Story is Character

The Process

Films generally come here either as an assembly or rough cut. For long-form projects, the process takes a minimum of six weeks, with shows averaging between 10 to 16 weeks. It is a compressed, intense effort. While each project brings a different challenge, there are common elements.

  • APPROACH. The most important task is to agree on an approach to the material. The vision for a film arises from two sources: how the producer/director sees the film and what the footage has to offer. Yet even at rough or fine cut stage, many films are still wrestling with a consistent approach. Looking at the footage with a fresh eye can yield surprising results, and if the material at hand is not sufficient, we'll suggest elements to be shot, re-shot, or recorded.

    STRUCTURE. While the three-act story breakdown of a feature film offers a way to organize a fictional narrative, documentaries often refuse to follow a blueprint. Chronology offers a tempting, but dramatically flawed, alternative. But documentaries and features are alike in that the best ones are character-driven, and finding the arc of the character's intentions and desires--even in a historical film-- usually provides the solution for how to proceed.

    IMPACT. Craft is necessary to generate art. The way a scene is put together can radically alter its impact on the total film. Equally important is the relation of the scene to its neighbors, so changing a transition for dramatic impact can transform a section of film from mundane to powerful, and most important, keep the narrative momentum alive.