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January 24, 2021:

THE FIRST CUT

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, much to talk about so let’s just jump in with both feet, shall we? I mean, first of all it’s difficult to just jump in with one foot – seriously, go try it. I did and I fell over and when a slightly overweight Jew falls it is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. So, whilst I jump right in with both feet, I am listening to the music of the wonderfully talented Ryuichi Sakamoto. I’ve always loved his music, both for film and for his non-film albums. Right now, it’s The Last Emperor, a beautiful score and theme.  I think Mr. Joe Hisaishi took many leaves from the Sakamoto film music playbook. So, let’s start with my noon o’clock visit to my wonderful editor Marshall Harvey’s home environment. We got off on just the right foot after my arrival, when he ordered Dino’s Pizza for our luncheon. Then we both sat down and watched the first cut of project one, aka Tonight’s the Night. Well, to cut to the chase and without giving anything away, he did a great job of it. It ran a tight sixty-eight minutes from start to finish. And in what may be a first, I had no notes at all for any of the scenes, which I thought played beautifully. He got all the comedy timing right and some of it is very touching. The pacing is terrific, too. My only notes were in the songs and frankly there weren’t many of those. When I see something that basically works then I’m loathe to nitpick at it as it’s so easy to harm what’s working.

After it was over, we began at the beginning and sped through the scenes – I think we did end up adjusting a couple of shot lengths, but that was it. For the song notes, we just swapped out some shots and cleaned a few things up. He’d put in some of the new mixes and those sounded excellent, but even the old mixes sounded good – in the new mixes were just balancing the band and voice a little better. The whole thing took about three hours. He had one song that he had to add to because he hadn’t noticed there was a wider shot in addition to the close-up, which I did for geography reasons (so we know where we are the way the room looks), so he’s putting a few of those wider shots in the number as it needs them because it’s over five minutes long and having just the close-up for it is a little too static. Anyway, I was very, very happy and very proud of Eric Petersen, Hartley, and Eric’s daughter, Sophie – their performances are absolutely perfect.

The Dino’s had actually arrived early so it was cold by the time we got to it, but a couple of minutes in the toaster over did the trick. I had two pieces – pepperoni pizza it was – and it was the BEST, as it always is. So, a rather wonderful afternoon. I was very nervous about how it would come together – we’re all in new territory in terms of how we did it, but it worked out just as I imagined it in my head. I can’t wait to unveil it to the world. And speaking of that, here’s how that’s going to work. There will only three performances, so mark these dates, especially if you think you might like to see it more than once. The premiere showing will be on Wednesday, February 10 at 6:00 PST/9:00 EST. That will be the really fun one as it will be followed by a partay on Zoom where we’ll take questions from all attendees and yes, I will talk about how we achieved what we achieved. So, I’m hoping you dear readers can come to that one. The second performance will be on Friday, February 12 at 6:00 PST/9:00 EST. And the final performance will be on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14 at 5:00 PST/8:00 EST. It will air only on YouTube Live, and not on Facebook Live. After the three performances, that’s it, so please save the dates as we don’t want any of you to miss it.

Yesterday was a happy day. I only got six hours of sleep, got up, shaved and showered, answered e-mails and approved a few final mixes, which I immediately sent to Marshall. The rest of the afternoon you know about. After I left there, I went to the mail place and picked up one package, then came home.

Once home, I listened to Mr. Benjamin Britten’s haunting and wonderful War Requiem, conducted by Mr. Britten.  It’s a great recording and a brilliant work. I had some ice cream as a little treat, then caught up with stuff on the computer. I also had more final mixes to approve and we made some adjustments on two from yesterday because after seeing them married to the video I thought we could do a tiny bit better. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a DGA screener entitled The Father, which I’d been dreading because someone somewhere told me it was a movie about a priest. Remind me to brain that person, if only I can remember who it was. Anyway, it’s a really good film – it will confuse you a bit until you catch on to what’s at play, but it really does what it set out to do, to put you in the mind of an eighty-three-year-old man with dementia. It’s not sappy and best of all it’s not manipulative. And I’m here to tell you you will see no finer performance than that of Anthony Hopkins, who is absolutely brilliant in this. If people will actually watch the damn movie he will most assuredly get a Best Actor nomination, but if he doesn’t win then it will be a travesty. There is simply no finer actor working today and he doesn’t mumble. The two Olivias – Coleman and Williams – are wonderful, as is Rufus Sewell and the other cast members, of whom there are only a handful. It’s very moving and occasionally funny in unexpected ways. It’s based on a play by the film’s director – and his writing is very good and so is his direction – very simple, assured, no “now” BS. The score is the only disappointment, but it works okay and, in the end, that’s all that’s important. It’s nice to be able to actually recommend a new movie.

After that, it was Sakamoto and notes, not necessarily in that order.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, then at three o’clock it’s back to Marshall’s home environment to view the show from start to finish – to see how the little changes work. If we’re happy, then we’ll lock the picture. Then Marshall and his assistant editor, Erik, will make an OMF, which is a big audio file, which will go to a sound engineer here in LA that I’ve worked with several times. He’ll go through everything and smooth out and finesse those tracks. I don’t think that will be a hard thing as most of it sounds fine, but you kind of need to do it, otherwise you have a hot fudge sundae without the whipped cream and cherry, sound-wise. Then a couple of sequences go to Hartley for her special effects expertise, then the final soundtrack gets married to the film and voila, we’re done with project one. Otherwise, I’ll eat, and I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The entire week will be finalizing the Kritzerland songs for March, figuring out the LA cast (certain people may not be available), and figuring out the guest stars. I’ll print out the new book and begin making my way through it to find typos and things I need to fix, then once that’s done it will go to the three proofers. And we’ll try to make some progress on project two, too – or should that be too, two? And of course, hoping for a really major miracle.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, see project one and if we’re happy, lock the picture, eat, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them. So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have been so happy with the first cut.

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