China Diary

Day 169: The Long Night

Ohh man night alone, awake are *long*. Around midnight you think maybe soon you’ll fall asleep, but no hope brother, engage *this* train of thoughts and you’re up next two hours. Two am, as you first yawn a bit you close your eyes, put away the book and try… and then this thing pops into your head, and there we go again. At 4am, wife – currently in Spain – messages she’s going to bed. I know I won’t be going to sleep, not before the breakfast. So the last hours from four am to seven am I wait for the breakfast to begin, then haul my ass downstairs, eat quickly and hop back up for few hours of shut-eye. Ten am, the room service bangs on the door. I scream I don’t need room cleaning and slap the “do not disturb” -sign on the door. At 11 am they call my room: can we now clean your room. No, thank you. At 12 am I must get up otherwise I’m late from work too many hours.

Beijing sunset.

Coming back home I realize I forgot the do-not-disturb -sign on the door. So the room is messy and argh I just can’t win I assume.

Today, we finished the first round of the cut. We had managed to make the story flow nicer and become more compact, but still I felt it was too long. In the last moment I suggested throwing out quite a big segment in the beginning of the movie – at least give it a try – to see if we would survive without it. I think we might get away with it, but I do admit some character would be left a bit shallow… but then again, we have a lot of characters already. Not everyone needs to be explained thoroughly, leaving a bit more to the actors themselves.

Telegraph poles.

That’s what the whole editing process is, it’s compromising the story for the flow of the movie. You can’t take out forty minutes of scripted footage without losing some intricacies, but if you would put it all in the film, people would walk out bored to death halfway through. It’s a compromise, and your job as a director and as the editor is to make it as seamless and unnoticeable as possible, the fact that it is, in the end, a compromise you’re presenting on the screen.

I got beautiful greetings from my wife across the land and ocean. 

Today is a Lantern Festival in China, the day when traditionally the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Lanterns are lit and families gather together. We cut the day short today so that mrs. Fang could go with her family, and I stopped by at the Beijingese restaurant I frequent at, eating a bowl of egg yolk and tomato soup and some sauted cabbage and mushrooms. I must say it wasn’t the best dinner I’ve had here, but satisfied me.

Back at home, a quick nap and a movie, then waiting for yet another long night to begin.

Video of the day!

Since I now can add some videos to my blog (I only now realized how to do it), I’ll be putting up a Video of the Day from now on, from somewhere along the production. The first video is from Day 82, when we shot some action sequences at the old Rhizao port. In it, two stunts try out a jump.

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