Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Final Cut - part 2

Continued from last week...

"Holy shit Bob, I thought you were dead!"
"I'd like to be dead after the crap they've been feeding me."
"What have they been feeding you?"
"Golden Boy pizza"
"Sweet! When do we eat?" I asked.
"I always loved those slices. But after you've been eating it for as long as I have, it starts to taste like a cardboard square with tomato paste on it." Bob gagged.

The sound of footsteps echoed through the stage as two silhouettes approached. It was blinding to try to see them past the lights aimed in our direction, but it appeared to be Lisa and a tall thin man. The man clapped his hands in mock appreciation. "Congratulations Mister Garner. You are the second editor to survive the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death."
I tried to make out the voice, but no luck. He was still just a silhouette. "Thanks. And it's GarDner, mister...?"
The man let out an evil laugh. "My apologies Mister Gardner. And I assumed that you would surely recognize my voice by all my lectures you've attended and by my award-winning DVD collection 'In the Blink of an Eye.'"
The man walked out from the shadows, but it was already apparent to me who he was.
"My name is Murch, Walter Murch."
Bob puked right next to where we were sitting. It smelled like rotten pepperoni.
"Well, I guess I'm never eating at Golden Boy again. Damn!" I gagged.
Murch explained the reason for our capture: "You see Mister Garner, the Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death has always been unattainable by even the likes of me. I lost many a colleague by its hands. I believe the only thing that protected me was my award-winning Standing While Editing™ technique, which I will receive the patent for later this year."
I gagged again. "You can't patent standing, you megalomaniac."
Murch laughed again and walked closer. "Oh you silly computerized-editing boy, you lack the true knowledge of this business, don't you? I will not only receive the patent, but I will produce the Murch Console™ which will only permit standing while editing. Legions of editors, especially that of your era which have never even cut a strip of film, will buy the method and console in hopes that it will make them stronger editors. But you can't buy the skill of editing, you must learn the craft."
"That's funny, coming from somebody that had to abduct two editors who did the work for you in solving the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death." I turned my head towards Bob's and whispered "Back me up here, dude."
Bob lifted his head and said "Yeah" and then he vomited again.
"Oh Jeez Bob, the pizza's not THAT bad"
Bob finished puking and said "It's not the pizza, it's his pompousness."
Murch continued on. "That was the one thing I could never understand about the Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death until Mister Malloy figured it out. The missing link is not a link at all, but a pen. And not a pen, but a stylus. You see Mister Garner, there really aren't many editors using a tablet as their input device, and even fewer who will attempt the Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. But with my newly forged alliance with Apple Computer and Final Cut Pro, we are in negotiations to purchase Wacom technology. Wacom will cease to exist and their tablets will be renamed iTablet, in coordinance with the Apple naming system. In 2006, I will be introduced as the face of Final Cut Pro 6 and with iTablet in hand, Steve Jobs and I will travel across the world hosting seminars unveiling the mystery of the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. The effect will be sold as a plugin ONLY AVAILABLE through Final Cut Pro 6."
Bob finally perked up and said, "The Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death was completed on an Avid, Murch."
Walter Murch began to turn red. He turned to Lisa and screamed "Avid? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Kind of like the newly minted Darth Vader in Episode III, but without the cool James Earl Jones voice. Lisa plugged her ears and doubled over as Murch's head began to shake violently. Lisa screamed "OH MY GOD!!! HE'S GONNA BLOW!!!!!!" Murch's head exploded with such a force that it blew Lisa's head off too. Bob puked again, and the smell of rotten pepperoni was a blessing compared to the smell of Murch head on my shirt.
I remembered that I had put my Wacom stylus in my pocket, so we used it to pierce and rip the tape binding our hands to get free.
After we found our way out of the stage, Bob and I walked to Columbus Cafe for 2 for 1 drinks at happy hour. We laughed as we picked off pieces of Murch from various places on our clothing.
Bob pondered the state of editors and the standoff between Avid and Final Cut Pro. "I went to a lecture once where Murch was talking about cutting Cold Mountain on Final Cut Pro and he constantly slammed Avid like he would never use it again. We have to keep our options open and use the best tool for the job."
"Yeah" I replied, "Some people refuse to learn the new tools and they become dinosaurs. Murch became one by refusing to keep his options open."
We decided to go our separate ways. Bob told me he was moving to New Zealand. I told him I was going to Golden Boy to get a slice of pepperoni. Bob puked in the alley. Never seen anybody puke in North Beach before.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Final Cut

Many of you know him and some of you do not. His name is Bob Malloy, and he's an editor. He does the strangest shit like putting his mouse on the left side of the keyboard even though he's right handed. He turns his keyboard upside down and types with his palms underneath. Sometimes he turns his whole console toward his clients so that he can get some perspective on where they're coming from with their requests. Either that or he's paranoid that they're making faces at him when they ask him to change something.

Well, I hadn't heard from Bob in a while. I got a little worried about him when 3 months went by and I hadn't seen him at the FCPUG at Brainwash (Final Cut Pro Users Group for you non-editors). Bob's producer Lisa called me looking for an editor to cut a results reel for Genetech. A results reel is a compilation of taped news broadcasts from around the country showing where they put a "story" on a typical Health and Science segment of the nightly news. It's advertising parading as information which causes the drug investors and day traders to get their boxer shorts in a bunch. The finishing touches hadn't been put on the cut Bob had been working on.

Lisa, the producer who I once thought was the hottest chick on earth but who was now looking somewhat haggard but beer-googleable (if you're not married like me), called me asking if I could finish out the job. I was still working on Dean Martin with no end in sight, so I had to turn her down. She said we should go out for a drink to figure out how she could finish this piece (of crap) without Bob, and I obliged her with no arm twisting at all. We met at Lucky 13, and she bought Newcastles all night. She told me that Bob was dead. Dead after attempting the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. I immediately called bullshit on her bullshit. No way. Any editor in his right mind would never attempt the Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. She laughed and started to cry at the same time. I wiped her tears with my soggy beermat. She went to kiss me, but I pushed my wedding ring into her lips. "Nice try" I muttered as I took a swig of my 5th Newcastle of the evening. I walked out into the cold summer night.

The next day, as I was looking at footage of Dean Martin and Ann-Margaret shaking their asses while singing "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am", my senses came to me. I decided to help out Lisa. She knew I would call, and she had already rented a suite at Beyond Pix to attempt that which had killed Bob. I left work five minutes early (4:55 pm) so I could get down there and get started.

When I arrived, Jen, the operations manager was leaving for the day along with everybody else. "Half-day?" I asked. She smiled slightly and said "Never heard that one before. No, just going out for beers. It's Thursday, ya know." I looked at my wrist where a watch would be, but there was only my bracelet. "Oh yeah. Where is it? I never get those e-mails anymore." One of her work buddies said "I can get you back on the list if you want. Just send me your e-mail address. It's at Eagle Drift-in Lounge tonight. Not to be confused with The Eagle." I walked into the suite and turned back to them, "Thanks. Hopefully I'll be getting out of here soon and I can have a pint with you guys." Jen burst into laughter "Yeah right! You'll be lucky if you get out of here at all!"

I sat down at the console where there was a note on a post-it from Lisa. It read: "The latest sequence is called "Rev 27". It only needs that last transition completed and you're done. Call me when you're finished. Thanks!"
Yeah, only that last transition. Only the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. I sat down in the chair that wasn't an Aeron chair. The last chair Bob Malloy ever sat in, the last suite Bob ever edited in. I got right to work.

Hours passed. AC drunk dialed me to ask when I was gonna finish up. I paced the room back and forth at least 100 times. I took my shoes off. I did headstands. I channeled Bob as best I could. I put my mouse on the other side. I turned the keyboard upside down. I remembered what the famed editor Walter Murch said at a lecture: "I stand when I edit. It makes one impatient with the footage." I stood. Nothing. I stood on one leg. Nothing. Suddenly I remembered that I had my Wacom tablet in my bag and forgot to plug it in. I removed the mouse, inserted the plug and grabbed the stylus. Success! "Holy FUCKING SHIT!!!! I DID IT!!!" I pinched my arm to make sure I wasn't asleep on the sofa dreaming. And to make sure I was still alive. I was. I raised my arms in victory and let out a sigh of relief. "I did it." I looked at the clock and it was 4:20 am. Then I heard the sound of one person clapping slowly from behind me. It scared the shit out of me. I turned around and it was Lisa. "You did it. You're finished." She sprayed something in my face that knocked me out cold.

I awoke groggy and with a massive headache. I was in a shooting stage with bright lights shining directly at me. My hands and feet were tied with gaffers tape. I tried to wriggle my hands free, but it was no use. I was tied to another person. He said "Dude, will you stop moving around? I'm trying to sleep." I remembered that voice. It was Bob Malloy.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Take that

You may have heard about the recent lightning strike which touched a plane operated by AirFrance and subsequently crashed at the Toronto airport. Well, that was all me. I will take full responsibility for the lightning strike, and the authorities may begin an investigation into my involvement. Nobody died, nobody was seriously injured. And there will probably be no financial repercussions to AirFrance because it wasn't like it was operator error which caused lightning to strike the plane. It was me.

You probably don't think it's funny. I don't either. But after I heard the news, I had that little grin on my face like Megan from The Exorcist did after she kills the elder priest. You see, AirFrance did me wrong. Last year on one of their flights I was smacked in the back of the head (on purpose) by a Frenchman sitting behind me. The man had been jamming his knees into the back of Lily's seat the entire flight, and when we asked him to move his knees elsewhere, he said something to the effect of, "How do you say... fuck you?" Homeboy actually said his legs were long and there was nothing he could do about it. Later I passed him on the way to the bathroom and he wasn't much taller than me. Legroom Lee they call me on the planes. Yeah.

After a while Lily and I switched seats so we could both share in the joy. When we were about an hour from home, the Frenchman's knees pushed into my seat so hard it snapped the seat out of its locked position and into a position further forward than normal. I responded by trying to get my seat back to its regular position, and then more pushing from the dude, and then the smack on the head.

I immediately got up from my seat and was about to grab the guy when my inner Phil Jackson told me to take a timeout. I went to the flight attendants and told them what happened. They proceeded to go the headsmacker and ask him what happened. He told them, in his native tongue - something I have a very slim knowledge of - and the flight crew were laughing with him about his story. Great. Suddenly I had a hankerin' for some freedom fries.

AirFrance did nothing about it. Well, they did have the courtesy to send me a letter stating that they weren't going to do anything about it. Oui oui.

So I expect to be receiving another letter from AirFrance soon expressing their full apologies and giving me and Lily free flights to anywhere AirFrance flies for a year. Don't make me pull out the lightning finger again. Cuz I WILL burn you. C'est la vie.