Newsletter 62 – Summer 2004

Online archive copy of Newsletter 62 which was a printed newsletter:

President's Letter

Dear Members,Summer 2004 and it’s the kind of
weather when you go to the movies for
the air conditioning.

At last the Free Trade Agreement
(FTA) has been finalised although the
actual document has not been released
until the lawyers have checked it out.
On the surface the outcome for film and
television does not look too bad, which
may mean that those letters and emails
we wrote had some effect although, of
course, we’ll never know. What we do
know is that we tried.

At the 2003 AFI Awards Jill Bilcock
ASE won Best Editing for JAPANESE
STORY and at the IF Awards Ken
Sallows ASE won for GETTING’
SQUARE with Jill Bilcock winning
the Freixenet Living Legend Award.
Judging by her almost speechless
acceptance, she wasn’t expecting this!
Well done Jill and Ken and
congratulations from us all.

The television silly season is over and
some meaty observational
documentaries have aired thanks to the
ABC and SBS. In the same week we’ve
had the chance to see both OUR BOYS
and HANDLE WITH CARE (editors
Andrea Lang and Madge Szoeke
respectively). From an editing point of
view (what else is there?) the
’observational’ must be the trickiest,
and at the same time most rewarding, of
all styles of screen storytelling. Yes I am
throwing out the gauntlet. Arguments
please!

Best regards
Sara Bennett

 

Press Play for F.T.A.

Most Australian channels to become a one-way street!Less than 3% of material screened in the USA is produced in other countries. Australia's share of that 3% must be minuscule indeed. Here, the trend toward the opposite proportion will only be worsened by the form of words agreed to by the Trade Minister in Washington on February 8th. That's as much because of the number and type of elements left out of the AUSFTA as those media stipulated within it. As new, undefined and stillforming media delivery methods increasingly interest Australians in coming years we will discover that any regulation we may have imagined as our natural right was, in fact, traded away in February 2004.

The sugar industry has already tasted its bitter pill. As I write this, the final wording of the agreement is still unavailable so the audio-visual industry must wait to see if that queasy feeling eases over time.

As far as theatrical films are concerned it's a free-for-all, that's the way its been in the past and the U.S./Australia Free Trade Agreement (awaiting ratification in both countries) simply confirms the steep slope on that particular playing field whilst subtly tunnelling under some of its supporting pillars.

MW

EDITORS WORKING OUTSIDE THE CUTTING ROOM

Photo Caption:Denise & Andrea: Locking horns or
putting their heads together?

At the ASE's next Sydney event
two renowned documentary editors
will be discussing YOUR possible
future as a multi-tasking screen
professional.... forget that old
fashioned "EDITOR" label!

Denise Haslem ASE and Andrea Lang,
both past Presidents of ASE, will screen
and discuss their recent work. Denise as
Producer and Editor of Lonely Boy
Richard shot in North East Arnhem
Land and Andrea as Co Producer, Sound
Recordist and Editor of Our Boys. Both
projects are observational in style, took
over a year to shoot and both editors had
significant roles outside the editing suite.

Is this the future? Is this how to ensure
incisive, professional documentary film
making and make the ever diminishing
budgets stretch further? The crews are
shrinking, many directors are picking up
the camera, Tom Zubrycki directed, shot
and produced Molly and Mobarak.

Sound recordists are shooting,
cinematographers are directing. Almost
every crew role is changing but the one
that stays constant is the Editor, and in
some cases the Editors are taking on
other roles as well.

EH

THURSDAY MARCH 11TH
Upstairs in the Regency Room at
Paddington RSL Club at 7.00 PM
Members $10 Non-members $15
Bookings are essential!
Please e-mail your contact details to
Margaret Slarke at
nswoffice@screeneditors.com or
ring 9380 6945 and leave a message.
Drinks may be purchased from the bar at
RSL prices. Safe, free underground
parking available under the RSL,
entrance in County Ave and round the
corner in Weedon Lane.

Don’t Blame the Screenwriter - The Buck Stops Here

Hon. Mark Vaile, Minister for TradeThere's presently a perceived quality crisis aboard the raft of Australian
features as it founders on the choppy sea of trade. While editors sweat to
maintain steam in the engine room surely those above-the-(water)-line crew
members could be plotting a better course! FUEL International's New
Business Manager, Trish Graham, once an assistant editor, has experience
above and below decks. In this article she has her telescope trained on the
principal navigators of the industry. MW

The Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile recently commented in regard to Australian films entering the US market, “....to my knowledge there are no restrictions going into that market; it’s a market that if you’ve got a product good enough, that consumers will like, then it’ll get in.”

The Minister’s comments could easily be construed as simplistic or naïve - if it wasn’t for the fact that there has been much despair lately about the failure of Australian feature films to succeed either in Australia or overseas. The overriding concern of industry leaders centres on the lack of quality scripts.

Executive Director of The Australian Writer’s Guild Megan Elliot says, “Don’t blame the writer. There is no career path for writers in Australia to write feature film scripts”. Or, more simply put, there’s no money in it.

Elliot comments that there is also “....a film culture in Australia that is ’production orientated’, that is more focused on making product than developing scripts”. Megan stresses she’s not out to blame the producer - she asserts that funding bodies and producers alike need help in being able to evaluate and recommend scripts for production.

There is much anecdotal evidence, however, suggesting that film production is ’deal driven’. That is to say film-funding bodies put too much emphasis on the financing, casting and crew components of a film and are inexpert judges of script quality. Film Finance Corporation chief, Brian Rosen, is quoted as saying, “The F.F.C is going to review its evaluation procedures and set up a process, which may take the form of a committee, panel, or expert consultants, to focus on all elements of a film project; including cast, crew, the experience of the producers and directors and script". Rosen has expressed concern that film funding in the past has been too 'deal' driven and hopefully the FFC will have the new assessment processes in place by the first of July 2004.

Rosen expressed real concern about how the system undervalues screenwriters, which on average only get paid $15,000 for a first draft. “Hypothetically if a writer is paid a fee of $1,000.00 a week that only equates to 15 weeks work, anyone knows that a first draft takes much longer than that, at least six months to write, so screenwriters are forced to take on multiple projects to pay the bills and are not able to develop projects adequately.”

The public purse is not bottomless. Neither the current government nor the opposition appear likely to increase funding so the stakeholders referred to by Mr Rosen might have to consider funding redistribution in the important area of script development.

The situation is not helped by a divisive culture that encourages producers to play hard-ball to get scripts cheaply.

Commonly they retain all residual rights and squeeze the writer out of the film production process as early as possible. The question has to be asked. Why would anyone with talent be attracted to the role of screenwriting when there is so little reward and so little recognition of their contribution? The Australian Writers Guild is considering a novel campaign (along the lines of, ’Who Wrote That?’) in an attempt to lift the profile of the screenwriter. The hope is that a newfound respect for the role of the screenwriter might translate into better fees and conditions.

Admittedly more experienced television writers could be induced to write feature film scripts but there appears to be little in the way of bridging programs to encourage this stretch. Instead there is a perception that the gifted amateur or first time writer/director is the better source of feature film screenplays. All that is required is a brilliant first draft and the cameras can begin to roll - little wonder then that many Australian films go into production with scripts so seriously flawed.

Victorian Notes

Happy New Year to all the Victorian members, I hope you were able to fit some wholesome holiday making into your summer program. I know I did. Though after the humidity of the Northern Rivers of NSW, Melbourne seems positively mild. Enough small chat.To recent events. A good crowd showed up to John Bowring's Lemac Theatre for the 'Post Production Pathways' evening on December 1st to discuss the many options available when acquiring and post producing footage in current times. I won't attempt to give any detailed account of the evening as there was much "nitty-gritty" discussion re different
formats, etc. I think one of the most interesting methods possible these days is that of shooting film, transferring to HD video at 2K per frame (to allow for a finish in that format) then doing a final transfer of the final edit back to 35mm (FX, graded, etc.) for release. Pretty mindblowing
stuff really! The die hards of film can be encouraged by the fact that film is
still an important part of the procedure.
As a capture medium, it's still superior to HD. But that's only my opinion. Big
thanks to Chris Patterson from Open Channel and to those involved, thanks
for your time.

In particular:

John Fleming (Digital Pictures, Melb)
John Bowring (Lemac)
Tim Spicer (Swish Group)
Rob Sutherland (Director, The Inside Story)
Martin Fox (Editor, Deeper than Blue)
See page 7 for the Christmas Party

Shaun Smith
Chairman, ASE VIC committee

About www.screeneditors.com

Don't forget that much of what you
may wish to know about the legal
structure, by-laws, organisation
and contact details of our guild
are constantly available on our
very interactive website.
First go to
www.screeneditors.com
click on the "FORUMS" button at
the top. The very first forum in the
list is named "ABOUT THE
GUILD"....just click on those very words and you will have access to
topics such as:
Annual Reports
Current Committee Membership
Lists
Articles of Association of the ASE
By-laws and policy documents
on subjects such as
Accreditation and Associate
Membership
and a good deal more.
What's been
twitching the fingers of
our far-flung frame
finessers from the
flippant to the
fanatical at
www.screeneditors.com?
FAVOURITE JOBS - a very general question drew a
fascinating response from Daz - MW

I love cutting drama. It's like what most
people think editing should be: a script
(sometimes even marked up!), shots
(sometimes slated), an edit assistant to
organise things for you, and the editors
job starts out being the challenge of
bringing every scene to life as much as
possible by all the tricks of the trade -
performance selection, shot size, music,
cutaways...

I also love the team spirit that exists
with drama. You usually cut as they
shoot, often near the studios, sometimes
out on location. The way things are
shot can be influenced by the way you
cut things, so the level of collaboration
feels quite high. It's great to be part of a
big team. By contrast, docos are often
cut after most or all filming is finished.
There's little contact with the crew,
apart from the director.

Also, the dramas I've cut have mostly
gone on for several months, so you can
really get in the groove of what you're
doing. By contrast, a 50min doco will
rarely go beyond 8 weeks. I like working
on series better.

One of my favourite dramas was
"Richard II", directed by Deborah
Warner & starring Fiona Shaw. It was
an adaptation of a stageplay, which
brought it's own raft of challenges. It
was beautifully shot and lit, the
performances were breathtaking and the
music was out of this world. So I felt
really confident in just concentrating
on the cutting. The director tried out
several different ways of shooting key
scenes so there was a lot of room for
experimenting.

Then again, I do love cutting docos. It's
a much more fluid and changeable
process than drama (not always true!)
and I seem to find I can put a lot more
of my own mad ideas into a doco. The
use of music & montage can be more
free and easy. The script can be pulled
apart and turned on it's head - large
elements of the film can come to life
without any script! And it's real.

Not so keen on TV commercials.
Although the money is great and the
shooting budgets and gadgets can be top
notch, in the end I always feel like I'm
trying to sell something - rather than
say something. daz

SERIOUS DV USAGE

http://www.digitalproducer.com/2004/02_
feb/news/02_09/panasonic0212.htm
Heard an interview on BBC with
director/editor Greg Harrison. His film
NOVEMBER won photography award at
Sundance - shot on mini DV and edited
on computer etc., Worth considering for
Oz films in the face of current disasters.
The above site details the camera and the
post prod. BK

I've just worked on a 'dramatised documentary' series for the BBC called "Seven Industrial Wonders". These were shot using DSR500 (often 2 cameras) on DVCAM tape format, with some Super8 thrown in just for laughs.

The results were pretty wonderful. The cameras are smaller and lighter than digiBeta, allowing for more natural handheld work. But there were some problems. Focus seemed to be tricky, especially setting the back focus when using a 'high definition' lens. Exposure was even more problematic, the tendency being to overexpose which produced washed out, solarised looking flesh tones. But other than that, I'd say choosing these cameras was a great success. daz

I recently worked on "The Finished People" which created a good buzz in Oz. As a soundie, I reckon it looked pretty good, especially since it was kined to 35mm. For sure the look of the film is a bit rough and ready, but it was a dramatised doco. As one of the more successful oz films of the year I'm all for these new dvc features. Julius Chan

A half a century of FransAlthough it was not a formal ASE event
it was almost one by default. On
Saturday 15th February a large number of
Sydney editors plus some directors,
producers and other riff raff, met at the
Chauvel Cinema to celebrate the 50th
birthday of Frans Vandenburg. The
evening included a screening of THEM,
made in 1954, the year of Frans' birth.
This tale of giant killer ants, mutations
resulting from atomic testing in the
Nevada desert, brought more laughs than
screams and was a great way to kick off
the evening. Three ex ASE presidents
and one current one were there, and at
least 15 members.

The finale was a giant, but not mutant,
chocolate cake for 60 people. If only we
got this kind of turn out for the AGM.

SB

Sydney Joint Christmas Shindig 2003

Photo Caption:Susan Horsely, Maria Kaltenthaler, Peter Vile

Thursday 11th
December 2003

The recent Sydney ASE Christmas party was held in conjunction with several other film and television industry guilds on the leafy grounds of the Callan Park Writers Centre in Rozelle. Joining us on the balmy evening were the Australian Guild of Screen Composers, Australian Screen Writers Guild, Women In Film and Television and the Australian Screen Directors Association.

Going by the rule-of-thumb of "the more the merrier", the decision by the different guilds to join forces seemed to be a great one. Following on from a very successful party in 2002, this year's party was said to be a huge hit by the people that attended. This year there were professional bar staff provided and a range of beers and wines available from varied sponsors. Also popular were the sandwiches and nibbles prepared and handed round by ASE members (thanks Margaret!).

Many people appreciated the opportunity to meet not only other editors but also with colleagues from different crafts. It gave many a rare chance to get out and relax from those long days and nights many of us spend absorbed in small dark rooms. There was a chance to catch up with old friends we hadn't seen since last year's party. Meet new people that we might one day like to work with. Discuss the looming free trade agreement with the U.S. and simply just have a good oldfashioned gossip.

Due to the astounding success of the 2003 Xmas Party I'm sure there will be another chance for us and our fellow industry colleagues to meet up again the same time next year, if not sooner!

WM & CM

Friday 12th December 2003The 2003 Victorian Xmas Party was thistime held at the funky establishment of’Yelza’ in Fitzroy. To all those who didn’tmake it, I hope you had a good excuse!Because a fantastic time was had by allwho attended. ASE members from farand wide raged out under the Yelzaglasshouse. It was tough at times as wehad to compete with the encroachingthrongs of the general public whodescended on Yelza. Not realising it wasour domain, and once the DJ startedspinning a few tunes, many of the publicbegan to dance the night away. And ohhow they danced! Even some ASEmembers decided to show their secretmoves during the night! And as soon as Istarted dancing I knew something had tobe wrong. Had someone spiked my drink?Or maybe it was just the oysters!

SS

EDITORS ON EDITORS: BOB BLASDALL

EDITORS ON EDITORS: BOB BLASDALLHe first reached for a splicer sometime in 1968, now he owns,operates and keeps on cutting at THE POST WORKS in sunny Brisbane. Editor, director, producer Bob Blasdall must be the reason they are calling Queensland the smart state these days. It seems many a young director in Brisbane will look to Mr Blasdall for guidance once the shoot is over. In this interview he answers questions put by AFTRS student and ASE committee all-rounder Chris Mill.

When did you decide to become an editor?
I first saw television when it started in Brisbane when I was a young feller. I decided that I wanted somehow to be a part of the exciting story telling I was watching. I had no idea at that stage how to achieve my fantasy, for in the sixties, (and even more so in the large country township of Brisbane) there was limited education or training in most of the arts. In 1961 I joined United Artists film distributors as an office assistant, which apart from working in a cinema was about as close as one could get to Hollywood back then. In 1968 there was a job opportunity at BTQ7 in the film department splicing film commercials into film programs. I was then drafted to the News Dept. to splice the edited film stories into a reel ready for on-air presentation. One thing led to another. I was given a rudimentary lesson in editing news stories and then thrown in at the deep end one day due to staff illnesses and I was on my way in the industry.

Did you have to study or did you start as an assistant?
I learnt the craft cutting news and current affairs and working as a news cinematographer in the late sixties and early 70’s. I have had no formal training but have read many books on editing techniques and even back in the 70’s we experimented with different styles: jump cuts, line cross edits, white flashes, slomo and fastmo etc. Even on one job I cut we went from black and white to colour and back. So really there is very little being cut today that is entirely new. Fads come and go but great cinematography lives forever. You can’t beat cutting great shots or great acting.

Why did you choose doco instead of drama?
Opportunity really. I have cut quite a bit of drama over the years but when I was set up as a business in 1976 there was not much drama occurring in Queensland, so mostly I worked on television commercials and documentaries with an occasional short film or drama thrown in. In fact one short film I cut, “Meatheads”, won the Greater Union National Short Film competition… a really big deal back then. I refused many requests to head south for my veins run maroon and I love the Brisbane lifestyle too much to decamp from here… permanently that is. I have worked for up to 6 months at a time in Sydney on a telemovie series and couldn’t wait to leave the traffic congestion, smog and grey skies behind.

What was your first “big break”?
I guess it was meeting a very talented individual, Dick Marks, when I worked at Channel 7. Dick was a studio cameraman who joined the Channel 7 news team. I immediately saw that his filming style was streets ahead of the other cameramen (yours truly included) and Dick would insist that I cut his stories. He then left Channel 7 and started work with a Brisbane production company, Martin Williams Films, and convinced the company principals, Vic Martin and Mike Williams to give me a chance to edit for them. I joined them in 1972 and after cutting literally hundreds of commercials and maybe a dozen documentaries I was astounded when Dick left Martin Williams Films to start his own company. Dick convinced me to set up as a freelance editor, so I purchased a 6 plate 16mm. Steinbeck and rented warehouse space, which I shared with Dick and an animator. Now, after many very funny times, I own and run THEpostWORKS. But really it all goes back to the Channel 7 job of splicing film commercials into film programs just to get a start in TV.

How do you edit (do you e.g. watch rushes, then make an assembly, then rough cut)?
The system I have developed is for one of our assistants to log each tape as it arrives. If I have a script (The Crocodile Hunter docos NEVER have a script…more about that later) I have the assistant place on each shot-name a number relative to that script item. Nowadays with disk space not an issue I have all rushes digitised and sorted into script number. However after digitising I try watch all footage in order of shooting before I start the edit. I then do a very long rough cut/assembly of each segment and then start form the beginning and work thorough to the end tightening and pacing the program as I go.

How do you work with directors (do they sit in on the edit all the time)?
Horses for courses. I have cut various foreign language programs (“Grandfathers and Revolutions” was 90% in Hungarian) and the directors were with me all the time. Mostly though I edit on my own and show the cut at various stages and then get input and discuss shortcomings or if pickups are necessary. With The Crocodile Hunter I receive the footage and a rundown of the segments shot. I either cut the sequences to see if they work or have other editors who work for me perform this task. I then evaluate the way things sit and sometimes even not edit segments that I deem unworthy. The Producer/Director John Stainton then sits with me (sometimes myself and the other editor) and we formulate the final look including graphics and any extra shooting that may be required. I then fine cut the show to time, John has a final run through, occasionally making minor amendments and we lock off. I then checkerboard the audio, manufacture OMF files for the sound edit and manufacture EDLs for online and send the vision to the musos and sound studio.

At what stage are you involved in the doco (do you have input with the D.O.P. and director)?
On some docos the director and DOP have had meetings prior to shoot. I have personally directed 20 odd docos and work as a Producer on a lifestyle show on the Nine network (Escape With ET) so I have a pretty good idea of what happens on location, which is sometimes useful to inexperienced directors.

Do you pick the story out of the doco, does it pick you?
Bit of both really. I quite often have a different take out on the way the lead up stuff works and generally the story will flow from there. Frames lead to seconds, which lead to minutes, which lead to a full final cut. The frames are the most important item though. Sometimes a frame here and a frame there can have monumental influence way beyond a twentyfifth of a second.

Do you have an assistant (what do they do)?
I’ve pretty much described my assistant’s task earlier. I expect my assistants to know where every tape is and to have a handle on the general visuals. We have at any given time in our tape storage area up to 750 hours of material so it is a daunting task keeping track of all that. E.G. Currently we are working on 14 X 1 hour individual docos, a 13 episode 1 hour doco series, 1 German telemovie, 6 short films and a 2 hour rock concert.

What kind of system do you use?
I use and recommend. No I’ll be serious. THEpostWORKS is exclusively Lightworks. I have a Lightworks turbo, a Heavyworks and a Lightworks Touch.. I went Lightworks over AVID in 1993 mainly because the console is very similar to a Steenbeck flatbed editor and I got the hang of it really quickly. I had to learn computer speak real quick so now I am relatively computer literate or at least I now know that ram isn’t woolly and that a byte is worse than a bark. I firmly believe though, that even in this technological age, its the nut behind the wheel and not necessarily the hardware that is the most important feature.

Do you have a certain style (or do you have things you always do in a doco e.g. use narration, use title boards etc)?
My style varies although I am a believer that with The Crocodile Hunter the quicker you can keep events happening the more interesting Steve is. Having stated that the last doco I cut has one shot that runs for almost 90 seconds. A lot happens in it though. It’s the old business of frames etc, etc.

How did you get involved with Steve Irwin?
I worked with Director/Producer John Stainton at Martin Williams in the 1970s. When John discovered Steve he phoned me and explained the talent of the guy and asked if I would cut a 5-minute marketing video from material they had just shot in Nth. Qld. I had a look at the material: was blown away by Steve’s camera presence and cut the video free of charge. On the strength of the material in the video the Channel 10 network picked up on the shows and after much hard selling by Steve and John overseas the rest, as they say, is history.

Did you know the Croc Hunter would be successful?
Absobloodylutely! From the first time I watched that material, we used in the marketing promo, my gut feeling was that The Crocodile Hunter would make it in America.

Has the success of the show made you more conscious of your editing (i.e. because so many people are watching the show)?
It’s funny. You are the third person to ask that question in the last 3 weeks. No I don’t think of how many people watch the show. I am proud though, that through the show many people have changed their attitude to wildlife and the world around us. One thing that I hammer people with is that the show is centered on Steve but the major players are the animal he mucks around with.

Do you keep moving between mediums (i.e. tvcs, tv, etc)?
It’s funny how life changes. 10 years ago I was so much a part of the advertising scene in Brisbane that I was inducted into the Brisbane Advertising Industry Hall of Fame in 1995. I’ve hardly worked on a commercial since. As I stated previously I wear a producer’s hat on “Escape with ET” and I cut the occasional TV drama. The last one was a couple of episodes of “Misery Guts” a children’s drama. But generally docos are my passion. Not only wildlife docos but all genres of doco production.

What do you think of the opportunities for editors in Australia (is it
getting better)?

Yeah it is getting better. The education facilities in Australia are first rate and there is a hell of a lot more production happening in Australia. It disappoints me though that a lot of post is taken overseas but that is gradually changing thanks to shows like “The Matrix” and “Moulin Rouge”. However my tip is to work on anything and try to network and keep selling your skills and work ethic.

CM

IN CASE YOU ASKED
By Dominic CaseQ: I've just completed my first real film and I want to keep it for ever so that I'll be able to show it to my grandchildren when I'm old and feeble. You tell me that digital isn't the way to go, so how should I look after the negative?
R V Winkle

A: Dear Rip,

At last! An intelligent question. Welcome to this column. After all that time I've been banging on about film preservation being for decades if not centuries (while digital people are happy if something lasts longer than the battery in their laptop), it's good to know that someone has been listening.

So, the negative. Keep it cool and dry. It's best at a constant temperature, and around 15C is best - and with a low humidity. You could keep a few bottles of wine in the same conditions (as for me, I can't keep wine anywhere for very long, especially if it's a good Coonawarra Cab. Sav., but I suppose as long as you don't feel tempted to check the film too often, it might be OK.)

For real longevity, the fridge isn't a bad idea (red wine's shocking if it's cold, so you won't be tempted.) Oh! Film. Yes of course. The mind wanders . . . Some people seal the film in a plastic bag (either inside the (plastic) can, or even outside the can). Whatever you do, make sure the film rolls are cool and dry first, before you seal them, or you'll just trap the humidity. It won't be a good look, years later when you discover faded dyes, shrunken base and a strong smell of vinegar. Undrinkable! The film goes much the same way.

By all means keep a digital copy of your film - maybe a DVD - so that you can see it whenever you want. Update it when your DVD player becomes too old and feeble (or obsolete) to play it. When you're too old and feeble yourself to bother with that any more, hand the film over to your grandchildren, and see if they can find a projector to run it on. As for yourself - let's hope you archived a corkscrew along with the wine.

Q: I'm convinced that the problem with too many films is a title that fails to say what the film is about. The producer tells me to butt out it's not my job and get back to fixing the EDL. I said I wasn't talking about our film but why was he so sensitive about it and he said . . .
- anonymous

A: Dear anon (or should I call you "working title"?),

You've said enough. I get the gist. Who knows best? I think if you left editors to name films they'd all be called Timecode. Directors? Woody Allen was talked out of Anhedonia (meaning disability to know pleasure) and Marshall Brickman, his co-scriptwriter suggested Rollercoaster Named Desire, Me and My Goy or It Had to Be Jew. The man is too clever by half (at least)! Eventually they settled for Annie Hall. Tells you nothing. You have to see the film to know that it's about nothing.

So what does the crew call the film? A working title is often shorter, which saves time (and therefore money) on the production every time you say it. Sammy & Rosie Get Laid was known on set as The F***". The name Babe couldn't get much shorter, but what was it about? Would it be taken as a soft porn epic? Hence The Pig. The best thing about working titles is that you can use them to be "in" at parties.

The shortest titles in history (or are they just censorship ratings?) include X (Roger Corman), Z (Costa-Gavras), and M, released in Australia as Fritz Lang's M (surely the first time any Australian has lengthened a name).

Perhaps we need an Academy Award for "Best Title".

Peter Whitmore ASE muses on the trans-Tasman magic at work in the feature he's recently completed.The second feature for director Paul Middleditch, 'A Cold Summer' was released commercially on the 26th February and is set to intrigue audienceswith its unconventional storytelling and development process.

Paul is a one of the most gifted and successful directors of comedy commercials in Australia. His work includes Yellow Pages 'Not happy Jan' and the latest Hahn spots featuring a loveable rogue who dive bombs his glamorous girlfriend in the spa to get athis favourite beer. Yet his films are very different. Paul works against type and produces films that are very personal, emotionally intense and serious.

His first feature 'Terra Nova' wonderfully edited by Heidi Kenessey is a dark brooding work about a mentally ill woman who flees her parent's home inNew Zealand, kidnapping her daughter, to start a new life in Australia. It is a tough, hard film and emotionally challenging.

With 'A Cold Summer' Paul again has emotions laid bare on the slab, its gritty and somewhat painful. Paul's approach is not unlike that of Robert Altman or Mike Leigh. He developed the script with the three principle actors, TeoGebert, Olivia Pigeot and Susan Prior in improvised workshops which took place in his home. A recent article in the Australian comments, "The results could, of course, be a total mess..... on the other hand you might create something extraordinary like 'A Cold Summer'."

Extraordinary it turned out to be. Initially Paul spoke to me about shootingthe film as one continuous take. 10 x1000ft. loads, allowing the performances to flow. However, once filming, Paul started to experiment some more. He wanted to improvise with his actors and the camera (beautifully shot on 35mm byStevie Arnold) and he wanted to take risks. The result was a complex mix of one shot scenes, jump cuts, discontinuityand radical approaches including editing multiple takes of the same scene to heighten tension.

It was a huge risk but Middleditch was determined to experiment on every level. He has produced a film about human loss, pain, love, friendship and truth with flawless performances. And yes, he even manages to squeeze in some humour. Dark of course. It was a challenge to edit and a wonderful experience.

PW

We Were Wrong

On the 26th November last I posted an interview with Ken Sallows on the ASE homepage. The headline paragraph contained a couple of significant inaccuracies. In the year that Ken's work on CHOPPER was nominated for the AFI Editing Award, that particular honour was bestowed on Martin Connor for his fine work on LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI. I apologise to both these gentlemen.We will endeavour to check our facts more effectively in the future.

MW

Want a Steenbeack?

A.F.T.R.S. has 3 x 6-plate standard 16mm Steenbecks up for grabs. If you are interested please contact Emelda on (02) 9805 6599
ASE is calling for Mentors

ASE has members wanting mentors and now we need to know who would be interested in being a mentor.We are trialing a mentorship scheme to allow editors and assistant editors to benefit from the knowledge and skills of editors more experienced than themselves.

Under this scheme, a mentor could be asked to provide feedback on editing work, advice about job seeking, professional relationships and other editing related issues. It does not mean providing work experience or attachments to a project - that could result from the relationship formed between mentor and mentoree but is not
expected, it is more about providing support and advice.

We want mentors from all areas of post production: commercials, documentaries, television, features etc... an experienced assistant editor can mentor a junior assistant.

Sharing one's experience and knowledge over a coffee or or a few beers can be rewarding. Giving someone good advice early in their career can make all the difference to that person's future.

The scheme proposes a minimum 3 x one-hour meetings over 3-6 months, although the details are flexible and would be up to you and your mentoree to arrange.

ASE would do the matchmaking from the information supplied and monitor the mentorship with a couple telephone calls to ensure that both parties were satisfied. At the conclusion of a successful partnership, a few lines for the website or newsletter could be asked for.

Please e-mail your interest and contact details to Margaret Slarke at nswoffice@screeneditors.com or ring 9380 6945 and leave a message.

Issue 62 - back pageASE acknowledges the generous support of the following organisations:

Principal Sponsor:
QUANTEL

Sponsors:
ATLAB Australia
SONY Australia

Supporters:
AAV/Digital Pictures
Film Australia
Frameworks Film

ASE NEW SOUTH WALES Administration:
Margaret Slarke
Tel (02) 9380 6945
Fax: (02) 9380 6946
Australian Screen Editors Guild
PO Box 150, Paddington
NSW, 2021
Australia
email: nswoffice@screeneditors.com

ASE VICTORIA Administration:
Beth Akister
Tel (03) 9686 6955
Australian Screen Editors Guild
PO Box 513, South Melbourne
VIC, 3205
Australia
email: vicoffice@screeneditors.com

ASE New South Wales Committee 2003

Sara Bennett (President)
Michael Webb (Vice-President)
Emma Hay ASE (Secretary)
Philippa Rowlands (Treasurer)
Anna Craney
Lindi Harrison
Susan Horsley
Emma McCleave
Walter McIntosh
Christopher Mill
Rachel Walls
Peter Whitmore ASE

ASE Victorian Committee 2003

Shaun Smith (Chair)
Trevor Holcomb (Secretary)
Beth Akister (Administration)
Andrew Brinsmead
Sara Edwards
Jill Holt
Roberta Horslie ASE
John Leonard

NEWSLETTER ISSUE 62
Editors: Christopher Mill & Michael Webb
Layout & Design: Sally Goodfellow Art Force Ph: 02 9453 3057
Contributors: Dominic Case, Walter McIntosh, Shaun Smith, Sara Bennett, Emma Hay ASE, Peter Whitmore ASE, Trish Graham, Christopher Mill, Michael Webb & thankyou to our intrepid website users!

Contibutions and readers letters
welcome: newsletter@screeneditors.com
Deadline for next issue: 11 May 2004

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