Terminal Device, the film, is just about there. Here’s a trailer:
The turning point for me came last January. At Christmas I showed my cut to my nearest and dearest. We collectively sighed and agreed that “uh, uh, it ain’t arrived yet”. The editing I’d been doing in earnest for over 2 years, with great diligence but with significant breaks too, still wasn’t working. I thought it would be a good idea to bring in another editor to help out. I suggested the notion to one whose work is good and whom I know, but our scheduling didn’t coincide.
Then Meg Remy pitched me on having a go at the cut. Now Meg is my daughter-in-law. She’s also a very fine musician and collage artist, and is making her mark as U.S. Girls. We previously worked together on numerous videos, and I’ve helped her out as she’s added filmmaking to her many artistic pursuits. But Terminal Device represented a significantly larger challenge compared to her previous film work: a complex, near-feature-length, essay-style documentary, with a lot of disparate, eclectic footage and oh, some autobiography to sneak in.
Meg returned to a proposal I’d made when I was submitting arts council grant applications to finance the film; start with voice. Find the structure through audio, and let the picture follow. I’d successfully edited a couple of our short films with this method (including Letters from R), but had fallen away from the idea with my own attempts to enter into the Terminal Device material. Alas, my efforts were deeply conventional, including numerous talking head segments, a strictly chronological development, blah, blah…(it was boring, in other words). Jennifer rightly argued that I’m too close to the subject–bits of my own life refracted through a pop cultural lens–to be able to use the footage as freely as was needed. Her point was proven when Meg found her way to the structure and story within a month. By early March, I knew that finishing the film was in sight.
The result, after a further 4 months or so of picture tweaking, sound editing, music scoring (by my beloved firstborn, Meg’s fantastically talented husband, the inimitable Slim Twig), and an impending sound mix session at Urbanpost, will be a finished film.
Collage-like, with no talking heads, an unconventional structure, and an engaging and, dare I say it, entertaining story, the film not only works as cinema, it says what I want it to say. That’s a great feeling. I can’t wait for people to see and engage with it.