Join Ashley Kennedy for an in-depth discussion in this video A conversation with editor Sofi Marshall, part of Filmmaking Forum: Scene Analysis.
- Thank you so much, Sofi, for letting us screen that clip and take a look at a really interesting scene. The film as a whole, can you describe the style for someone who hasn't seen it before? - The film is about a teacher who is having an affair with one of her male students, and we sort of enter the story as it's beginning to crumble a little bit. It's definitely a little bit dark. I would think of it as sort of a slow burn kind of thing.
There's not all that much plot going on. It's very much sort of watching this young woman kind of unravel before your eyes, which I found really interesting about it and still do every time I watch it So it's sort of like this kind of meditative piece where it becomes increasingly uncomfortable as you're sort of watching this woman deteriorate. - And so, specifically with the scene that we just watched, a lot of it is about watching it, but also, you're right, you feel it and you kind of, you get more and more uncomfortable as you are experiencing this on several levels.
Can you talk a little bit more about how you achieved that? Obviously the performance is very good, but through editing you were able to build this world where we get to witness this and feel this. - Right, I think in this sequence in particular, obviously, Lindsay Burdge is the actress here and she is incredible with her performance, so we had so much to work with in terms of the edit, and I think what I realized was important in this moment and a lot of the film is to just stay with her, so there was a couple of really long shots, like the shot in the bathroom where she's sort of washing her hands, it's one shot, but we hold on for the entirety of the scene, and there was other coverage there, but ultimately I think the director and I decided it was just so interesting to watch her kind of next to this younger girl sort of doing the same motions, washing her hands, fixing up her lipstick, and to just watch her face and to watch her watch the younger girl, it was just this fascinating thing that was going on, so we just wanted to sort of stay there in that moment.
Then I think right after there's kind of a scene where she goes to buy some alcohol and then she's sort of sitting drinking alone in her kitchen. So what's interesting about those two scenes is that, the way they were shot, there was another character in them, in both of them, who is the, when she first enters the dance and another teacher greets her, the way it was shot and written was that they left together and sort of had a drink together, but as we were kind of working with it, we realized that so much of the movie was just about sort of watching her alone with herself, that we needed that moment where she kind of gets so low that she starts stalking this kid on Facebook.
We needed her to be alone in that moment. So we ended up editing out the other character, not because of performance or anything like that, just because it served the story better for her to sort of be on her own in those moments. So we zoomed in and sort of framed her out and just used the single shots of Lindsay, and that's kind of what happened there. - That is so interesting. You really did serve the story very well, 'cause obviously I had no idea, as she became alone and isolated and you got to see her doing the Facebook stalking and then she was running, you were zeroed in on what she was doing, and you were living in that experience.
What about the sound design, specifically going from the stalking scene into the running scene, I think that sounds plays a really important role there as well. (dissonant, percussive music) - We had this composer, Brian McOmber, who I've worked with on a number of features and a bunch of shorts, who is incredible, so he came on there, and this was another situation where he just added so much to the movie.
I'm sure he worked closely with the sound designer as well, but a lot of the rumbling tones and that type of stuff, that was kind of a lot from his brain and just his perception of the film and that was a case where he didn't start composing until way after picture lock, so in terms of the Facebook scene, where part of the sound, that eye level editing was the clicking of the mouse on the computer and the pictures and stuff, so the way that he sort of composed that music to have the beat sort of not quite in time with the clicking, they're a tiny bit off, or they sort of skew off as we go on with the scene, which, the first time I saw that I thought was so cool, it's so amazing that he had that idea that completely elevated the beginning of the idea that I had, and then he sort of finished it.
So yeah, definitely, the music really helps with that sort of unsettling nature of what you're watching. - That's great. And is there anything else you'd like to say about the film or the scene? - I don't think so. Other than that it's on Netflix, so if anyone wants to watch it, by all means. - All right, thank you so much for guiding us through that scene, that's really helpful, really awesome to know all the things that were on your mind when you were creating that story.