What Belies Belinda?
I’ve been working away this week on editing rough mixes of Episodes One and Two and I think they are sounding great, if I don’t say so myself. I love the way everything is finally coming together after such a lengthy process. As an editor, I’m used to hearing (and seeing) segments of audio/video over and over again, but for those who share my creative space, obviously they start to have migraines and experience visions of living within a time loop. I mean, how many times and ways can JoAnne Garries actually say the phrase “Bull patties?” Believe it or not, intonation is key here – well, that and timing and of course overall sound quality too. It is quite difficult to put together so many elements that have been collected from all manner of locations, in all manner of situations and make it sound smooth and pristine. But that is my job as a technician. It is to take that which I have written, progress beyond that which I have directed, and then tear it to shreds in post production and put it back together into something that resembles the story I wrote but is ten times better for it.
In editing Episode One in May, I came face to face with my first stumbling block… TIME. You see, having written a special prologue scene for Sarah Douglas, I found that the running time of the episode went over thirty minutes by almost five additional minutes! Good lord, what could I do? Well, of course, it was lines that had to be cut, and from other scenes! But which ones? Thankfully some had already gone in the first rough dialogue edit. Some lines were shortened. Some were switched around because the performance of the actor changed the meaning of the text slightly and it felt more natural to place those lines in a different order. But in the end, which ever lines fell onto that virtual cutting room floor, it didn’t harm the story. Not at all. In fact, it probably made the story that much tighter, that much stronger. Damn the writer and his wordy scripts!
But I’m not the only one who has opinions of the rough edits. I sent them to the actors – well, the actors I actually had email addresses for… some actors I still need to contact to tell them to join the rest of us in the 21st Century… it makes me feel that giving them a CD might be a bad idea… is it too late to release Flashback on Eight Track?
Anyway, I wanted to know what JoAnne Garries thought of the rough of Episode one, so I pestered her with questions… I’m good at pestering. What follows is our glorious internet interview:
Ed: Hi JoAnne! So, you’ve been able to hear a rough edit of Episode One of Flashback now. So… What did you think of it overall?
JoAnne: The first time I listened, I think my reaction was shock and giddiness. I couldn’t believe it was me, or at least that I was actually on it. And I couldn’t believe how amazing and professional it all sounded… like a real show! And SO far removed from the kitchen table (we recorded at)!
Does the writing work for you, I mean, as a listener? Are you intrigued by the scenes you weren’t in?
Yes, it does work for me. I think it’s much tighter than the original in many ways, but maybe I just was familiar with it and it made more sense to me. I was intrigued and was “with” the characters. As for my scenes, you know at first I wasn’t so sure about my performance when we did it, but now I am happy with it.
What was it like to hear scenes between your character Belinda and Nigel Fairs doing Hargreaves?
That’s something that really adds to the whole “wow” factor for me. I sent the rough draft to a friend of mine and she was shocked to learn that not only were we NOT in the same room, but that we had recorded our roles months and an ocean apart. Très Cool!
Michael created Belinda to be a real bossy boots in the pilot. I’ve written her as a sort of one-woman powerhouse of a character, more abrasive than either of the other B-girls. Do you think that dynamic works and are you happy with the choices we made to toughen her up?
Oh yeah definitely, I think it was completely the right move. The other B-Girls take her lead, and I think it’s important she be the aggressor amongst them. I think it rounds the three of them all out nicely.
Looking back on the recording process, was there anything that stood out for you, something special, or something you miss, now that your part is essentially over?
Mostly I was just happy to be a part of it, and yes, it made me realise how much I miss doing creative things. I really enjoyed the recording day when all three of us B-gals were there. But definitely, I need to inject some more creative things into my life.
This process has been a long one for all of us, particularly because of the “low budget” nature of me working a day job while trying to edit dialogue, etc. But while I am lucky to hear the characters more often – every week or so I’m able to work on a scene or two – what has that time process been like for you? I mean you had the scripts in April of 2010 – long before any one else, and we recorded in November, and now the release date has been pushed back to September 2011.
Actually I don’t give it much thought over all. I mean of course I’m curious to hear the end result but I know it will get there. There’s other crap in my life that keeps me slogging along. As I said earlier, I was rather excited when we were recording it and it got those creative juices flowing, but now I guess I feel rather removed from it. Funny thing… someone asked me a few weeks ago “how my show” was coming along and I just thought “Huh?” I was at a loss, but I can’t say it is frustrating, no. I know it will be finished and I know it’s in your most capable hands, so I’m fine with that. I love hearing the snippets you send me… such a gentle tease!
So, you’re admitting that you’ve been playing the rough mix to people eh?
Well, I won’t say I’m playing it to EVERYONE but a few, yes. Some of my friends subscribe to the Blog and the Facebook page and they’ve heard the interviews and preview clips. But yes, I have sent the rough mix to a few people who I class to “live in the dark ages without access to a social network”. (shudder)
Do you think beyond this story, there’s still life in the character of Belinda? Do you think she can go on to do more things, perhaps have a series of her own? I was thinking of something along the lines of “Belinda’s Detective Agency” – our motto is “no mystery too mysterious, no cheque uncashable”. Would you like to do that?
That actually made me laugh out loud. Yes!
Are there any thoughts on what you think the future might hold for the audio series? You said in an earlier interview that you thought audio was making a comeback. Do you think there is enough content in the stories being told in Flashback to hook those listeners into coming back time and time again for each successive episode?
I think there certainly could be. I’ve been nothing but optimistic about this project, and again I think partly it stems back to the first time we did it – way back to that pilot in 1999. As I mentioned before, this project needed to be finished and with the audio the story continues.
Part of my plan is to sell the series to radio both in Canada and the UK, and possibly other English speaking countries. Would you like the series to get airplay on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio? Do you think it even suits that CBC audience?
Well, I must say, YES! As a voice on it, I would love for it to get airplay, but not just for me. For your brilliant script, (and now editing!) CBC radio hase a variety of listeners and I think this series would do just fine. I think people like a series with it’s familiar characters and I love the idea of audio as opposed to video… It fuels the mind’s eye.
When I’m listening back to the rough mixes, I sometimes wonder what Michael would think of what our little idea has become. Do you think he would have approved of the direction all this is going in: the audio series, the Blog, the CDs, radio and the press photos, etc?
Well, I should certainly hope so. I think he would be pleased it’s been resurrected and that the B-Girls live on to fight another day! (Oh, that was Underdog speaking!)
And speaking of Michael… one of his greatest inventions was of course Smookie the Robotoid, which was based believe it or not, on his cat Smookie! So what do you think of the new, re-invented Smookie the Robotoid design on the Blog? Kind of scary, isn’t he?
Actually, I think he is quite cute with his little sunflower-like head and leftover blender and clock parts. Personally, I like him.
Thanks JoAnne. Don’t think you’re off the hook either… Once the series is finished I’ll want to quiz you on more topics. But at least for now, you’ve given life to the Blog! And that’s what this is all about… getting people’s appetite whetted for what is to come. I can’t wait to have it all done and of course I apologise for the length of time it is all taking, but at the moment, I truly am a one-man-band… and sometimes I miss the other players. They’ve done their bits, but it is always great to hear their feedback, their input and of course, their ideas for what can still come out creatively from our little group of talented people.
I really enjoyed reading JoAnne’s remarks as obviously she has been connected to this project from the get go….I was also delighted to discover that she too was at a kitchen table though I bet she didn’t have a letter box at her neck and a letter posted down it.
Keep up the good work ED and I am really looking forward to hearing something/sometime. Thanks, Sarah D
June 27, 2011 at 10:53 PM
Darling Sarah, I can always email you the rough edits as well, but I know how super busy you are working these days. xo
June 28, 2011 at 8:59 AM
you may be a one man band but you play an awful lot of instruments really well
June 28, 2011 at 2:26 PM
Having the correct tablature from which to construct my magnum opus does help, dear Viv! xo
June 28, 2011 at 2:43 PM