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  • New blog post - The Art of the Edit

    My new blog post looks at how changes in editing can change the ebb and flow of a movie.
    Check it out here:

    http://moreorlessonmovies.blogspot.com/
    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

  • #2
    That must be the hardest thing to cut a great scene so well acted, it's so good you could be forgiven for thinking 'Oh that's a definite' but the editor doesn't see it that way. Did you have to re-shoot to get the extra scene? Still think that scene with the old lady is compelling, I wouldn't be too happy with an editor who wanted it cut!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks! Laura (director & editor) did a great job, and was wonderfully open to feedback. We did not have to re-shoot anything. And the scene with Phyllis (the old lady) is still in there, we just needed to change what came after it a bit to keep it all from dragging.

      I hope you'll watch the whole movie - as I'm sure you understand, good reviews on places like Amazon & iTunes are really the only kind of advertising that really low budget movies like Surviving Family ever get. It's also available on CineVolt, which streams anywhere in the world.

      https://www.cinevolt.com/movies/deta...viving-family/
      Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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      • #4
        I suppose that is the big fault of directing and editing, so difficult to cut something you're thrilled with and yes I'm going to watch it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ok I've hired the movie from 'Cinevolt' (now wish I'd bought it!) I fully intended to watch it scene by scene and pick up tips but I just get sucked into the movie every scene. It 'download stutters' with buffering, another reason to buy the download but here in UK that is always a problem at weekends.
          I'm sure that a lot of planning and preparation went into your movie Mara but it pays off in the end.
          I found it a delight, thankyou.

          Comment


          • #6
            I found it a delight, thankyou.
            Thank you! That means a lot to me (seriously).
            If you could take a moment to give Surviving Family a good rating both on CineVolt & IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1991191/combined), that would much appreciated. Written reviews in both places are always very appreciated too :)

            I'd be happy to try to answer any questions that you have.
            Last edited by mara; 11-29-2015, 06:40 AM.
            Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Mara, reviews are underway for both cinevolt & IMDB. Only by the internet (and this forum) would you ever have the chance to watch a movie and write to the producer. If you can stand it, I do have a couple of questions;
              What budget did you have to work with?
              What was the part of the film you liked best and what part was your least liked?
              If there was something you could have done differently, what would it have been?
              Thanks again Mara,
              Martyn.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks in advance re reviews!

                1. The budget was $200,000 (and I have rarely - if ever - said that publicly).

                2. My favorite part is the last scene that I wrote: the bakery/wedding cake scene.
                My husband (Carlo Fiorletta) was one of the producers, and also played the "mean dad" in the flash back scenes. And he was very involved in the casting.

                As I was getting close to finalizing the script, he said he thought there needed to be a bonding scene between the father and daughter, right before things go badly at the end (I'm not going to say here exactly HOW they go bad, as I want everyone else to watch!).
                So I sat down and thought about what was already in the script related to weddings (getting the license, a location, the minister, wedding party, wedding dress), and the thing that I hadn't covered was a wedding cake.

                I really love that scene, and have always felt that it would stand on its own as a short movie.

                3. Probably my least favorite scene is the one fairly early in which the family sits together in the living room and discuss having the wedding in Jean & Steve's house (where they are at that moment). The actors all do a terrific job, as did the director, but it's a lot of people in one scene and it feels a bit static. If I could re-write it now, I'd probably split it into several smaller scenes, each with fewer characters, to cover the same story ground.

                4. For a first feature, there's not a whole lot I'd do differently. One thing that I've talked about in an earlier post on my blog is that in my second feature (Detours, just finished post-production), I intentionally limited the number of scenes in which each supporting character appears. This made production and scheduling much simpler, and that's something that made SF challenging to shoot. But overall, I'm very happy with the people I worked with, how we made it happen, and the final product. And Detours is a road trip movie, which opened an entirely new set of problems!
                Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the answers Mara,
                  It's great to learn from others, I liked the bakery scene too, 'I have a coupon!' The scene did what you wanted it to, a nice touch.
                  For me I found the wedding discussion scene fine, it was a typical family decision with everyone there.
                  I liked the camera work throughout, the shooting angles were not always straightforward and the small apartment shots could have been ruined easily but as it is the shots came out fine and add intimacy.
                  I did manage a nit pick after watching a few times and thought maybe Steve could have smartened up a bit for the job he was given, (not giving the story away) but that's maybe just a Brit quirk I've got!
                  For a first feature I'm sure everyone on this site would be over the moon to come up with anything in the same league.
                  Congratulations Mara.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My pleasure!
                    And thanks re camera etc - we had a terrific dp (Tim Naylor) who worked very well with the director (Laura Thies).
                    The little apartment was an enormous challenge - we lost the place we had planned to shoot 2 days before shooting those scenes.
                    We found this for very little money, which was great because there wasn't anything left in the location budget.
                    But it was FILTHY! The director and several other crew members spent about 12 hours scrubbing it to make it usable.

                    Re Steve "smartening up" - that's a good point and honestly the first time anyone mentioned it.
                    I don't know if we would have done that if it came up in discussion before we shot: we were very tight on time and adding even that little bit would have been tough. But I might have added a line of dialogue to cover it.

                    If it had come up in a q&a at one of the film festivals, this is the answer I probably would have given:
                    With all of the guests seated and the minister waiting, there was no time for him to do that. And Terry was happy to have him just the way he was.
                    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks Mara,
                      It seems that all films take on a role by themselves when shooting start's and from what you've said yours was no different, that being the case, it's doubly impressive that all the last minute changes and arrangements were worked around and weren't obvious on film. It's all too easy for 'armchair critics' to sit back and judge a film and I wouldn't want to be judged as one. With no-one else mentioning Steve and the obvious time pressures you were under then his appearance is a non issue, as I said, it was just a nit pic and even that took ages to think of!
                      Looking forward to seeing your next film,
                      Martyn.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I LOVE when someone comes up with a thought or a question that no one has had before. That honestly makes my day, because it means that you're not only watching it but thinking about it. And that was a major goal of mine.
                        Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You know I half expected to find a plot hole, a continuity gaff or something, instead it was just a well shot story that doesn't let go. I wonder how many people start thinking 'oh that's my aunt so and so' as characters are introduced to us, You certainly proved you can do a lot with a little Mara, for anyone else who wants to see 'Surviving Family', be warned, it is a giant leap from most indie productions.

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                          • #14
                            I wonder how many people start thinking 'oh that's my aunt so and so' as characters are introduced to us
                            That's one of the things that was great about taking Surviving Family to so many film festivals - that was absolutely the reaction, much more so than I realized in advance. It also gave me confidence in my writing going forward.
                            Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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