Friday, December 19, 2008

Game Night Update, part 376

Previously, on Game Night Update...

Over a year ago I shot my first short film, Game Night. A few months later my editor said she couldn't finish the project so I found a new editor. And he did like a minute of footage a month. My actors have been emailing me, asking where the hell the footage is so they can update their reels. Then last month I told my editor I needed a rough cut by December. Period.

The following is paraphrased.

So last night I got an email from Editor saying Oops! Sorry, but I couldn't get it done for December but I'll get to work on it as soon as I get back from my trip in January. And there's some problems. I showed what I have to a test audience of friends and they didn't get what was going on so we should probably add some voice over or reshoots.

I took a sip of my eggnog.

I stared at my computer.

I typed my response.

I will be by when you return to pick up my footage. I'll cut the rest myself, but thank you for your time.

To which I got a response of Sorry! I swear I'll finish it! I'll work harder. I'll get it done.

I stopped being mad and finished my eggnog which helped because a third of my eggnog was actually Bacardi and realized how to solve the problem with the short.

I emailed Editor and told him to move one line of dialogue up five minutes in the short.

Then I sat back and thought.

Okay this guy has put most of the footage together. He has nine of the twelve minutes done, and he really cares about this project. He's doing it for free and it looks pretty good and he's an all around nice guy. I know he isn't delaying on purpose.

But good grief. We shot this thing in 2007, it's 12 minutes long and it won't be finished until 2009. That's embarrassing to have to confess when people ask me how the short is going.

Now I'm faced with a choice. Do I believe him and keep waiting? Or do I try to edit the rest myself even though I've never edited anything before? He also has access to a recording studio for some voice over work and a sound editor to polish some of our audio issues.

And yes I realize several of you offered to edit my shit before and probably would have been done by now had I taken you up on your offers.

Oy ve, you guys.


  1. Maybe give the footage to a couple other editors who have offered to help and have a race to the finish ... then you'll have several versions to choose from :)

  2. Anonymous4:06 PM

    At this point you've already missed (or will miss) most of festivals, etc., so why not wait? I mean to say, that there's not much to be lost by waiting. And unless you're a good editor, a very good editor, in addition to being the writer/director you probably won't be very objective. And any good film needs that objectivity, right?

  3. Anonymous6:16 PM

    If it were me...

    You say the same thing to your current editor that you just put on your site and you explain that there IS NO MORE TIME and that it's not a problem if he can't do it but it's got to be done.

    If he still wants to do it and you still want to give him the opportunity, MAKE him give you a DROP DEAD DATE within reason. Then tell him that you're going to check up on him three times before that drop dead date to see where he's at and if he hasn't accomplished ANYTHING by his first check-up, you want the footage back...


    12 minutes? I could cut that in 24 hours.

    Good luck!


  4. Yeah, he's already got it this long. And he is working for free. But still - he's not exactly showing his professionalism.

    When he returns, give him a drop dead date, like Unk said. Make it a short deadline - because seriously, it shouldn't take all that long to edit three minutes of film unless it's a special-effects extravaganza with oodles of post-production work.

    I did a fine job in film school editing a five-minute short (a scene from NYPD Blue) in under two weeks, and I was working on it only a handful of hours each week. I probably could have done it in a single long day if I had continuous access to the equipment.

    If this guy's a pro, even if it's a free project, he needs to act like a pro.

  5. Anonymous7:21 AM

    I hate asking people to work on multi-hour projects for free. Inevitably you get what you pay for, and you just get people resenting each other.

    I've had similar problems getting people to do stuff at a massive discount, and even now, I'm doing the same thing to someone else because a project is taking me twice as long as I estimated and charged him for - I'm having to consciously remind myself to get the thing done.


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