When Is the Director Done?

Made In NY Bus Poster!

Found In Time has just been released on Amazon, and user reviews are starting to come in. They confirm something that all of us suspected from the beginning – that this was a film that would divide audiences. Those who were expecting something more straightforward would be frustrated; those who could deal with more ambiguity would be happy. There’s nothing inherently good or bad about either attitude, by the way. Ambiguity can be a terrible thing (see Prometheus).

We’re still waiting on some festivals to get back to us, and our foreign sales rep, Summer Hill Films, is taking it to Cannes next month. We’re also still exploring other domestic distribution options – DVD, BluRay, and a soundtrack album.

But most of that is the work of the producer, at least in theory. At what point is the director done with a film? Is it when it’s wrapped? When post is finished? When it’s out at festivals? When it’s available online or in stores? The producer is on for the whole ride (unless the producer is only working for hire). What is the director’s role in this brave new world of the artist/entrepreneur?

J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of the tv series Babylon 5, somehow managed to write most of the 100+ episodes, EP the show, supervise the sound mix, run the online forums on AOL (hey, it was back in the day), and then went on to write follow-up movies, supervise comic and novel adaptations, and answer fan mail. At what point did he say ‘I’m done?’ The show went off the air sometime in the late 1990s but still has a loyal following. Until Firefly and Battlestar Galactica came along it was the gateway drug by which I introduced my non-geek friends to sci-fi. Does he still feel as connected to the show as he did all those years ago?

I’m wrestling with this issue now because I’m in the process of getting back into the director’s chair again for Bitter Child, but I don’t want to abandon Found In Time just at the moment when people are starting to see it. It’s been part of my life so long that I’m not even sure how I would go about leaving it… and yet whenever I work on Bitter Child part of me feels guilty. It’s an odd conundrum, and very different from what I’ve faced before.

By the time my first film, Caleb’s Door, was finished, I was really ready to be done with it and get on with the next project. That was a hundred internet years ago, when social media was just gaining traction and distributors were starting the now-familiar pattern of picking up films for a song and then putting them out into the marketplace with little if any promotion. The idea of the filmmaker taking up the promotion baton was seen as counterproductive (except for documentaries). Festivals were the main avenue for promoting a film.

I moved on to another project (which fell apart), then onto Found In Time. And the funny thing is, that while there are a lot of books out there on how to make your film, there are fewer on how to finish them, even fewer on how to distribute them, and none that I know of about how to do whatever happens after distribution. So I never really went through this before.

I can tell you that it’s a difficult process emotionally to untangle oneself from a project once its “finished,” and make plans for its entry into the world. Whenever I read the negative reviews, I wonder if I’ve made the film too inaccessible or too vague. Or I think that the marketing is off. Or I wonder if there’s a more ‘targeted’ distribution avenue out there.

Working on Bitter Child (and my television project, The Spectral City) is great, but it adds to the tension somewhat. It’s hard to work on more than one project at a time and give each one the proper attention and energy. And with The Spectral City, some more early-stage projects, and the need to make a living all jostling for attention. keeping sustained focus on any one thing can be difficult.

I still wake up every day happy to be in a position to make films and write and express myself, so don’t get the impression that it’s all doom and gloom. My grandparents and parents never had a chance to really pursue their artistic passions as fully as they would have liked. So I’m very lucky. This feeling of uncertainty about what my role is in regards to Found In Time – beyond being a sort of internet-age carnival barker (or wheatpaste band poster brigadier) – is something that’s akin to being a parent, I guess. We’ve raised the kid, and now it’s time to let it go and take on a supporting role in its life.

What I Learned On My Summer Vacation

… or, some details on what went right and what went wrong during production. This will necessarily be a short blog entry; in the future I’ll go into more details on some of these points.

What Went Right

The Small Crew Size: I’ve worked with crews of 30 people, each of whom were getting paid very little money, and consequently tended to be less experienced. This necessitated adding more shooting days to the schedule. I decided to go the opposite route, hire more experienced people, pay them a little better, and have a smaller group overall and fewer shooting days. It should be noted that I did hire a number of interns, all whom did excellent work. But because we had experienced keys, I didn’t need the same level of infrastructure to manage them.

The Five Day Week: I think that shooting a sixth day is basically a waste of time, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Since most people are getting paid a day rate, and you’re probably not paying full retail for gear and locations anyway, why put yourself through a sixth day of shooting when you can use that time to organize the following week, or maybe, I don’t know, get some sleep?

Starting With the Hard Stuff: During our first week, we shot about 36 pages. Nearly our entire cast worked the first week. We shot a number of long scenes with some very tricky stuff going on (five people talking and moving around). We had very little control over the environment, and had some bouts of inclement weather (though it wasn’t as bad as it could have been). But by the end of the first week, we had a tightly knit cast and crew, and shot an incredible 36 pages in only five days. Also, by putting the crew through their paces, I also got a sense of how they worked and what the pattern of the day would be.

Scheduling Actresses Later: Whenever possible, we tried to schedule scenes with actresses for later in the day, so that we wouldn’t be waiting on hair/makeup and wardrobe. This put a little less pressure on Ghislaine and Janis, and let us get our first shot off a little faster.

Block Shooting Some Scenes: There were several points where we decided to shoot out an angle for all the scenes, then turn around, rather than cover a single scene at a time. This works best, obviously, when you only have a few angles you can shoot a given set of scenes from, or where there’s supposed to be a visual similarity between scenes. This saved us a lot of time relighting and repositioning.

Staying In One Place The First Week: Our first week’s work was in one location – the vendor street, which happened to be (in real life) the corner of Davidson and Burnside Ave in the Bronx. We had a wonderful holding space, the Davidson Community Center. Being able to stay in one place and get organized, while also shooting a lot of challenging material, was crucial.

Starting Prep Early: Everyone says that production is determined by preproduction, but it’s very true. We started location scouting in April and May; locking down locations, vendors, and crew in June; casting in July and August; analyzing and breaking down the script in March and April… the truth is that if you don’t have a lot of money, you HAVE to take the time to figure out the shoot before you get on set.

Switching Caterers a Lot: We switched our caterer several times during the course of the shoot, which worked well because it meant not getting bored with one cuisine or another.


Trying to Bite Off More Than I Could Chew on the Stunt Days:
We went into overtime on both days that we had stunts, and ended up owing some footage on one of the days that we didn’t make up until the last day of the shoot. When tallied together, the OT overages (on the crew, cast, and locations), combined with the additional day that I had to hire one of the cast for, nearly equaled another day of shooting. Lesson learned!

No Key PA: This was a painful position to eliminate during the budgeting process, but I couldn’t figure out how to squeeze it in, especially as other costs started to rack up. The problem is that without someone a little more experienced to kind of run the other PAs, a good chunk of the job fell on me. That’s not a bad thing – sometimes I think directors could use to be a little more in touch with everyone in the crew – it was sometimes very distracting.

This is not to take anything away from the PAs; they worked their butts off and took a lot of initiative.

Not Enough Good Vegan Options: I should have worked out better vegan options with each of the caterers. Some delivered good options, others didn’t get it. The vegans in the cast and crew were very easy-going but they didn’t have to be. Next time I’ll get it right, guys!

That’s it for now. I will try to post one more piece before the end of the year. If I don’t, then have a great new year and a happy holiday season!

Post Production Workflow

The shoot is over. I’m still figuring out all the things I learned, and at some point I’ll integrate it and write a short blog entry on the topic. But at the moment my energy is going towards getting ready for the next step: cutting the film. What follows is a synopsis of the post workflow for Found In Time It’s based on things I’ve learned while making this film, my experience as post supervisor on previous features, and a lot of consultation with other folks. Many thanks to Josh Apter, head of Manhattan Edit Workshop, Creative Cow Magazine, and as always Ben Wolf.

Don’t Just Start Cutting
The temptation is probably just to dig in and start cutting scenes together, using the camera master footage. This is almost always a mistake. First off, if you’re the director, you have no perspective on the footage. I know I don’t. Secondly, you need to organize both the “physical” files on the drive, giving them a proper reel name and folder to live in; and the names of the clips in your NLE. Thirdly, you need to set up a schedule – what you want, when you want it, and what the end goal is. Hopefully you’ve done this before you shot anything, and now you’re just revising it to match your remaining money/schedule/expectations. But if not, now’s a good time to set it up.

The Schedule
Take a BIG step back. Forget about the footage burning a hole on your hard drive. Think carefully: when can I realistically finish this film? What are the steps I need to take to get there? Who’s going to do those steps?
At this point, post breaks down into nine BIG steps, that generally (though not always) follow the order below:

1. Backup, Transcoding, Logging. In an ideal world, this is happening on a daily basis. Every night the Assistant Editor takes the day’s work (either on cards or drives), backs it up to another drive, then transcodes the footage to the editing format, usually while also logging it into the NLE.

2. Picture Cutting. The film is put together, reel by reel, by the editor.

3. Reshoots/Inserts/Additional Photography. You need it, you didn’t get it. Now go get it.

4. F/X and Titles. As the film nears completion, visual effects artists go to work on the more complex material. In an ideal world, sequences are finalized in time for the online. In many cases, the online has to be pushed back until after the sound mix is done, to give the effects artists more time. Titles are usually done at this point (end credit crawls are often finalized only at the final output phase).

5. Online. The film selects (from the final cut) are retranscoded at the highest possible resolution/setting. The footage is color corrected, basic transitions (dissolves, fades) and effects work (taking out booms, minor tweaks, etc.) are done. F/X and titles are married to the locked picture.

6. Sound Editing. The dialog levels are evened out, and the “sound world” of the film created – effects, foley, music, voice-over, are inserted and brought together.

7. Music. The composer scores the final cut of the film (sometimes this happens during the editing process). Existing music is licensed (don’t do this at home, kids! You don’t have the budget. Trust me.). The music is premixed (ideally).

8. Mix. The various sound elements (dialog, effects, foley, music, ambiance) are brought together and leveled, to conform to both artistic and broadcast standards. The mixer creates final “bounce files.”

9. Final Output. The conformed film is married to the bounce tracks, and the whole thing (all the reels) are output to the “final” master medium (tape or film).

So with this outline in hand, you have to figure out: who’s going to be doing what (personnel)? With what tools (gear)? For how long (timeframe)? And what are the things each step requires (inputs) and what are the results (outputs)?

After doing some research, and thinking about what’s worked best on previous low-budget films, I came up with the following chart.

Num. Step Inputs Personnel Gear Outputs
1 Transcoding
Organizing bins
Logging clips with scene/shot/take/other info
H.264 Clips on drive
Sound WAV files on drive
Myself Final Cut
Canon5D FCP Plugin
Final Cut Project File w/bins
Named ProRes LT clips in folders on drive
Logging notes of some kind (database, spreadsheet, something)
2 Syncing ProRes LT clips
Audio files
Final Cut Project
Me Final Cut
Final Cut Project File w/bins
3 Script Notes Final Cut Project
Me Final Cut Pro Lined script books with notes
Binder with notes, sound reports, production reports, etc.
4 Picture Edit Final Cut Project
Hard Drive
Editor Final Cut Pro Sequences in reels
5 Feedback Screenings Rough or 2nd Cut on DVD Editor, Me, Trusted friends DVD projector Notes for next cut
6 Reshoots/Inserts Wish list of shots Skeleton crew and cast Basic camera/sound unit
Props, set dressing
Video/audio footage
7 F/X and Titles Final Cut Project
F/X footage (shot on location)
Add’l computer-generated footage
Ben Wolf
Visual F/X Artist
Editor (possibly)
Final Cut Pro
After Effects(?)
Locked VFX sequences and titles
8 Transcode for Online FCP sequences (reels)
Camera master files
Me Final Cut Pro
5DtoRGB tool
ProRes HQ (422) or ProRes 444 versions of selects only (clips that made the final cut)
9 Conform ProRes HQ clips
Offline Final Cut Pro sequences (reels)
VFX and title sequences
Me Final Cut Pro Final Cut Pro sequences, linked to ProRes HQ clips
10 Color Correction/Basic Compositing Final Cut Pro sequences (reels)
Ben (DP)
Final Cut Pro
After Effects
Color corrected reels with all titles and effects in place
11 Prep for Sound Edit Audio files
Final Cut Reels (preferably color corrected, but at least the final conforms
Me Final Cut Pro Quicktimes for each reel per the sound designer/composer specs
Sound tracks grouped per spec
OMF files per reel
Sound Design Notes in binder
12 Sound Design OMF files, etc. as above Sound Designer
Foley Artist?
Dialog Editor?
ProTools or other sound software
Final Cut Pro
Stereo LTRT session files
Possibly 5.1 session files
13 Music Quicktimes and sound notes Composer Instruments
Music mixing software
Soundtrack, broken into reels, premixed
14 Mix Session files
Soundtrack files (if not already part of session files)
Sound Designer
Mixing hardware
Bounce tracks
15 Final Output Blank HDCAM and Digibeta stock
Final Cut reels
Bounce tracks
Post House Editor
Online suite Projection master
SD tape master
DVD master (Quicktimes)

Some specifics:
1. We picked ProRes LT because it offers the best compromise between file size and quality. H.264 can be difficult to edit with natively – it’s a long-GOP format, which means that Final Cut has to do a lot of math to reconstruct the frames at your edit points. This can cause machines to chug and drop frames during playback, which is not good. The whole long-GOP vs. i-frame discussion is beyond the scope of this article; but I’ll dig up some good resources for you or talk about it more in-depth at some point.

ProRes LT is an i-frame format (individual frames are stored instead of groups of frames), but the file size is manageable.

2. Pluraleyes is a stand-alone program that can take clips in a Final Cut Pro sequence and line them up. Assuming you have camera audio, Pluraleyes can line up your separate-source audio files with your video (with camera sound) files.

3. I’m glossing over a lot of the sound post process (which could have its own diagram); I’ll save that for another blog entry.

So now you’ve got a basic idea of what we’ll be doing over the next few months. Future blogs will focus on the individual steps, with more specifics and how-tos. I’d go into more detail but this entry is getting pretty long as it is. Until next time then!

Being Smart About Money

I’ve seen this happen. Genius starts a business. He’s got a great product (or film), a lot of goodwill and interest from people, and a loyal team.

What’s the first thing he does? Gets himself in hock buying or renting a LOT of stuff. Spending money (either his or his investors) on “publicity parties,” glossy packages, and a really really impressive desk. He rents an office space.

Everything’s going great, until the bottom falls out of the market, or Genius B comes out with the same product only cheaper, or your investor decides to shut the faucet off. Then Genius is left with a set of awful choices: close up shop, plow whatever’s left into finishing the film/product, change horses and make something else, lay everyone off and try to go it alone, ask everyone to take pay cuts, and so on…

In the BEST-CASE scenario, the movie gets made, the software comes on the market, the appliance ships. It does reasonably well and the company skates by, but Genius has now burned pretty much everyone around him (usually including his spouse/significant other), is in personal debt up to his eyeballs, and may have to close up and go back to work for someone else for a few years before getting another chance at-bat.

I witnessed this behavior first as a computer consultant, then as a line producer. At this point I’ve been around long enough to watch small businesses in just about every sector fail. In trying to keep my own business afloat, I’ve had to learn (sometimes the really, really hard way) how to be smart about my (and my investors’) money. This is a WAY-TOO-SHORT list of things to think about in this regard.

Limit Your Overhead
This should be obvious, but for some reason it’s not. To start making a film you need (a) a cellphone, (b) a computer, (c) a printer, (d) your brains. [obviously you need more than that as time goes on] If you need to get away from the house because it’s too distracting, find a cafe/bar/library/someplace, preferably free. Or make or buy a cheap desk and stick it in a corner of your room. Likewise, hiring people before you’re ready to use them, buying lots of gadgets (more on that below), throwing launch parties, buying expensive desks… not good uses of money.

Get Good Tools
This seems to contradict to what I just said, but not really. You will need a smartphone, a computer, a printer, and probably some piece of furniture to put them on. Fortunately, good tools aren’t always expensive. Almost any machine you buy from HP, Apple, or Dell will give you decent horsepower and all come with good warranty options. You’ll need a laser printer (but not an expensive one) if you want to print bulk copies of scripts and business plans (it’ll be cheaper than Staples or an inkjet). Most cellular plans come with decent promos for smartphones. A desk can be put together for about $50-60 in lumber or a trip to Ikea, or by salvaging a door and some filing cabinets (one of my favorite methods). A decent office chair (or better, a stool) can be gotten from Staples or Quill for cheap.

The price of buying bad tools that break or underperform is high – lost productivity due to tech support calls, cash spent on replacing items that are just out of warranty. Investors also take stock of your tools when you meet them (just as they do your clothes and hair). Appearing somewhat thrifty is good; appearing too cheap suggests that you don’t have a good gauge on when to spend money.

Renting Gadgets vs. Buying Them
If you’re a DP, a sound mixer, an editor or compositor, then your livelihood depends on having good tools (see above) and being able to use them when you want/need to. Purchasing a camera, lights, an editing system and/or DDR may make sense. But if you’re a producer, buying gadgets usually doesn’t make sense, and here’s why:

* Unless your business model includes working for hire and bringing the gear along (for a fee), or renting the camera out to other people, then your gadget will never make back its cost. When I bought a Mac to edit my first film with, I also used it as my main computer for four years; between web programming gigs, line producing and the occasional editing spot, I’m sure I was able to pay back the cost of the machine. Can you say the same thing?

* If you rent something and it breaks down, you call the rental house and they replace it – on their dime. If you buy something and it breaks down, it’s your responsibility to fix it. As a computer geek, buying a computer (vs. leasing) made sense because I could fix most problems myself. But if you’re on set and your camera dies, you’d better have a backup unit or a good relationship with a rental house.

* Are you looking at the real cost of ownership, or just the basic model price? If you’re buying a camera, did you include the tripod, carrying case, cables, spare batteries, and additional cards?

* Today’s gadget is tomorrow’s doorstop. Make sure you aren’t buying something that’s going to be outdated in a year when the next model comes along – then you won’t even be able to rent it out as frequently.

It’s often more cost-effective in the long run to rent gear when you need it. An important exception to this is documentaries, where you may have to pick up and go on a moment’s notice, or if you’re shooting somewhere way far away from a rental house for months on end (then you might as well buy, and just take really good care of your gear).

Take The Cost of Living Into Account
The cost of living – due to real or artificial inflation – goes up roughly 3% or more per year. It’s hard to measure exactly, because some goods stay the same in price while others rise.

But most people don’t take this into account. If you have a savings account that’s earning below the cost of living increase, you’re essentially losing money every year (less than if you put the money under your mattress, but still). Likewise if you go without a raise for a couple of years at your day job, you’re effectively taking a pay cut. This is also why you can’t use a budget from a film made more than a few years ago as the basis for your own (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway). El Mariachi and Blair Witch would still cost more if made today, even if NOTHING in the way they were filmed changed.

Credit Card Debt Vs. Savings
Most of the time, saving is better than spending. HOWEVER, there are exceptions. Right now, CDs are offering less interest than the rate of inflation (see above). Credit card interest, on the other hand, has not come down as much, and credit card companies are constantly finding new ways to stick it to us – late fees, interest rate jumps, new ways of calculating interest, membership fees, “rewards program” or “fraud protection” fees, etc…

If you’re putting money into a savings account (or IRA or 401K) but are also carrying credit card debt, STOP saving and pay down your debt first. Start with the highest-interest cards first, and “snowball” your payments (as you pay one card off, apply the payment to the next card).

Don’t pay your taxes on your credit card. The IRS will take monthly payments, and the interest and penalties charged are usually far less than the credit card companies will charge you in interest.

Don’t put staple goods on your credit card – food, gas, etc. – unless you can pay it off every month or you’re using a debit card. If you can’t pay for your food in cash, that’s a sign that you’re living above your means.

Don’t buy into fraud protection insurance or any of the other crappy insurance programs offered by credit cards. They add very little value to the protection built into your account (and enforced by law). Likewise, be wary of rewards programs – they tend to encourage spending.

I’m all for having a little rainy-day fund in case you get laid off. But nothing will eat into that fund faster than debt, so I still think it’s better to pay the debt off first and save later.

Get Organized
If your car ashtray or shoebox is your bookkeeping system, you need to upgrade to something better. If you have investors, they will sometimes ask you how things are going with their money, and you’d better be able to answer.

I recommend learning QuickBooks. It’s hard to get a reliable, good bookkeeper for what you can probably afford to pay (which is usually next to nothing). It’s not an easy program to learn, but once you do you’ll be working with the industry standard. You can budget and track expenses, add credit cards as well as bank accounts, and generate statements and invoices.

Keep Your Money Separate…
… from your investors’. It’s VERY tempting to use investor money for personal use. Maybe you think you deserved a dinner on the company’s dime because you worked late. Or you think you should lease a car. Or have the company pay part of the rent on your apartment (since it’s the production office anyway).

There is a legitimate case to be made for each situation. If you’re in preproduction and you’re saving money because you didn’t have to hire a PA to collate all those scripts, then having dinner makes sense. If you’re in production and your shitbox isn’t big or reliable enough to transport your actors and crew, you should rent a vehicle. If your production office is your apartment, you may need to reimburse yourself a little (at least to cover bumps in utilities, furniture breakage, and/or spousal irritation).

But if you’re in development or postproduction, these arguments don’t really hold up as well. If you’re in development you should be saving as much money as possible; if you’re in post you’re probably coming close to running out of it. Your investors may or may not scrutinize these expenses. If they think you’re using their money as a “free ride” they may not be as generous the next time around. Or they might want some of it back.

Auto Pay Is The Way
Especially when you’re in production, you really don’t have time to keep track of your personal finances. Many of us (myself included) hate doing it in the first place. So I get the bank to some of it for me – I have my bank account automatically pay all my bills. I have an overdraft on the checking account so I’m not worried about a bounced check. Since doing this my late payment fees have dropped to about $15 per year; also, my interest rate increases (due to late payments) have disappeared. The few times I’ve had a shortfall – when a payment has come out of the overdraft because my paycheck hadn’t cleared – the charge was nominal. At the very least, turn this option on during production.

Don’t Let Out Of Pocket Expenses Accumulate
Your first instinct will probably be to let the crew pay for their expenses, then reimburse them after they submit receipts. After all, there’s always the chance that if you hand them their money, they’ll just walk away with it, right?

The truth is that most people won’t do that. They want to work again. The short-term gain is too small. They have pride in their work.

The solutions are to give them floats, give them credit cards with specific limits, and/or pay for certain expenses directly. Review their spending on a weekly basis and stay on top of things (or hire a line producer to do it).

If you give your department heads piles of cash and say “that’s all you’re getting,” they will spend that pile. If you tell them you’ll reimburse them later, they’ll spend more than that pile, and be upset if you say that you won’t reimburse them for everything. This is not evil on their part – they’re just trying to help you make your movie, and are often going above and beyond to do that. But people don’t tend to keep as close track of their own spending, or they just assume that you’ll cover it anyway, or maybe they’re a little pissed because they’re going out of pocket… for a variety of reasons, you’ll end up spending more.

Think Opposite The Herd
When everyone sells, that’s when it’s time to buy. When everyone’s buying, that’s when it’s time to sell. That’s the best way to survive in the world of investing.

This principle applies to filmmaking in general, however. Make a film in the winter (when no one is working), shoot in a town where no one else goes, pick atypical locations, cast under-utilized actors… you get the idea. If everyone is shooting a romantic comedy, maybe you should put yours on the shelf and take down that horror film – otherwise, you’ll end up with just one more low budget romantic comedy, aiming for the same jackpot your competitors are.

Student Loan Consolidation? Think Carefully…
Consolidating your student loans may lower your immediate overhead, but it will usually cost you more in the long run. The consolidated interest rate can often be higher than at least some of the individual loans. And of course you’ll end up paying more in interest over the long haul (sometimes three times as much). Some of your loans (particularly certain types of Federal loans) aren’t “consolidatable” in any case.

Hire Good Professionals
You’ll need a good lawyer and a good tax accountant (unless you’re skilled in either of these areas). Build their services into the film’s budget. I’ve seen far too many people get into trouble because they wrote their own (badly worded) contract, or filed the wrong LLC forms at tax time or when forming the corporation.

Pay Yourself Last
Yes, everyone says “pay yourself first,” but if you’re making a low-budget film, your crew really aren’t going to understand why they’re working deferred or at a low rate if you’re getting a better deal. If you want people to be loyal to you, it’s better to forgo some perks (a fancier desk, a better salary, early-day Fridays) and work your ass off.

People Are Your Best Resource
You don’t have to suck up or even be particularly nice to the people working for you, but you do have to publicly acknowledge that their contribution is valuable. This doesn’t always mean spending a lot of money – sometimes a sincere “thank you” or a drink, or hiring them on your next better-paying job, are sufficient. You can’t buy people’s loyalty and trust, you have to earn it through your deeds.

Well, that’s it – really truly. Time to get back to rewriting.