It’s kind of a big deal when you take a project you’ve been working on for months and get your first glimpse of what the end result might look like. So it was a couple of weeks ago, when I produced a DVD of the rough cut of Zombie Casserole. It clocked in at 31 minutes, 13 seconds and 17 frames. After a couple of months of piecing together individual scenes, this was pretty much a watershed moment.
John and I slapped some beers in ourselves, the DVD in a player and kicked back with notepads and pens. Surprisingly, it wasn’t far off from our original vision when writing the script last fall. Some things came out better than we hoped, others not as well – but the overall film was pretty much on target.
Although the sound in this version hadn’t been mixed, we did have a catchy title song to go with the opening credits thanks to Shmoolie. One big thing we learned was that even though when writing a script you may come up with separate scenes, when you actually lay everything out, those scenes and the ordering may not make sense. I suppose that’s why it’s called a rough cut.
However, this is film – we can make anything happen. We immediately decided in some cases that in order to make the timing make better sense, we needed to intercut parts of some scenes with parts of others. We also saw some opportunities to use After Effects to clean up some footage. And yes, while this does require work, it’s not nearly as bad as sitting in front of a monitor with lots of uncataloged footage you have to review and then pick through to decide what should be used.
I should note that once we take into account all our notes, we’ll still have a ways to go. At that point, the film will be ready for sound mixing and scoring. But there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel.