I’ve just finished interviewing for my Cinefex article on the visual effects of Rush. The last meeting on my list took me yesterday to Leavesdon Studios in Hertfordshire, UK, where I spent a fascinating hour with my final victim – sorry, interviewee. He’s deep into preproduction on a new project, so it was fantastic to steal an hour of his day to talk about a show on which he wrapped at the end of last year. When I thanked him for giving up his valuable time, he simply smiled and said, ‘Cinefex is the best.’
In addition to yesterday’s jaunt, I’ve also conducted four interviews at a visual effects house in London, done two more over the phone and emailed a bunch of questions to one of the supervisors who wasn’t able to talk to me in person (he’s currently putting in 12-hour days on location). The end result of all this is around five hours of recordings, primarily about visual effects, but also taking in Rush‘s special effects and art direction.
Before getting the recordings transcribed, I’m doing a quick edit of the audio files to cut out long pauses and as many of the ‘um’s and ‘er’s as I can catch. Once I get the transcriptions back, I do what I think of as a ‘pre-edit’. That mostly means cutting out repetitions and extraneous words (you’d be surprised how often people – interviewers included – say ‘you know’ or ‘kind of’), reconstructing broken sentences and generally cutting to the chase. The end result is as clean a written record of each interview as I’m going to get.
When I embarked on this, my first foray into research journalism, I was nervous about going into all these interviews blind. But I soon realised that’s part of the deal. Even if you think you know stuff about a show, you have to assume you don’t. The interviewer is the empty vessel waiting to be filled. There’s a moderately high stress level attached to that: ‘If I mess up with the information-gathering, I’ll have nothing to write about.’ But a little fear never did anyone any harm, right?
Fortunately, all the people I spoke to have been both passionate and articulate about what they did on the movie, and genuinely enthusiastic about talking to Cinefex. Once the transcription process is finished next week, I should have roughly 25,000 words to draw on for my copy. My target for the final article is between 8,000 and 10,000 words.
Time to get writing!