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February 2016

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Page 14 of 51 13 POST FEBRUARY 2016 FILMMAKING generation of moviegoers, people today know what is good and what is classy, and what a good-looking image is. I'm really sure if you want to make a film to reach a set audience, your film should look good. And so, what we did, I started from photographs, when I was in New York as a tourist, and by looking at other photos on Flickr and from other people posting pictures from New York and street life and I picked and chose images I felt represented the feeling of what the film should have. So that was a starting point for conversations with our pro- duction designer, but also our costume designer and DP. I sat down with these images as a template of how the movie should feel. And actually, we do end up with quite a few shots in the film that are very close to these photographs and that inspired a lot of choices." How early on in the process did you integrate post? Did you have your editor on site? "Yes, my editor Tia Nolan, the most fan- tastic person you can hope for, she was there from Day 1. She was in New York, which was very helpful for me. Because we shot a ton of stuff and a lot of vari- ations, and I went to the editing room very often after we finished shooting just to watch some scenes, have some laughs and see where we were, and get a feeling for the overall flow of things. I always like to do it that way because it also informs me of where we might need some breathing moments — hopefully we planned for it but maybe not, so I like to stay current of where the cut is." Do you enjoy the post process? "You know, my favorite thing as a kid was building Legos and so it's like, for me, it's the same thing. On the set is a lot of fun and we capture everything — there's a lot of movement and energy and you're al- ways on your toes, but sitting down and really thinking about the stuff and going into detail and turning every Lego brick around and seeing what matches what where, I love it. And I think that hopefully the film comes together and is defined in editing. Especially a film like ours, in itself, it has a lot of storylines that need to be balanced and within the storylines themselves when you have actresses like Rebel Wilson, or Leslie Mann or Dakota Johnson, very inventive, suddenly you end up with five possible versions of a scene — and to make all these choices and balance out all these things, that's really a challenge but a fun one. I enjoyed it a lot." What editing system was the film cut on? Was it Avid? "Yes. I always use Avid." How closely did you work with editor Tia Nolan? "I trust her a lot and so I don't sit next to her and have one hand on the keyboard. I sit back and she does all the magic and I enjoy it." Were there any VFX in the film? "Yes, we have a lot of effects shots. Several hundred. Often times, small stuff, like tattoo removals, but also some bigger stuff like building parts of the Manhattan Bridge in the 2D environments, which I hope no- body realizes. Quite a few set extensions, greenscreen work, and some snow work. We used Psyop and Hollywood Visual Effects, and Bruce Jones and Dan Levitan were our supervisors. I think nobody will see a single one of these, which is great, but there are a lot." How important was the DI process? "It's very important because you can really go off the rails if you don't watch out because there's so much cool stuff you can do. So, for me, it's mostly about keeping the integrity of the image." How important is audio to you as a filmmaker? "I think that audio has a more direct connection to your heartstrings than images do a lot of times. I find audio, specifically music, and also sound design, very important. Before I started making this movie and especially coming to this genre fresh, I watched a ton of films, and I made a list of things I didn't want to do. And top of the list, don't Mickey Mouse with music. Don't use comedy music on that because it's a comedy and a lot of comedies tend to do that. "We used source music that was very current and true to what people actual- ly listen to that live in New York. So we brought on Season Kent as music super- visor, [who] did films like The Spectacular Now and great soundtracks. She's very current and she sent me a playlist to spark some ideas before I started shoot- ing, and I said, 'You can stop working right now because this is already the soundtrack and such an amazing playlist.' And we ended up using songs from that original playlist. Also, New Lines' head of music, Erin Scully, is a very tasteful person, and she had input, so that came together as a great team effort. For the composer side of things, I wanted to have somebody fresh, so Season and Erin suggested Fil Eisler, who's the com- poser of Empire, the TV show. He's a cool guy and wrote a very original score for our film. So, very happy with that." Were there any technical challenges with the shoot — production or post? "No, the biggest challenge for us was to actually select what ended up in the film and where to make the cuts because we had a lot of stuff and we didn't want a two-and-a-half-hour movie." Did the film turn out the way you hoped it would? "Yes, it did. The film feels like I wanted it to feel and as funny as I wanted it to be. I'm really happy with it." Ditter (left) shot How To Be Single on- location throughout New York City and on a soundstage in Queens using Arri's Alexa and 65 cameras. The film was cut on an Avid.

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