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The End of the Beginning: Quivering, Nervous and Wrecked

It’s been a tough time here at Chaos Manor. I finished my 90-minute 3D ship documentary. Did I leave out quotes around the word finished? Yes, I did. There you go: “finished.”

Lots of bottles of champagne are opened and friends drop in to celebrate. After working on it for three years, I am fed up and don’t want to see it ever again. Ninety minutes is a long time and Mad Max in 3D is showing down the road. I mean, if you had the choice, my film or Mad Max?

I Am Depressed

I haven’t shown it to my dear one, Tricia. I guess it’s now or never. I sit her down in front of the 3D screen and make sure that the five surround speakers are perfectly placed.

“If it stops, just hit the space bar to start again.” I dim the lights, leave the room and close the door.

Outside on the deck, I have a bottle of pinot, chips, pistachio nuts, hummus and pita bread. The sun is setting very slowly, and inside my film is playing on and on and on.

Ninety minutes is a hell of a long time. I could drive across the Richmond Bridge to the East Bay, down to the Bay Bridge, into the city of San Francisco and back north across the Golden Gate Bridge in less time. Perhaps I should have done that. Sitting, waiting, is agony.

The Verdict

Finally Tricia emerges. “Well?”

“It’s absolutely wonderful, but …”

Oh dear, here we go. “You have three sequences of beveling frames.” Ouch, she is right. “I’ll cut one out.” “No, cut two and shorten what’s left.”

“OK, what else?” “The beginning is wrong. It should start faster. Cut to the chase, delete the first scene with Alan and Franz.” “OK, agreed; you’re right. What else?” “The ending is wrong. Move the sailing sequence to the beginning.”

Napa wine train

This is what I was afraid of. “I can’t do that, it’s the climax of the film.”

“I’m only trying to help.”

And There Are Simply Too Many …

“There are too many sequences with frames being put on the keel. You could lose a few of those.” “But I like them.”

“You could cut 20 minutes.” “20 minutes! I can’t do that. And tell me, where, oh where are those 20 minutes?” “You’ll find a way.” “But Tricia, darling, I am making a 90-minute documentary, not a 70-minute one. And what I do cut? The forest sequence?” “Maybe. That dragged a bit.” “The lead keel sequence?” “Yep, cut that in half.”

Is It Real—Or Is It Final Cut?

The next day, I am a quivering, nervous wreck. I sit strapped into the passenger seat and am driven to the wine country to recover.

The sun is shining on the vineyards, the wine train is racing alongside us, birds are flying overhead. There is a deep blue sky and fluffy, white clouds. Is it real or is it FCP?

I rub my eyes—it’s Real 3D—and in Glorious Technicolor, Breathtaking Cinemascope and Stereophonic Sound.