Editing in LA, and the Tubes

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

The production process chugs on. This trip to Santa Monica involved sitting in stylish rooms and watching screens while getting all gastronomic needs fulfilled. It’s unfortunate that my tubes aren’t working normally, or I’d be able to enjoy the food more. This week has felt more like force-feeding a goose.

Two spots have been getting edited while one has gone onto more final stages of assembly.
I’ve been walking between edit houses, mixing & transfer rooms and the hotel. The Oceana is the better stay along the coast. It’s not as fake and glamorous as the plate-walled noisy industry hive farther down the road, but it does feel like living inside a Pottery Barn catalog + beach side B&B + Melorose Place. After a recent remodel, the place has been brought into the early 90’s. The only exception is a plasma TV wider than my arm span.

The editing process has been dicy due to minor power struggle between the editor and the director. Both are doing their own cuts and getting into respectful disagreements over what’s the best option. Add the opinions of creatives* and the producer and it’s time consuming to come to any consensus for presenting to something to the client. Agreement had to happen fast on my two spots because the final film had to be sent to animators. Anything that uses effects seems to extend schedules and add a high amount of complexity to the job (Note to self: This is something to think about when concepting* new ideas). Though progress has been made. And although no one is completely happy with the edits, the spots will still be pretty funny.

Here are a few photos from the trip:

Before heading to LA, I got J. to give me a hair cut while I rocked out on my powerfolk fingerstyle guitar licks.

Sunrise behind the twin palms outside the production company’s office.

One of many buildings to sit inside.

Film transfer and color correction done remotely from an undisclosed location in New York via live feed and conference call. Also on the line was the Thai director and his translator, who didn’t have access to the live feed and had to rely on emailed jpegs. The director also decided to try out his electric guitar solos while on the line. 5 minutes of the call were a blaring and skillful solo, during which his translator sent us this photo of him playing.

The barren room with weird lightning reminds me of Thailand.

That evening I went out with J.O. and C. to a Korean restaurant in Korea Town. The meal consisted of grilled, thin sliced beef and all the fermented fixings.

After the meal, we asked the adorable old proprietor if he knew of any good coffee shops nearby. He directed us to one not to far away called Mak. The shop was sandwiched between unassuming buildings near downtown and slightly outside the area of obvious Korean stores. But stepping onto it dimly lit patio was like entering another country.

Not only was everyone else in the restaurant Korean, but the atmosphere was friendly and comfortable. This comfort was in no small part to the heat lamps and wood burning stove near our table. The coffee and food was certainly expensive ($5 for coffee), but it was worth it.

J.O. and C. in front of a wall.

E. and J.B. discussing the details of an edit the following day.

Outside of my edit house. Note the red car parked to the right.

It is a vintage red convertible Jaguar in mint condition owned by the editor. Yesterday night, I got to ride in it down the Pacific Coast Highway to a small italian restaurant. It was a little terrifying because of how exposed you are, how the old seat belts were more for show, and the pickup of the roaring engine. Driving down the road at night with the beach to my left felt like I had time-warped into the glamorous Hollywood past.

Mixing board during a final mix.

The editor in the foley room recording footsteps on gravel by using his hands and a plate of granola.

The directors surprisingly the final mix.

Onward to the plane and fixing my colon!

*What does it tell about my job when neither “creatives” nor “concepting” are in the built-in spell checker?

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