Focus On – Leanne Cole on “Wasted on the Young”

Focus On – Leanne Cole on “Wasted on the Young”

The design of Wasted on the Young is gorgeously slick. How did the edit enhance the film’s aesthetic qualities?

Wasted on the Young is a melodrama focusing on a group of affected teenagers living in a cold technological world. The editing style aimed to further compliment the story and themes and so in this particular case it felt appropriate to have the audience really be aware the editing. The film's look is blue, hard and sharp, and in the grade all remaining green and warmth was pulled out of the environment. The sound design and music are the same, lacking in natural organic sounds. So we were hoping that by having a choppy and unnatural style imposed on the edit we'd be enhancing the world the kids live in and letting the audience feel that world all the more.

The narrative uses flash forwards and flash backs to build the story of the stepbrothers Darren and Zack as well as the events revolving around the rape. Was this devised or heightened in the edit?

The script jumped back and forth through time more than the finished film as we found the original scene placement to be too disjointed. Finding the correct order was a little challenging as the scenes all tie together in different ways, creating a sticky web of evil scene placement rules so in the edit we spent some time shuffling scenes until we found the best positioning for the story flow.

What were some key changes made while editing not devised in the script?

Basically the script and the finished feature are very close. Apart from the changes to scene order, the main adaptations were usually dropping and adjusting dialogue to clarify story or character. Some scenes had quite large changes to dialogue and action, which required some tricky manipulation to get them working and creating some nifty new dialogue that would fit the mouth movements of the characters before it cuts to someone else. We also dropped a few scenes. At one point, towards the end of the film, we had the main character Darren's mother appearing to lend some support to her son before he decides to seek revenge. While it did remind us that these characters are still children, it also took all the power out of Darren's decision and just didn't fit with the world we'd created so we let it go. The decision seems totally obvious to us now but Oliver Ackland gave a great performance in the scene and it was hard to let that go.

The majority of violence in the film happens off screen, which adds to the shock value. Was this devised in the edit?

I would like to take credit for keeping the violence off screen, but no it was not my idea. The budgetary constraints of the film meant we were never going to be able to afford the make up and prosthetics or the visual effects required to pull it off convincingly. But more than that, the director was well aware the power of the audience's imagination. The old horror trick of 'whats scary isn't what you see, it's what you don't see,' works just as well for violence in drama. The natural human fear of the unknown makes everything more horrible and keeps costs down - everyone wins!

What was your favourite experience on the film?

Wasted is full of incredibly talented actors who were a pleasure to edit. Rather than being a problem solving session we had fantastic options in performances full of subtlety and honesty. Plus working with aesthetically pleasing imagery beautifully shot by Dan Freene made a big difference to my enjoyment during the edit.

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