut but mainly because when I got it, it turned out Premiere CS5.5 was better, and was it worth getting the older FCP…meh. So for now, I use it sometimes while editing with @kyl33t enough to know it, but I’d be a little slower in there vs. Premiere for instance ;D (erg, wondering if I am forgetting anything – will come back and visit this post again someday soon!)

I want to interject here that freelance going into 2012 has taken a complete and utter plunge downhill this Nomember 2011 and onward far as projects to work on. TOTAL standstill. Honestly? I’ve been very busy with really awesome projects that have come my way, so it worked out in the end. And, I guess I am tired of tracking clients down when it goes totally dark for weeks on their end (despite sending a mail out to space and never seeing a response) I have decided to use this time to work on side projects and learn more of Avid or other efforts. I didn’t really set out to be a freelancer in the first place, as I have noted in the past, I sort of fell into it and went along down the rabbit hole for awhile. I am not sure what 2012 will bring as far as freelancing. I may seek out some more consistent clients in the future. I’m always looking for work, case in point, but I’m not going to let that time go to waste. As much as I love mmo’s and gaming, I have to keep pushing myself harder and learning more. Downtime feels very odd to me.

GOALS FOR 2012:

  • Learn Avid top to bottom (especially using @AvidAsstEditor’s newly released book)
  • Use more AE and do more tutorials that challenge my skills
  • Shoot a nerdy fun short film for upcoming convention
  • Work more on Down Below script, finish it this year? MAYBE!
  • Enjoy premieres from the fruits of our labours on He Who Watches
  • Get new logo for website finished by artist (UPDATE: draft already sent, yay, it’s looking awesome!)
  • Tweak website and ensure all videos, descriptions, and blogs are updated
  • Additionally, blog more often when possible about projects and upcoming films I enjoy
  • Keep the job search up (and don’t stop reaching for the stars, no matter how far away they seem)
  • Seek out good freelancing opportunities to do on the side
  • Take more pictures + more photography in general with my DSLR (particularly I love to take people photos, I have a knack for finding their best angles!)

 

YAY for 2012. If you are reading this, then you made it too! Now let’s all go cut some stories!! #postdon’tstop

He Who Watches Production

He Who Watches Poster

He Who Watches Day One + Day Two Production:

Making a film sounds more fun in theory than it can be in reality, but I will say I was surprised with the flow of this particular little project. The production went super smooth, actors showed up ready to go, and aside from very freezing weather outside (pretty sure my legs were numb ice stick popsicle thingies by the time I reached warm air many hours later), I did have more fun than troubles. I operated the boom mic/zoom and ran the cam on some of the bridge scene (as I call the ‘mind death’ scene that randomly stepped out of my mind, saying “HEY DO THIS!” one night). Plus, there were some indoor fun or experimental angles. I really felt like I could go with anything that usually felt more risky for this. I got to explore the glory of shooting for slo-mo several times. There is no cold wind, freezing lake that required slippery climbing to, large scary groupings of ducks, nor bed that would get in our way that weekend. Even the few issues we had with our sound recording, I have to admit I needed to pinch myself a few times because of -how- on schedule things were over all! 🙂

Bench Scene. Yay for BR Park and this bench.

Day One included shooting outdoors. This was going to be the shorter, but rougher day because it happened to also be the COLDEST day of the year the one day we planned to shoot those scenes. Already scheduled, we decided to bundle up and try to make it as comfortable as possible. The first major scene we needed to tackle involved our two main actors, Sarah and Eric (and his awesome son PA’ed for us, always nice to have someone just in case you need something on the fly!) We had a bit of a bump trying to find the right location. The first location we had in mind we decided to nix upon arrival. Luckily, we pulled together and decided to check out the local Broad Ripple park in the case that we could find somewhere suitable to use. We pulled up to the park, and what do you know! There is a perfect little abandoned bench just sitting out by the water and dead trees. It was way too perfect for us! We lugged equipment and trudged in the cold to set up and get going on the first scene of the day.

 

Eric warming up for the first scene heheh!! *Streeeeetch*

Hilariously, we noticed this jogger warm-up bar which Eric put to good use trying to get blood flow going in the icy winds. The zoom/boom gave us a lil issue over here, but overall we managed to be rid of most annoyances like kids n dogs n people. The few times it did interrupt, our actors graciously backed up a bit and re-did the scene. We got some amazing sunlight which made lighting a breeze (pun intended!) since we wanted natural here. After we completed this scene, we numbly scurried back towards the car and proceeded to push our faces on the heating vents until we could officially feel our faces again. We drove over to the secondary location, and despite it looking pretty gloomy far as not being totally ideal, we talked over a game plan and kept our actors warm as we could in the car. In the mean time, our awesome PA and AD ran over to a nearby cafe and grabbed a bunch of hot chocolate to warm us up, too. Pocket warmers also came in handy, but I think we all would have loved it if they were body sized and would cocoon us like a jacket! I like that here is when the less experienced might suffer total panic and meltdowns, yet somehow everyone kept up their spirits enough to continue onward and not storm off set!

Thankfully, we’re quite accustomed to the push and pull of production. You have to know when to push for something and when to give in and work with what you can. Nothing is ever as perfect as you see it in your head. I knew for sure given certain scenes, I’d spend ages and hours past what we should have to get them just right. One particular shot of a scene involved multiple polaroid pictures flying over this bridge and into the water. I wanted LOTS. Haha, however reality came down to accepting what was possible and not. I wish we could have spent more time on this scene in hindsight, but it was near the end and we couldn’t feel our fingers anymore. The wind was another issue, but not entirely as I think it made them float a little further than it might have otherwise. It’s just, I wanted at least 50 fluttering down very slowly, and reality was maybe 5 or 6 and you really only see 2-3 super well. 🙁 Oh well! You know?? You have to let it go sometimes. I’d had this scene in my mind for quite some time, calling back to my college days when I was brewing up ideas for my capstone. I didn’t know where this shot would make it’s debut precisely, I just knew I had to do it sometime in a fitting film 🙂 It’s one thing to write for a film, but I have to admit it’s an amazing feeling to see one in particular find it’s “home” as I might say…perhaps it’ll never be as epic of I saw it in my mind, and that’s okay. It still lives where it was made! 🙂

Dirty freezing ground? No match for 'the shot that is needed' angle 🙂

This second scene location for the Bridge Scene…Did I mention we happened to pick the one Saturday that Broad Ripple was having some holiday fest by the fire station (which was somewhat nearby the Bench Scene and definitely next to the Bridge Scene)!? Oh boy. We had traffic, by foot and car, horses and carriages, lots of strollers,  blasting holiday music and ornaments on nearby trees?! To top that off, the lake was FILLED and I do mean filled to the brim with ducks. Ducks everywhere! They were noisy and splashy and curious little things trying to come up and investigate Eric or the camera.

aaaand CUT!

Crowds be damned, we carved out a path to go ahead with the scenes. Hilariousness ensued when we had people trying to run by with giant kiddie strollers or would just wander right in like oblivious to the fact that there was a crew of people trying to film something. Surely they would go to the other side of the sidewalk right? NOPE! But, all in all, after we turned into living popsicles, we managed to get through it. Now, when it comes to horror – or in our case, psychological thriller horror – you know you get to have a bit of fun far as angles, movement, etc. I can’t say I know for sure how the bridge scene would eventually come together, but Sarah did a fantastic job of giving us a variety of posing, emotions, and movements. One of which is spectacular!! A slo-mo of her slowly sinking to the ground, with her hair whooshing slowly from one side and down, down til she reaches the ground and crumples up. Has to be one of my fav progressive shots to cut later. I think we clearly were thinking like editors the whole way through best we could – so that we made sure to get every shot possible to have nice variations and spooky or jarring shots too.

Mind Death Meltdown - Scene I couldn't wait to film! 😀

Day Two included shooting indoors.  At my apartment, which was so weird to do!! I just know when I see my bed onscreen every time I’m going to giggle a bit like whoah, that location is mine. It’s just a weird thing ya know? Much much MUCH longer day than the one before, but we really wanted to knock everything indoors out on that Sunday. It could not have come sooner. After a lovely day living life as a veritable snowman, I think all involved were very relieved to know we would be indoors with plenty of refreshments and heat and comforts that you tend to ignore somewhat when you are around them all the time. It’s funny, but one thing that can be overlooked while shooting a short film is keeping a happy crew.

bwahah Kylee loses it from the cold 😀

I went out and tried to think of everything I’d like to have on set if I were an actor/crew. Lots of fresh veggies n fruit, a type of cookie (went with gingerbread because Trader Joe’s has ridiculously tasty ones that almost everyone got addicted to, thus becoming a run-on joke “hey did you grab a gingerbread man for the road” when anybody was leaving) and some veggie fries, cashews, other crunchy snackie nommie type things. We went with a local tasty sammich shop for lunch for the actors/crew there most of the day, which worked out brilliantly, plus took off pressure of what-to-do-fer-lunch. Water, coffee, and vitamin zero water. Keep it simple on drinks really because honestly people drink a lot of plain water most of all. And some sort of candy, because people get to sweating and working hard and need a little sugar boost.

Oh wow, I just went into a wholeeee nother area I didn’t plan on! So Day Two was mostly involving shots of Sarah and Dane (couple) as well as Sarah and Angela (sisters) and then the doctor/nurse scenes as well. Balancing equipment on a squishy wobbly bed at times with many people was I’m sure a hilarious sight. There were a few challenges that day to conquer. One scene we have Sarah take a little tumble off a cliff… I mean uh. wait. haha. She falls a bit, weakened, but I think we managed to do the scene best you can without a stunt actor launching themselves into the ground – and hopefully that’ll come across well enough. Hey, we once did a car colliding into someone (mostly made it realistic in post sped up) so the sky’s the limit, if you fail – oh well, *snip* 🙂

Shooting Indoors WHEEE.

The scenes between Dane and Sarah went wonderfully. Eric again looked positively awesome in his imported London pants, coat, and tophat. Seriously he’s really great in any film I’ve seen him in – he really made The Man, -the man-. Everyone seriously knew their lines also. We were happy with the scene and moving onto Angela and Sarah’s sister conversation. Some fun times happened too between takes. Eric snuck up on Angela to bite and also some great shots of Eric and Sarah. In our director’s cut, there’s more to the conversation than we could fit in the theatrical one. Le sigh. It happens! I should also mention our little kitten Spaz kept jumping on the bed or sneaking into scenes. That cute rascal!! We moved swiftly into the doctor and Sarah scene, Eric’s schtuff, and the nurse came in near the tail end. The last shots were very experimental of Sarah in bed. That’s all I want to say before giving anything away! haha. Plus I fear I’ve said too much!

NOMS! 🙂

He Who Watches  will be premiering at the Days of the Dead con in Atlanta with the rest of The Collective V3. It will also screen at the other two con locations throughout 2012, Indy and Chicago. And it’s still playing at HorrorHound in Columbus. We’ll be screening it locally within the next month or so with some Karmic Courage Productions films, details coming soon! HOW EXCITING! 🙂

This is a short horror psychological thriller film shot specifically for The Collective v3, which is said to be “The Collective is by far, the most unique independent short film collection on the market today. The Collective features 10 – 10 minute short films all made by a different filmmaker. What sets this collection apart is that all the films are based on the same synopsis or object.” Their v3 is a collection of ten female filmmakers with the same theme of the last ten minutes of life. This appears to be an on-going event, so who knows when v4 comes around, you may find yourself wanting to participate. If you are curious about it, you can read more on their FB page or http://www.jabbpictures.com.

OH…ps: Yes Sarah, I promise the next film you are in will not be coughing blood, dying, sick, or otherwise maimed. LOL.

Also… Post-production blog incoming soon. I also want to discuss the process of the mock pictures we made up, and graciously had people show up just for us to take the pics earlier that week. YOU ROCK! 🙂

 

Premiere Poster 😀

 

 

Eric sneaking up on Angela between takes. Was so funny! 🙂

 

Here's Dane! 😀
Sarah and Angela rehearsing a scene
Wide shot of everyone, including the doctor scene, getting everything set up!
Exhausted, "Are we done!? did we seriously just shoot this that fast?!"
Kylee filming 😀
Get thee into the corner! Between takes hehe
Streeeeetch that boom!
Yeaaah see I wasn't kidding about the multi people on our bed bit XD

Production/Post Discussion: An Outlook from Idealistic Beginner Eyes to Years Beyond

I was having a chat with @Kyl33t aka: Kylee tonight about our upcoming short horror film (psychological thriller variety) when we stopped to recognize, wow. We approach things so seriously. Worrying over the most minute detail in the case that we didn’t examine the what-ifs and necessary paths ie: best scenario vs. worst, etc. At one point, she says “Look at us! Being so fussy. This was supposed to be fun. It used to be fun.” We had a laugh, thinking back to our more idealistic days with fresh eyes and beginner experience. We didn’t know what we know now. How so much changes the more knowledge and experience you gain. It really makes you stop and think. It’s like she pointed out, “We know too much now” vs. back then. Does this knowledge harm our ability to have fun in the process of it’s making? Whether production or post, do you still have fun at what you do? I wonder how many of us have blinders on, plodding ahead but forgetting why we’re here. Is it bad to dream so far ahead?

Not to say everything produced on our learning journey was terrible, mind you, but comparatively to now I’m sure it would appear that way. It was the best we could do with our skills, know-how, tools, and I think we’re still able to look back and remember good times. I think those memories are precious because they fueled us to continue pushing forward to where we are now. Now isn’t mastery. Now happens to be that area where you are still always learning. Hungry for more experiences. It’s hard to describe, I suppose, upon examination. That could be said not only for editing and post, but when you take the reigns of production as well. I believe it’s a good experience for anyone who wishes to be involved in film AT all to wear every possible hat, even the ones you think you won’t like, so that you have a working knowledge of the ‘method to the madness’ behind it. It even helps to examine why you didn’t like something in order to understand why you love some other element or role.

One of our very first films we made together was back in a college class. It was our first real short film ever attempted. We went the route of ‘film noir’ genre. It was our first real casting, as in, not just one of us being tossed in front of camera to act. I remember it was the first time we had an actress cry on camera. I stayed up all night to work on an edit. It was really the defining moment I knew I loved what I did. I wanted to ride out waves of energy to keep editing. I didn’t want to stop. We should have been super stressed, and at points of course we were. However, somehow, we still managed to have a fun time despite any hiccups.  Over time, I think you begin to really understand all the effort and planning it takes to go from a loosely based idea < script < pre-production ie: casting, props, scheduling, equipment AKA: The Reality Hammer < production itself < post-production. It’s when you connect these elements that you have to weigh the gravity of how they relate and what is needed to produce the very best you can do. The better production goes, the better post can be!

I should add that pre-production and production can both be what I called ‘The Reality Hammer’, where great ideas that seem good in theory are tested to their very limits. Scary. Fun. Exhilarating. Failure is inevitable. That is a heavy weight to bear at times, knowing that. Sometimes we want to be the very best and don’t bend to the will of production, who is an unpredictable sort of nasty at times beast I might add – a growling snarling yet fun to tame beast. A different beast than editing can be, for sure.  As Kylee put it, “As far as post goes, there’s always a solution, somehow!”

As we begin production on our short horror film tomorrow, I want to remember why I’m here. Why I’ve fought so hard to be where I am and want to continue no matter how long it takes. The long nights and lack of sleep. My graduation into a pretty awful economy and being told “you have no hope out there to get full time work.” My stubbornness carrying me through. Jumping into projects I used to think I’d be too scared or shy to do! I guess I’m too busy examining my failures instead of my victories some nights to remember all this. The frightening sudden plunge into freelancing, which I’ve had no mentor to guide me (minus reaching out to some great people who have seriously given me encouraging words!) Where I didn’t know how I was going to eat the next day. It’s sad and true. I’m not looking for pity by any means. I just want someone to know. I guess there is a comfort in someone knowing the path someone else took. I think that’s all we ever want is just a moment to feel like we matter. That we belong and have reason to continue forward. Also, production reminds me of the very reasons I enjoy being an editor. It’s full of hope. possibilities. story avenues and little paths within themselves. hiccups. tired actors. hungry crew. tick-tock of the clock. It’s not anything you can plan to the absolute ‘T’, but you can certainly try your hardest.

I think what it is, is not that we have lost our ability to have fun, but that we just have fun in a ‘different’ way. We can’t have the fun we had when we were first year in, sort of flying by the seat of our pants (HAH! Who am I kidding, everyone still does that to a degree!) I think being hypersensitive to details and on your toes about all the aspects involved on production can help you produce some amazing shots and films overall. The prettier shots you have in production, the more enjoyable post-production. So on and so forth. I recall saying, “It’s that we KNOW now, that production rarely if ever goes as planned. That there’s so much to convey and you have to -work- to get it. It doesn’t just fall into your lap by luck. No idealistic dreams to rest upon these days.”

To any Twitter people reading: A little more than 140 characters for the following thoughts. I think that sometimes while on the journey to discovering your place in the realm of video/film, you can feel a bit lost. I know that I have felt overwhelmed and conquered quite a bit of challenges from the first day I recognized this is what I wanted to do every day of my life until presently, where I am on the edge of a knife (this phrase has been on my mind often) trying to push out into freelance editing while still searching out for that much desired/needed/wanted experience in an actual full-time job. I’ve realized you can gain quite a lot of knowledge and insight if you stop to examine your progress over the years as they pass by. They sure do pass by fast. You’re not always having a fun time. But that’s okay, because you know where your efforts are going and they make you happy.

Some of you know me as a pretty happy go lucky person on Twitter-lands. You may not know the real me as in real life, nor need to, but know this much. In order to understand the passion behind my love of film and being a video editor, one simply should read my words that come from the heart. I occasionally wonder why some do not interact at all. Perhaps you don’t think I can think intelligently or that I’m serious. If you should read any post of mine, I surely hope it is this one. While I’m on the topic, I thought I’d point out the following… #1 I can speak proper English – sometimes I enjoy tossing in a bit of “internetz” words because it amuses me or I’m being informal #2 I also express myself. A LOT. With lots of faces. Perhaps I’m still a bit of a kid at heart, I haven’t lost my enthusiasm or sort of goofy side #3 I am dearly passionate about films, videos, series, whatever the project is I put myself into it entirely. From production to post…always much love for post and editing. I hope in the future you won’t be afraid to approach me and/or give your own perspectives a quick polish about who belongs here or not. It’s not even a question that should be asked, it should be felt on our own. It’s a very private experience and knowledge that I am not here to convince anyone. I merely am who I am, and I won’t stop being that for anything. Not all of us come in tightly wrapped packages. See outside the ‘norm’. Thank you for reading!

PS: To my future self – I should really go finish organizing the rest of the apartment since a portion of it is being filmed here!!

The Edit Cave :3 (@NinjaKittay)

Herro! Welcome to my Edit Cave :3

As some of you are aware, I am a freelance editor. I didn’t set out on this journey per se upon graduation, but due to some luck and circumstance, here I am. A good portion of my work is done at home, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning or other times just throughout the whole day – depends on the project/client. While you have to understand there are many pros and cons (and a decent bit of cons) to freelancing, this HAS to be one of the perks I’d suppose – which is working @ home and the ability to decorate my edit cave as I see fit. :3 So enjoy a peek into my editing cave of sorts. I certainly don’t consider it uber high tech; even more so, perhaps it needs warning tape around it for those not very ‘ADD to shinies’. But I happen to find it my comfortable editing spot that I’ve done so many projects in it’s like embedded memories into the objects around it. If I’m not plunking down on my (YES) stability ball chair, I’m editing in a coffee shop, car, hallway, or elsewhere. I currently edit mostly on PC, sometimes Mac – I use Premiere, Final Cut, and I aim to learn Avid (recent purchase). I am also getting a laptop, quite possibly Macbook Pro in the near future. I also am well overdue for a 2nd monitor setup x3 Oh well. Things to work towards 😀

SO without further adieu, here is my edit cave. I will probably just share one overall pic, and then link this blog for anybody curious to see more.

EDIT CAVE /cue crack of thunder and lightning. BWHAHAH.

Good establishing shot of the ol' edit cave.
What's not to love? Werewolves and sci-fi rockets 😀
I like shiny things.
Stability ball - makes a great chair (tho I admittedly miss leaning back) xD
You might notice it's a touch colourful xD
I enjoy my domos and fox plushie entirely too much :3
Any guess where this sheep in wolf's clothing is from? 😀
When I feel myself losing it - I simply look up and can't NOT laugh at Rage Face (Reddit)
Along the other wall, more stuff n things 😀
My editcave wouldn't be complete without some lil nod to LOTR :3
"You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say." >.<
That's a wrap! /fade Edit Cave. xD

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my edit cave. Maybe you find some inspirations or ideas from it or just think WOW or how do you get anything done with all that around you? But it’s seriously my happiest of happy places. I can’t really tell you why because it’s so personal. Wherever I go, whether I move into a stable editing job with a new edit cave, I will always bring my personality with me heheh. I can’t wait to see yours! 😀

Film Contests/Festival Thoughts..

Random sense of humor required. ;o

At some point in your journey throughout this field, you may run across opportunities to be involved in film contests/festivals. It’s a great idea to be proactive and look out for these events from time to time, while also having a great network will help alert you to times when you could submit a short film you may have previously done. I’d like to talk about some of my past experiences with them, maybe give a few tips, and explain why it’s important to put yourself out there with these type of events. Whether editor, sound, director, videographer, script supervisor, actor/actress, etc. Anyone involved in the film/video industry should try to participate in at least one!

Up to date, I have entered several contests where one of our films had the pleasure of being screened and enjoyed by others. To try to describe the experience would be immensely hard, not to mention it’s so relative to each person’s experience. However, to me, there’s really no other feeling out there when you see a film you helped create go up on a big screen. Your heart feels like it’s going to drop out of your chest in anticipation and excitement. It gives you something productive to work on that not only allows wiggle room for learning new techniques and more about yourself as *insert role*, but it is a definable space of time you can utilize networks, take on new roles (say editor to director for a change), and fill a particular genre in which you can gain new perspectives.

Throughout my participation in contests and festivals, I have been involved in some short films I never thought I’d do. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many people around the area that I may have never met otherwise. I have learned a lot more about the inner workings of production (since I am so heavily involved more in post). I’ve often found myself quite at home surrounded by other teams and inspired by their films as well. Film festivals can open you up to a lot of new networks and friends, from a simple conversation with a nice exchange of ideas to an offer for work down the road later, and it creates a welcoming environment that feels like a big giant push of encouragement.

Don't freak! :3 Who'm I kiddin? Freak out then fix it/make it work!

Not that this upcoming advice is anything new, because it’s certainly not, but perhaps I can say it in a way that makes sense to help you understand how to prepare for then enjoy them from start to finish.

First tip: Examine when thinking about entering these type of events what is required of you precisely. Can you meet the deadline without mostly a shadow of a doubt? Do you have the necessary equipment, time, crew, cast, etc to meet the film requirements? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. No, really. Take your effort, ideas, confidence, and skills into it, you will get damn near close to what you put into it at the end (or so is the goal!), right? This is often overlooked by the thrill of excitement, but when “D-Day” comes, waves of panic roll on through. Without preparing yourself for the very best and very worst of the “what ifs” and audience reactions, you set yourself up to feel resentment and thus bitter towards this type of experience.

Second tip: These may require an insane amount of organizational and clear communication skills. From everything to casting auditions to crew calls, putting everyone on the same page, and just getting everyone in the same spot at the same time -on time- can be a real challenge. Many crews can fall into the black hole of lost communication. You have to find a way to keep your cast and crew motivated at wrong turns and late nights and hungry times (though if you plan it well, you’ll scrounge up at least enough to somehow feed them with pizza/snackies/water at the very least if they are not paid for roles) Not to overwhelm, but in addition to the mass organization, you’ll need to be quite tedious at managing locations, props, and anything else required for the film. There’s nothing worse than arriving and ready to film, but you’re missing a backup battery or important prop. Of course, making lists will be quite helpful for this process, so don’t underestimate and make sure you write out lists for your cast and crew so they know exactly what should be on hand and what they need to bring.

Consider hiring a juggler to entertain during the "hurry up and wait" filming days. LOL.

Third Tip: Remember this much, a happy cast and crew will make for happier production and post-production times. There is going to be stress involved. Feed them. Love them. Pat them…no wait, that’s pets. But you get the drift. You are going to pep talk yourself before that you won’t overreact or have anything disagreeable happen and then come the time, this all may go out a window. Shit happens! The important part is that you know how to continue forward despite any snags along the way. Once you find yourself in a situation when something goes wrong, or people are overtired and grumpy, you can continually try to adjust how you react to it. Take it all in stride, and you will find people will lighten up and move on. The longer you dwell, the longer it resides and leaves bad juju in the air. I will note there are extreme circumstances in timed contests (such as the 48 Hour Film Project) that is an entirely different beast compared to most other ones, considering you are not under the intensity of such a small span of time. Please see my earlier posts specifically about the 48 hour contest because you may need some different tactics there.

Fourth Tip: Backups! BACKUPS! Equipment/Cast/Crew. You never know what may happen between preparations to production day. You may have every actor/actress lined up then find out the day of that one of them can’t make it or something happens and it’s a no show. This is precisely something that occurred to us during one 48 hour film project that ended up working out in our favour, but in the future, you’ll want to make sure you have a few people who are good-natured, capable, and able to allot a day or two that they may need to be called upon. This shouldn’t be terribly difficult if you reach out to the right networks. One great avenue you could go is to hold some auditions with people from theatre and acting colleges. In the case of the my capstone project, we utilized several students that were at the theatre program at a local nearby college as our cast for several films. Also, enlist some friends to be on standby to assist as Production Assistants of sorts. Need more coffee? Forgot a prop? Need to pickup an actor who’s car broke down? You’ll find support in friends more than you think. This has created down the road many valuable and awesome connections we can continually pull from to flesh out cast. Which comes to my next tip…

Check. Double Check. Triple Check. EVERYTHING! xD

Fifth Tip: Always look to the future when considering your team. Change can be good. While you may have a dedicated team of crew, cast, and friends, it never hurts to look outside the box and pull in new people while some may go, and a few others stay constant.

Most of all, have fun with it and you’ll create something you can look back upon and smile! 🙂

48 Hour Film Project @ Indianapolis: Experience + Tips v2.0

These cards rocked (@Kyl33t) We handed these out for 2011 48hfp! While people waited for screening to start, we figured they might get curious & scan the code with smartphone which led them to our website pantscannonmedia.tumblr.com.

(To read about my favourite 48hfp experience & tips, please see my other post) However, continue reading for another flavor to how these contests can go…)

It’s the last week of July 2011. The 48 hour is upon us again. We managed to continue with pretty much same team and same cast with a few new additions. That anxious moment of waiting to draw genre. I had a feeling this year we might draw horror, for whatever reasons. I even had a dream about how it’d go. Everyone had their guesses, but to all our amazement, we drew Dark Comedy! Not so strange as to toss back into the unknowns of the Wild Card opportunity, we decided to roll with it.

The required elements we used was a guy named Jonathan Taylor, profession lawyer, prop was an orange, and dialogue was “I’d prefer not to!”I certainly admit I had a wee bit of yipes, trepidation going into this genre. I just love comedy, but dark comedy has a certain element that you either hit or miss. The gears started turning in my head as we all drove back to start the brainstorming session. This time, because we had several locations for shooting, we decided to shoot at one of our team members house. This is also where other activities took place, like brainstorming, setup, editing, everything but the sound and refinement. There was certain pros and cons to making campus our headquarters last year, so it was interesting to see how it would go @ someone’s house instead.

NomNoms to get us through the weekend 😀 In case you were curious lol.

The brainstorming process was difficult. There’s no lies there. Dark comedy really gave us a bit of trouble as far as narrowing down a path to head towards. No point in discussing that part further, the great point is eventually we picked a direction and went running towards it. It was hectic getting such a dialogue-driven story scripted, but I think we were all excited to attempt it. I think this was the most dialogue heavy piece we’d ever done. Now you might be thinking, is the 48hfp a place to be trying out new methods like this?

Well, sure! Why not? I wouldn’t say to jump too too far outside your comfort zone, but it is as great of time as any to experiment and try something new. I just wouldn’t go doing that too much with new equipment or software being that you’re in a real time crunch, and any troubleshooting type errors or failures with them could really put you behind or late. I would definitely discuss with your team what you plan to shoot/edit on, make sure everyone is on board and comfortable with that format, whether you do tapeless, etc. and STICK TO IT. Sometimes, on the eve of ‘battle’ before the production, people may get inspired by a great rush and think, oh, let’s go ahead and use tapeless (when they’ve no experience with it) This is probably a bad idea, just saying…

So we’ve got the script, it’s the next day and time for production. Production is always one of the scariest moments. And of course, let us not forget the huge “hurry up and wait” that is inevitable. Everyone arrived on time, seemed ready to go, and got a surprise of their life. We didn’t reveal much about the script to our poor cast. Sarah had come in hair fixed, and we had to reveal guess what! You are all very sick people in a support group all trying to trump one another with your symptoms. Time to smear on makeup for dark circles! Thankfully, we are quite lucky to have the cast we did. They set straight away to getting ‘disheveled’ for the cam, and we went over any last minute things, as well as getting info to someone making a song for our film (how cool is that! wish we could have used more of it le sigh -__-) Our cast blew my mind.

Edit Time, CHARRRRRGE! *monty python music*

Production actually went about how we thought it might. We had a decent idea of how to go about it, and everyone made it happen without too many hitches (for instance, the light kits blowing out a fuse momentarily, LOL) and a few other expected snags. Spirits seemed high, swelled low, then back up again, and there was an energetic buzz going on at several moments which made up for any low spots. I couldn’t believe how well our cast was pulling off these heinous characters, probably something they may not have had to explore before, so kudos for that! As soon as possible, capturing started. There was a few problems getting going on that, but it seemed to hit a calm point again.

EDITORS! Consider this. I think unless you want to be present for the whole production, take a word of advice. You do not necessarily need to be present the entire production time. (aka: the times everybody is standing around willing themselves to stay awake when nothing is happening) lol. In fact, I suggest you take out time to get in a bit of extra sleep during the pre to initial stages of production. I think in hindsight, I would have slept a bit later, then rolled on in after coffee and food so I had fresh eyes and mind. (This may not always be the case, but I found out in this particular setup, it would have went much better, but we were also on a strict sudden schedule with the edit unfortunately) When you have a team, you don’t really need to be there standing around and getting ansy waiting on the first capture before it can happen. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Preparations, you can NEVER have enough! 🙂

Editing was…insane. I don’t really want to get into this part too much. Essentially, we found out the day OF that we needed to get the edit done by a certain time in order to have sound working on things. CRAP!! This wasn’t good. While I thought in the back of my mind, “No way this will happen”, I just nodded my head and blazed off to the edit “suite” where I proceeded to want to bash my head into the nearest wall.

Nevertheless, you cannot pretend these moments don’t happen, and the sooner you realize plans can and WILL change, just go with it – do your best, that’s all you can do, right? I have never felt such pressure in my entire life until this point. Production didn’t wrap until 6pm, and I was to try to have the cut finished by 9pm. Yeahhh. no. That didn’t happen. I did however manage to squeak by around midnight, you know thinking on it, I could be wrong…I really don’t even know anymore what time it was!  By the time I was done, I was abso-fricken-lutely exhausted, dead, beaten, tired, and low. I think I aged another 5 years in that night. I learned an awful lot about myself. If I could change anything about the intensity and crap that was a bit unnecessary, I would – but I can’t, so that is the lesson of life. It happens how it does, and then you move on. 🙂

The 'Orange' Shot - all I can think about is a guy running out into the street chasing an orange...HAHAH. #hilariousmomentsintime

The next day Josh and Kylee (read about her experiences) had to get the rest of color corrections under way and also export to deliver. It was insane there as well. This year, for whatever reasons, was giving us hardly any mercy. Though, you must admit, for 48 hours, we managed a great film with good humour and very tongue-in-cheek pokes at life. I think what we set out to accomplish was exactly that – no, it was not a winner because it definitely wasn’t about zombies which seems to KEEP BEING A RECURRING THEME. Seriously!?! Zombies are cool and all, but GAH. Phew…anyway, where was I? Oh. Yes. It wasn’t as …happy go lucky as last year’s. I’m still proud of it. I think we put ourselves out there, outside the box, learned some stuff, made a film, what’s not to like?

Having way too much fun making a mock MPAA for our 48hfp

Here you can see a short trailer I slapped together literally in an afternoon to hurry and get at least one trailer ready for the upcoming weekend. It had to be at least 48 seconds long or less, which I thought was funny. At a suggestion, I mimicked the typical green preview MPAA screen and totally transformed every little bit of it to our film. I crafted it together right in Premiere as a title. That was quite a fun lil project I must admit. I loved being able to customize everything. Here is a still of the title also. I wish I’d thought to add a bit of sound clip at that point to sort of sneak in, but overall, I like it. I sort of let the song be the narrative instead.

Without further adieu, you can watch Support Group right now! Here’s our trailer first and submission right under that.

Our Poster 😀 (kyl33t rocks!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlc9Flo4I2M&hd=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dj9Gtly0us

PS: that still on our video cracks me up! XD

Oh double PS: At some point, a news guy came by to take a few words and pictures with our crew as part of the 48hfp coverage. That was cool. Here’s a few hilarious stills that were in the paper that weekend.

heheh this looks so wrong but guess you'll haveta watch our film to understand it's context :3
We were in the paper! Woot 😀 (I'm the invisible editor in the back room LOL *sad panda*)

48 Hour Film Project @ Indianapolis: Experiences + Tips

It has been two years (2010 + 2011) that I’ve now participated in the 48 Hour Film Project that comes to visit Indianapolis around the last weekend in July each year. I had two very different experiences on each film, which is to be expected.

Montage in action! 😀

The 48 hour Film Project is a strange sort of beast. It’s “one giant big medieval mess” as Merlin in Sword of the Stone might say. It’s quite a bit of everything. On the good side, it’s a lot of excitement, a rush, innovative, on your toes critical thinking, and all around creative. The downside is that it’s high stress, high emotion, tick-tock goes the clock, grab fistfuls of hair in agony, and it can almost take some people over the edge of ‘too much’. If you are up for a challenge like you have never probably done before (and even if you have, it’s never the same) then this is most certainly for you. I warn this much, NEVER underestimate it! You can create some amazing films from this and learn more about yourself and/or your team members. Especially you’ll learn about the ability for things to go wrong, the necessity to be able to compromise with a give and take, you’ll learn just how different personalities are in regards to having control, gulping pride to work with others despite disagreement, having inspiration take a dive out the window randomly, etc. All the planning in the world will never be enough for this beast. Learn to go with the flow and do it quick, you won’t have time to fiddle around!

SKIP THIS if you know 48hfp… If you aren’t familiar with the format of the 48 hour films, first you register your team on the website, and suggestions are to register early (it’s cheaper) but they do allow quite a bit of time to do so. Eventually, the big weekend approaches, and on that Friday, everyone meets up at a certain time/location for about an hour or two. During this meetup, if it’s summer, you stand around sweating outside for awhile, then stand around inside for awhile.  Side note: I wish I’d remember to bring water with me, as I’m usually always dehydrating and feeling a bit too much adrenaline by the time they start up. 

Always be prepared for anything with stuff, stuff, and more STUFF!

But all kidding aside, they’ll start the event, and everyone draws from a hat for the genre film from a decently big list of film genres. Also, if you should draw something you really really hate or can’t work with, you have an opportunity @ the end of the meeting to give it back and draw from a smaller pool of ‘Wildcard’ genres. This can be quite risky, but many are willing to take that risk if they draw say, musical/western. 🙂 Finally, everyone no matter what genre they get must work with the following: Character Name (guy or girl) and their ‘occupation’, dialogue line, and prop. Be very vigilant what these are and how to use them and do not deviate, because if you forget, you’ll be kicking yourself later.

So last year, 2010, was my very first 48hfp. I had no idea what I was getting into. We ended up pulling fantasy! YESS! YES YES YES. I couldn’t have felt more excited for this genre. I had no idea what we might draw, but I kind of hoped we could do a fantasy theme. They announced later that we needed a character named Cooper O’Brien, that he was a dog walker, the dialogue line was “What time is it?”, with using the prop from a car part. (almost everyone groaned when this was pulled) We rushed over to Starbuck’s near campus, a perfect location in hindsight to meet up, caffeinate ourselves to oblivion, and think think THINK! It was probably one of the greatest brainstorming sessions I’d ever taken part in. We were able to really come up with a solid overall idea and feel for the film. I admittedly LOVE humour, so the fact that we were able to mesh fantasy and humour together made me so happy. We also came up with some brilliant montage idea and a great twist. It seemed fairly well put together, so we texted our actors/actresses what they’d need to bring the next day and wrapped.

The Team! 🙂

The next day, we were due to film starting early in the day. Enter OMG WTF moment. Our lead actor hadn’t shown up after setup and preparations were almost done. We were getting ansy. We called and called back again and fretted and worried and spit and screamed. We were out a lead actor and had to give up the idea they were still showing up. (Apparently they not only overslept but the phone was forwarding straight to voice mail which was certainly worrisome, but later, I was glad to find out he was okay) We had one of two choices.

Freak out or somehow pull this together. Thankfully, it turned out to be the best thing to happen to us. Our new lead actor, who had to show up to all this chaos extremely last minute, was so awesome – Absolutely amazing! Easy to work with, quick on his feet, intuitively he took direction well, and did a damn fine job of making this Cooper O’Brien fellow come to life. LUCK was on our side. Morale skyrocketed as we blew through scene after scene. This is how you turn around what could be a very bad situation and make it golden. In fact, I must stop and say I was entirely amazed and grateful and in awe of all our cast and crew that day. Everyone was working like a well-oiled machine, knew their roles, gave it their all, laughed off the hurry up and wait of the production, and left with their sense of humour intact. You cannot ask for more! Production is the first of several hurdles.

Once you wrap, relief will sink in, but only for the moment. Then comes the edit, sound, refinement, and color correct/grade.

Lights, Camera, Action!

With a few snags here or there, which really in a whole picture is not bad at all, the edit came together and we went home for the night. I won’t mention the part where the timeline bugged in FC, got switched, and confusedly thought we were over time length. Oh noooo. 😉 hah. There’s really no good way to describe how the edit will go. Some choose to start capturing as soon as possible while the filming finishes. Others do it all at once. Some edit solo, others edit as a group. There’s no right or wrong way, it’s whatever way works best as a whole. I will say you don’t have the same time you may be accustomed to tinkering around with the edit, so the pressure can be hardcore at this moment. It’s best to just keep your blinders on, edit away, get feedback, and move into the refinement period as soon as you can. Don’t let the editing process go on. Remember, if there’s too many cooks in the kitchen…

The next day was full up on the sound and VO recordings, sound effects, and music, as well as color correction, titling/credits, etc. until you can export. There’s a very strict deadline – I don’t suggest you even consider missing because while you may be able to show your film, you cannot get any awards from it. It’s just good general practice to know your deadline and run up to meet it before it has come than to see it fly by you at the last second. We were able to drive over and turn it in without too much panic. I had never felt so proud of a project until this day because it’s just so different than anything else you can imagine. The time constraints + everyone having to pull together in a hectic and chaotic yet fun environment… it spurs the kind of creativity and passion you don’t always see everyday. This is what I loved best about the experience.

"Where do you think you're going, Mister!"

In about a week’s time, we attended the IMA to see all the screenings (they’re usually divided into groupings, like A, B, C) Our film, Cooper O’Brien and the Magical Moustache managed to pull away with Best Musical Score. That montage moment is seriously epic in my eyes, and always will be. The dream moment when Sarah barks is a particularly hilarious moment when you think they’ll pull together and kiss or something instead is brilliant. I smile like a giant dork the entire time watching it. It’s a totally feel good fantasy short film. It’s also been in other festivals and won several awards since then.

WATCH OUR FILM HERE: Cooper O’ Brien and the Magical Moustache

2011 Editor Reel

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JushALsHLB0]

“Would you tell me which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get,” said the Cat.
“I really don’t care where” replied Alice.
“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
– Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), novelist and poet (1832-1898)

This perfectly reminds me of the process of editing this video reel. I’ve had a great many deal of ideas of how I wanted to lay out my newest editor reel. While I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do or said I would do, I am quite content with the results. Surprisingly, you would think you need an exact layout of what you want to do. But editing – it’s very organic. Sometimes, it comes to life before your very eyes without much prodding.

The process went very much like any other edit. I brought in all the various videos I knew I wanted to pull from. That can be the most overwhelming time, when you scrub through each video trying to pinpoint the best moments and how you will use them. I think even before I went to open Premiere CS5, I went into it trying not to care too hard about the process and just see where it took me. Before, say when I edited my last reel, I was very very focused and cared a great deal about every single thing involved. It might have even caused my video to lose it’s way, but it didn’t produce that lucky happy result where it all works. I think it bulked itself up a bit more than it should have.

Somehow, when you lose yourself and give up some control, you really might find what you are looking for! So I just simply stopped caring. I made fast decisions, cut here or there and almost knew where in the song I wanted the cut, used Magic Bullet (the one that comes with CS5, gah I wish the actual full plugin) to add a bit of a darker feel to the shots, and then found the most intense and dare I say dramatic piece of music off Freeplay. What on Earth was I trying to accomplish?

I wanted a short reel. This much I knew. Within about a minute. I mean, who can’t wait for just a minute for something? I wanted to grab the viewer as fast as possible and keep their attention the whole time. Maybe shock or intrigue with the various cuts I made. Not so jumbled it would leave the viewer feeling icky, but Hopefully, in the reel, I’ve accomplished that much. The music was specifically interesting to me, and isn’t it true that sometimes we don’t know WHY exactly we like something…we just do. It set the pace of the edit – I knew some spots could be more mellow, and then BAM! It’s like a wakeup call to whomever is watching with the faster cuts, aided by the fact that I had a lot of great footage to pull from. The Sons of Amber shots were probably the most perfect for cuts to match the music, and admittedly I’m very partial to that film since we invested so much time and effort.

Advice for anyone editing their reels is the following: Do not overthink it! Sure, it may be nice to add in a ton of AE effects and all these big grand ideas, but at the end of the day, it’s what you can do for ‘now’ that matters most. And do it the very best you can, that’s all anybody can ask for. Once I stopped putting unreasonable ideas on the table, this reel just came to life. And even if it wasn’t everything I ever dreamed for, what is exactly what you hoped to be? That is why these reels are always changing to highlight our skills. And there you have it…