A Drop of Water is a labor of love, more than a year in the making. It came to be out of sheer will power, shared dedication, and the generosity of friends, family, coworkers, and colleagues. Though the film was principle photography ended in late June of 2011, post-production has been a painfully unending process. Through out principle, Dave Garcea was delivering assemblies of scenes shot in the days prior, which not only provided instant gratification to a relatively inexperienced crew, but also provided assurance that we we’re heading in the right direction. The plan, as far as the edit, was for Dave to bring the cut as close to final as possible, at which time I would add the finishing touches. Dave produced, I believe, three cuts, the final of which was where the film actually started to look like the film I had envisioned.
A problem arose when it came time for me to take over the editing process. I am an Adobe Premiere user, while Dave is a Final Cut user. The disparity between our versions prevented an XML export/import, requiring the film to be resynced and re-edited from scratch. When this realization came, RedTere was taking on a high volume of projects, from music videos to a documentary and more. A Drop of Water took a backseat.
In January 2012, I began training for a 6 week course in Fort Lauderdale, to begin in April. The trip was a blessing and a curse, as RedTere’s business came to a screeching halt, but the 6 weeks away from the office allowed me to look at A Drop of Water with a fresh pair of eyes. I started resyncing and re-editing at Logan Airport on April 8th, while waiting for my flight. I’ve spent the nights and weekends that followed in my hotel room, bringing the film as close to completion as possible.
I’m proud to say that as of Sunday, May 6th, video has reached final cut status, with the exception of some missing shots (minor things, like exterior establishing shots of buildings). Those shots will be completed when I return to Massachusetts in late May / early June.
Music has been another challenge for this project. The original composer was delivering cues at a leisurely pace, which was fine, since editing had stalled. I, however, wasn’t satisfied with the cues, not because they were bad, but because the movie itself was too small to justify such an orchestral score. Simplicity is key. One night, my script supervisor and friend, Tim Brown was playing around with a hollow body guitar and a violin bow. I loved the sound so much that he and I spent the following day recording the entire score, placing cues based on the previous rough cut. Within hours, the score for A Drop of Water was complete.
With wav files in hand, I began chopping the cues into bits and placing them into scenes. At the same time, I started picking apart the rough cut and trimming it down for pacing (and limits imposed by short film festival guidelines). The goal was to have a low-quality workprint that would mirror my eventual final cut. It wasn’t that simple, as my final cut features some differences, ranging from minor to substantial. To show viewers the genesis of the edit, the disc release of this film will contain four cuts – the third rough cut (the basis for the workprint), the workprint (a rough approximation of the final cut, with 3-4 minutes deleted from the third rough cut), the final cut, and the extended cut (which adds back the 3-4 minutes of deleted scenes).
What’s next? Tonight I will finalize the music cues. One scene is missing music completely, as it will feature “diegetic” music. I will implement at least a temporary cue for that this week. With those two steps complete, the mixing process for dialog and music will begin. When, I return to Massachusetts, I’ll dedicate time to recording and mixing a foley sound fx track. Once the sound fx and missing shots are in place, A Drop of Water will be ready for film festival submission.
Don’t expect much in the way of updates between now and then, except maybe, for a trailer.