It's not something I've really faced before. Previous major film projects have either been for clients (at which point your deadline is kinda fixed, although you can usually reckon on another week of changes afterward) or we've made the foolish mistake of announcing a release date well in advance, resulting in panic and half-assed completion.
This time, it would seem, we've learned. As you, ahem, may have noticed, we've not announced a release date yet. This means that we're not mad, rushed, and not quite finished, but it also means that we can keep fixing things. And fixing things. And fixing things.
It's not going to be so much of a problem later, but right now, it's surprising how much of a problem that is. Because there are always things to improve, change, tweak, and so on. And, as my 1st AD noted some few years ago, I'm a major-league completer-finisher type from time to time.
I had a nightmare of a day yesterday, as I started to look at how to change Carrie's costume in the first couple of acts, and became steadily more aware that it was going to be a huge, huge job - re-modelling, reanimating, re-shooting more than 50 shots. But because we don't have a deadline, it was possible, if we wanted to do it. And we could still re-edit again and again, and re-shoot, and...
It got to both me and Johnnie a bit. Indeed, I ended up in an absolutely filthy mood at the end of the day, feeling like I didn't know how much more of this I could take. Finding that our semi-final edit had somehow gotten broken was the final straw. It was one of the lowest times I've ever had on this project.
A new day dawned. I'd spent the previous evening pretending to be a troll in our regular Monday gaming session. pusscat turned up at the office door with a bag of ox bones, which I shall, indeed, be boiling down to make my soup.
I fixed the edit - a world-class pain in the ass, to be sure, but it had to be done. A big shout-out to Jamie Fristrom for suggesting we get with the source control, because having old revisions of the edit available really saved us there.
And now I'm looking over the edit, and there's more stuff to fix, and shots that could be improved, and so on, but fundementally, I think we're done. All the remaining problems - including, I'm afraid, Carrie's dress in Act 1, on which I shall make a seperate post - are huge, and meaty, and structural, and we'd have to do more work than they're worth to fix or change. We've polished for two years, on and off - it's time to let it go.
So I'm sending the edits to zs_overman today for final soundscaping, and we're doing a final lipsynch pass tomorrow, and passing it over to our Ludicrously Experienced Review Board for final comments, and then we're done. Finished. Stick a fork in us.
I'm always surprised at what decisions turn out hard.
Next, of course, we'll have the joy of working with deadlines in play, as we move to release schedule. And I'm sure that'll be fun too...