Post-production is always the largest rollercoaster for me. There's usually enthusiasm during the writing, and always a whole lot of enthusiasm during shooting... But once editing comes in, there's a much larger back and fourth of "I love my film" and "I hate this fucking thing."
This is not an usual thing in any creative department (I think?) but it's really taught me how to use my emotions as a propeller. As I work out the Dream Lover cut, there's a constant question in my mind- "is it dream like?" this question is haunting me, because I've realized that I'm really trying to say something with this film. There's an experience I'm trying to convey. A message I want to send.
As I cut along, I start on a conventional path. Cut here for this person and then cut here when they say this. I cling to the narrative and try to make exactly the movie that plays on the script. But there's an etherial quality of dreams doesn't usually jive with straight narrative filmmaking.
This was what I found disappointing with Inception, and what I am constantly fighting. I found Inception to be a beautifully made film with some good and some clunky writing. However, it was incredibly tied into a mechanical narrative. Much like the Matrix's need to explain the technical aspects of the worlds, Inception made it architectural. Inception's logo is made in a blueprint style. It insists on certain rules, constructs, levels, that make the world tolerable and have limitations. Though one would argue that Inception shows a ton of limitless situations- it keeps itself limited with the mode of storytelling. For a character to get from one room to another, they have to walk there. Each scene has a world and we're usually kept in that world. Maybe I'm alone, but I find dreams are anything but architectural.
The Dreams I've experienced are usually entirely emotion driven, the dream goes down a positive path, it's like lazily being carried in the wind from one random place and sequence to another. Very rarely is the continuity of the surroundings, people, or situations honored in my dreams. Inception tried to honor this idea with their line, "you never remember arriving at the place you're dreaming about" but that's as far as they took it, sticking closer to honoring a narrative convention with rules you follow.
This is not a bad thing. It's just not very dream like. So here I am- my movie works about half and half on this dream level. The half that works seems to be really able to flourish in the constructs of the dream world, and therefore the narrative sometimes takes a second chair for the sake of the feeling. The half that doesn't work is made like a movie. Let the characters say their words, let the progression be very logical. Is it a bad movie? I don't think so. But it's not a dream movie.
I took everything back to square one today, and really got creative with the cutting. When I hate it, I use the emotion as a motivator to make a big mess and find the new spark in it. I put everything I had already built out of my mind, and tried to approach the material much more hands off. I believe I can get the narrative story across in this dream world, but it's gonna make me fight for it.