Madrid International Film Festival Official Selection – ‘A Band of Rogues’

So, A Band of Rogues, the first independent feature film that I’ve edited, is now an official selection at the Madrid International Film Festival. It was filmed in the fall of 2010 on location in Argentina.

Daniel Camenisch, a mutual friend of writer/director, Tim Morgan, recommended me for the edit. After an initial couple of Skype video chats with the Morgan brothers while they were still wrapping up in Argentina, they decided to bring me on to the team for editing and shipped me two 2TB hard drives containing about 60 hours of raw footage. After a few months of editing nights and weekends and e-mailing rough scenes back and forth with Tim, we followed up with a very intense yet tremendously fun and rewarding week stateside. The goal – take the rough scenes and refine them, complete a rough sound and music mix, and color correct the entire film in order to burn a DVD for the start of festival submission season. All within 7 days.

In order to achieve this, Tim assembled a team at Rocky Farm Studio – which I must say, is by far the most idyllic editing environment I’ve ever been a part of. The entire property is a farm built around an old abandoned quarry. I brought my edit suite with me, set up in a converted shed and slept in a music studio next to an antique Steinway grand. Heaven.

The post team consisted of Tim Morgan and myself on the edit, composer/songwriter/audio recordist Matthew Morgan and script supervisor/line producer (and all-around nice guy) Brendan Trinkle on the initial audio mix, Director of Photography/co-writer Tommy Bertin on color correction, as well as regular visits and creative input from a few members of the cast – Jake Ayers, Emory Goocher, and Luke Williams. (The final audio mix was done by Brian Rio and his team several months later)

Tim divided the movie into 6 logical ‘reels’ so we could break up the work and manage it on an achievable schedule. My goal – hit the ground running the first day so I can stay at least 1 reel ahead of audio and color correct. We worked out a system where Tim gave me a rough reel with full scenes and I would whittle and massage and make it work smoothly before sending it off to Matthew and Tommy. I was up until 4 AM the first day, but I had the first reel ready to go and managed to stay ahead of the curve to the very end of the week. I basically shifted my body clock to waking up at 11AM and working in 2 shifts, finally hitting bed around 3 or 4 AM.

Seriously, this was a great way for me to work and the ideas we were coming up with for the movie just flowed so naturally. We made some pretty significant script revisions in the edit, and we all shared a common vision and passion for the film. Tim is a great director to work with. Any time people are working in a high pressure / low sleep situation like this the potential for frazzled nerves is high. None of the potential blow-outs or tensions ever materialized. Tim sets the right tone and knows how to put the right people together on a project. He is definitely the guy you want to be working with.

I can’t adequately express how thankful I am to have been given the opportunity to work on such a wonderful film with such talented and focused guys. I hope there are more to follow, because there is nothing like the feeling you get when you know you are totally in your element.

Win or lose this festival, we’re in. It is now out in the wild and it’s got those cool leafy things forever attached to it. That’s got to mean something, right? I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

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