- Rant #1: people who say they want to see your doc and then talk, or worse, don´t watch. When we show a doc to our commissioning editors there is dead silence all the way through, including the credits. Then they make their comments. Once, when a group from the American Womens Club in Helsinki asked to see a couple of segments of “10 Finnish Architects” they kept saying things like, “Hey, Delores, remember when we went to Finlandia Hall, the acoustics were terrible.” Very disconcerting for the director.
- Rave #1: When the music fits the doc perfectly. When we were doing the audio for “Lucia” Eki took the old worn-out Santa Lucia song and jazzed it up. At first it sounded a bit strange, but it gave the doc a whole new twist. We used the technique for “Back in the USA” and “Posh Poor & Middleclass BRITS”, It worked every time.
- Rant # 2: commissioning editors who see a project at several stages of development and like it. Then can´t find a spot in their schedule for the finished production.
- Rave #2: the help Kerstin Degerman from EU Media Programme Development gives to filmmakers when they´re trying to fill out the EU MPD´s horrendously difficult grant application – around 100 pages of dense information. When I first looked at it I said, “My first language is English, but I still don´t understand it.” Kerstin reassured me and said, “It´s like eating an elephant bit by bit. Together we did it and little Margie productions got the money. I think since we applied (three times, once it was rejected and we had to re-apply) they´ve simplified it.
- Rant #3: missing a spectacular shot. Like “amen” in church, during every production, it seems like a great one always gets away. You don´t miss it in the final cut but when it happens it is hugely frustrating and disappointing. Especially in docs, when most of the time you don´t get a second chance.
- Rave #3: during the production when there´s an impasse or something horrible happens and Eki says, "I´ve got an idea." Those are magic words, and they usually break the log-jam.
Lesson 33: Try to keep the ratio of rants to raves about 1 to 4
Next week: 30 Who´s Boss?