I've been working with Frank every day on the edit. It's been going really well, and what a relief to not have to build the scenes from scratch like I've always had to do. Now I just watch what he's done and make any adjustments I think are necessary. We argue occasionally, but for the most part I like what he's doing and only make changes if I feel a strong need for them.
In the past, as I've said, I've always watched the raw footage with the editor and built the scenes with him from scratch. It hasn't been awful, as it allows me to get 100% familiar with the footage and make sure I don't miss one second of anything I like, but it can also cause me to miss the forest for the trees and lose objectivity. Now that Frank has edited the first cut, I'm able to only change things I think need changing, especially because I trust his judgment quite a bit.
This movie is a Christian romantic comedy, which basically means that we're not trying to get too "arty" outsmart ourselves. When in doubt, we go for what's going to be most pleasing to the audience. That said, it's been interesting and very artistically fulfilling to work with Frank, who doesn't necessarily share my spiritual or political beliefs, and who normally edits and likes films that go against the grain a bit (not to mention the Oscar nominee "In the Bedroom"). He's also seen twice as many films as I have and understands the art of film and the language of cinema as well as anyone. All that to say, he's not going to let the film ever be silly or groan-inducing, but he's also been aware of the needs of the Christian and dramedy genres and cooperative to that end.
The other day we were debating over which take to use of a particular scene. It's the scene where Mike the Angel (John Ratzenberger) basically tells the protagonist Ben (Kevin Sorbo) the meaning of life. It's an important moment that addresses the thrust of the film, and John had two different takes. I was arguing for one, Frank for the other, and at one point he said, "I hate to say this, but the take you like is the one I'd expect from a Christian movie." Say no more. It's no secret that Christian movies aren't usually great (I wrote an article about this trend here), and we'd like to do our best to raise the bar a little. Someone like Frank can help us do that.
Check out http://whatifmovie.wordpress.com for our latest pictures from the set and video blog from the editing room.