Wednesday, January 14, 2009

SOB: Kill Your Darlings

School's back and boy was break productive. I had a quick gig shooting in Greensboro last weekend, and with a 4 night shoot of the upcoming comedy festival for Justin Nathanson's Charleston TV starting tonight... lets just say that things are nowhere near slowing down.

A few days before Christmas break I finished a really rough cut of South of the Border, the title of which has since been changed to "S.O.B. and the Legend of Alan Schafer". That cut was riddled with problems including a lack of credits, glitchy footage that needed to be recaptured, and a few insufficient scenes.

After returning to Charleston from my trip home to Indy, I revised a few things, added the credits (which took way too much time), and added a few parts. The first roughcut was about 65 minutes long, and the second was bumped up to about 80 minutes. This was all part of the original plan, to beef up the cut in terms of length before ultimately chopping it back down to around an hour. Keep in mind that these length goals are completely arbitrary.

I finished the second cut Sunday night and dropped it off to our accomplished accomplice Virginia at the school's Documentary Center and waited eagerly for a response. Last night we received the email. Virginia's main advice: "Kill your Darlings".

What exactly does this mean? Well here's a definition lifted from
"It was author William Faulkner who said it first, and a whole lot of teachers of creative writing, film making, journalism and other kinds of storytelling have been repeating it ever since: Kill your darlings.

This does not mean that you should take a chainsaw to your loved ones, it means that you, in your writing, should cut to the chase and have the courage to get rid of the elements that you love so much yourself, but that don't really add anything to the whole - or, even worse, actually weaken it. Typical "darlings" would be clever turns of phrase, insignificant trivia, funny anecdotes that don't really relate to the question at hand etcetera."

Alas we've received the advice that I both anticipated and dreaded. Though I'm confident that certain parts of the film have turned out well so far, especially the ending which is the most important part in my opinion, its time to cut the fluff. But killing your darlings isn't as easy as it sounds. Certain characters such as a giant man and his small girlfriend may have funny things to say, and the framing of them might have been perfect, but since they don't say much relevant to our focus... they must be murdered.

In fact, nearly all of our darlings are tangents of the story's focus. Tidbits of information about the characters that define them do just that: define the characters but distract the viewer from the story. Though at first I know I'll be remorseful, it won't take long to become a cold hearted serial killer of sorts. Cutting out the cute funny things, aka some of my favorite but wholly unnecessary parts is going to be the hardest part of the whole process for me. But we're gearing toward the home stretch: the final cut.

After I get done cutting out anything that is even remotely irrelevant, its basically back to the drawing boards. I actually did make an editing drawing board a few months ago and I'll post a pic on this blog whenever I get a chance.

Receiving criticism of your work is always tough. Lets be honest about the nature of long term projects. When you work on something with even the least bit of passion, you put a piece of yourself into it. But the important thing to remember with film or writing or almost any other creation is that you're not creating it for your personal viewing pleasure. At least not when you're an unheard of student filmmaker. A film should always be made with the audience in mind.

The bottom line: its time to take a film that's watchable and make it good. That'll be the 3rd cut. Then its time for some more feedback... and hopefully finish it up with the 4th cut thats a little better. I'm a firm believer in letting things digest. so I'm going to take a week off of editing S.O.B. and play catch up on some other projects. Then its time to get my hands dirty.


girls about charlestowne said...

That whole "kill your darlings" thing is the best advice I've ever heard.

Anonymous said...

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO, the Chinese Holocaust. They used this Situation to bury Japanese atrocities.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. It will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles, resisting these temptations, will survive the 1000 years. Condemned to experience another epoch of planet's history for their ignorant pursuit of xtianity, they will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during history due to their failure to ascend into heaven before the Apocalypse.
Never forget:::It is not a house of Jesus.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new poulation, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial figure in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.
Which one is it?:
One transitions into the other, allowing the gods to wash their hands of obligation to their Chosen One. My personal "consolation prize".
And since the gods never committed despite tens of billions in mass media, product development and natural disasters/tragedy they will employ the freedom they positioned into the Situation and CHEAT me out of everything.
Damn the hundred trillion year-old gods and their "gangster capitalism" positioning to hell:::The Matrix.