By Kelanie Aragon
After the adrenaline rush of filming comes logging and sifting through endless footage. Editing is when you figure out how you’re going to bring your story to life.
Editing was a nightmare. We set a two-week deadline to edit through all the footage, so I lived in the editing bay.
Rough cut: The first rough cuts were too slow. I wanted to stick to the script, but the pacing wasn’t working. I was still too scared to take chances with how I edited. However, I learned that with each stage (writing, shooting, and editing) the film will transform into something new each time.
Fine Cut: Editors may feel uncomfortable about communicating with the others involved in the film about change you want to make, but I decided to show the rough cut to Alyssa and Ryan.
Communicating with them gave me the confidence to take that leap and experiment with the story elements. They trusted me to make good choices.
Originally, the plants were very ambiguously represented and their motives open ended. I chose add a voice (literally, we recorded whispers) to the plants and dialogue lines that really showed the conflict. Since the antagonist of the story (the plants) want the main character to kill what she loves most (a rose) the antagonist was boosted and well established after adding the whispers. I also used jumpcuts as well as sound-driven cuts, adding the supernatural element of this short.
Color Correction: Shot on a C100, I made sure to film Phyto with the CP Canon log (C-log) mode. I did this so I could have a better gamma profile to preserve color, illuminate data from the sensor, and to have a more dynamic range.
Even though I shot to edit, color correction took the most time. I wasn’t able to commit to the aesthetic I had envisioned or have access to the magical calibrated monitors. However, I am proud of the result.
Sound Design: I absolutely love sound design. It’s a time when you can really fine tune the concept of a story. We had a blast recording the sounds and whispers. Working with Pro Tools changes everything, really. We created our own little studio and recorded all the sounds you can imagine. Phyto became a sound-driven film, so I had to insure that the sound design was effective in engaging the viewer.
We are all proud of the final cut of Phyto. Naturally, we wanted to show the world what we had created.
We began looking into film festival guidelines, submission fees and dates. We were lost. There are so many festivals and we wanted to submit to all of them, but we didn’t have enough money for the submission fees. We narrowed our choices to festivals with low submission fees.
From there, we used Film Freeway to browse through festival pages. We decided we could afford to submit to seven festivals. We chose festivals that we thought Phyto fit best based on description, and we took our chances on a few that were a little more out there.
Having no experience with film festivals, we didn’t know what to expect. Yet, we all had our hopes up. Our first submission was declined, but we still had six chances.
Phyto ended up getting accepted to a few festivals. The relief and excitement we felt when someone wanted our work was incredible. We attended the first festival, which we will be writing about soon, and are still in the processing phase for the final two festivals.
Having Phyto play at film festivals gave us a sense of accomplishment and we were inspired to start on our next project. The biggest lesson we learned is to be proud of our work, even if it’s declined at first. Don’t give up on your projects just because someone doesn’t like them. It may not even be that they don’t like them, they just don’t fit with what they’re looking for at the moment. The more you believe in your work and submit to festivals, the more likely someone else will believe in it too.
On the Sharpen Scale, we definitely rate Phyto a 4/5!