| by Mark Levy
I suspect that many movie makers have regrets about some of
their work. I'm one of them.
I'm not talking merely about not winning an Academy Award® this year
(or last year or the year before, now that I think of it). And I'm not talking
about failing to entice Kim Basinger to act for free in one of my amateur
productions. I'm referring to the movies themselves that I should have created
The worst thing about knowing what I should have done is that I have to watch
my movie over and over again when friends come to visit or I am invited to
someone else's home. (Being invited to others' homes is occurring less
frequently, too, but I like to think it's not all my fault. Anyway, that's
a subject for another essay.) The audience may not notice anything amiss,
but every time I see one of my defective movies, the mistakes are more evident
than they were the last time.
Not only do I know what doesn't work so well; I usually also
know how I could have made the movie perfect. Hindsight is 20/20, as my
grandfather used to say. Ironically, he became legally blind in his final
years, so his aphorisms don't always ring true. He also said that if you
have a good suit, you'll never go hungry in a big city. But I digress.
Often, as occurs in other art forms, the solution to perfecting a movie is
trivial. Just like adding a teaspoon of baking powder to a cake recipe might
make all the difference, a half-second cutaway close-up or a reaction shot
inserted into a video sequence might be all that's missing for the sequence
Before finalizing the movie, I sometimes ask another person to review my
work. That can be very helpful. Of course, I wouldn't dream of paying him
or her for that service. Wouldn't want to jeopardize my hard-fought amateur
movie making standing, you know. I don't really think that's cheating, do
Sometimes I don't notice the error in my movie until months after I've completed
it. It wouldn't take me much time to revise the movie, assuming I have the
appropriate shot in my out-takes. But I resist going back and revising instead
of moving forward to the next project. Now that I know what I did wrong,
I say to myself, I don't have time to revise it, but I'll be sure not to
make the same mistake the next time.
There's a perverse comfort in knowing that, every time I embark on another
movie adventure, I'll be able to go on to make fresh, new mistakes.
- Mark Levy
[Do you finalize your movies or endlessly tweak and change? Email