In the Cutting Room


It's been a week since I posted here and I guess I should have mentioned this earlier but I didn't think it would take this long. I'm working on a couple of short movies right now (montage/commercial for one, pointless short subject for the other) and that's kept me away from writing. Should just be another week.

For the commercial, I'm attempting to bring together some noir elements in a short montage to promote the For the Love of Film Blogathon coming up very soon, hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren. It's been a difficult process. Last year, I put together two commercials for the blogathon but, frankly, that was a lot easier. We were fundraising to restore one or more of the films located in a New Zealand film archive and all I had to do was piece together some footage that the National Film Preservation Foundation sent me, lay down a track of my own music for one and Beethoven's for the other, edit them to about a minute in length and I was good to go.

This time, however, it's film noir and everyone knows film noir. Do I try to include a clip from every famous noir? No, simply not possible unless I want the commercial to run twenty minutes and lose my mind in the process. How about picking and choosing then? Well, I have to but what to choose? The initial problem came down to this: How inclusive do I want to be? Should I just do classic black and white noir from the forties and fifties or include color films from the time (Niagara) as well as modern noirs from later (Chinatown, The Long Goodbye, The Conversation, Body Heat)? How about sci-fi noir like Blade Runner? Shouldn't Mullholland Dr be in there somewhere? Finally, to keep the aesthetic consistent within the piece, I decided to go with just the classic black and white noir of the forties and fifties, the kind most readily associated with the genre. It makes for a better visual presentation of ideas than trying to get everything into one mix.

Then I wondered about the music. Should it be the kind of cool jazz one associates with noir but, oddly, never really appeared in much or any of it in the forties and early fifties? No, I felt that limited the piece in tone when I was going for something more expansive and broad. So I decided on a modern piece of electronica instead, kind of a compromise in leaving out the modern stuff but including music that spoke to the piece emotionally.

Now I just have to finish the damn thing and hope the music I've chosen doesn't cause it to be removed immediately upon completion because if it does I don't have any backup. I haven't written any music that really works with it and don't want to have to although I'm sure I could tin-pan-alley my way through a composition in a day or so if need be.

So, that's what I'm doing.

And that short subject? My answer film to Warhol's Empire. I call it, Chrysler. Here's what I've got so far. Just need twenty more hours of this and I'm golden. See you later in the week!