I made it through principal photography of Army & Coop – twenty full days of shooting 4-5 pages a day. This crazy idea I had eight months earlier about writing, producing, and directing a feature film with no experience or training was now a reality. I felt like I was in the homestretch, but I had no idea!
At a very high level, I knew what took place in post-production. There is editing, color grading, music, scoring, and sound design. I also needed a movie poster and a good trailer. I assumed two months would be more than enough time. Boy, I was wrong.
I began (very late in the process) to find a good film editor. The problem with film editors outside of LA is that most of them have no feature film experience. They typically edit commercials and corporate videos. So, with no feature film experience to review, I knew I had to find someone I liked, someone who had a similar sense of humor, and (mostly) someone I felt I could work with - side-by-side - for 80 - 100 hours or more.
Luckily, I was able to find just the guy. Ric Remington edited video in a spare bedroom at his home in Denver. I watched some of the corporate videos he had edited and they were very good. But I had no real reason to think he was going to be able to edit an entire film, providing the look and feel I wanted for this raunchy comedy.
Ric used my script notes and put together the "assembly cut" or "rough cut" of the film - the first pass. As I watched it, I had a sinking feeling that all the work we had put into filming this comedy was for not. The rough cut was just that - rough! Then I remembered what Martin Scorsese said in his MasterClass. He said, "[As the Director,] if you don't get physically ill when you see the first cut, there's something wrong with you!" It kept my hopes alive.
In hindsight, Ric was the perfect editor for Army & Coop (I got lucky again). My son, Andrew, and I literally sat beside Ric for hours on end, debating scenes, cuts, timing, sound, and much more. We only got into one heated debate about a scene he felt was too raunchy. It took us forever, but we ended up with a pretty good cut and, surprisingly, the process went very smoothly.
Believe it or not, editing took almost as long as principal photography! Partly because I was learning along the way and I wanted to understand everything about the process. But I'm still amazed how long the editing phase lasted.
Next week we’ll dive into more post-production, where I learned a lot about good color and bad sound!
Checkout my first feature film, Army & Coop, at: www.armyandcoop.com.
I also just released my first video series, Make A Movie Now, at www.makeamovienow.com, where I show you how you can make a feature film with no film school, no experience, no contacts, and limited funds.