Kevin is joined by Academy Award-nominated editor David Rosenbloom to discuss his experience in the editing room and how audience research affects the final cut.
David Rosenbloom, Editor
David Rosenbloom has had an incredible career, working on critically acclaimed and award-winning films like The Insider, Rudy, The Black Mass, All Good Things, and the recently released Plane. In this podcast, we'll delve into David's background, his process for editing, and his experience with audience screen testing. We'll also hear some behind-the-scenes stories and insights that only a seasoned film editor like David can provide. Whether you're a film buff, an aspiring editor, or just someone who appreciates the art of filmmaking, this podcast is a must-listen!
An important and close relationship (2:52)
Kevin opens the podcast by discussing the close, important relationship between the film's editor and the person who is running the test screening. Kevin calls it the closest relationship and David agrees as they discuss the value of the information gained during an audience test screening.
Good editing vs. bad editing (16:48)
David discusses the differences between good editing and bad editing, which David calls the hardest thing to judge.. He compares editing to the music in a film and knowing when to make a cut or when to let a shot go on longer.
How an audience reaction led to a big change (20:26)
Kevin asks David about the biggest change that he has made to a film based on the audience's reaction at a test screening. David brings up the film Out of the Furnace, where the lead initially dies at the end of the movie. The two discuss how the audience's reaction led to David recutting the film to save the character.
Early mentors and TV work on Hill Street Blues (20:41)
David and Kevin discuss David’s early years as an editor on television shows. The two talk about the evolution of editing technology and how a 24-year-old David was given the opportunity to direct an episode of Hill Street Blues.
The alchemy of moviemaking (32:24)
David talks about the moviemaking process and the important relationship between the film’s editor and the director. They discuss David’s experience in editing sports movies like the audience-favorite Rudy.
Applause for editing (37:45)
Together, David and Kevin explore what makes great editing and how it can elevate a film to new heights. David shares his personal experience of watching All That Jazz for the first time and the moment he realized that editing could inspire applause.
Pace is a 4-letter word (45:18)
David and Kevin talk about the intricacies of editing and why David hates the word “pace” in audience feedback. Kevin talks about the film’s length being a director’s issue while the pace is more of an editor’s issue. Audience engagement is discussed as well as when a film is too fast, too slow, or just right.
Host: Kevin Goetz
Guest: David Rosenbloom
Producer: Kari Campano
For more information about David Rosenbloom:
For more information about Kevin Goetz:
Audienceology Book: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Audience-ology/Kevin-Goetz/9781982186678
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: @KevinGoetz360
Linked In @Kevin Goetz
Screen Engine/ASI Website: www.ScreenEngineASI.com
Podcast: Don't Kill the Messenger with Movie Research Expert Kevin Goetz
Guest: Academy Award Nominated Film Editor David Rosenbloom
There's a little-known part of Hollywood that most people are not aware of known as the audience test preview. The recently released book, Audienceology, reveals this for the first time. Our podcast series, Don't Kill the Messenger, brings this book to life, taking a peek behind the curtain. And now, join author and entertainment research expert, Kevin Goetz.
Kevin Goetz (00:24):
I want to thank you all for coming tonight and waiting so patiently. The film you're about to see is a work in progress, which means the women and the men who are working on it are doing some final touches. You'll notice the color and sound are not balanced. Music is temporary. Some visual effects are still being worked on. If you do notice any of these technical imperfections, just know that when the movie is released, all of these things will be technically perfect. That is what I say to a recruited audience when we screen a movie. And my next guest has probably heard that speech more times, I already heard him laughing in the background here, and can probably imitate it better than most. I'm here with David Rosenbloom, who has an impressive list of almost two dozen feature film credits as an editor. He's one of our best editors. He's directed, and he's produced as well. He's been nominated for the Academy Award for the movie The Insider, and in recent years has worked on some of our favorites, All Good Things, The Black Mass, The Way Back. I'm so excited to have you here. I've always enjoyed you, and we've always been buddies from the very first time we met, David Rosenbloom. Thanks, David.
David Rosenbloom (01:38):
Thank you, Kevin. That was, <laugh> that sounded no different than the first time I heard it. 25 or 30 years ago. I mean, literally.
Kevin Goetz (01:48):
Well, well, no, hold on. Actually, Joe Farrell, who started it would say, if you remember this, and I bet you do, it was something like, after the movie, you can all stay in your seats as you are now. I say, I'll be back here after the show. And Joe used to say, I'll be back here looking for all of you there. And people would turn and go, what did he just say? What does that mean? And I finally was saying it because that's what he trained me to do. And I finally, at one point, maybe 25 years ago, I finally said, what the f am I saying? It doesn't make any <laugh> sense. And I changed it. So anyway, we have so much to talk about. So when you hear that, and I have to say, I think it's fair to say that you and I, meaning the editor and the person who is running that test screening, have probably the closest relationship and so much information that we're going to be sharing, and you're going to be using as you leave that evening.
David Rosenbloom (02:52):
Yes. I mean, it's critical. That relationship is really important. And you know, I've heard it on this podcast before, that there can be a quite a difference between people who run these focus groups at the end and that can really lead us down some very, very dark places. Not just the night of the focus group, but in the days that follow. Because sometimes it can go off the rails and it takes an experienced focus group leader like yourself to make it run smooth. And I'll just get this out of the way everybody says it. You are the best. Everybody says it because it's true. Oh, thank you. And you drive a car like a, a Maserati and it's fun to drive. And then every so often we fall into like a Yugo or a Fiat <laugh>, and it just doesn't run the same way. And some of these focus groups go that way, and we're sitting back, they're powerless. I can't tell you how many times, yes, I've wanted to stand up during a focus group and either applaud because that was perfect. Sometimes I do give you a thumbs up and you get a lot of thumbs up from people behind us, but we can't say anything because we don't want the focus group to know that there's really anybody of import.
Kevin Goetz (04:03):
Let me just say, so, so, so everyone fills out a questionnaire after a screening, right? For those of you who don't know, many of the listeners do know, however, but we do a focus group of 20 pre-selected members of the audience, kind of a microcosm of the demography that was recruited for that audience. So if you like have 10 females and 10 males, let's say, and you might have four people who are in the 18 to 20 category, and then 21 to 24, you might have four more, and then 25 to 39, and then 40 to 49, whatever, you know, four and four. So you balance the audience. And so you have to pick that right group. And you're really in the hands of the people who are selected. But you are absolutely right. This is information that is coming to the forefront that if it's not harvested correctly and then it's not communicated back correctly, could be really, I imagine, quite damaging.
David Rosenbloom (04:57):
Well, it can be. I mean, it just, what happens is it creates extra work in the days and weeks that follow. Because if everything goes perfect…
Kevin Goetz (05:06):
When does that happen? <laugh>
David Rosenbloom (05:08):
Even, even when everything goes perfect, there's still an interpretation of the data. You know, there's still, everybody can spin these numbers to suit their own agenda. That's one of the very few pitfalls of previewing. We all love previewing. It's the most exciting, most terrifying night of…
Kevin Goetz (05:23):
That first screening?
David Rosenbloom (05:25):
It really is. You have no idea.
Kevin Goetz (05:26):
Well, that's what I want to ask you. Give me an idea of what it feels like when I make that announcement. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what is going through your brain, your heart, your body? You've just now spent months in a dark room with maybe a couple of assistants. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> one might even be your son, Joe. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, who has been working with you for the last eight or so years. What are you thinking?
David Rosenbloom (05:48):
Well, in the days gone by, back in the old days when we were still double system, all you were hoping for was that it stayed in sync. <laugh>, and it didn't break because we're up with separate platters of picture and sound. That was always the unnerving thing was we just want it to go technically fine. Since, now that it's all digital, there's really nothing that can go wrong technically. I mean, there's a glitch every once in a while, but nothing that, you know, that would cause the preview to come to a halt. So now you just hope that the audience is seeing the movie the way I have expected them to see it as I'm working on it. Because, as editors, we pretty much we’re the first audience. And so we want them to experience it the way that we experience it when we first watch it.
Kevin Goetz (06:37):
How often do you feel your first cut is something that is really the director almost exclusively versus your interpretation of it or what you may disagree but can't express yet because you need the audience to say it or you need some other validation? What percentage do you feel confident on that first cut going out with?
David Rosenbloom (07:02):
It's really director dependent because some directors are very collaborative. So whatever we walk out of the room with, it's something that we've both arrived at together when we go to that preview, because I mean, we butt heads along the way, and we come to see the other person's point of view, you know, in many of the cases. But when we're ready for the preview, that's the movie that we have both been working on for the last many months. And so we go out there. We're never really, with certain directors, it's not a different movie than I would prefer to put up there. It's always the movie that I'm Is it? Yeah, it is. I've worked with some directors multiple times and so when you're in that situation, you've come to speak the same language, and you're, you know, they know my taste. I know their taste. But when I'm working with a new director and some directors who don't necessarily trust the editor's input…it's not that they don't trust the editor's input, but they don't believe that an editor really can see inside their head, so they must tell them how to do it.
Kevin Goetz (08:04):
I've so enjoyed working with you, and I know you've come in as a fixer often on movies. They've brought you in to get your opinion and your feelings when something's not really working and they'll say, what do you think? I have tremendous respect for the editor, maybe more than any single person on a movie, because I've had an up close and personal view of just what an editor can do to make or break a film. I am a very big supporter of an editor because the editor is the first person to be fired or blamed. And I often find that so not fair. So I'll often be the proponent and I'll say, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, do me a favor, and before you fire your editor, let the director take a few weeks off and just have the editor go and do what they think. Now, I mean, I know I'm being a good guy by doing it. Right. I feel like I am and I feel like it's probably the right thing. However, you form this bond, this relationship with the director, I'm wondering is it something that would be legitimately executed or are you just going to be so loyal to the director's vision that you wouldn't have the nerve, if you will, to make your own cut?
David Rosenbloom (09:12):
Well, again, it's just…
Kevin Goetz (09:13):
You get where I'm going with this?
David Rosenbloom (09:13):
I do, I do. Again, it's director dependent. Some would embrace that and say, absolutely, I'll go hang out on a beach for three weeks. I'll come back and I'll see.
Kevin Goetz (09:21):
Who would do that?
David Rosenbloom (09:22):
Kevin Goetz (09:23):
Yeah. Is there a name that you can that is really open and…
David Rosenbloom (09:27):
Oh, most of them. Wow. Yeah, most of them would really dig it. It's really good to hear actually. Yeah, no, because we've formed that bond and the deciding factor, of course, is the schedule. So if there's no ramifications of the schedule, then sure, three weeks. Absolutely. Because we've already arrived at a point. If we're in a position where the movie isn't really working.
Kevin Goetz (09:44):
Have you ever done that where you actually did?
David Rosenbloom (09:46):
No, I can do something in three days if they're away, that would be as meaningful as three weeks.
Kevin Goetz (09:52):
How many times have you done that? Shown it to the director and said, I like your version better?
David Rosenbloom (09:55):
I'll be honest with you, the egos are sort of checked at the door for the most part. And I can tell you a lot of changes that have been made in movies that I've worked on. But I can't tell you who is responsible for the note. Well, because it becomes, it becomes just about the movie.
Kevin Goetz (10:12):
Okay. So then, we're sitting in a focus group, and a respondent says, well, the cutting was really jerky, or the cutting was really fast and slow, pace was really off. What do you think when someone says that? What personally is going through your mind?
David Rosenbloom (10:28):
I take it very personally. I don't…
Kevin Goetz (10:30):
But why? If you're saying it's so collaborative.
David Rosenbloom (10:32):
Because it's my job and we're not sitting there like making cuts, you know, he's using his left hand and I'm using my right hand sort of thing. You know, it's not that kind of thing.
Kevin Goetz (10:41):
Well, it is for the director's cut, isn't it kind of like that?
David Rosenbloom (10:44):
Yes and no, not really. You know, there's so many conversations that take place during production. Pre-production we’ll talk about the script with some directors. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's a lot that goes into it in establishing the relationship and the rapport with the director. Conversations that take place during shooting, notes that come in from viewing of the dailies, so that by the time he's looking at, he or she. Yeah. I've worked with many directors who, when we look at the first cut, it's very much what they hope to see. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> not because the work is, I'm not saying that the work is perfect or finished right, but it's not out of left field. It's what they expect to see, and then we approach it together. So no, it's not really a left hand, right hand thing, it's just more of a conversation that takes place. And again, director dependent upon whether I will work for a few hours and they'll come in and see it, or I'll finish a part of a scene and they'll be right behind me. Gavin O'Connor is a great example of…
Kevin Goetz (11:45):
He's so, what a terrific talent he is.
David Rosenbloom (11:48):
He's amazing. He's great.
Kevin Goetz (11:49):
That guy is talented. Yeah. I was out to dinner with, I think with my husband, and I think his wife or someone was there and I said, Gavin, I just want to tell you what a fan I am of your work. He's really a terrific writer and a director. Yeah. Is his brother one also?
David Rosenbloom (12:04):
Yeah, yeah, his brother. Yeah. He worked with his brother. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Once upon a time, and it had been a while since I'd worked with a new director, one that I hadn't worked with, because I tend to work with the same guys over and over, you know? We had a lot of conversations during production, but once we started working and he saw the editors cut and he, you know, responded like many, like, okay, let's roll up our sleeves. We got a lot of work to do. And that's not a comment on the cut, it's just a comment on, oh, we're seeing…
Kevin Goetz (12:28):
You don't take that personally when they say that?
David Rosenbloom (12:30):
No, I did when I was starting out because, you know, but once I figured out, look, if they're giving me an editor's cut, which they do, you know, we get a couple of weeks including what we're doing during production.
Kevin Goetz (12:41):
What’s an editor's cut compared to a director's cut?
David Rosenbloom (12:42):
Well, it's the first cut of the movie.
Kevin Goetz (12:46):
Oh, an assembly we call it.
David Rosenbloom (12:48):
We have, it's grown to, that word has kind of insinuated itself into the vernacular, but it's, it's not really an assembly, it's a cut. They're looking at the cut of the movie.
Kevin Goetz (12:56):
Absolutely. And so I want to reeducate myself. Okay. It's much more respectful to say an editor's cut because they're doing work on it, and they're not just cutting scenes together willy-nilly.
David Rosenbloom (13:07):
Right, and, and it's not really, I mean, none of us, you wouldn't talk to an editor and said, I'm going to show the assembly tomorrow, but, because it always used to be called either the editor's cut or it was called the first cut. But it's just splitting hairs, really. Do we take it personally? No. Somehow it, but somehow the word entered the vocabulary. We don't know why. We have no idea why, but it's become, this is what the studios will call, and everybody will call it the editor's assembly. Anyway, that's what the director sees first.
Kevin Goetz (13:33):
Now we're going to roll our sleeves.
David Rosenbloom (13:34):
Now we roll up our sleeves. And I'm fine with that because I've had, I'm not going to alter the script very much in that first cut that he sees unless we've had a conversation during production. And this happens a lot. I mean, it happened with Mimi Leder all the time, with Greg Hoblit, who I did five movies with him, with Scott Cooper, I did a couple of movies with Scott.
Kevin Goetz (13:55):
That says something about who you are, too, to get repeat business. Sorry. And I noticed a lot of editors have that kind of relationship because it's a very intimate relationship with your director.
David Rosenbloom (14:05):
It is. And it's, it's a great relationship. So with Gavin, you have to start that relationship over. So it's like a first date in a way. You know, you start to know what they're thinking and then, so you're going to go and you're going to hang out a little bit. You're going to have a meal together, you're going to understand, and through the course of all this, or even if I visit set, which if I go to the set, I'm the only guy who really doesn't have a question for the director. They're answering a thousand questions an hour. Good point. And yet, I'll come along, and back in the days when we went on location, I used to like that because I would just be around. And if they just wanted to not think about what's happening, you know, when there's 60 or 70 people around that are all working, and each…
Kevin Goetz (14:47):
You will say, I'm sorry to interrupt you. You will say, make sure you get this. You're about, they're about to move on and you're like, I need this.
David Rosenbloom (14:55):
Yeah, no, you ever No, no. Really? No, because I guess I've been lucky. I haven't worked with directors who ever need to hear that. Okay. Because there's so many people, if they're missing that…
Kevin Goetz (15:05):
I heard that story many times where, oh, if they only got that look, you know, over the shoulder, now I have nothing to cut to. Or whatever it may be.
David Rosenbloom (15:15):
Yeah. If it's that obvious, if it's that somebody's going to shout it out, the script supervisor will shout it out. The DP will make note of it.
Kevin Goetz (15:23):
Has anyone ever gone back and reshot something because you looked at dailies and it didn't and it just didn't work? It didn’t cut?
David Rosenbloom (15:29):
Yes. That happens on occasion. I wouldn't sit on the set and say, got it, this isn't working. The director has, you know, they have their plan. Now that all gets revisited when they see the cut. And, you know, if I have a suspicion of that needs to happen, then I'll cut that scene quickly and I'll have the director look at it while they're shooting and say, are you okay with this? Or do we feel like we need some more stuff?
Kevin Goetz (15:53):
A lot of listeners are going to ask this question, I think, or be curious about this question. David, how do you explain to someone particularly, and the winner is…at the Oscars, what we would be looking at that would constitute good editing versus good directing or bad editing versus, I have my theory and my criteria. How would you say, wow, that was so well cut?
David Rosenbloom (16:22):
It's the hardest thing to judge.
Kevin Goetz (16:25):
That’s a really honest answer, but tell me…
David Rosenbloom (16:27):
Well art is hard to judge and we're all together making a movie.
Kevin Goetz (16:30):
Well then how can, and this is what people are going to ask. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how can edited by not be the same as the best director or the best picture?
David Rosenbloom (16:41):
Well, they usually are, by the way. Well, certainly the nominations would, you know prove that.
Kevin Goetz (16:43):
But you know, that's not always the case.
David Rosenbloom (16:44):
No, it's not always.
Kevin Goetz (16:45):
Sometimes there are fancy kind of techniques that are used.
David Rosenbloom (16:48):
Some people feel that more editing is better editing, you know, the quicker the cut, the, the more work is being put into it. That's not necessarily the case, right? Of course. It's just as difficult to decide where not to cut as it is to decide where to cut, how you let a shot go on longer. Like music, music is the same thing. You can have a lot of music. It doesn't mean it's the best music. Deciding where not to have music is as important as deciding where you do have the music.
Kevin Goetz (17:15):
And by the way, speaking of that sidetrack here, George Tillman Jr., who was a previous guest, mentioned that working with Michael Mann for one hour, Michael Mann wanted to see an actor in one of George's movies who, and the movie hadn't come out yet, so George sent Michael the movie, and Michael's reaction was, oh, thank you so much for letting me see the performance. By the way, your music, I just want to mention something. If the emotional sort of scene is going in this direction, maybe have your music go in the other direction. And I thought that was really interesting. And he said that was a huge learning for him and something that he incorporated into his movies since.
David Rosenbloom (17:55):
That's, that's pretty good. Michael has a great sense of music and a great sense of aesthetic all around. But music, music really is critical. I work hand in hand with the composer a lot.
Kevin Goetz (18:05):
Well, do you put the music usually in in the temp cut? Yes. Not the music supervisor.
David Rosenbloom (18:11):
Kevin Goetz (18:12):
Okay. So then I'm going to say, because I've done this a million times, as you know. And what I am so struck with is the temp score. And I've made 12 movies myself, so I can also speak to this. You get used to it. There's a term they use.
David Rosenbloom (18:28):
Kevin Goetz (18:28):
Temp love. And it's like, in your case, you, David, will make the decision of placing this music from this other movie and this music. And then you know that the scenes are working. So then the composer, I guess, is not going to take such a departure from that style. But it's all from you.
David Rosenbloom (18:52):
Kevin Goetz (18:53):
I'm not talking about songs. Right. I'm talking about score.
David Rosenbloom (18:55):
Right. The music supervisor, by the way, will introduce songs to us.
Kevin Goetz (18:58):
And so, and by the way, and the director will often say, I want that song, or sometimes it's in the script.
David Rosenbloom (19:04):
Yes. But with the temp score for the preview process, yes. And for all of the screenings, both prior and subsequent to the preview, the editor is generally picking those things out and generally laying them in. We'll have help from, because…
Kevin Goetz (19:19):
I know, but what is the influence of the final product? You know? And I know that it's huge.
David Rosenbloom (19:23):
Yes, it is. It's huge. And I've made the mistake, or I should say it took me a while to learn that you can't possibly show, and I put music in the first cut that we're talking about when the director sees the movie for the first time. Right, sure. But you can't possibly put in music throughout the movie without having a discussion with the director. If you show the movie to the director the first time and it's filled with music, you may as well have cast an actor in there that they never met because it plays such a big, big part. So I'll have conversations with the director prior to that first cut. What kind of music, or do you even want to hear music in the first cut? Generally, they want to, and we'll have a discussion about it.
Kevin Goetz (20:05):
Do you usually take it as personally when someone in the focus group says, I didn't like the music? Because you're, exactly, because you're not a composer. No, you're not.
David Rosenbloom (20:14):
Right. No, no. I do not take it personally.
Kevin Goetz (20:15):
But if they say something about the pace, the length, not caring about the character, something like that. Well, that could be the performance of course. But I'm saying you'll take that more personally.
David Rosenbloom (20:25):
Some things I take more personally. Yeah.
Kevin Goetz (20:26):
What's the biggest change that you have made because of audience reaction?
David Rosenbloom (20:31):
I think it was in Out of the Furnace when we…
Kevin Goetz (20:34):
That was an intense movie. He's another super talent. That's great. Scott Cooper.
David Rosenbloom (20:38):
Yeah, he's, he's fantastic. He's, he's great. I think we went to New York for that preview.
Kevin Goetz (20:42):
David Rosenbloom (20:43):
Yeah. Or someplace in, maybe New Jersey.
Kevin Goetz (20:44):
San Francisco, I know we went to, didn't we? Yes, we did. Yeah. That wasn't the first one though.
David Rosenbloom (20:48):
No. No. And so I think it was the way we ended that movie, because he originally gets killed. Christian Bale dies at the end of the movie. And we found out that that wasn't really what the journey that the audience wanted to go on to be with him all this time and to be through. And it, as you said, it's a very intense movie. So when you're on the side of this character and going through the difficulties that that character's going and you're living this with him through the course of these two hours, to have him die at the end, it just didn't feel right.
Kevin Goetz (21:21):
Was that a reshoot or a, or a cheat?
David Rosenbloom (21:23):
No, it was a cheat of epic proportion.
Kevin Goetz (21:27):
It was damn good.
David Rosenbloom (21:28):
It was really amazing. Film is so malleable. It's amazing what you can do. And I'm sure that doctors might say the same thing about how you can heal somebody. It's amazing how you can heal.
Kevin Goetz (21:38):
Oh, gene expression or something that you can do. You’re right.
David Rosenbloom (21:40):
But the critical thing is to figure out, is to diagnose the illness to know what the problem is. And if you start chasing the wrong problem, whether it's with somebody in the hospital or with a movie, you know, you could spin your wheels a lot and you could really damage that movie to the point where it's hard to get it back. So you really want to make sure, which is why the preview process is so important. One of your other guests, I had heard your podcast where he said, I can't remember who it was, but after three or four questions in the focus group, he gets up and leaves because he's gotten everything he wants to get out of it that he gets. And many of us will say the same thing about getting. You know why though? Right? I do know why.
David Rosenbloom (22:22):
Because the good stuff is up front, correct? Yeah. Then you get underneath it all. But all of that will come in, in the report later on. And when you then give us all the information, which happens a couple of days after the preview and the focus group, you sit down with all of us filmmakers, and you really explain what just happened the other night. But what we are experiencing, and I think most of us like to think that while the movie is playing, we're getting the most information that we can feel the effect of the movie on the audience. And it's very subtle. And you have to learn this. I mean, it takes many movies to figure this out. You're hearing laughs where you would've never thought they were, both good and bad.
Kevin Goetz (23:06):
Okay, so what's the discussion like in the editing room when I've just mined for you that they don't like the ending or are not as satisfied with the ending as perhaps they'd like to be? How does that go down? Like, screw the audience, but, all right, maybe we should try it? Like how does that conversation happen? In other words, you and I both know that it's information, right? Screenings are, and it's not the end all be all. And often, an audience might say something, and they don't necessarily mean that thing. But yet you made that change, which I'm very glad you did. And, and I think it actually made a more satisfying and if I may, a better movie. But I guess the question is, what happens behind the scenes to arrive at, okay, we're going to really do that?
David Rosenbloom (23:54):
Well, there's certainly a certain amount of denial at the beginning.
Kevin Goetz (23:58):
Of course. And that's every director.
David Rosenbloom (24:00):
I'm sure it is.
Kevin Goetz (24:02):
And there are directors, quite honestly, that will flatly just refuse.
David Rosenbloom (24:05):
Yeah. And we know them. There's acceptance and then there's…
Kevin Goetz (24:10):
You’re going through the 12 steps.
David Rosenbloom (24:11):
I swear to God. <laugh>. And then there's action. Here's why editing is the greatest job in the world to me. I've done it my whole life. In fact, we're at the place where I started like 50 years ago or something.
Kevin Goetz (24:23):
Well, that was Hanna Barbera.
David Rosenbloom (24:24):
Hanna Barbera, which is right next, at this building and right next door. And so that's where I started. And if you had told me 50 years ago, I would be doing a podcast 50 years later.
Kevin Goetz (24:33):
You would say, what's a podcast?
David Rosenbloom (24:34):
I would say, what's a podcast? <laugh>? The great thing about editing is that I love filmmaking. You love filmmaking. We all love it. There is so much pressure when you're on a set because it's very hard to do something. And I say, you know, we gotta do it again. Editing, like writing, you do it. You can sit back and you can do it again, and you can do it again and again. So there's no risk in trying something.
Kevin Goetz (24:58):
Oh my gosh. Manna, I mean, words that I often say, which is try it. You can always go back. Of all the movies, and I think, I don't know, I've done like 6,000 movies. Of all those movies, I don't think I've ever seen a movie get worse because of research. Not always get better. Most of the time, there is some improvement, certainly in scores and also just in the overall vibe of the movie. It feels tighter, it feels more expressed. The director's vision is more realized and, you know, sometimes, sometimes not mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But, you can just try it.
David Rosenbloom (25:37):
Kevin Goetz (25:38):
And go back.
David Rosenbloom (25:39):
Of course, it's just a button. You know, once upon a time, it was a little more, you had to undo the splices.
Kevin Goetz (25:45):
I know but even with that you might have taken longer but it was also something you could still have gone back to.
David Rosenbloom (25:48):
Absolutely. But it was a little more labor intense.
Kevin Goetz (25:50):
You remember the Moviola?
David Rosenbloom (25:52):
Kevin Goetz (25:53):
Is that how you trained?
David Rosenbloom (25:54):
Yeah, I was doing television in the early eighties.
Kevin Goetz (25:58):
Wow. And so I was going to ask you about your beginning. Where are you from originally?
David Rosenbloom (26:02):
Here, Los Angeles.
Kevin Goetz (26:03):
You were an LA guy? Yeah. And then did you go to school here?
David Rosenbloom (26:06):
I went to UCLA.
Kevin Goetz (26:08):
David Rosenbloom (26:08):
Kevin Goetz (26:09):
Were you an actor?
David Rosenbloom (26:11):
I was a student.
Kevin Goetz (26:13):
Did you want to be in the movie business?
David Rosenbloom (26:15):
I had already started, I'd already started in the editing business when I was in high school.
Kevin Goetz (26:18):
Oh, wow. So it really was in your veins.
David Rosenbloom (26:20):
It was, I was a senior in high school. I got offered a job and it took me half a year. And then I'd go to school for half a year and then I'd go back to work. And the cartoon business was six months a year.
Kevin Goetz (26:30):
Did you have a mentor?
David Rosenbloom (26:32):
I had many, not in the animation business, I wouldn't say, not there.
Kevin Goetz (26:35):
Who were the great editors in film that you were like enamored of or wanted to aspire to be?
David Rosenbloom (26:42):
Kevin Goetz (26:43):
Anne V. Coates.
David Rosenbloom (26:45):
<laugh> Anne V. Coates.
Kevin Goetz (26:45):
Oh, I loved her.
David Rosenbloom (26:46):
Artie Schmidt was mm-hmm. <affirmative> just a great guy.
Kevin Goetz (26:50):
I know Michael Kahn was really influential. Billy, yeah. Billy Goldenberg.
David Rosenbloom (26:55):
Yeah. Yeah. And I knew Michael when I was working at Amblin, and he was across the hall and we would talk, there's a lot of guys, you know?
Kevin Goetz (27:02):
He was a gentleman.
David Rosenbloom (27:04):
He still is.
Kevin Goetz (27:04):
He's a great guy. I know. But just a, just always wonderful.
David Rosenbloom (27:07):
We don't really work with editors. We don't really work with other editors. I mean, occasionally, I work with, you know, a team like on The Insider with Billy Goldenberg. With Paul Rubbel. I would learn so much from them just by being around because you don't really…
Kevin Goetz (27:20):
They must have enjoyed the experience as much as you did.
David Rosenbloom (27:23):
We had a great time. You know.
Kevin Goetz (27:24):
Did the three of you get credit on it? Yes. Does that go to arbitration incidentally?
David Rosenbloom (27:28):
No, it doesn't.
Kevin Goetz (27:30):
What is it called? The Editor's Guild?
David Rosenbloom (27:32):
No, it doesn't, it's not like the writing process.
Kevin Goetz (27:34):
It's just kind of like the right thing to do.
David Rosenbloom (27:37):
It, it can, yeah, it can get sticky. But Billy and Paul, who worked on the movie on Insider much longer than I did. I did four or five months, and they were on it for a decade.
Kevin Goetz (27:46):
How many editorial assistants do you have?
David Rosenbloom (27:48):
I only have two at the most. I work with a very small crew.
Kevin Goetz (27:52):
And I never sort of understood what an editorial assistant is doing. While you're, are they cutting scenes to show you?
David Rosenbloom (27:59):
Kevin Goetz (27:59):
What is Joe doing?
David Rosenbloom (28:00):
During production, the assistants are preparing the dailies.
Kevin Goetz (28:05):
In terms of files?
David Rosenbloom (28:06):
In terms of files, creating it, breaking it down, putting it in a reasonable order so that I can access it more quickly. It's a very labor-intensive test.
Kevin Goetz (28:14):
What did they do in the earlier days when there were no files?
David Rosenbloom (28:17):
Well, they were syncing dailies. You know, picture tracking, synching dailies, breaking it all down.
Kevin Goetz (28:22):
Did they actually do the cutting?
David Rosenbloom (28:23):
Oh yeah. Every take was in its own little roll up reel.
Kevin Goetz (28:26):
The stories that we could talk about, the two of us. Oh, you know, when I think about Lee Tucker and so many other projectionists, oh yeah. It would be like, we had codes on the walkie-talkies, Uhhuh, <affirmative>, and it'd be like films broke. And we all knew exactly how, what to do, how to go into action and get the audience wrangled and say, folks, we're going to figure out what's going on. And I always say, we're working with an unmarried print. What that means is that there's a picture track and an audio track, and they sometimes don't want to speak to each other, so we're going to find out what's going on, and we'll be back. And the poor person in the booth is just going what are we, what are we doing? What do we do?
David Rosenbloom (29:04):
That, that is a cold sweat I'm glad I never have to feel anymore. But I used to all the time.
Kevin Goetz (29:08):
But you mentioned something, things still go out of sync. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. The other thing that happens, I've noticed with digital, you'll pop the speakers more frequently at some of the theaters because they like to crank up the volume. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you'll get a section of no sound at all. Gary, you know what I'm telling you? I'm looking at our engineer in the booth here. And so that's something that will often make the movie will stop, will recalibrate is the word I was looking for, and then continue. But going back to a couple of your movies, we talked about Primal Fear here a bunch. I remember that movie. There's so many stories about it. And I just heard Hawk Koch's interview. I don't know if you heard his podcast for the Motion Picture and Television Fund. He interviewed Ed Norton.
David Rosenbloom (29:53):
Oh no, I didn't hear it.
Kevin Goetz (29:54):
Oh, it was really good. And that particular episode was really fascinating. Sherry told the story in my book, Sherry Lansing and Gary Lucchesi, about the casting of that part. And that had to be fun as heck to work on, because you really had the audience in the palm of your hands until the ending. And spoiler alert, no, I'm not going to say it. No, don't, I'm not going to give it up.
David Rosenbloom (30:20):
There are future viewers.
Kevin Goetz (30:21):
New generation of people. Watch Primal Fear.
David Rosenbloom (30:25):
Ed was amazing and it was great.
Kevin Goetz (30:27):
And he got an Academy Award nomination.
David Rosenbloom (30:28):
He got an Academy Award nomination. So there was a director who I'd worked with a lot. I did five movies with Greg.
Kevin Goetz (30:35):
He comes from television. And what's his big show? LA Law or? Oh, a lot of them. Hill Street Blues.
David Rosenbloom (30:41):
Hill Street Blues was where I met him, and I worked with him for three years on Hill Street Blues.
Kevin Goetz (30:44):
Is that why you directed an episode of Hill Street? Yes. Ah. Cause your relationship with Greg?
David Rosenbloom (30:48):
Because I was on the show for three years, they promoted everybody from within the show.
Kevin Goetz (30:51):
Talk about Terrifying. Did you like directing?
David Rosenbloom (30:53):
Oh, I loved it. It was great. It's not the same. It's not, directing television isn't the same as directing features, and directing back in the early eighties is not the same as directing now.
Kevin Goetz (31:01):
Was it like getting a master's degree?
David Rosenbloom (31:03):
No, I was too young. I was 25. I mean, I didn't know what I was doing. I was just, everybody else was raising their hands saying, Hey, I want to direct. I thought, Hey, I'm going to raise my hand. And boom, they let me direct it. Wow. It didn't go great. I don't mind saying it wasn't, you know, it wasn’t…
Kevin Goetz (31:16):
In what way?
David Rosenbloom (31:17):
I truly did not know what I was doing.
Kevin Goetz (31:21):
Who was, who was trying to, who was holding your hand though?
David Rosenbloom (31:22):
Nobody. Oh my God. I knew everybody. I knew all the actors. I'd been on the show for a few years, so I knew all the actors and everybody was there to make sure that I didn't fail. Because if I fail, we all fail. And it wasn't an abject failure. I'm not saying that.
Kevin Goetz (31:35):
Well, couldn't have been.
David Rosenbloom (31:35):
It still aired. Yeah. And it was, and it was fun. But you realize there's just a, I didn't study film. Everything I learned was from the perspective of editing. And so back then when we were still on Moviolas, and there was so much more to the mechanics of, and the thought process of editing. Sure. But there was a lot of mechanics and nobody dared say, oh, I'm a great editor. Because you know, now you're editing on computers and everybody thinks they know what editing is.
Kevin Goetz (32:02):
Did you find yourself while you were directing, editing the movie?
David Rosenbloom (32:05):
No, not really. I know enough to know that if you re-edit too much as a director, you're going to come out, generally you'll come out with something that's a little stale. Movies, this has been said on your podcast and everywhere, there's three movies, there’s the movie you write, and the movie you shoot, and the movie you cut. And in each of those…
Kevin Goetz (32:21):
The movie you write, the movie you shoot, and the movie you cut.
David Rosenbloom (32:24):
Yeah. And it speaks to what a living, breathing thing a movie is. There is an alchemy. You talk about alchemy in your book. There are things that you can't anticipate when you're writing how they're going to end up when it's shot because you now have actors coming in and breathing life into these characters. And then when you go to the editing room, you're putting images together, and we're making subtle changes that nobody would ever know. We’ll go back to how do you judge editing? You can't. But you do know when you've done something that has made a difference. You are a writer, you know the difference between and, and, but, and there is the same sort of thing in editing. You're taking a word out here, you're switching words around. That's on the micro level. On the macro level, we're moving parts of scenes, we're moving scenes to other parts of the film. So there's a lot that goes into it. So to say that as you're directing, you know exactly what's going to happen.
Kevin Goetz (33:19):
Or you've become really a journeyperson director. Yeah. That's just by the books. You're getting your master, you're getting your two shots, you're getting over the shoulder. Right. And then you're out.
David Rosenbloom (33:27):
Yeah. I've done a lot of sports movies, The Way Back being the most recent. And I did Rudy, and I did other films.
Kevin Goetz (33:32):
Rudy was awesome. That was an awesome movie. That really was.
David Rosenbloom (33:36):
Thanks. That's still my favorite. Not that we can have favorites because they're like our kids, we're not really supposed to have a favorite movie.
Kevin Goetz (33:42):
But no one expected it to do as well as it did.
David Rosenbloom (33:44):
No. Well, yes and no. That movie tested…it was Tristar. Yeah. That movie tested higher than…
Kevin Goetz (33:51):
David Rosenbloom (33:51):
Kevin Goetz (33:53):
Was that Dan Petrie Jr.?
David Rosenbloom (33:56):
No, it was David Anspaugh.
Kevin Goetz (33:57):
David Anspaugh, right. Donald did another one with the same actor, I believe. And it was also really, really good. Yeah, really high.
David Rosenbloom (34:07):
Well, this was 95. I mean, I thought it was 105 because people that were walking by outside said, hey, that sounds like a pretty good movie, <laugh>.
Kevin Goetz (34:16):
You always go to the urinal afterwards and listen to the people and they'll tell you the truth. That was really good. Oh, I really like that. And you do that, that's what you do in Broadway during the intermission. Yeah. All the producers that go into the men's room or the women's room and they listen to the comments and say, oh, we've gotta change that.
David Rosenbloom (34:34):
<laugh>. Well, there wasn't much to change in Rudy. No, I know. It was really great. But it didn't do big business at all. It's become this perennial favorite and people watch it at the beginning of football season. They watch it at Christmas. They, I hear it all the time. People love that movie.
Kevin Goetz (34:48):
You are so fortunate to have made your living in exactly what you set out to do. You've got three kids. Do they kind of know what they want to do? Are they on the path to?
David Rosenbloom (34:58):
Well, Joe has known since he was in high school.
Kevin Goetz (35:01):
Who does that sound like?
David Rosenbloom (35:02):
I didn't know that I wanted to do it. This is something that you said you did. No, no, no. I didn't do anything else. So it became the thing that I did.
Kevin Goetz (35:09):
You mean you sort of fell into it?
David Rosenbloom (35:09):
I totally fell into it. Hanna Barbera. It was my best friend, his father was the vice president, general manager of Hanna Barbera.
Kevin Goetz (35:18):
But you could have been sweeping floors or you could have been…
David Rosenbloom (35:21):
No, this was the job that was offered. So I just, that's what I mean. It turned out that I had an affinity for it, but nobody in the sixties or seventies grew up saying, I want to be an editor. Because nobody knew what it was. It was a dark science. Now kids on their iPhones at four and five years old are editing.
Kevin Goetz (35:34):
It's one of the popular things in film schools. Because I teach at various film schools around the country. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like I'll do a step-in for a class on market research. And I cannot tell you how many of the females and males both want to be editors. I love that.
David Rosenbloom (35:49):
It's great. I love it too. And I love those classes that they take. And I love every so often I'll go in and I'll guest speak at one of these things, and the questions that they ask are great. They're looking at it in a way that I wouldn't have looked at it. So Joe started, you know, he did that. I gave him a bunch of cameras when he was a senior in high school. I said, document your senior year. Here's four cameras. Give them to a couple of your friends and just document your senior year.
Kevin Goetz (36:13):
Kevin Goetz (36:14):
What a great idea, and did they? Yeah, absolutely. And did they come back with a finished product?
David Rosenbloom (36:19):
Yes and no. Some things were amazing. It was just incredible.
Kevin Goetz (36:22):
Like never put together?
David Rosenbloom (36:22):
It was never, it wasn't, there were some technical glitches that we couldn't do.
Kevin Goetz (36:26):
A genius move, by the way, as a parent. I'm just saying, a genius move.
David Rosenbloom (36:29):
Well, I think it maybe that's what sparked his interest in that he ended up going to film school.
Kevin Goetz (36:33):
The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg's, The Fablemans.
David Rosenbloom (36:35):
I haven't seen it yet, so don't, but I know it's…
Kevin Goetz (36:38):
I mean, you know, no, you can, you know, it's semi-autobiographical for sure. But then you look at George Tillman Jr., who said the same thing about his parents being supportive of having him fulfill what he really wanted to do. I think that's the greatest thing a parent can do.
David Rosenbloom (36:53):
It is. You really do. I have my youngest son, who's a tremendously gifted artist, is going…
Kevin Goetz (36:59):
Like a painter or a sculptor?
David Rosenbloom (37:00):
Yeah, sculptor, painter. He works a lot on his iPad and just draws great creature design, stuff like that. So we want to support that. My oldest, my daughter, is in the tech field. I would love to support that, but I can just barely spell tech.
Kevin Goetz (37:13):
And I just want to say for the record, your beautiful wife mm-hmm. <affirmative>, who I know from the store Magpie in Studio City, insisted you bring me this beautiful bottle of sake with these great sake glasses, I suppose. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. They're beautiful. And so she's so classy and wonderful.
David Rosenbloom (37:33):
Well, thank you.
Kevin Goetz (37:34):
<laugh>. So thank you for doing that. But you made it known that your wife, this is not your idea, your wife’s idea.
David Rosenbloom (37:40):
No, no, no. She's the class of the group. I wouldn't know what to do without her.
Kevin Goetz (37:45):
You know, you mentioned about great editing is probably seamless, and I always learned that. I learned that in acting school. I learned that at the conservatory at Mason Grow School of the Arts at Rutgers, where they're saying if you see the work, it's not great. Mm. You don't want to see the seams. If you look at someone's suit and you go, that tie is extraordinary. It's better to say, you look amazing. Right. Right. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think that's what kind of what you're saying, I'm really trying to wrap my head around this notion of your feeling about how to judge great editing. I'm going to go back to this and see what you think. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that the way people view great editing again is often a mistake of maybe some fancy editing techniques that might be misconstrued with really good editing. In other words, flash. But some of my favorite movies are movies that hold that camera. That you have the confidence to hold that shot for as long as you do. I think that's as equally as beautiful. You sort of said that, but I just wanted to get a little bit more on that because I think people are going to find that fascinating.
David Rosenbloom (38:57):
So to go back to the ensemble analogy, every so often, you know, a tie that pops is worth commenting on. It's dynamic, and that stands out. And in movies, there are moments that are not seamless by design. And if it's warranted, if the story or the character call for it, and if it's something that is creative from all points of view, then it's worthwhile. And we'll notice that. Alan Heim is another guy who is one of my mentors. I've worked with Alan, he's been the president of our guild, president of ACE. He's wonderful. And a brilliant editor. One of the great movies I noticed the editing in, in a good way, was All That Jazz. Now it had a lot going for it. There were multiple timeframes.
Kevin Goetz (39:46):
Was that Bob Fosse?
David Rosenbloom (39:47):
That was Bob Fosse.
Kevin Goetz (39:48):
No, I ended up saying who’s?
David Rosenbloom (39:49):
Well, we don't know. We don't know. But I will tell you that there's no question that the first time I ever, I don't remember the year of All That Jazz, but the first time editing was applauded in a theater, in a regular retail theater. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this wasn't at a screening. Right. The first time I ever heard anybody applaud the editing, and I knew it was the editing was when they did all the pirouettes in the very beginning of the movie. Wow. But it wasn't really crazy inventive. Right. It was clearly by design, but it was executed to perfection. It was one of those rare cases where you designed something through the writing and through the production and that sticks. Was that scripted? I'm sure it was scripted. It had to have been because it was…
Kevin Goetz (40:39):
One moment went to the next, to the next, the next, to the next, the next.
David Rosenbloom (40:40):
And by way, if it was written, it was written in one line. Sure. You know, as an eighth of a page. And then it was shot with this design and Alan did it and obviously executed it perfectly. It wasn't groundbreaking, it wasn't anything remarkable, but it was great.
Kevin Goetz (40:56):
I remember it now just by thinking about it.
David Rosenbloom (40:57):
Yes. And he won an Oscar, deservedly so. The bigger work in that movie was when to choose to go to the fantasy sequences. There were so many great things about that movie that half of them probably were by design, and half of them were found in the course of editing. And, I'd mentioned that I'd kind of out of nowhere. I said, I've done a lot of sports movies and we started talking about Rudy, but the reason I bring up sports movies is because you write a certain thing in sports movies and you have to board it when you're shooting it, you have to prepare to shoot it in a certain way. Of course, you have to write it in a certain way to get all this stuff. But I've done a half a dozen sports movies and none of them have gone the way that the script indicated because it just, it's flat, it's boring.
Kevin Goetz (41:40):
It’s not all that you know, that you have to do is you've got to get those three touchdowns or you have to make sure that you lose that last to get to.
David Rosenbloom (41:49):
But sure, there are moments of it. There are moments of it, but inside of it and it's all, and it's always about, you know, the life on the sidelines and you know, all the story stuff that comes into it. But the actual, and probably, you know, I haven't done a musical, but the same thing might apply to musicals, although they might be a little more by design.
Kevin Goetz (42:06):
I was just going to ask you, is there something that you'd like to do?
David Rosenbloom (42:09):
Oh God, well I've done plenty. Musicals, we just don't make them anymore. Seldom do we see them.
Kevin Goetz (42:15):
Well, not in theaters, because there's been a slew of them that just hadn't worked theatrically.. That's right. But they're still making them, I guess, for streaming services. Have you, do you work for the streaming services a bunch?
David Rosenbloom (42:24):
No, I'm still just hanging on by my fingernails to movies that come out in the theaters because what do you do for the testing process for a streamer?
Kevin Goetz (42:32):
We do often go into the theaters to do it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or we will, during Covid, you know, Screen Engine ASI, my wonderful firm, invented a platform called Virtuworks. And it's a virtual synchronous in real-time screening platform. Mm-hmm <affirmative> for 200 people, whatever, to watch a movie. And you get to watch people watching your movie at home. Wow. So you're actually toggling and pulling up groups of people. And it's pretty fascinating.
David Rosenbloom (42:59):
The old days of television testing where we had the, we have the little cranks.
Kevin Goetz (43:03):
We still have that.
David Rosenbloom (43:04):
And turn the dials.
Kevin Goetz (43:06):
And I actually owned that company. Ah, it's called ASI. It was the preview house up on Sunset. Yeah. Yeah. I bought that company almost a dozen years ago and have evolved it since, we're in North Hollywood now. But the idea of it still exists and we've added the dial to the online portion as well. So we have an online dial, like a slider dial, plus we have the analog dial because there's thousands of pilots that use that technology. Ron Howard talks about a great story of going to the preview house and testing his first movie, I think it was Grand Theft Auto. And Roger Corman brought Ron there and piggybacked onto a Geritol commercial that was being tested right before it. So there were all these older females in particular, some males, but mostly females, way over the demo that this movie was intended for as its target.
Kevin Goetz (43:59):
And they tested it and Ron says, oh my God, I thought we were just screwed. And essentially, the thing tested okay. Even better than okay. But the quality of the response, what people were saying about the pace and so forth, was extremely helpful to him. So I thought that was a really interesting thing, even with being outside of the demo. Yeah. It was still some of those basic things. So even in an online platform, you may not get the contagion of kind of the laughs or the scares in an overall sort of audience. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But you can see them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but you, you get all of those other things. Right. Do you care about the characters? Is the pace moving? In fact the pace at home, the benchmark is higher. People will tune out sooner than they'll walk out of a movie theater. It's more of a commitment. Yeah. So there's ways to do it now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if you could say the most recent best-edited movie that you've seen is, what would you say it was? Is there one that comes to mind?
David Rosenbloom (44:55):
No, I don't think of movies as being well edited.
Kevin Goetz (44:57):
I love that. I mean, can I tell you something that's one of the strongest things I've walked away with this interview with, is that I think that is really important to understand that it really goes hand in glove with the directing and the writing.
David Rosenbloom (45:13):
Yeah. And it's unique to films. There's, there's no editing in any other, I mean, there's book editing.
Kevin Goetz (45:18):
I often say the length of the movie is generally the director's problem, if you will. Meaning they could have directed it faster with, in scenes because there's only so much you can cut to. But the pace is often the editor. So if we look about pace and length.
David Rosenbloom (45:34):
Well pace is an interesting word.
Kevin Goetz (45:36):
Do you know what I mean, right?
David Rosenbloom (45:37):
Yeah. It's a, it's to editors that's, you know, that's a four letter word. It's the word that we really don't want to even talk about. It's not that we don't understand that pace is important, but when the layperson talks about pace, it's not just how fast something is moving or slowly or how slowly it's moving. It's not about speed, it's about engagement and it's about confusion. Confusion is the enemy of pace. And it's always fast.
Kevin Goetz (46:06):
So funny you say that. So here's the thing, fast pace is usually a proxy for confusions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and slow pace is often a proxy for boredom. Lack of engagement. Lack of engagement. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's exactly right. Yep. And I often will tell a director when they say, well, can we not talk about pace? And I'm like, well, we sort of have to see where they're not engaged. Hey, why don't I go into it like that? Why don't I talk about where they weren't engaged in the movie, if at all. But we have certain benchmarks of norms that are pace questioned and people sort of, out of all the studies we've run, they sort of understand that nomenclature. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, is that the word?
David Rosenbloom (46:45):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And we have to, we obviously we pay attention to it.
Kevin Goetz (46:47):
And length, length to me is a feeling thing. It's not a, it's not a length is like, it just felt like I was sitting here too long.
David Rosenbloom (46:54):
Yeah. If there's enough story to sustain the length, you'll know it. If there isn't, you'll also know that.
Kevin Goetz (47:00):
That's why you kind of know when you're dealing with a horror movie that is kind of by the numbers, that to know that you come into it and it's two hours and 10 minutes, you know you probably have an issue right off the bat.
David Rosenbloom (47:12):
You do. Even if it's, even if it's all good.
Kevin Goetz (47:14):
Or a teen comedy that's over two hours.
David Rosenbloom (47:16):
You could end up, you can end up with too much of a good thing that exists. That's a real thing. I remember a long time ago, I saw Robin Williams stand up at the Universal Amphitheater in his heyday. And I had to leave. I had to leave because we, it was like we were hurting ourselves laughing. It wasn't going to get any funnier. It just couldn't get any funnier.
Kevin Goetz (47:36):
It was almost overwrought?
David Rosenbloom (47:37):
No, no, no. It was great. It was brilliant. It was amazing. The guy was the greatest. But at a point where you’re just like, I gotta leave. This is too much.
Kevin Goetz (47:45):
David Rosenbloom (47:47):
It is crazy. It might be the dumbest thing I've ever said. It might have been the dumbest thing I ever did because I might have missed some great jokes, but it was too long. You got your meal. I got the meal. It was too much. It was, I was stuffed. And sometimes, you know that, I don't think I've been in a movie situation where we had that, where it was just too long.
Kevin Goetz (48:03):
Oh. I work on so many movies…
David Rosenbloom (48:04):
I'll bet you do. But not because, because they're too long. But not because they're too much of a good thing. It's a rarity, but it can happen.
Kevin Goetz (48:10):
No, well let's say something different. So if you have a special effects movie, for example mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And one thing is trying to top the next, top the next, but there's no down moments, and you're just constantly going up and up and up and up and up. There is a time when you're just like enough already. It's, it's too much.
David Rosenbloom (48:26):
Kevin Goetz (48:27):
It’s too much. And know when to leave the party. Yeah. And also know when to break.
David Rosenbloom (48:32):
David Rosenbloom (48:32):
Kevin Goetz (48:32):
Exactly. So that you can get back up again.
David Rosenbloom (48:33):
That's right. That's very important. It's very important in writing. It's very important in structuring the movie. And we come upon that all the time because, and I'll tell you in the, if I have a pet peeve about the preview process, it's something that has only come around in the last 10 years or so. What am I waiting for in the preview process? I'm waiting for that question. How is the pace? That's the thing I remember and it's always was, is it too fast? Is it too slow?
Kevin Goetz (49:01):
David Rosenbloom (49:01):
Or is it just right? And then sometime, am I going to last?
Kevin Goetz (49:05):
By the way, I always ask it, is it just right, is it too fast or is it too slow? Because I don't want…
David Rosenbloom (49:10):
You don’t want to lead the witness.
Kevin Goetz (49:10):
I don't want to lead the witness.
David Rosenbloom (49:11):
I get it. But in the last dozen years, 10 years or so, there's a new one that crept in.
Kevin Goetz (49:17):
Slow in places or parts?
David Rosenbloom (49:18):
It's just right, but slow in places or parts or parts. Slow in parts. It's, it's just right. Is it too slow? Is it too fast or is it just right, but slow in spots? And I thought…
Kevin Goetz (49:28):
David Rosenbloom (49:30):
It’s going to be slow and slow spots by design.
Kevin Goetz (49:31):
Let me talk about how that should be handled. Okay. So there's something called implicit response where you're looking at the way in which hands go up. And if I say, was it too fast? People kind of put their hand up and I'm doing my hand sort of half-assed here. So I see it's not like big hands. And then I say, did anything move too slowly? And I see four hands go up and they're kind of not, so maybe it's not the right question. Let's go back. How many say the movie moved too fast in places or parts? Seven hands, big hands go up. Where? Da da da da. Usually it's a confusion just to your point before. Then, I'll say, how many feel the movie moves too slow in places or parts and 12 hands go up, big hands. Where? And now you can get more surgical about where it lost your attention and that's how it should be handled. Not with it's too slow but good in many…
David Rosenbloom (50:26):
Yeah. Well, okay, we can drill down on this a little bit because it's a huge part of what I do.
Kevin Goetz (50:31):
I'm there to do one thing and that is to get you, David, enough actionable data to walk out and go into that editing room and try to have something that can really, you can really sink your teeth into that may be holding people back. I have no other agenda at all. At all. There's nothing else. So if I'm not getting what you want, you always need to tell me, maybe you can do that. Maybe you can particularly ask about the area of the movie of blah blah blah. Because you know the movie better than anyone else. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that would be really helpful.
David Rosenbloom (51:04):
Well, sometimes, you know, you do get a list of questions from the filmmakers before you go into the, indeed, into the focus group. And sometimes those are, you know, agenda serving because we oftentimes go into the preview process where people are hoping to hear certain things because they have their own…
Kevin Goetz (51:20):
I also know how to dismiss a lot of that stuff because I'm not going to be the political pawn there, as you know.
David Rosenbloom (51:26):
Kevin Goetz (51:27):
Right. And so anyway, God, we can talk forever.
David Rosenbloom (51:30):
Let's do that.
Kevin Goetz (51:32):
I am so glad you were here. David Rosenbloom, you're an amazing man, an amazing editor. So gifted, and thank you for sharing some of your wisdom with us today. I'm very grateful.
David Rosenbloom (51:43):
Thank you, Kevin. It was a blast.
Kevin Goetz (51:45):
And to our listeners, I hope you enjoyed today's interview. Check out David's upcoming movie, The Plane, starring Gerard Butler. Also, I encourage you to look up some of his past work on your streaming platforms. For other stories like this one, please check out my book, Audienceology at Amazon or through my website at KevinGoetz360.com. And you can also follow me on my social media at KevinGoetz360. Next time on Don't Kill the Messenger, I will welcome producer, entrepreneur, and former president and CEO of CBS Films, the one and only Amy Baer. Until next time, I'm Kevin Goetz. And to you, our listeners, I appreciate you being part of the movie-making process. Your opinions matter.
Get a glimpse into a secret part of Hollywood that few are aware of and that filmmakers rarely talk about in the new book Audienceology by Kevin Goetz. Each chapter is filled with never before revealed inside stories and interviews from famous studio chiefs, directors, producers, and movie stars, bringing the art and science of audienceology into focus. Audienceology, How Moviegoers Shape the Films We Love, from Tiller Press at Simon and Schuster. Available now.
Host: Kevin Goetz
Guest: David Rosenbloom
Producer: Kari Campano