“We Had To Have All Hands on Deck To Finish the Film in Time for the Festival” | Laura Moss, birth/rebirth
Every production faces unexpected obstructions that require creative solutions and conceptual rethinking. What was an unforeseen obstacle, crisis, or simply unpredictable event you had to respond to, and how did this event impact or cause you to rethink your film?
Getting into Sundance was tremendously exciting, but we had to have all hands on deck to finish the film in time for the festival. We wrapped principal photography in New Jersey in September, and once we got accepted into Sundance, learned we had to turn in our print on January 13th. With so many holidays falling in that time period, our whole post team had to work efficiently and quickly across Los Angeles, Toronto and New York. I don’t know if it caused me to rethink my film, but I needed to develop a rapport and trust my post collaborators, many of whom I was working with for the first time.
Taylor Mason, our editor, was chasing us during the shoot. I would meet with her on weekends off from filming to review sequences and give notes, so that by the time we were fully into post, she had a feel for my taste and style. She rapidly internalized my sensibilities, and without her intuitively cut assembly we never would have made subsequent deadlines. I shared a 198-page look book from our DP, Chananun Chotrungroj with our colorist, Maxine Gervais, and all that prep work really paid off in helping the three of us develop a shorthand on such a tight timeline. I was lucky to have worked with Ariel Marx, our composer, for years before. We had not been batting around palettes for some time, and I had already recorded vocal elements in prep that she turned into our synth sounds, so we were able to work at a lighting pace.
I still can’t quite believe we turned it in this week, but I think the tight timeline actually benefited the film. I didn’t have too much time to tinker or second-guess my decisions, and it leant a bit of an on-set adrenaline-fueled feeling to the post process—a state in which I do my most focused work.