new york

These set of colours mean a lot to Londoners:

London's tube line colours

It’s a piece from Art on the Underground. They’ve been commissioning temporary artworks for London’s tube system since 2000. Their main space is a disused platform at Gloucester Road underground station:

Brian Griffiths 'Life Is A Laugh' - until May 2008

They’ve got a new plan: to commission permanent installations throughout the system. About time too. The New York Subway has been doing this for years. I enjoyed the following two:

Link to a site on NYC Subway art
Bronze figures playing on the platforms More pictures from the same installation.

Link to a site on NYC Subway art
Walls slid to reveal mosaics
More pictures from the same installation.

After a few years of making videos for conferences it’s good to go back and do something new (to me). To promote teamworking and to illustrate the concept of collaboration, teams at this conference were given two hours to come up with and shoot a one minute film. They then were given 30 minutes with one of us editors.

Sometimes it took 40 minutes, but I helped make three interesting films.

When you’ve got such a short amount of time, you need to concentrate on the basics. I didn’t name clips or reels or bins. It was capture “Untitled” and “Untitled1”, detect DV starts and stops, pick takes, set ins and outs and put shots into order. Then there was just enough time to add captions and graphics, a soundtrack and… next team please.

When you’re under that sort of time pressure, you have to go with your gut went choosing the shots and how long to let them run. You won’t have time to go back and sort them out. You have to trust that if the same editor sets the ins and outs, then the feel will be consistent through the film.

The lesson – if you can get good results in three hours, get making films. Don’t forget The Big Things. They seem to make a new film at least every day…

Alan Heim, editor:

The editor, the assistant, and the apprentice have been together for, say, there months. You’ve been sitting there looking at this material and occasionally muttering under your breath, being unhappy about it in some way, and suddenly, here’s the perpetrator. You’ve got certain loyalty and the director is now an outsider. You get to the point where the editor has to make the director feel comfortable in the cutting room.

Also from Selected Takes:

There are ways of getting your view across without challenging the original concept for the film. The whole process is a compromise and you have to be willing and able to get other people to compromise. That often leads to some tensions, and you’ll lose a lot of the fights. … I can work on a film and be tremendously intense about it, but after is said and done, it’s the director’s movie. At some point you have to be willing to give up and let the director do what he wants to do, even if you feel it’s not right.

He edited Network, All That Jazz and American History X. If you’re in New York on Thursday 27th September, you can ask him your own questions as part of the Manhattan Edit Workshop’s series of seminars with distinguished feature film editors. The event is free, it starts at 7:30pm sharp at the Helen Mills Theatre, 139 W 26th Street. RSVP to The Manhattan Edit Workshop.

Two things to do tomorrow. Visit the screenwriter’s group to support and be supported by other writers. Visit the Manhattan Monologue Slam for a very good value evening out. You’ll see stars of the future put their all into making the most of three minutes on stage.

For more on the Slam, see last month’s post.

For those of you in London, you also have a choice. Between a screenwriters group and a film networking party. Soho Screenwriters meets every Monday in Soho. The evening has three parts. The first part is a lecture on some aspect of screenwriting. Here’s the blurb on tomorrow’s:

A film consists of two stories, one the objective story (plot) the backdrop against which the second hero’s story (the “subjective” story) takes place. The central protagonist at the end of a story will not have the same characterisation that they started with; they must go through a psychological transformation (arc) to achieve their objective goal. This week’s seminar traces the Inner Journey, as are hero deals with the object and subjective obstacles in their way, from the Ghost to the assertion of the Theme.

The second part is made up of pitches and script readings. You can bring your work along, and the group will assess it. The third part is in the pub where the talk goes on until late. The session starts at 7.30 and only costs £4. Very good value. Find out more.

From a weekly event to an annual one (like toothbrush-holesmanship): I’ll be going to the The Talent Circle Super Shorts party. Looks like I’ll have to get some more cards and work up a variety of CVs for the occasion.

When you see food in films, it always looks better than you can ever find in real life – unless you live in New York. The bagel shops and diners have been all that I’ve hoped for after seeing them in the movies.

That’s bagels

Donna Tsufura reviewing my editor’s demo reel in the local bagel shop. She’s come up with a clever addition that I’ll be working on over the next few days.

The Malibu Diner on 23rd Street

After Jean and I went to see Rescue Dawn, we had indulgent desserts at the Malbu Diner in Chelsea.

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