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In the homestretch for Eastbound Traffic

A shot of the editing process for Eastbound Traffic
In the homestretch for Eastbound Traffic

Working Towards Locking Picture

At this point, we have moved into Act III of Eastbound Traffic's second edit. The first full edit of the film was 2 hours and 36 minutes long, which even for a mixed genre film (action/drama/thriller) is simply too long. The name of the game in this round is simply to trim the fat, tighten up the pacing, and really getting to the core of the story in the most impactful and concise way possible; hopefully in time for a late summer/early autumn release. When we were shooting Eastbound, I knew we had great locations, an awesome cast and a solid crew, but seeing it all come together the way that it is is really amazing. Why the film was so long Reflecting on it, there were 3 reasons that the film's first edit was so long. 1) Having never written and shot a full-length feature before, the biggest reason for the excess length was my worry that the film would actually come out too short. As such, I added a lot to the script in terms of character development, world-building, and exploration of the relationships between characters to fill out the story. Interestingly enough however, what I am doing now is more or less returning the film to its original form; albeit with a much stronger idea of how the events and the characters all relate to each other. Always better to have too much than too little. 2) The second reason was because a lot of the dialog was delivered by non-native English speakers, who in order to convey their lines well, simply speak a bit more slowly. If it was only one character or one scene it wouldn't have made so much of a difference, but Eastbound has 129 scenes, and at least half the cast acted to varying degrees in their second language (myself included when I was acting in Japanese). Watching the original edit, there were only a few points where it felt slower; but with so many scenes, it all adds up. Fixing this however is simply a matter of trimming the fat from the dialogs itself, integrating in more L-cuts and eliminating any unnecessary pauses. 3) Lastly, the third reason for the length was my own particular writing, shooting and editing style. While I didn't know this until I completed the first edit, my natural storytelling style favors an episodic format over a feature format. Episodics naturally require way more content and treatment of the story and exploration of the characters than features do, but as I spent a decade developing the story of Eastbound Traffic, there was just A LOT there to fit into one film. Perhaps this means that a series needs to be on the way too ;)

In any event, the combination of these three things just added a lot to the length of the edit. The final steps on the edit Once we complete this edit (with a goal of shaving it down to 90-110 minutes). Our first step is to go through it again and see if or where further cuts can still be made, and/or if there is anything that needs to be reshot, if we need ADR in any spots where the audio isn't good enough. Once we have that taken care of, we can "lock the picture" and send it along to the composer for the music composition, and to the manga artist so he can get our manga imagery completed. Then we can get to work on the color design of the film. Last steps before sale After completing the edit, then it's just a matter of getting the P & A materials completed (the trailer, the teaser, the movie posters, etc), deciding on our direction for the film festival run and gearing up for it. Then it's go time! Looking at my track record, at present, I have won a total of 42 awards in my film-making career so far, (to the point that I still get emails daily asking me to submit the previous films to festivals) so I am expecting good things from the festival run. Even looking at just the raw footage, it's already a beautiful film. All we have to do now is polish it. If I can make an analogy, I feel like I'm at station 9 of Mount Fuji. Station 10, the final one is still a ways off; but it's close enough that I can actually see it with my own eyes. And that is exciting. As I've said before the amount of gratitude that I have in my cast, crew, post-pro team, and investors cannot be expressed in words. Really really looking forward to showing them just what a work of art we've all put together. To learn more about the film: #filmmaking #filmmaker #makingafeaturefilm #makingyourfirstfeaturefilm #japaninterest #actionmovies #producingafeature #filmproduction #howtomakeafeature

A shot while editing the fight fight scene for Eastbound Traffic
In the homestretch for Eastbound Traffic

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