Ideally I wouldn’t write about post-production until I’d written about pre-production and production, but given that I started this blog part-way into the process, it hasn’t worked out that way. As I write this, we’re currently in post-production on Season 2 of Starting From … Now!.
Like both pre-production and production, post has its challenges and its rewards. One of these rewards is seeing everything come together, the footage you may have shot months ago is now starting to take shape and, hopefully, is beginning to resemble the vision you had when you first conceived the project. Ideally, once the editor, sound designer, composer and colour grader all work their magic, what you have in front of you surpasses that initial vision.
But post also has its challenges, starting with the edit. Once you step foot into the edit, there’s nowhere to hide. It’s in the edit that you regret having rushed that last shot or you curse yourself for not noticing a continuity error that makes your best take unusable. Sure, you can do pick-ups, shoot additional content, but I’ve never worked on a film or web series where we’ve had that luxury. Lack of time and money has meant we’re forced to work with what we have. You have to cut around something to keep continuity, or use a shot that may be slightly out of focus in places, but you have to make it work, because what ultimately matters is what ends up on the screen. This also means making sacrifices. It doesn’t matter how long it took to get a shot or how much you love the performance in a particular take, what matters is the story and the film/episode as a whole. The audience doesn't know what ends up on the cutting room floor, nor do they care. All they care about is watching something that is engaging and entertaining. Your job, at this stage, is to deliver the best possible product you can with what you have in front of you.
Having said that, it’s amazing what good editors can do and it’s also incredible how transformative the addition of good sound design and music can be, how much this can add to the impact of a scene and how it can engage the audience emotionally. It’s been said that an audience will forgive anything except poor sound. This is a lesson worth learning, preferably not the hard way.
And then there’s the colour grade. It’s only when you sit with a colour grader and see the before and after that you appreciate just how transformative their work can be.
And I’ve been lucky to work with some very talented people. What a web series, like a short film, allows you to do, is find people you can work with. People who share your work ethic, who take pride in what they do and who are passionate about their craft. This takes time and, once you find these people, you want to hold onto them. These are the people you want to take with you onto other, longer form, projects, people you can trust and who you know will care enough to take what you have and make it into the best possible product it can be. Part of the process of working on Starting From … Now! has been about building a team. And, just like Season 2, the team itself is really starting to take shape.
by Julie Kalceff