Norman's Notes

These are my notes for the scenes and sequences cut for Class 5.

One general note. Some of you are WAY behind in terms of editing scenes. Remember that you need to have everything cut together in less than two weeks. If you throw it all together at the last minute, it's going to look that way.

To repeat my note on these notes: These are, simply, my observations on your cut. In no way are they exhaustive. I expect you to continue to refine your cut on the basis of your own observations.

In short, treat this recutting process not as an assignment in which you need to fulfill my notes, but as an exploration of the possibilities of the material, whether I've mentioned it or not.

Once again, please put your sequence number as well as your name on the outside of your tapes, on the spine. That way, I can watch all of them in order.

Finally, make sure that all of you have 60 seconds of bars and tone at the top of your tape, followed by ten seconds of black, ten seconds of the slate, and then ten more seconds of black. This should be followed by the Academy head leader.

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Section 1


Nice work. I know how painful it can be to work in layers on the 10.6 machines. Can you now take it to the next step and fade in each of the boxes?

David's lips -- try a version where the fade in on him starts with his singing, so we hear him before we see him.

The zoom back to full screen on him is very abrupt. Can you slow it down by quite a bit? It seems to work against the pace of the song now.

We talked about playing more of the other singers earlier. I especially feel the need to cut at "right outside my door" when the pullback ends.

Try a cut around "I don't mind". I'm geting a bit tired of looking David singing in closeup so much. Build the joy of all of the guys.

The "I don't mind" before the big "So take me home" is out of sync.

That big "So take... me home" Can you get more dynamism out of the cut at that point?

We also talked about positioning the voice over a bit differently. "... how fleeting it is..." can be over something much more poignant.

Scene 3-5

Let's see how the fade out works in the context of the whole film. I wonder if a bright flash might not work better. Or some other sort of transition.

The "uh yeah" is better but not there yet. Try cutting off of him faster and adding some more on the head of his next closeup. Let's see the transition.

Look at the cut around on Dana's exit.

Scene 6

We'll need music to see the effect of this.

Scene 9

Try prelapping some of the dialogue.

We talked about giving more of the scene back to Richard -- both in terms of size of shots and the dialogue.

Watch the lip flap in a place of two when you're on Richard's back.

Try and mine the humor with the homeless guy.

Also, once the music is in, see if you need Richard's exit. Are you making too much of the old guys.

Scene 11

It takes a long time to get to the Ad Exec's "Sounds good."

After Will does his rap and has his first line ("somethin'"), why don't you cut to the Ad Exec, then back to Will for his final smile? Mine the humor. Also, let's see what happens if you lose the Exec's "Sounded good to me" and just have him turn away.

Section 2

Scene 14-15

You might want to look at trimming some of the tails of these shots.

I think you've missed some of the humor on "Ted's Tammy" by cutting away. Let's see if we can get the effect of Spooner's effect on her.

Also, look at the takes of "Shut Up..." from Ted to see if we can establish this running gag.

Lose her "You can go in" and just come in on her stare before "Can I take your..." so you can build whatever humor we can get out of her being tongue-tied. We'll need that for scene 17.

Nice work with getting her into the office. Let's see what happens if you cut out the interchange between Tammy and other assistant, and go from Spooner's walk into the office, to Tammy taking her hair down, to her coming into the office. It plays really slow around here, and we could jack up the humore more here.

Scene 17-26

This scene is a little slow. Can you trim some of the shots?

The montage...

It's not how it's scripted, but I like how you've ordered this. I would like you to use the flashback sequence in here somewhere to tie them all together.

You've done something nice by playing the boys leaving work and then dissolving to them singing on the street. You don't do that with Richard, which is a problem for me, since you've set that up.

Each of the shots of the guys at work goes on too long. Can you trim them down?

Try a version where you don't show the entire group on the street until after you've shown each of them individually.

Is there any on camera dialogue when the boys are congratulating each other.

The humor of Zach and Spooner isn't quite there yet. Try a version where Spooner approaches Zach. You cut to Zach watching in puzzlement and then Spooner jumping at him.

Section 3

Scene 34 -- Driving

Nicely done. The second music cut is a bit tough.

Scene 35-36

There is a bit too much waving I think. Choose whichever is funnier -- the wide shot or the closeup of the old guy driver.

Try and play some more of Richard over the wide shot of the intersection.

Getting them to the smash up is a bit awkward still.

The old guy reaction after the collision is a bit odd ("four way first"). He seems to be looking in the wrong way with a blank look.

Richard's final dialogue piece seems to go on way longer. Is there a way you can get rid of the "sue him for every penny" and go right to the karate chop?

Scene 37

It feels awkward going from the cut to black to a fade up. Can you come up with a better transition?

It's also strange that we go from Spooner in the car to Spooner already set up at the house, and the foursome driving up. Maybe you can use something else here -- like the lighthouse shot or something. You need to create a time transition here.

Let's see "Shut Up!!" on camera.

The pov of the house doesn't feel motivated because I'm not looking at Dana looking at the house. I'm looking at Trish hugging.

Is there anyway to get "It's like Eden out here" more prominent. I don't read it, and Richard's line isn't funny then.

The cut to the side angle two shot of "totally anal down there" doesn't seem motivated. It seems to pop.

You seem to be on the Ted shot for a very long time. Is there anywhere else we can be every now and then, for some energy.

Scene 38-41

The cut into the this sequence seems a bit tight. Can you add some to the head of the first shot as they ooh and ahh.

Nice on Richard. Let's see if we're mining the humor out of this when we screen it.

Why don't you add a sound effect to the doll when he sits on it, and when he throws it.

Section 4

Scene A52

The opening seems a bit slow. You hold on the opening dolly shot a bit too long. Can you cut to a hot of Richard landing at his final position as David is setting up the song.

Then let's try and get to the Sheila stuff quicker as well.

Ted's "Oh here we go" seems unmotivated where it is. Try it where it's scripted first.

There is a bit too much four-square cutting here -- that is, we only see people talking and much less reaction stuff.

David's "two topics of conversation" falls flat for me. Part of that is that you cut off of him for the punchline, but part of it is where it comes in the argument. You've got a nice rhythm going right before that. But it breaks around there.

It goes really fast from "Can we just shut up and sing?" to the singing. Rather abrupt. Is there something of Richard that you can use, or a drop back to a wide shot, or something?

Richard doing his darting towards David -- I can't figure out what he's doing there since DAvid is out of range. Is there a wider shot which better shows the relationship?

I miss the other guys as Richard is singing. We're on that shot of Richard for too long. I miss the joy of everybody getting together and singing -- reliving the old days.

You haven't put the women in yet. It makes Richard looking off camera pretty silly. Try and walk the women in by the time Richard sings "Can you imagine how much I love you..." (he is looking off camera with a smile). It would be good to tie he and Elsa together at this point in the film, looking towards the end.

The voice over and the flashback don't seem well separated. Either flashback and wait another beat or two before you go to the vo, or do the reverse -- start the voice over and use that to motivate the flashback.

The actual flashback doesn't work well either. Richard isn't singing the proper line here and so his energy is different on both sides of the cut. The idea is to unite the present singing and their past -- that is what they miss, right? go for the most similar shot size, performance energy, etc.

Take a look at the trumpet area and see if you can wait until then to do the flashback. That's a great match. If you add the women earlier, I think you'll be able to do it. It's also not a bad place for the voice over, since the voice won't conflict with the vocals and vice versa.

By the time you get to the singing after the trumpet area it is painfully obvious that we want the women to be there. That's where you want to build Elsa having fun with Richard's singing.

Nice cut with the hands in the air.

The last flashback looks out of sync.

Section 5


Section 6

Scene A83

Haven't you already cut scene 83. If so, you should attach it to the head of this scene where it belongs, so you can see the transition.

I find the jump cuts on the timeline to be confusing -- since the writing isn't that different. I don't think you need to be that literal. Use David and the other in here as well. The wide shot of the timeline really sells it all, so less of that is more.

Where I'd love to see the insert is when he's calling out the date -- June 19th, 11:22 etc. etc.

The shot of Ted typing is cool. Can you put any of that in earlier to show his typing?

There is a bit too much of only seeing the people who are talking, even though you are using L-cuts. If you can cut a bit more (making sure that you're showing people for the jokes and for the punchlines) you can rev up the energy a bit more.

The shot later of Ted listening in is a bit indeterminate. It's hard to figure out what he's thinking there. Maybe putting the shot at a different place?

I've got to see Julep enter the room better. I miss it in the wide shot. Then when you cut to her and she's watching for a long time, it's puzzling.

Spooner's "Whoa" isn't showing him in his best angle.

Julep's dialogue in the wide shot is off mic. Cheat her closeup track in. Nice reaction to "do you do anything about it?" Do any of the other guys have a reaction to the dialogue between Julep and David. GEt to some of their reactions.

Is there a reading of Richard's "17 and a half months" where he's not picking his nose?

Do the boys have any reaction to Richard's speech?

David's "four inches" seems to be directed at Julep. Show her. It will then help her move to the next level.

She says "are you all serious?" Is there some reaction in the wide shot that you can use, or at least a shot with more than just DAvid in it. See if you can get some humor here, because none of them are serious.

The speech from Julep should involve a shot or two more of her. The cuckoo stuff -- I have no idea how she's feeling because she's not on camera. then there's the super closeup of Will. Odd.

Cut out after the "wood" line. Go for the maximum humor.

Section 7

Scene 87

I think you can pick up the pace introducing everyone in the bar.

"God bless America" seems to take a bit too much time. Can you overlap more here?

Can you get a little bit more of the women in the first part of the bar scene? right now they don't really appear until their dialogue. It would be nice if they were a presence earlier.

Michelle has this weird thing when Steven starts talking. She looks at him, looks away, then looks back at him again. Can you smooth that out?

See what happens if you prelap Michelle's line "Steven..." over his shot before cutting around. Right now the cut pops.

Will's comment ("Oooh, he's down...") seems a bit slow on the uptake. Do some overlapping here. In fact, see if you can create more of a sense of everyone stepping on each other's lines. Let Ted, or Michelle, be the ones who don't rush through their lines.

Who says "I love this song?" I know that we find out right after the line, but it seems to me that Trish loving the song (and seeing her reactions before she says the line) can help to put her in the action. And contrast her with Ted.

The shot of Ted standing is odd. We see his chest and then he sits and turns away. What is the point of that shot?

Ducking the music where you do is odd. Wait until you cut outside to do that.

I think you spend a bit too much time on the shot with Ted after he stands.

Outside -- see if you can get some sense of Ted getting madder and madder. Right now he starts the exterior scene at a high pitch. Add a bit onto the shot before he slaps her. Also see if you can create a pause before one or two of his lines earlier in the scene. The idea is that he is boiling but he's still repressed. Finally, she says the one thing that pushes him over the edge and then he hits her.

His reaction after he hits her is good.

The cut to Dana coming out pops a bit.

Play the music getting louder and softer as the door opens.

Scene 92-94

Isn't there some voice over of the women as they decide not to follow the boys.

You can't hold that long on the pov shot behind the boys. The idea is that the women decide not to follow the guys. The point of view shot ends up where the guys do, so you can only show that the guys and the women end up going in different directions.

Scene 95

Spooner getting out of the car jumps to the reaction shot.

Add a sound effect of the cop car siren whooping.

Scene 96

The cut from the wide to the medium wide is a bit weird.

It would be nice to see a Steven reaction to "It's not just me." David also has a nice reaction that you might consider. Also, all of the other guy's audio is off mic from this take. Use the on mic dialogue.

Cut faster to the wide shot for reaction to Sheila.

Use the Big Scary Guy's audio for "I'll say something." Whenever possible use on-mic dialogue, not off mic.

Reactions to the BSG seem a bit slow.

It takes a long time for BSG to say "Workin in a coal mine." Why don't you try cutting to David earlier and tighten up BSG's dialogue while it's off camera.

Can you get tighter on DAvid. It's odd to go so tight on BSG after "Spooner's song."

Once again, this is about the boys reliving their glory days. You should get some fun energy in it. You hold on some shots for a very long time, even if they do pan. Cut around the boys, rather than holding on the shots and waiting for pans. GEt more energetic.

The cop watching on TV. Do you need the channel change? Can you show only the boys on the monitor?

Section 8

Scene 104

Can you get into coverage a little earlier?

Trish's reaction comes a bit fast ("Ted's last orgasm...")

"I'm more impressed" -- do you have any of this in coverage?

This scene should build humorously as they try and figure out what is going on. Right now we're missing most of the humor. You'll probably need to use more coverage in order to pace it up better.

Section 9

Scene 118

The cut to the closeup of Trish for "Oh, he came back" is odd.

Trish's walk to Ted jumps and then to have the hug happen in the same shot doesn't feel earned. Let's drag that moment out a bit, so people watch the two of them, wondering what will happen.

Spooner seems a bit callous jumping so quickly into "So who's up for a wedding?" Can you create a pause before he says that line?

Who says "How's he doing?"

Doesn't anyone react to Spooner's line about the plan?

This scene seems a little perfunctory. It's about delivering the dialogue and the action, but there's no character or vitality in it, and it therefore lacks believability. Find out what the scene is about and cut to that. Do your scene analysis -- not just about the surface, but about the dynamics of a group that has had such a momentous event happen the evening before, and is now recovering from that.

Section 10

Make sure you have Academy countdown before the first scene.

Scene 126

This scene is actually for Sara to cut. It's part of Section 9.

Scene 127

My guess is that the music will begin at the end of the previous scene.

Scene 128

There seem to be too many shots of the audience.

There is also need for a focus in the scene. Right now the shots seem a bit too random. This should be culmination of all David's and the boys' fears, that they've now conquered. Obviously you need to leave room for the next song, but it is about them, not the audience and not even so much about the wedding. It's about their reaction to the wedding and their friend. It's a good moment for them.

Scene 130

Nice job crafting the moment between Steven and Greg. It seems like there's one too many cuts here though.

The scene with Julep and Trish goes on too long. Get out of the dialogue on the highest funniest moment.

Can you hold on any longer at the tail of "Sorry I shot you." There is a bit of a joke there that you can start an audience laugh on if you don't cut out too fast I think.

In the same way as Julep/Trish, the moment between David and Ted goes on past its resolution. find an earlier out point.

The baby vomit joke can be toughened up I think. Check the pacing around the actual vomit.

Scene 132

You cut off of David awfully quickly through most of his speech how he wants to have a baby.

There should be a shot of the exterior of their apartment building with a tilt up to the NYC skyline and the sky. Make sure you use it.

I'm not sure that the music really works here. It's not what's called for in the script, which you should use the first time out. The place where he twirls her should come at a change in the music somehow. Remember that whatever music you use here has to be the same as the music from scene 84 so organize this with Wendy.

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