Now back to editing. I’ll never forget March 22nd, 2001. Why? Because Stolen Summer opened in New York, Boston, Chicago, and LA that day? Nope. It was the day I met Martin Scorsese while he was still editing Gangs of New York. Miramax has an Oscars party every year where they spoof a lot of films. Well somebody came up with the idea of spoofing “Project Greenlight”. The premise was Martin Scorsese won the second “Greenlight” contest and I had to mentor him. Mr. Scorsese makes coffee nervous and he seemed on edge, which was understandable considering he had been editing Gangs of New York for around a year now. I walk in, put my arm around him, and say “Marty baby, I’ve done this before, let me tell you what it’s like to make a movie.” After they yelled cut, I puked and then apologized to Mr. Scorsese for being a punk. The man sat me down and talked to me about the most important part of directing. Editing. And he said after all of these years of editing his films, there comes a time when as director you no longer see a movie, but pixels on a screen. And at that moment you need help.

I was at that point last week. Which means it is time for a test audience. With Stolen Summer, Miramax had money to test the movie. We did it out in Woodland Hills, which is just outside of LA. And despite the way it sounded on the second Greenlight show, we did well in that screening, scoring somewhere in the high 70’s to mid 80’s. This time we have no money so I had to call some friends and the producers called some friends. On top of that, considering the topic of the movie, I invited Scott Seomin, who is an executive over at GLAAD. He brought a few of his friends and around 25 people sat down to watch “Doubting Riley”. As nerve racking as screening a film is, it’s amazing how different it plays with a crowd. Since the audience was friendly, I don’t express much faith in the positive response to the film. But what a friendly audience cannot fake is indifference in parts of the film and pure enjoyment in others. The funniest thing, or saddest thing, about the screening was I found at times I was the only one laughing. Those parts of the film of course will be cut or greatly edited. So my job now is to go back to the editing room with my new found fresh eyes and try to fix the parts of the film that don’t work. Unlike Mr. Scorsese though, I don’t have a year to edit. I have to lock two reels of the film on October 24th. What that means is on October 24th, 33% of my movie cannot be edited again. And that’s a miserable feeling.

Will Pete crack under pressure? Visit each Wednesday for the next exciting entry (or depressing entry, depending on how you look at it) in PETE JONES’ “DOUBTING RILEY” DIARY!

Discuss Pete Jones’ “Doubting Riley Diary” in Film Threat’s brand new BACK TALK section! Click here>>>

Posted on October 22, 2003 in Features by


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