It’s been three months since we wrapped production on Bigsby– Kenzie moved to Halifax, Bury has been busy with classes, Mitch got a job, Catalina started research for her thesis (or thesi, plural), Patricia went back for her senior year of high school, and I’ve just been sitting here. In my empty apartment, formerly filled with smiling, laughing crew members, our production office for nine days with a steady rotation of new arrivals and overnight guests, affectionately known as the “Tarbox”. Patiently replying to the many inquiries regarding the progress of editing in post-production with vague, non-committal answers. I wasn’t being coy or secretive, I seriously didn’t have any idea. As our editor, Kenzie had taken all the video and audio from filming with him to Halifax and, understandably, has since been very busy with relocating his entire life, working towards furthering his education and building himself a career. As such, it was hard for us to maintain communication and without any updates on his progress, I was beginning to fear the worse. While I obviously trust Kenzie and I’m fully aware of how committed he has always been and remains to the project, I couldn’t help but let paranoia get the best of me. At one point, I was starting to think that I had lost yet another film project and Bigsby would be nothing more than another title to add to the long list of “cancelled” and unreleased projects I had written and directed. That is, until about a week ago.
For Thanksgiving, Kenzie came down from Halifax to visit his family and once his plans were made, he quickly scheduled a meeting with me. After three months of stagnation, part-time employment, and self-imposed exile from the public, I was a familiar yet disturbing sight for Kenzie, who had last seen me climbing into dumpsters and getting beaten to a bloody pulp in Bigsby. He told me that I looked like shit with a chuckle and suggested we go to Robin’s for coffee, the same place we had met five months prior when I asked him to be a director and camera operator for Bigsby. After the usual twisted sentiments and snide comments, I have always enjoyed from our shared sense of dark humour, Kenzie told me that he needed help with editing the audio from Bigsby.
Without question, I enthusiastically agreed to help in any way I could and a week later I received the audio files. After a few more kind hearted jabs, we parted ways with a renewed sense of excitement and achievement, it felt like we were making progress for the first time in months. With more than 130 audio files, countless hours of flubbed and unmarked takes, I find myself in the exact same position as I have spent the last three months: secluded in my empty apartment, bent over my laptop with tired eyes in the darkness, a pair of headphones lazily pulled over my ears, and an unrelenting smile as I listen to every take of every scene, reliving every moment of the greatest nine days of my life. Patiently organizing and labelling, cutting 40 minute files into multiple clips, each less than five minutes a piece. I still get inquiries about the progress of editing, but now I’m always happy to detail the most recent 10-hour session of editing without an ironic sense enthusiasm, I’m legitimately excited to be back to actively working on Bigsby.
Audio editing is an interesting process, not only does it involve listening and evaluating every take for the best dialogue without video, but it also requires a strong sense of organization to sort each file by episode, scene, and take. I’ve found myself adapting strange abilities, such as identifying “marks” (either made by the slate or Kenzie’s famous claps), as well as the time signature which indicates a stuttered line and subsequently ruined take which, regardless, must be catalogued along with every other take and a special marker to denote either a “good” or “bad” take. The process is time consuming, it requires undivided attention and, at times, the sheer volume of the task seems overwhelming. Though many have offered to assist with editing, the fact is any more than one person doing the work would most likely complicate the process. Tomorrow, I’ll be receiving the video files from our equipment manager, Chris Jones, which will help me to determine the best takes and their chronological order in regards to both our shooting schedule and script. Though the road ahead is long, filled with uncertainty, challenges, and many late nights at the “office”, I remain confident that the same shared sense of ambition and determination among members of Tar City that got us through filming will continue to guide us forward.
Tar City Productions