Alec Berg said that. He wrote and produced “Seinfeld” and is now doing “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Boy is it the truth. There is no agony-sweat in the world like that of getting into an edit bay and finding out that your material is not… quite… as genius as you had hoped.
That’s what writing and filmmaking is, really, hope. You write it and hope it’s good. You hope someone will give you the money. You hope and pray you can get a good actor… and on and on. Hoping all the way through production and through the crash after production when your mantra briefly becomes… Q: “Is it good?” A: “It’s better than good, it’s done.”
Once you get to post, that bravado vanishes like a flea fart in a hurricane.
When you find yourself in an air conditioned editing room far from the pressure of the set and the exaltation of working with actors and the crew and the fun of getting it done on time… when all that hopeful foolishness is long gone and all you have to do is look at an image on a video screen… that’s when hope croaks right off.
Because then you have to deal with reality. And sometimes it’s ugly.
Editing picture is another form of writing. You are moving pictures and scenes around, but it’s still writing. You put thoughts in an order, and then change the order. And change it again and again and again.
What you must now keep in mind is that you have to make a movie with what you have, not what you wish you had. Whatever rosy-cheeked idea you had for your movie is like a civilization gone with the wind… and you have to face facts. The movie you wanted to make is gone. Now it’s time to make the movie you have.
A lot of people can’t bring themselves to make this decision, and grimly hang onto whatever idea they had their movie was going to be… and they still try to make that movie. The footage will dictate the movie it wants to be, and you must allow that process to happen.
You must make a movie that works even if it’s not the one you had in mind.