Making ‘Get Well Soon’ Part 10
On May 6th, Ian picked up the rushes and took them back to the hospital. His son was still critically ill, (luckily the worst hadn’t happened, as I had anticipated); little Henry was stable at least. Having a chance to look through what we’d shot appeared to be a welcome distraction for Ian. In the meantime, I assessed the outstanding costs.
Inevitably things go missing and get broken. It’s easy to think, ‘ah the insurance shoot will cover that’, but in reality, this is to safeguard you against large, catastrophic breakages. As it was, when we tried to cover the small damages that had taken place in the flat and the broken 5D battery, we found that these would be treated as individual claims – there would be an excess of £500 if we tried to claim against each. This is worth remembering and factoring in to your budget at the begnning.By this point, we had spent about £3000 (about £800 over the projected budget). It was still incredibly cheap considering the amount of equipment we had been able to borrow, not to mention the time and skill of the crew and cast who had worked for nothing.We’d spend about £400 on costume, as we needed duplicates of items that would get covered in wine. Another couple of hundred on props and food, and then ongoing costs over the weekends of shooting; more food, equipment hire, van hire, tights, batteries, coffee cups, diesel, crew expenses, repairs – it was easy to see how the costs had mounted up.
Around this same time, we began thinking about the inevitable cost of festival submissions as well. Gregory from BRAG clarified that this all really came down to how much we were willing to spend. There are plenty of free festivals, (even through the handy festival submission tool Without A Box), but we could expect fees to build up for the larger ones. At that point, BRAG had spent over £400 on submissions for ‘The Mountain Within‘, (a documentary about a group of mountain climbers with disabilities climbing Kilimanjaro). This would reasonably have cost more than we would end up spending, however. The Mountain Within was feature-length, and had been delivered to all the major festivals.
By mid May, Ian’s son was off the ventilator, but having difficulty withdrawing from the medication he had been on. Bleak as the subject matter of our short with, it continued to be the distraction Ian needed, especially when all he could do was wait. Pretty soon, he had completed a 30 minute assembly – a longer cut utilising the majority of the footage so we could get an idea of what would and wouldn’t work. I thought it looked amazing, and initially had difficulty maintaining the distance that would inevitably be required to start shedding content. Ian had used some temp music to help him cut – the first assembly was like the bleakest music video ever made.
Rory was really pleased with how things had come together. He was keen to even out some exposure inconsistencies, and to try to improve the consistency of the night sequences so everything matched up better. This would be tackled in the final grade. Gregory was also pleased – although keen for Ian to whittle the next pass down to 20 mins.
And so began the editing process. Vast emails, full of bullet pointed suggestions began flying around. It was hard for me to shift to the perspective of editing the piece down; part of me was grateful that Ian would have to find a story in what we had shot. It was fairly clear that some sequences hadn’t worked in the way we had hoped, and some of the pacing lent the piece a different feel than we anticipated.
With the luxury of time, the script might have been a bit more refined, we might have had a more developed shot list, we might have got a variety of takes so that we could play around with different edits. As it was I began to see that it would be necessary to manipulate what we had it order to end up with something that had an internal logic to its narrative, but most importantly to me, that communicated something emotionally.