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Tuesday, 8.3.04: Post-production woes

Since last Thursday, except for my morning writing, a little exercising, and a couple movies, I've been glued to my seat here editing tape on Anxiety Disorders.

Thanks to the extensive work on the script, the competence of the actors, and the decent shooting, everything has fallen together very quickly. Our original deadline was August 3 and here I am today with a nearly final version ready for music, previewing and further tweaking.

Except for two problems.

My animations (mostly just words crossing the screen) are coming out all choppy. Things I've done a hundred times before aren't working. What's up? I've changed my camera, upgraded my software, changed the frame-rate I'm working in, so diagnosing the problem is hard. I think I've finally decided that my massive D: drive -- where all my work-in-process is stored -- is so fragmented and so nearly full that files are now being written in tiny pieces all over the place. It's so full, even the defrag program will not really make a dent in the problem. I'm hoping I did enough clean-up last night to keep working.

Technical problems are a bitch. Woman against machine. Yet you know there is always a solution.

Problems of human nature -- woman against the dark side -- are a little trickier. I got a call Sunday night from the talent agent who got us the actors for this production. Um, had I heard the news about one of our actors? He's on his way to jail for having sex with a 15-year-old girl. Oh, crap. What are we going to do? Can we really have this guy playing an authority figure in a mental health video just as he's being perp-walked off to jail?

I had seen the article in the paper but thought the common name was just a coincidence. Jim and I dug out the paper from the recycling bin to see what the deal was. The guy is a middle-school teacher who was suspended last spring for making inappropriate remarks to girls. Then a girl came forward -- a friend of his daughter's -- to say he had romanced her with e-mails, then had sex with her. He fessed up. In September he will begin 6 months of jail and 10 years probation -- a reduced sentence the family agreed to in order to avoid having their daughter testify in court.

My dark side wanted to pretend I'd never heard it and go back to my technical problems. Jim's more outraged reaction made my conscience ache: no way could I allow the mental health association to risk poor publicity because of this guy. Okay, okay. I called the talent agent. He will find another actor and we'll re-shoot. It won't be that hard really. An hour or so of effort and I should be able to substitute the new scenes for the old.

It's sad really. The guy was a good actor and a lot of fun to work with. I guess it's the charmers who so easily find themselves in trouble.





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