Post-Production: An Endless Route to Perfection / by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

I've lost count of the days since there weren't nights to mark the start of a new day. We stayed and still stay fully awake with our spirits living in another galaxy. My writing came to a halt on the post-production day because there were some other priorities that I had to take into consideration before creating a regret in my life. It was a right decision. Writing could wait a bit, but not in the case of making film. Writing is a lonely thing: the complete antithesis of making a film. 

Chasing After A Non-Existent Perfection

When I thought that production day was the most wearying day, post-production day was far more than wearying. It was an eternal journey of seeking for perfection. I'm just going to talk briefly about the participants' editing process since I spent most of my time tracking down the mentors, glued their asses on the chair, and conducted a series of pressing and stupid interview questions. 

When the clock struck nine in the morning, the editing participants footslogged from their rooms to the Sentral 1 and stopped in front of iMacs. Lieutenant General Beh–the technical assistant in post-production–delivered a speech and ordered the participants to be in their positions. I felt obliged to say that General Carlo–the editing mentor–went missing again just like on the second day of the workshop. Why? Editors are not morning persons and no further comment. Anyway, he eventually turned up and began his super effective and packed supervision. From the moment he stepped into the hall it was painful for him to leave. And I felt painful too to chase after him for the internal interview session like a mouse chasing after a cat.

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Ariff from group C was the only one among other editing participants who was really familiar with Final Cut Pro X. Lucky him. His knowledge and experience in using FCPX helped him and his team to save a kilogram of time. If you see Ariff in person you will not believe that this guy can actually talk because he was so shy, humble, and silent. The worst thing was that I couldn't do anything about this. I approached Ariff and asked how was the editing going and he looked at me with his very gentle smile. I stayed calm and steady so as not to melt. Also to mention that Ariff was in the same group with Boon the very chill cinematographer and Azim the director with very sweet smile. That was the trend in this group so I gave up imploring him to answer me. 

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I moved on to group A. This photo was a lie. Aishah looked quite lost and frustrated when I observed her from behind. She posed in a blink of an eye as I got closer because some filmmakers always have this responsiveness to camera. The thing with Aishah was that she had experience with FCPX but she secured them in a safety box and stored it somewhere in her brain. Therefore, she had to re-learn in order to recall. When I came back from the internal interview session, she had no mood to pose for my camera anymore. 'I'm ok, everything is ok', these were her famous last words I heard from her during offline editing session. I hoped she was in control.

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Pey Sien from group B was a newbie in using FCPX. I did not dare to show you her facial expression because she looked extremely serious. I had to admit that I was so impressed by her learning speed. Empty yourself in order to learn more. But one of the cons is that some people over-emptying themselves that they become so absent-minded and stay empty for their whole life. The case with Pey Sien was different. She had artistic visions and she wanted to incorporate these gifts in writing, drawing, photography, and filmmaking. I didn't mean to say that other editing participants have no artistic vision but Pey Sien's was especially discernible to me. Anyway, this is very subjective just like everyone fancies different kinds of undergarments. 

The three of them remained in the same position throughout the day. If they were given a thousand years to edit the films they would remain in the same position for that long too. No surprise, this is because they ceaselessly seeking for a non-existent perfection and believed that there will be bigger and bigger spaces for improvement.

Blast The Coffee, I Know You Hate Interviews

Not just the mentors had enough of interviews, me too, felt like they were very ritualistic. That was why I wanted to make the internal interviews more casual and conversational. The risk of having interviews like that was not just because it was too impromptu but we turned out offending, insulting, fighting with and swearing at each other. This might be the beginning of a poisonous relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee. But of course, the interviews were nonetheless fun and well-polished with jokes and silly laughters. They were the most exciting interviews I had for this year. 

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My first interviewee Anocha was super sweet and comfortable to talk to. She was very accommodating and I felt like bouncing on the rainbow listening to her voice. Even though we had difficulties in finding a good spot with quiet surroundings, the interview turned out to be very fruitful in terms of the contents she provided and the peaceful atmosphere we created. The interview paused for few times in the middle and the slick Anocha had to repeat her answers but she was still willing to do it again and again without a little bit of lament. 

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The second interviewee as you can see from the above picture was this chap with his marvellous hairstyle that I wished I could destroy with a blow of whistle. The most memorable thing to me wasn't just about the insightful contents he provided (of course they were important) but the control I had to exert on myself so that I didn't finish the coffee in front of me in one gulp. Some interviewee just wanted to torture their interviewer by ordering two cups of coffee for his own and placing one of them in front of you as a prop that you were not allow to touch forever. 

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The third interviewee was Carlo whom I had to keep keeping track of so that he couldn't escape. He was exceptionally dedicated to his role as a mentor that he wouldn't even want to leave the editing hall. It was ok, at least he still agreed to the interview and answered everything before I even started asking some of the questions. There were moments where I wanted to stop him and slow him down but the results were horrible. Carlo was quite a smart and cheeky interviewee.

I didn't  get to interview Sidi because he was too exhausted and I had no will to push him further. Respect your interviewee to a certain extent was very essential.

If I wrote this blog at the end of the post-production day, I am sure the content would turn out to be very very different. The similarity I found amongst the three mentors was that their first filmmaking experience came from an instinct or a feeling they already knew was somewhere there deep within their heart. It wasn't easy to live through others' scepticism to see filmmaking as a career but the three of them made it and still doing it with drive and passion. If you have a want to do something, you really have to start doing it and keep doing it. This is why I stopped writing on the post-production day and joined the circle of my crazy volunteers and crews to make a short film in less than 12 hours. There will be a special edition about the short film we made in the upcoming blog.