Behind the Scene: I am a Kid

“I am a Kid” was a day-dream I had while listening to, I Believe in Your Victory by This Will Destroy You.

I imaged how a young couple would react when put in an adult situation. How immaturity would affect their decisions and reactions. I pictured the girl saying one thing but really meaning another. I imaged her pushing away a person she loved because it was the only thing she knew how to do. Or if she gave herself to someone she didn’t really care about. I thought about the impact a choice could have on both their lives and affect the future of a child.

An hour before filming, my male actor backed out. Savanna and I began to text around and found Danny. He came to our rescue. When it was time to tell Danny and Savanna the plot, I was a bit embarrassed, “So you’re going to tell him you’re pregnant.” I felt weird telling them this as both of them are from my church’s youth group. Thankfully, they both laughed and said okay.

If you noticed there isn’t an establishing shot. The sun was setting when I filmed the exterior scene which was my beginning and end. By the time we got inside the car to film the dialogue, you could see it was evening outside their window. If I left in the end, she would have walked in to daylight. Another slip I made was crossing the line on the exterior shot. A classic mistake that I couldn’t believe I made on my first scene! I decided to leave it out. I read an article from the editor of DRIVE, Mat Newman, which made me okay with my decision.

“What we wanted was to create something that’s very dreamy all the way through.  We tried not to use establishing shots so the viewer would be a bit disoriented.  The dissolves worked into that intention also. The editing is all about transitions and sustaining the mood and tension.”

To give you some background about myself: I am a commercial editor. I am so used to communicating all my thoughts in 30 seconds. I edit video fast and make them fast. W.Murch’s talks about this, “In The Blink of an Eye.” 

“Television is a “look-at” medium, while cinema is a “look-into” medium. You can think of the television scene as a surface that the eye hits and then bounces back…One of the functions of music videos and commercials is to attract your attention and keep it…feature editing has to be paced differently than music videos of commercial editing.”

I decided I’d finish reading the book before I edited my scene. The book was full of good practical tips. It would also give me time to disconnect with the filming and see the footage with some fresh eyes.

Until then, I prepared my footage. I asked my film editor friend about syncing up the visual and audio. He then introduced me to merging clips in FCP. I had no idea about this future! You can watch how to merge clips on youtube.

I took some of Walter Murch’s advice. I did the Photo System, posted the frames on my wall, I edited with no audio, I even tried standing up when editing, all of his wisdom was helping me grow.

When I was ready to edit, I ran in to a problem right away. Since I told my actors to improv, each take was different. Making sense of it all was challenging.

Here is a list of things I learned from this filming:

- Get coverage. Get some close ups even when you think you don’t need them.

- Make sure the time of day you film won’t change during your filming.

- Communicate with your audio person how you want things recorded. Record atmosphere.

- When logging your footage, numbering the clips help. It allows you see that all clips transferred over. Digital transfer sometimes skips clips.

Now I want to hear from you, the viewer. Your honesty will help me grow. Since I created this project in a week, my heart can take your honesty. :) If you like watching movies I wanna hear what you thought about the scene.

How did you react when watching the scene?

What did you think about the characters?

What would you have liked to see more of?

Thanks for reading this post, I know it was a lot of information. Hope you learned something. I know I did.

2 thoughts on “Behind the Scene: I am a Kid

  1. I tend to edit my videos with a fast pace too. I bet it was challenging editing the scene, especially since it was on a serious topic. I had to read “In The Blink of an Eye” for school, but unfortunately the books ran out and I had to share. I really enjoy all the tips Walter Murch gives, luckily he’s done a lot of interviews, speeches, and documentaries where other film (or video) editors can learn from. I recommend you see “The Cutting Edge”, if you haven’t already. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0428441/ It’s a great documentary on film editing for editors to learn from. I also took up his advice on editing standing up! I wonder how many other people out there are doing this (on computers) these days? Sometimes it hurts to stand for so long but it really helps getting things done for some reason.

    When I first started the scene, I was trying to figure out who the characters were. I realized they were both young but my first thoughts were, is he (Danny) supposed to be her dad, brother, friend? and then I soon realized it was her boyfriend. I thought Savanna really played the part well. The immaturity can be seen within the dialogue of how they would handle an adult situation. The scene ended up believable even if most of it was improv (credit to the editing). I’ve been in the same situation where I only had a few takes for a scene and each time they were said differently, but somehow the scene was there I just had to find it and edit it. At the end when she puts on the panda masks, I think I really “laughed out loud”. I’m not sure if that’s what you were going for but it kind of made light of the situation and leaves the ending open for discussion on wether or not she would keep the baby. I enjoyed how the entire scene was serious and at the end it got funny. When M83 “Midnight City” came on, I felt like I just watched a fun short film.

    Good work, keep it up! A few months back I did something similar where I created a trailer for a short film. At the time I only had ideas but didn’t know what the short would actually be about. Creating a trailer first helped me get some more ideas about how it could turn out. After watching this it has inspired me to pick up those ideas again and maybe start creating the film scene by scene.. not a bad idea!

    • The funny thing is that I discovered W. Murch when I was a kid. I fall in love with his “Return to Oz” movie. The imagery became my own memories. For years I thought I had dreamt the movie. It wasn’t until I was older did I discovered it was a movie. When my friend gave me, “In The Blink of an Eye” I put it on my book shelf. A year later I picked it up and saw Walter Murch wrote it. That documentary sounds awesome. Ill have to check it out.
      I am glad that part made you laugh! Every time I watch that scene I do as well. I wanted her to do something childish and unexpected. Plus whenever I can use that mask for something I jump at the opportunity. Strange you thought the male character was older, but i did want the viewer to figure out their relationship by listening and watching their body language. YES I wanted the viewer to ask them self that question about if she was going to keep the baby or not. Im glad you got that.
      Thanks for giving me feed back. Yeah doing the scene project is do able for me. In the mist of work and my social life, creating a scene is good practice.

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