China Diary

Day 187: Amicable quarrels


This entry was supposed to be sent out already few weeks ago when I returned back from China, but I got sidetracked with work, and forgot to finalize this. But here it is, few weeks late…

We had another quarrel with Max on the edit of the movie yesterday. It started with me having watched the latest version of the film, one where Max had made his adjustments, and they didn’t sit all that well with me. Mind you, we are talking about details that probably won’t have a huge effect on the film overall, but when working closely on something, they become the size of a mountain.

I had been tossing and turning in my bed the whole night, going through different ways how to express my thoughts to Max in a way that he would get what I mean, so I was grumpy “waking” up (or rather, “quitting my sleeping attempts”) and dragging my ass to VHQ, the company that does the VFX for Iron Sky: The Ark.

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I met Max outside the meeting room and instantly we launched on a debate. I started by explaining my main issues, and Max listened to them, and then offered his balanced reply. But as it is in so many cases between us, the debate got more and more heated as we both tried to explain our angle of approach, until we got both so worn out by language challenges and the discussion that we decided to give it a rest, and agreed that I’ll write a detailed reply to him on what I believe we should change in the cut.

Afterwards, we had a good session with VHQ’s Chris Yao and the team. They had prepared a set of shots for me to look and comment at, like we usually do over Cinesync, but now we had two main sequences in the movie where we needed to really sit down and share in detail the thoughts. There is only so much you can do over voice chat and shared desktop…

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A small portion of our VFX team working on Iron Sky: The Ark visual effects.

Despite our disagreement on the cut, with Max we are able to put it all aside and have a great dinner afterwards. We went for some hot pot with the team, and shared a bottle of white wine, laughed and discussed the future and the release strategy. This is very important: even if you have a disagreement with some part of the production on something, never let it get in the way of personal relationships: if you are amicable, even the hardest disagreements can be settled over – because both are on the same side of the table.

The next day, I jumped on a plane and grabbed the latest cut of the movie with me. I spent the whole flight re-editing the film according to my wishes, and made a thorough commentary back to Max, added with a new edit of the movie, and sent it over. About a week later he came back with an email, where he agreed with a lot of my points, and we agreed to take both of our views in account when creating the final cut. We instructed the editor and I received the cut just recently – and I think it’s pretty damn good! It serves both of our interests in a good, collaborative spirit and works really well as a full film.

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