A transcription of pro tem Producer El Carne Loco’s interview with Director Dan Kelly regarding Daughter of God’s first milestone completion in 2011.
ECL: Regarding the 3 minute version, what do you feel was accomplished, did it meet your expectations? What did you learn? How does it bring you closer to completion?
DK: I expected the 3 minute edit to open a window on the 12 minute edit. 12 minutes is 4 times longer than 3 minutes after all, so if I could extract a 3 minute core, that might tell me something about how to achieve 12 minutes elegantly. Certainly my expectations were met and exceeded. Not only did I extract a core, I also stumbled onto a technique I’m calling sleek. By adding back tiny chunks of context, the core started to become much more than a recap of last week’s episode. This isn’t a huge leap – there’s an awful trend in big budget fight and chase scenes where everything is happening so fast you have no idea what’s happening, and somehow that’s become stylistically acceptable. What I am proposing is a visual dynamic that’s chopped and accelerated but at the same time comprehensible and relevant. This reminds me of Marc Garanger’s Regard for the Planet (1989) which was a huge influence.
So not only do I see how I might achieve a powerful 12 minute cut, it feels very doable. It’s not scary any more. Perhaps the answer has been percolating for the past few years and was ready to pop out.
Also, I was reviewing sequences and tinkering with the footage before I cut the 3:30, and made a prototype opening that emphasizes the character of Uncle Joe. He’s watching all the other characters via a remote viewing app on his personal geek spy thingy. I tacked that onto the beginning and then book ended with another surveillance shot at the end. This new version was 5:20 and it really snaps the middle two acts into focus. It’s pretty clear that if I reinsert a bit of exposition between the two acts (like Christina’s infamous clothing dance), I’ll have a functional framework.
After I get the inventory in place, I’ll be ready to rough in all the components of the 12 minute structure. It’s kind of hard to believe I’m saying this, but I think two weeks is a reasonable time to execute the final cut, sans motion graphics of course.
ECL: You have a milestone of having the comprehensive inventory ready by 8/15. That’s 2 days away. How’s it going?
DK: Probably I’ll miss it. I was taking care of a 5 year old the last two days, and I’ve spent most of today blogging about 3:30 and the debacle with Faisal. That Faisal, he carries a lot of responsibility for throwing off the schedule. Last time we talked he couldn’t stop complaining about the actress who played Christina. You know, he’s from one of those terrorist countries and only recently became a US citizen. I can’t say for sure, but I think he’s trying to assert his cultural independence by dissing the defacto symbol of American empire – tall leggy blondes. It’s like an obsession with him. So silly – she’s Swiss for heaven’s sake. If he crawls back begging for another chance, it will be there in black and white – shut up about the lead actress already.
Anyway, I’m going to push the inventory milestone back 5 days to 8/20, which could delay the delivery of the final cut to around 8/7. I’m going to say 8/4, because I have a hot date on 8/5 and I’d like to have my plate clear.
ECL: Why is the comprehensive inventory important? Why not just dive right into the final cut?
DK: Why not cook an omelet without eggs and butter? If there’s one thing I’ve learned about sailing Hobie Cats on the open water, it’s this – get organized and be prepared, your life might depend on it. Ditto for making movies. While sorting through the DOG last week, I found wads of clever little experiments. There’s tons of discarded takes that I really ought to review, there might be a few seconds of cutaway that could save my life. By making the inventory, I’ll have the content bright and big in short term memory. I’ll know just where to put my hands on it drive wise. With instant access, I can really move. My dreams will be full of DOG and I’ll wake up with 10 ways to solve any riddle. Here’s another way to look at it – imagine a swimming pool full of water. If you magically took all the hydrogen away, you could sit on the bottom of that pool and breathe the oxygen, but could you brew a fine porter?
ECL: That last part was a little slushed, but it’s getting late. Last question. What’s the inventory consist of specifically?
DK: Says you. I’ll identify and describe the main sequences. Some of these contain unique combinations of components, so I’ll make a brief analysis of those. For example, the shortwave radio broadcasts might be under a post apocalyptic montage in one sequence and under Christina changing in another, it’s worthwhile to review what the benefits and drawbacks are of both approaches, what connections they might suggest, etc. I’ll identify the strongest alternate takes of Acts 1 and 2 and riff on what they might be good for. I want to find every DOG analysis and publish them on the blog. There’s supplemental material (b roll) that ought to be reviewed and described. I’ll have to revise the motion graphics and VFX roster and figure out if anything can be intelligently contracted to other artists. I was also thinking of creating a printed reference bible that could be deployed on the bulletin board for rapid visualization, as a supplement to standard index cards. That about covers it.