Don't Quit Your Day Job II: On the Cutting Room Floor

January 16, 2012 by cynick | Posted in film

Some time ago, in Don’t Quit Your Day Job, I wrote about my downstairs neighbor, Mark, inviting me to appear in a fantasy-genre film he was making.

It took about a year to edit it all down, and get it through post production, adding special effects and a soundtrack and so forth.

I can see why actors so often claim to have never seen their work on screen; for example, Robert Redford is said to have not watched The Sting until thirty years after its release, at the urging of a grandson. By the time a film wends its way down the long production process, the actors have long since moved on to other things.

In my case, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to see myself on screen, but, on the other hand, I really had no idea if the scene I was in had survived the cut. To know that, I’d have to watch!

Ultimately, the film, Forsythia, was released via a weekly series of webisodes, each several minutes long, via its home website, so I started watching them to see if I’d show up. I only knew that, storywise, my scene was toward the beginning.

By Episode Four, I realized that the story was well beyond where my bit would have been, and I started thinking, “oh well, it was all in good fun!”, and, “hey! these guys did a capitol job on this thing!”, but then again, the subscript of this blog post’s title acts in the same fashion of a Hollywood picture whose trailers give the whole movie away, and then surprises you with a shocking, shocking! twist that you couldn’t have seen coming:

I rewound (an archaic term, that!) to Episode Three, paid closer attention, and there I was. Our “robbery” scene had been reduced to a dream sequence in Forsythia’s head!

Immediately, I understood what had been done. The scene, once fully played out on film, simply didn’t have the kind of tension and menace that the filmmakers had hoped for on paper, but they still wanted to convey that something disturbing had taken place, and hence, they used the device of showing Forsythia’s unconscious discomfort with what had happened, and let the audience create that tension for themselves. Neato!

For those who don’t care for the fantasy genre enough to watch the whole thing, here’s a deep link. Don’t blink!

For me, the most amusing side effect of this experience is that I now have my own entry on IMDb! That’s pretty cool!

Thanks, Mark, for asking me to participate!