It’s been a while since I updated things here. The editing process has taken up most of any spare time I’ve had, as the end of the year deadline for completing the short film has become more real. More recently, Henri and I, acutely aware that the Christmas and New Year break would get in the way, brought the deadline forward and have been aiming to have the film completely finished by 18th December. I’m happy to report that we’re well on course for that.

I was at Henrietta’s house yesterday evening to complete the final edit. Apart from colour grading and adding a new image that Ama’s sent through to us, the film is virtually complete. There’s been a lot of exchanges going on behind the scenes between Henri and myself; it’s been fascinating watching the process unfold, remembering how uncertain I felt in the beginning – how could it be possible to edit such extensive footage to a short 3-5 minute film?!

I can’t remember the last time I focused quite so intently on any given task. I’ve found the editing process intense and demanding – especially the sound editing – more so, because of my hearing loss. My hearing fluctuates constantly – what I hear from one day to the next can vary considerably. I’m always keen to get things ‘just right’ and am probably more cautious than most people about working to get things as perfect as they can be – happy to review things over and over, worried that I might have missed something, something that will irritate me in the future.

It’s hard to put the editing process into words, but looking back over the notes Henri and I have compiled and pored through, demonstrates just how thoroughly we analysed both the original and subsequent footage. The notes also show the terms of affection we ‘d started to use in order to differentiate the various ballerinas – Diana Dors, blingy, busty and gold – Sandy Shaw, rotating to the melodic ‘Puppet On a String.’

Photo: John McCormick




Photo: John McCormick

There will be more to report in the future, I’m sure – once the film is absolutely 100% completed and there has been time for reflective thinking. It’s been a really good, positive experience, working collaboratively with Henri, who listens properly to what it is you’re asking for, embraces new ideas and respects your creative decisions. This, at the same time as offering alternative ideas of her own and being very generous with her creative skills and expertise.

Henri and I spoke last night about how much we’ve enjoyed the process of working together. I knew from the start that we shared an interest in the music boxes and the ballerinas within them – appreciating their beauty, at the same time as recognising their darker, more sinister side; this mutual appreciation was a sound beginning to our collaborative partnership. I’ve learned so much about filming and editing through working with the music boxes, while for Henri, it’s been a reminder of how much she enjoys working on something that is creatively stimulating for her.

Having the resources to fund this project has been an absolute godsend and freed me up enormously throughout. Being safe in the knowledge that we could retake certain scenes if need be, and afford to take the time to keep on editing, was really comforting. My thanks once again go to a-n the Artist Information Company for their financial support in the shape of a professional development bursary for making all this possible. Thanks are also due, of course, to film maker Henrietta Thomas for her calm, patient and consistent input. Henri has been a real pleasure to work with and I hope we might be able to work on more projects in the future. And finally, Ama Rohatiner who provided such an amazing eloquent and honest narrative which came to shape the film.

A Christmas break and New Year celebrations in Scotland beckons – time for winding down, catching up on sleep and reflecting. I’m looking forward to showing the film in the New Year, fascinated to know what the response to it will be.


‘I Always Wanted To Be …’

I’m still trying to get used to this different way of blog writing – ie. writing about things before they’ve happened. I generally write retrospectively – it feels easier somehow, than speculating about what might/might not happen.

The short film is due to be submitted by the end of the year – as per the rules set out by a-n Artists Information Company who generously sponsored the project as part of a professional development bursary. I’m going to be back, working with the music boxes again tomorrow.

I’m getting myself psyched up for a 4.30pm start with Henrietta. We’ve planned an ‘however long it takes’ editing session – I will get back to you with the result.


Photo: John McCormick