For those of you unfamiliar with the post-production process for motion pictures, allow me to explain. During production, we shoot lots of footage of all the scenes. Then, an editor (in this case, me) has to assemble all the appropriate pieces of footage into a coherent movie.
Sometimes the pieces fit together very well. Other times, there are issues that make the puzzle a little trickier. For instance, if someone's hand is positioned a certain way in one shot, but is positioned differently in the next shot. That leads to what's called a continuity error. The editor has to try to cut down on those. If the script supervisor has done a good job on set, there shouldn't be too many continuity errors to worry about in post.
The editor also controls the pacing of the film. If I want a certain moment to play out a little longer on screen than it did on set, I can find ways to manipulate the timing of the footage to that effect.
The rough cut is the first edited version of the film. It's not polished or finished, but it gives the filmmakers an idea of what the finished picture will look and feel like. Sometimes the rough cut is very different than the finished product. For example, when Joseph Stefano, the screenwriter of Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO, saw the rough cut of that film, he thought it was the worst thing he'd ever seen. But that was just the rough cut.
Once the film is edited and polished, it undergoes a process called color correction. In the case of BLACK PAPER, that means that the entire film will be converted to black & white and the contrasts will be adjusted. The film's sound will also need to be edited and mixed so that different audio tracks are set at the appropriate relative levels. And to top it all off, a composer will write music to score the film. We have a very gifted composer on board for that: Chris Porter, with whom I've worked many times.
So right now I'm on the first step: the rough cut. I'm almost twenty minutes into the picture already, and it's not the worst thing I've ever seen. In fact, I think it's pretty good. But then, I am a little biased.