Beau Sia’s poem “Money” is now a cultural snapshot from its time of the mid-to-late ‘90s. Beau Sia was a 19-year old wunderkind when he took the stage of the Portland National Poetry Slam Finals, and became an instant star.
This poem gets SlamNation off to a roaring start. In early cuts of the movie, this was not the case. At the time, Marc Smith - “Father of the Slam” - took a look at rough cut and gave me this advice: “You have to start with the end. People need to know where they’re going, that there will be big crowds and high stakes. They need to know that this is not just about your typical boring poetry reading.” Very insightful! So that’s exactly what I did – and Beau’s high energy made him the natural choice to kick things off.
The Battle between Supernatural and Craig G was the most eagerly anticipated of its time. Assembling the footage to present this sequence wasn’t easy. It took a lot of convincing and cajoling. But the result is a slice of hip hop history captured for the ages.
The Making of Freestyle (continued)
The re-discovered interview of Bobbito not only gave great insight into the movement, but also provided a framework for a story for Freestyle. Bobbito talked about a legendary battle between two of the top Freestylers, Supernatural and Craig G. We already had a fantastic segment on Supernatural. Then we learned that Supernatural also battled Juice. I had material on Juice when I was making my version of the movie. These battles might provide a dramatic thread that would save the movie.
I'm in New Orleans editing for CBS Sports. We're working on the 5 hours of preview programming that happens before the game. Keep an eye out for the opening 1-hour documentary starring Wynton Marsalis all about the city of New Orleans and its people (and there's some football in there too). It was produced by my friend Sarah Rinaldi and it's brilliant. Starts at 12PM ET on CBS.
I've got a night shift, 8P-8A in one of many edit trucks right next to the Superdome. Not easy but has some perks: We get to see halftime rehearsals and the show looks great! They are working so hard - running through the entire performance 3 or 4 times a night. During the day I'm enjoying the city and watching the energy and festivities build. My wife Emily is on her way, and she'll be in the stadium watching the game, while I'll be living vicariously through her as I cut highlights for the Halftime and Post-Game shows.
In the meantime, here's a fun tease I edited a few months ago for a local New York broadcast of a pre-season Jets versus Giants game. This is for my fellow New Yorkers to contemplate what might have been, or gear up for next season.
Pañuelo is the story of Junior who, devastated by the loss of his father, abandons his love of photography, and begins to hang with the wrong crowd. His single mother Olga, and younger sister Daisy, try desperately to bring him back into the safety of the family that loves him.
I spent most of my thesis year at SVA working on Pañuelo. Unlike most of our thesis productions which were shot in the fall and edited in the spring, Pañuelo was shot during the summer of 2009 so I had plenty of time to edit it in the fall before starting work on my other thesis projects. It's a good thing too, because Pañuelo needed plenty of work! The initial cut was over 40 minutes long and by the time we were done with it the final cut was around 20 minutes. It was the first long short film I've ever really worked on and it was certainly an adventure. Not to mention it gave me plenty of opportunities to brush up on my Spanish!
Pañuelo editing carried on well into the spring where it shared its editing hours with my other two projects (Vanity and Zombies Are Our Friends) and it was really my baby for most of that year. Seeing it on the big screen at the Dusty Film Festival was really an amazng experience! And editing this trailer for it was a really fun side project, so I hope you all enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed editing it!
Paul wrote this article for DOX Magazine during the Power Trip era. Check it out for some interesting information on the 4:3 to 16:9 conversion. After all, you still come across 4:3 content stretched to fit a 16:9 screen, even now. How do we make it all look good?
"Versioning" has become an inevitable burden for non-fiction filmmakers as they adapt their work to fit various television time-slots in an effort to squeeze every drop of revenue from a project.
My film Power Trip now has four different length versions with another in progress, and I am approaching twenty distinct Masters, with iterations for NTSC, PAL, Texted and Textless. Tape stock expenses alone are burdensome.
Now comes a new dimension to versioning as TV transitions from the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9 - finally catching up to cinema, which went wide-screen decades ago, reacting to the perceived threat when television was new. There seems to be little consensus across borders about the best way to make this transition, so the process has become bewildering.
In Europe I've seen 16:9 TV's stretching out 4:3 sports broadcasts, making the athletes look ridiculously fat. Channel surfing on a sophisticated wide-screen TV produces a startling variety of shape contortions to fit the screen size. Broadcasts in 4:3 from the US, such as MTV, suffer most, blown up and cropped on top and bottom to fit 16:9...CONTINUE READING HERE!
Zaal Kikodze was a wonderfully colorful and popular character in my movie Power Trip, as is clear from this excerpt at his farm in the hills near Tbilisi, Georgia. He was also a scholar, a professor of archaeology and an accomplished mountain climber. I was happy to be his friend and enjoyed his company whether it be on the jeep adventure we took in the mountains of northern Georgia near Chechnya with journalists Wendell Steavenson and Lika Basiliai or just sipping vodka in his warm and friendly apartment in central Tbilisi.
In July of 2005 Zaal Kikodze and a climbing companion were caught in a storm high up on the difficult Ushba cliffs in the Georgian Caucasus where they lost their lives.
Zaal has been dearly missed by the friends he made all across the world.
Happy New Year, DPers! We wish you all the best for 2013! Also, a little bit of news we've been sitting on.... this Christmas, Mark Devlin, the star of our film BLAST! has launched the BLAST telescope from Antarctica for the 3rd time! Check out the video of the launch here as well as the article below for additional information!
The telescope is still in the air! You can track BLAST’s progress here! Follow the scientist’s blog here.
Get inside the “cypher,” the energetic core of freestyling, climaxed with an exhilarating performance from Mos Def!
The Making of Freestyle (continued)
Kevin was in California much of the time, so Henry and I collaborated on the re-edit in NYC, first working in his apartment near CBGBs, then finishing up in my apartment in Stuyvesant Town. The challenge was to find some kind of a story within the random performances and interviews. We started by organizing the material into chapters. Then we dug deeper into the footage. We found an interview of hip hop impresario Bobbito, which had never been digitized or synched. It was a goldmine!
The Providence Team at the Portland National Poetry Slam were masters of the “Group Piece” poems. This duet by Bill MacMillan and Corey Cokes, excerpted in SlamNation but complete here, is just one example of their talent.
I was a “fixer” on this music video. Treach, of Naughty by Nature, was not happy with the cut. It had been through several editors by the time it got to me. If I remember correctly, a record company rep supervised the edit rather than the director. Treach sat in the back couch with his girlfriend at the time, Pepa, from Salt n Pepa, and did not speak to me at all, only addressing the rep, who then gave me instructions.
For me the problem became clear fairly quickly: the video was overcut. Fast cuts can be a crutch for music videos. It’s a sure-fire way to add energy, so when in doubt, make more cuts. But it can also make a mess. Apparently, the previous editors had a lot of doubt, because the over-editing was interrupting the flow and distracting from some great shots. My solution was to remove some edits and let the nice shots play out, especially the evocative shots of Treach in the darkeness. For example, the shots at about 2:17 might have had 4 or 5 quick cuts interrupting Treach’s move in and out of the shadows. I got rid of all of them.
I knew I was on the right track when I would preview an edit, and Treach would exclaim his approval from the back. But always to the rep, never to me. When the edit was over, Pepa had already left, the rep went to retrieve the master tapes, and Treach and I were alone in the room together for the first time. As he was walking out, he surprised me by giving me a big hug and a Thank You.