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The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Lesson 13 of 17

Preproduction - Casting

Francesca Gregorini

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Francesca Gregorini

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Lesson Info

13. Preproduction - Casting

Lesson Info

Preproduction - Casting

Our guest is antony langton. He was the main editor on the truth about emanuel. Heather parsons also came on towards the end and helped tio final polish finish edit on the film. But anthony's here with us so we're in the ether like you do very hanson, I'm further cuts to you, but I'm happy you can see me but made a lot of that excellent all right, so high and today I'm chris, you know, you can't really see me here, but we're going to go through and do a little discussion here with francesca and with you, so I'll start off with a question really for the both of you so feel free to chime in and discuss, but when it's time to edit your film, what is the first thing that a director gives to an editor? It was getting our dailies as we were shooting, so he was sort of assembling the scenes as we went and and then he would give us notes to polly and I sort of like, hey, hello, I sort of connected the scene, but next time can you please make sure to give me this or cut away or something to sor...

t of save our ass so kind of as we went on, he was sort of helping us do you want to stay and add anything to that? Well, there's a hello everybody on dh yeah, I think that's absolutely right I think the way basically went was we got the every day we don't deserve to drive to the edit room with dailies on dh then we said we set up a work for where we would from the alexa camera would produce working daily is essentially which is think rolls you know to produce that camera in the picture and sing ondas then send those dr beach that's the producers to francesca on to this top of the key moments on dh yeah that's basically how it started out then we assemble the scene on then you have really obvious glaring missing shots are generally speaking they were looking for a bulk of the scene to get the action and the act is covered and it's very easy when you're under a lot pressure imagine to not get little cut away details you know what? You're lingering with time, so I think that was probably the main thing other than that I actually have to say the coverage was really good everything was pretty much usable. I need a couple of scenes where they struggled for for time and somebody way tried to assembly get a sense of what was there that the scene was working confirmed with politics in trouble from francesca that things were covered and then uh syria show that we were moving in the right direction all right, now ask me when you start to work on it at it, how much back and forth is there between you and the director? Is it going to be different depending on the director that you're working with? Yeah, I think it's different every time, some some directors, a very hands on, I want to be involved, some directors less so I think in the first, in this case, twenty seven to twenty six there's about twenty six days where I just I think you would say that production being a private photography way, that we were in communications out, I mean, we spoke on a daily basis that things were going well, but generally speaking, it was about me building an assembly, along with people working within the department's on once we knew it was working, we just get on with it, I think that's just a bump in a few tension, which is primarily concerned with production and shooting, so we just go on and did what we could to assemble and make sure things with flowing terms is different every time you. But I think chris is asking to, like, in the edit room, like, once we're actually editing once we're in post, not just in, not just in production like that, yeah, absolutely such well, yeah, I think at that moment if speaking specifically about francesca francesca is a very hands on director to say the least we we want to get up every day for our you just show every year so on enough on way we're almost always the together there were times when she gives you know several I was on a day or two just to kind of assemble bits that we have to do but yeah, we worked together very closely all right question now for you, francesca what are you looking for when you do hire an editor? Well, handsome lad, what I'm looking for is somebody that I can be locked up in a dark room with for, like twelve hours a day and be wildly entertained because it's a long us process and it's like you better have an editor that has a sense of humor that you can banter with that you can sort of, you know, get into scuffles with about this or that and it's like you're both gonna be fine and not get your feathers ruffled. But it's really like you're going to be spending a lot a lot of time next to this human so you just need to feel like you're gonna have a good time because one on do you know and someone that's adventurous too you know, I think I chose all of my heads of department with that in mind because I'm adventurous I feel like I'm an adventurous filmmaker and I want my films reflect that and I want you know, people who are bold and think outside of the box and I get it try something that's different and are going to be thinking and they're smart you know what I mean and you know and you know anthony this was his first feature film he came from shooting shorter form stuff and you know, he was a musician before that much like myself on ly better esso and you know I think for editing is a very musical thing so I think having a music background you know and knowing rhythm is an important thing and and yeah we sort of you know found her way yeah you mentioned ruffling feathers so I have to hear from anthony about what? Of the creative difference differences that you sometimes comma grants with a director how do you navigate those differences? Well there were the real the real story there is is a director's of work for a year before you arm or sometimes twenty years I suppose they certainly in this case I know of several years of developing the script of raising money of choosing department heads and beginning to a set of practice and so on and I think that therefore they get very attached to ideas and it's all in your imagination and then one day becomes riel and I get to receive the days without any kind of emotional attachment to the to the daily process is making the images all the trials and tribulations of directing actors are, you know, department heads sounds level so it's a very big pursuit initially for a new editor, and then it becomes much more subjective, subjective or emotional issue proceed, but I think the primary, the primary issues is a witnessing gently, if possible, trying to be firm when something's not really working objectively or even subjectively when you're when you're looking at the film, but doing it is attached to it because it's take them that's three weeks of that shooting off way came across a little bit on dh, but generally speaking way, huh? Feather ruffling sessions, but I'm so pleased to say we came through it and I I send them an enormous amount from from what francesca and from making the film. Yeah, I think that's so how long did the editing process take for your film? For ten or hall and as well for emanuel tender hollis so long ago I was like, I have no idea it just like you know, and emanuel, according to an, probably has a better clock of the time it was on and off for it it was really a year and I think that's I think there was a bit it stops and stars but I think it was like some funding stops and starts that's right and also there was the effects period where you have to you know, build some of the effects took a little time out of our time and you know he had won re shoes if I remember rightly is that right? I was just it was a tank the delays u s o that says back so something there was some fits and starts and then of course the when I say a year I mean it was a year basically to see in the days to conforming for the final output was probably about which I think is probably about right the actual edit I just gotta just curious what was the how is the process different between the two films in the editing well with emanuel other than has it coming honestly and to sort of help us put the final sort of judge polish on it it was just an tonight throughout the whole process you know, with ten or hall we went through I think three maybe four editors which made the process really like difficult and bumpy just because then new editor has to get educated all the dailies that happened and then we started on the track with that editor and then things wouldn't work out and we leave them and so it was just like I think I learned a lot from the debacle that was a tender hall editing process. And just, you know, and just pick someone that I knew I could work with, that I respected creatively. Um and I knew that I could sort of get on with for that period of time and not small of a space you know, day after day after day after day. So that's kind of what I learned is like the personality of the editors important. Can you just remind me what is the title of the this confident conversation? There was a title. And did you send african words? So is this what we're doing right here? Thie self sufficient filmmaker and that's. Why? I wanted to speak my mind. Which is which is this? I think the entire show waded. Tio no, I just wanted to say, from my point of view that the editor hand from the department I want to say workflow is so important when it comes to posting dustin's on you must put it as part of pre production. In this case. We did. And I think it was a lot to learn still, when we got involved in it and I think I think there's the getting piece which is a creative act but there's also the fundamentals of building all this kind of technological piece which we which we did also and I think you khun a say that's quite a lot of money on be on save yourself a lot of heartache if you really consider work for with the editor and really include the prosecution department and I think that's what for the most part we did but we certainly had some bumps along the road we produced all our own dailies in in other words we received the raw footage and then produced the dailies from scratch and I think a lot that potentially you can save a lot, especially these days with the advent of um you know, nonlinear editing to the condits proficiency now because so you can shoot for k files and used role files now that you couldn't do before on dh we really got down a pretty tight workflow bythe what by the end of production and certainly into production. So I think that's what isn't in this probably until considered itself has been on other projects have worked on where it's not being considered enough and then it just goes on and on and on I worked a few minute films that take weeks, you know, so I think isn't really considered post election, especially the effects music a d r dialogue editing all these pieces that are going to come out along your way on needs to be considered before you go in to know what your options are you can't know everything I suppose if you're new to filmmaking and certainly I didn't but um but way I think it's something that security concerns I just wanted to get that in just two people but I think you know you're right post production isn't you don't think about it just when you're done if you you have to think about it in preproduction and it's hard because you're heading into production so all your focus is on the heads of department of production that's about coming around the corner but if you don't consider all the buggers and post then it's really going toe cost you time and money and everything else and so making them part of the process and not forgetting that that's a huge department while you're in pre production is you're right good point it really happy with that one is days of shooting is two years of preparation twenty six days of shooting on then you know a month in anything so in the end the small spent time spent on everything problem than anything else another question here fran need do you ever work with other editors on a project well in this case is a zafran just said have they came in at the end of the process to help us improve on dh it was really a blessing because you really start to lose perspective so I think having other editors particularly seasoned editors are as they say, finishing editors there are a lot of that is that coming at the end so I would know you know attachment at that point and they're able to give a clear so perspective on where the film says on I think it's very useful ii you know, the carpet really any ego the film is probably the first and foremost the most important and everybody serves the film the film in that sense is god on dh I don't think that I think that should be the case and I think that to get trapped in need I mean I've never really been to a feature in the process before so for me there was a lot to learn have since worked on other films but at the time I hadn't I think it's really useful to other editor to an end in any type of their editors look at the sales especially he's got a lot of experience it says you really do lose perspective of where the hell are you in this telling of the story there's just no way you cannot lose perspective because you've just sat and watch the same movie over and over again for like six months it's just like you you don't know if you're coming or going so it's like it is useful even to cover their editors has come in and give, you know, to turn by editors to your screenings when you're getting notes is helpful, and if you can't afford a finishing editor or an editor, a seasoned editor like heather to come in and give you so, you know, keep you paying them, you know, probably much less than they're going rate, but then again, it's back to they seize it, cut anything, are touched by the movie, or love the movie or like the movie, then they'll come in and do it, but that is a big help, and they can point out things that you've lost track over that you think is happening and isn't happening. And yet, ok, francesca, how much can you do an editing, maybe fix things that maybe have gone wrong in the screen writing process you mentioned before a re shoot for a particular scene? How often does that come up when you're in the editing process and you realize that we have to re shoot something? Well, I don't really think I've ever had the money to re shoot anything on either script. So every time I hear directors talk about a re shoot I like, turn green with what do you mean issues, how did you get to me shoot? But because of that, I think I've become really good at, you know, an antony was great at fixing a scene, you know what I mean? Like some scenes, we didn't have good coverage on this one scene that takes place in the garden there cutting rose bushes or whatever, and it was just like, I think that scene we can't trying pushing back, going, editing other scene, going back to it, we couldn't do it. I mean, at the end, we got it to work as good as we could, you know what I mean? And it's like, but you, you know, you figure it out, there is a lot you can fix, you know what I mean? And a lot the editor I can fix, you know, and also just like, you know, being on a different character and, like, you know what I mean? There's like it's, kind of amazing what what you can do. And really, I think one of the important things is to allow yourself enough time to edit, because if we had stopped editing this movie when the producers would have wanted us to stop editing this movie, we a thousand percent would not have gotten into sundance, and just it would have been a comm, clearly different movie, and my mind a disaster so you have to kind of keep going and believe that your film is in there somewhere in that footage and you haven't gotten to it yet, but you're going teo and you know and now you know, with it's so much cheaper to edit because you couldn't do a lot of it you know basically and what you don't need an edit bay you can do it in your own house you know, if you find a clever lad that's willing tio lends his talent and his brain to the process you you know, just get as much time as you can and it's like you'll be shocked like just two more weeks into the process how much the film becomes better and better and you know, you just have to like, fight fight for that, you know? All right, well, we have time for I think one or two questions for anthony from our students here, so go ahead and fire away. So what program did use them? Did you cut to music during the first time during the assembly of the film? What just to answer your first question, we edited the film on final compose seven on the reason for that was just it was readily available on apple was going to prove to be very expensive to use an isis system worth the assistance were linked to the I may put it so we worked on parker for seventy added drawbacks I wouldn't use it today um just because things have moved along I think probably premieres the way to go now if you're unless you can afford it for a bit isis rig but in terms of music generally speaking wheel I was given pretty much carte blanche to do the end of his cuts it basically the tradition of things although we were very from that is that the editors makes a car during us during the production and then to show that to the director a couple of weeks after you finish shooting and then the director comes in does which takes a lot you know they go through everything but in terms of music we we nathan last night she did the scar him and we cut sync tracks person with contracts that we pulled off the internet or whatever and we liked and then that changed a few times but no I don't generally speaking cut to music and play music in the room if I like to cook sometimes in silence on dh without sound all I mean I just look a picture but then at times rhythm of music can help so yeah I think I think it's depends on the scene yeah ok another question from the students here good you mentioned shooting more pre production with post in mind I was wondering if you had any specific kind of best practices for four producers or directors in that stage of the process. To keep in mind for the editor, I think on the one hand there's the ubiquity of the technology in other words, we we can all kind of afford premiere for the most part, I mean, are some nominee admitting system, of course, is readily available to us all, but the one thing we don't see is an actual proven workflow. There's no standard work flow. That was the case when you shot film and processed in a lab that was expensive, and then you can produce these negative cuts and they did an answer print exception exceptions. Now, um, I think the key is to get with the producers and the editor and probably an assistant and make a workflow tests you a test on dh. Check out exactly what you're gonna do on dh then if you are going to produce davies in the sense of produce, lower resolution does to work with, um, do a test of that do st test is what you know, doing almost like a few hours of pre production, even if you do that when you get the camera test, you know? So in other words, you you're going to go and test lenses and camera it's almost worth putting that at that point just the iron out any kinks and work for particularly getting you into the box and working and cutting so that all the footage is there for you it seems they're organized in a way that you could have a clear, effective cost effective work otherwise you're wearing a tripping up so many little bits and bats is any of you will know from terms that you've made that you khun gets all quite convoluted and especially when you go to feature having a lot short form material before it just exponentially gets more complex as you can imagine a cz you become a feature especially you shooting something like I don't know anything from a five to I think is probably eight to one ratio in this case I have been like documentaries whatyou're one hundred one you know? So lugging clear lugging on documenting of footage even in a scripted is key and I mean really clear and organize workflow and I have to credit it was so big it was an assistant and andi on one klein man clients who was insistent they really help you know I got that the jobs are different being an editor's different being being an assistant that different brain spaces and in some ways that almost say in terms of my peace of mind is really important to have a very strong and a system that organizes because when you're editing your servers and certain amount of you know it's, an emotional pursuance, unless you're trying to get life into this discontinuity internet, into continuity on dh. If you're thinking too much about one of the machines going collapse, which I have a proclivity to do, and I think it's important, even rely on an assistant. So I think if you together word nor the work flow down in the beginning with the head of the department, and particularly the producers and the director, then you're gonna make your life way. Thank you. Well, any final words for anthony before we hang up here, francesca, thank you for for editing of fantastic cut of the film and for doing this bit of madness here. My thanks to me, okay, thank you.

Class Description

Independent filmmakers are often called on to not only write and direct, but to produce their projects. Wearing all three “hats” can be a daunting, yet inspiring proposition. In The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker with Francesca Gregorini, you’ll learn easily-applied strategies for balancing the demands of doing all three very unique jobs.

Francesca’s work has been officially selected by the Toronto Film Festival and premiered in the US Dramatic Competition at Sundance. In this class, she’ll discuss both the advantages and challenges of producing a film you’ve written and will direct. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to decide when its ‘right’ to produce your script and when to develop it further
  • Which "hat" to wear at what time from start to finish
  • Personalized paths for fundraising, production, and distribution

Francesca will explore the processes of writing, directing, and producing and how leading the charge can make these three unique perspectives more efficient, productive, and artistic.

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker will help you develop best practices for all aspects of indie film production and inspire you to take control of your own destiny as a filmmaker. 

Ratings and Reviews

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I think there were TONS of marvelous takeaways, here, in this course. The examples she presented about Scene Cards, the hardships, and the beauties-- all of it was very beneficial information for aspiring filmmakers. However, the verbal hesitance; "um", "you know", "uh", "you know what I mean", "or whatever"-- that started to get really distracting really quickly. But the course and the overall purpose of the lessons, that was great!


The good - Lots of helpful info about pre-production, things to consider, and working with actors. The not-so-good - Not exactly self-sufficient. If you were to cut out all the " know..." clutter, the course would probably be about 30 minutes shorter.