Since before its debut at Sundance, one of my goals for The Nines has been to let viewers recut it to their whims. It’s a film that lends itself to wild reimagination, so I suspect there are some fascinating versions out there waiting to be assembled.

We were able to do it to a small degree with the trailer competition, but I’d ultimately love for an editor to load in all of the assets and go crazy. 1

This spring, we’re going to do a test run. In USC’s Advanced Editing class, students will get every frame of dailies for The Nines on their Avids, so they can work through the process of making a real feature with the real footage. Editor Doug Crise and I will visit to help explain some of our choices, but it will be up to the student editors to figure out what movie they want to make and how.

Given its relationship with filmmakers, USC’s School of Cinematic Arts has done this with many features over the years. But my hope is to find a way to make it possible without the infrastructure of a film school, so that any aspiring editor could get her hands on the real footage. There are legal and technical obstacles, to be sure, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this dry run goes.

  1. Yes, an ambitious cutter could rip apart the footage from the DVD — that’s how most parody trailers are made — but it’s not the same as having the real footage. It’s like rewriting a sentence with only ten words and two pieces of punctuation.