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 by Mark Levy

Mark Levy looking thoughtful.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 differently.

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.

Photo of a cat watching tv.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 to gel.

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 you?

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 with your views.]

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