Lights: Acting, Directing, Editing

Since I’ve plunged head first into the editing of Lights, I figured this would be a good time to really reflect on the production process. This is especially prevalent right now because I’m seeing all of my errors full force while attempting to piece the story together in editing. Some scenes are proving to be exceptionally difficult.

The biggest issue with acting and directing at the same time, and I’ve known this since the beginning, is that it makes it hard for you to really direct the scene. There were many instances where I remember the action taking place perfectly, but that’s in my memory because I was in the scene, not because I saw it captured on a camera. Needless to say, it’s a big shocker when I go to edit the scene, and that perfect action I remember isn’t anywhere to be found. I know I’ve mentioned before a scene in particular where I was surprised to see that there was only one take of me saying my lines.

I noticed that a lot of people, including myself, fall into this trap a lot. We think we can do everything. We want to do everything, but we can’t. It’s one of those things where you don’t really know the bulk of it until you experience it, and even then you still fall into it every once in a while.

Acting is immersive. You have to believe what you’re doing for the audience to believe it. When you have to switch back into directing mode, this can cause a problem. Directing is also immersive. You have to imagine yourself in the scene, imagine yourself as the audience, and you also have to keep everyone in the cast and crew on task for your vision. With both jobs being immersive, even if you really try, you can never fully do both. This is at least my experience with it. I always end up falling more into one role than the other, even when I’m consciously doing both.

If you have a choice in the matter, always pick one. Don’t try to do too many things. It will stress you out to no end, and there’s a very good chance that your final project will suffer in one way shape or form. I’m not saying that your project will fail if you both act and direct, but there will definitely be things that you wish you could have done, but didn’t realize at the time.

As for editing, as I’m writing this, I have three scenes left to go. One of these scenes is getting the best of me. I’ve been going in order so I can make sure that the timeline of the film still makes sense, but I had to skip this particular scene because it was agitating me too much. I’m talking about scene 14.

There is a lot of stuff going on in this scene, but I can’t seem to figure out a rhyme or reason through the footage that I have. “Were you acting and directing at the same time?” some may ask. Actually, no. I was only directing during this scene, and it was actually the very last one that we shot, so it’s the most recent, yet I’m having a terrible time with it. This particular scene is going to be pretty heavy with effects so a lot of compromises were made with my original vision, so I’m having a hard time placing where exactly these compromises were based off of the footage I have and the notes on my storyboard. I’m not anticipating starting work on that scene again, which is upsetting.

The project is coming together though! I haven’t looked at a full timeline to see a running time yet because I’m doing each scene individually, but it is getting there. I’m assuming I have about 20 minutes so far. I’m hoping to start doing some promotional stuff for it soon, such as a poster of sorts and trailers.

Even with all of this trouble at the moment, I’m still hopeful. This is definitely my biggest project to date.


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