There were a couple situations where I wondered if one is going to kneecap the other. Like, is my character saying something funny in the middle of this serious situation going to take away the gravity of it? Or vice versa, is the gravity of the situation going to kneecap the joke so that one or neither works. Then when we shot it, I was happy with how it went. I thought it really worked. But again, you gotta get it up in front of people. You don’t know until it gets in front of people. They’re the ones who’ll tell you. One of the scenes specifically I was really waiting to see how it would work. And it was perfect. The scene was quiet because it was quite a tense scene, and everybody was hanging on it. My character says a funny thing, there’s a laugh, and then it stops and goes back to the seriousness of it. That was exactly what I’d hoped would happen. That was the exact response I wanted. So we were over the moon at the screening.
And it’s really interesting because almost always the transitions are different than how you imagined. Often in your mind you imagine it in a very linear fashion. You imagine a wide establishing shot, a medium shot and then you go into some coverage. Especially if you’re writing it, you’re often just thinking in terms of what information do I have to get out. So when I do that I think of it in a very nuts and bolts kind of way. And then when you see the editor’s assembly, you go, ‘Oh, he started on the close-up of the hand! That’s great! If you’d given me ten years I wouldn’t have thought to start that way.’ So that’s what an editor brings to the table. So it’s done in stages. The editor assembles it. Then the director goes in and sits down with the editor and says, ‘Make the following changes. I think the scene is nice but needs to be faster. Or I really don’t like starting on the moving shot.’ So you make those changes. And then after that it’s my job to come in. Everybody has a different way of working and my thing is if you come in long, which you always do or always should, I don’t want anybody else taking material out of the project to make time. So let’s say we want the movie to be 100 minutes and it comes in at 130 minutes, at the editing stage and the directing stage, don’t remove any lines of dialogue to make it shorter. Make it as short as you can without removing material and then I’ll come in and decide.