Friday, March 23, 2018

Shooting with just one light.

Every so often I'll recycle one of my Inside HFP videos as a blog here.
Now that ads are gone from my YT page for awhile, at least here I stand a chance of earning a little from your viewership.  And we can all use a little more money, right?
It's why I try to provide free content, to save people money.

In this video I discuss creating a few lighting schemes with a $10(ish) clamp light you can get at any hardware store...and maybe some garage sales.  Do people still have garage sales?

More movie reviews, podcasts, interviews and behind the scenes blogs coming soon.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Racing the Season

Last year about this time I wasn't "overselling" my cabin because I was trying to save it as a location for shooting Jack vs Lanterns.  I figured March wasn't really much of a time for us to have visitors anyway, so no loss of revenue by closing it to shoot. Well, much like this year, the weather was unpredictable and we lost a lot of those nights to rain or freezing temperatures anyway, so the shooting didn't get done.

Michelle Prenez Kicking bad guys in my "Blue Cube" for Jack vs Lanterns

Seasonal Work.

This past week I had planned to film out there, but we got a last minute booking.  I'm not so rich that I can turn down a few hundred dollars (like I did last year), so I decided to finally bite the bullet and shoot the remaining the scenes in my blue cube that I use for the Inside HFP episodes.

Having another  job that's basically seasonal causes a bit of a race at the end of winter.  I should only have two days of real work when someone stays.  Before check-in and after.  If there's very little turn around between guests, that drops to one day because cleaning up after one guests also involves checking the place out for the other.

Last weekend was our first guest of "the season", so when I got out there, the place needed some fixing.  A wind storm had destroyed a screen door and so we had to get it put back together with some new parts before the guests were due to arrive.  That guest managed to break a chair.  Fortunately, my next group is small and fine being down a chair because Nancy and I prefer to buy either Made in the USA furniture and/or sturdy used.  (This chair was one that came with the original set which came with the house.)  Newer stuff doesn't seem to be made to the standards we grew up with and buying used at least helps local charities or entrepreneurs and upcycling efforts. Things like this, however, eat into time that in the winter I would have had free for just editing and writing.  Unfortunately, I never seem to be as inspired when there isn't sunshine outside of my window.

The Solution?

I'm really  hoping to find a manager to take over this little unit here (we have one for our place in Florida), but I know from experience that they probably won't tackle small issues "in the moment" like I do and I like to be able to do that. I think it makes for a better guest experience.  It's just interfering with other projects too much at this point.  I spend a lot of time "on call" and I don't book the cabin as often I could if I didn't worry about not being on hand to deal with little issues that may crop up.  It takes a lot Nancy's time too.  At least a good portion of that time we're working together, so while other couples golf or whatever, we fix stuff and shoot movies.

New Projects.

I started the new podcast this week, right after our last guests checked out. You can read about it in the Cult Goddess Magazine blog.  Tina Berg is working on the next episode as I type this. We're sort of in "Pre-Launch" mode with it right now, doing some pilots while I get my feet wet, but it should become a regular thing soon.  I look at it sort of like an expanded version of "Cult Goddess TV" from a few years back.  If you are an independent director, actor, writer, special F/X artist, make-up artist, jack or jill of all trades or any other independent artist and think you'd like to be on the show, contact me with a DM.

If you have a guest you'd like to hear from on BCinemaTalks, comment below and we'll see if we can make it happen.

Last week I also released the movie, X-24, to Amazon. It's a short film, which we shot in one day just after Halloween last  year.  I'll tell you all more about it in another blog.  I need to go shop for chairs now.
Our UK readers can watch it on Amazon Prime in the UK here.

Look for this photo for the blog on the production of "X-24"

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Why Viewers Should Be Mad That Amazon is Paying Creators Less

This past month Amazon Video Direct (Now "Prime Video Direct") has moved "partners" to a tiered payment plan for content.  Whereas before titles were paid a set amount per hour viewed, now they are paid a floating amount, depending on how much they're viewed over the course of a set amount of time.  Effectively, smaller or older titles, stuck in tier one, will be earning about 65% less than they did last year.

Why the change?

According to the email Amazon sent me, this is to reward "more engaging" content.  The more people who watch a title, and they longer they watch it for, the more that title will earn per viewing  minute.  On the face of it, this seems like a reward for good content (or at least content the consumer wants) and makes sense.  

There is a flaw in this reasoning, however.  Since to move from tier one to tier two a movie must accumulate 100,000 hours in views, features can climb tiers more easily than shorts despite actual "engagement".   Let me give an example.  For the sake of ease, let's make our feature 2 hours long.  People start it because it has good cover art, but they fast forward through the boring bits and stop watching before the end because there's too many boring bits.  On average our fictional viewers watch an hour of the feature.  If 100,000 people do this, the movie will become a tier two money maker with only 50% engagement.

Now, a short film, 10 minutes in length, would have to be watched 6 times to equal one hour.  Let's assume for our example that nearly everyone loves it!  and 500,000 people watch it all the way through.  That's 100% engagement from 5x as many people, but the movie remains on the lower pay tier because of it's short format.  

The math doesn't fit the logic behind it.

Why should viewers care?

For "fringe" filmmakers, such as myself, this poses a conundrum.  On the Amazon Platform, unless we build our audiences up a great deal, for every title, the reward is going to be significantly less and it will definitely be less after six months or a year, when Amazon has added many new titles and ours drops back into the void.  

This leaves us two options:
1. Make movies with more mass appeal.
2. Make cheaper movies and shows.

As a viewer you have plenty of other platforms providing the top end of Hollywood and mainstream pictures.  The thing that was neat about Amazon Prime working with indies is that you could fish through some pretty unusual stuff.  Now, what you're left with, dear viewer with the slightly odd taste, is a bunch of filmmakers either trying to compete for mainstream viewers or having to take less risk to match the smaller reward they stand to reap.

Amazon recently raised the prices for Prime Membership and they're paying your content providers less.  You're being asked to spend more money while they force content creators to consider cutting costs.

Back to basics.

For me, the decision is easy.  I have a lot of scripts already written with only a few characters and some very basic locations.  These are now getting moved to the top of my production list.  It's going to hurt a bit to not be able to fly in the best fit for a role when I know I wrote a part for someone specific, but  spending more on the movie than it will make back in a reasonable amount of time is just bad business.  I'm not totally against bad business, but I do try to minimize it.

How can you help?

If you have a favorite show, movie, short or whatever on Amazon, YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes, Hulu or Netflix, share it.  Post about it.  Review it on that platform (even with a short few lines).  All of these demonstrate "engagement" and move the titles forward in searches.  After that, if others want to watch it, it can help keep the earning numbers up, allowing for future shows to be budgeted more appropriately. 

Don't watch movies on pirate sites.  Don't encourage others to do it either.

Like our Indie Streams page on Facebook in order to share your favorite streaming content and share links to reviews.

Monday, March 12, 2018

To Prime or not Prime? That is Today's Question

The question of whether "To Prime or not to Prime?" gets a bit muddled when Amazon now refers to all of their streaming as "Prime" instead of just the stuff you get included with your paid "Prime" subscription.  To those who thought this would be a project blog about whether or not to use primer before painting something, I apologize.  That would have been: "To prime or not prime?" and the answer is usually, "prime" whenever you can.  You'll enjoy a better end product with a longer lasting top coat.

On to the streaming video question! 

Why not just give it all away when you'll be paid anyway?

This was my initial approach to Amazon Prime when Amazon Video Direct initially gave me the power to include my movies as part of their "Prime" service.  It was actually something I had emailed them about several times about over the years, because it was obvious that people would be more interested in giving an unknown film a chance if it wasn't going to cost them anything "extra".  This is actually the excuse a lot of people use when you find out they've seen a pirated version of your film.  The conversation goes something like this:

PIRATE: I saw your movie the other night!

ME: Really? Where did you watch it?  Did  you buy the DVD or did see the HD version on Amazon? Or did you watch it on  my site?

PIRATE: Oh, I use this site where all the movies are free.  No commercials or anything.  It's great! They have every movie there!

ME: (Not trying at all to hide my disgust) So, a pirate site?  You stole my movie.

PIRATE: Well, I hate commercials and I don't like to pay for indie movies in case they suck, ya know?

ME: Oh, so if you liked the movie you'd be handing me money right now?

Pirate either skulks away at this point or tries to save face, but the fact is, people will watch media for free whenever possible, so if you can offer it for "FREE" and get paid for it at the same time, it's a good to way to build an audience for an otherwise obscure film.

And for nearly two  years it worked like a charm.  Most of my titles were older and Amazon Prime's low rate of 15 cents per hour still netted a fair amount of money for movies that had been pushed to the backs of people's minds for quite awhile.  Just being able to post: "Now available with Prime" for each new title I got approved was a marketing tactic that in the beginning which yielded a ton of traffic (by my standards, anyway).

My new title at the time, "Lumber vs Jack", had respectable and steady numbers for about 20 months and only recently started to wane. Recently, the numbers in views and revenue reached the point where Prime isn't currently worth it for "Lumber vs Jack".

So, what happened?

Two things have changed.  One change is very recent and the other has been coming for awhile.

One of the main obstacles for indies making the jump to Prime was the fact that Amazon Prime is seen as a "broadcaster" and thus requires closed captioning in order to be legally (and ethically) compliant. For many very small producers, such as myself, spending $3 per running minute of captioning meant investing $270 in a title that may have only cost $1000 to produce in the first place.  The platform was unproven and the titles still would need new artwork and an HD output file loaded.  Again, a lot of the older stuff would have originally been shot in SD and not everyone does their own editing.  So, for awhile, only the very prepared or innovative got their stuff to Prime quickly and on their own.  It took me months to get my first titles up and after that I averaged one a month for a little over a year.  That was with me redoing the artwork, upscaling and captioning between doing other work.  (Starting to get a feel for why "Jack vs Lanterns" had to wait on editing for awhile?)

Eventually, distributors saw an opening and an untapped market.  Become the company that can get indies onto Prime and you can start making money with a split right away.  So, old titles and indies were acquired at a rapid rate by some very clever people and before the first year was over a deluge of horror, sci-fi and old drive-in fare had been dropped onto Amazon Prime.  All of a sudden retro influenced movies like "Alien Vengeance" and "The Lunar Pack" weren't that unusual and charming.

The second thing that changed was the pay structure.  Movies are now paid in tiers and as viewership drops, so does how much a filmmaker is paid per minutes of viewing time.  With a combination of more competition, less visibility and less pay, it becomes a question of whether or not volume can still make up for the difference between showing a movie "included with Prime" or charging $1.99 to see it.

I would  need 10 people to watch a feature movie from beginning to end for every one who rents it in order to make the same money.  So, for awhile anyway, we're suspending some of our titles from the "Prime" program.

How do I decide which titles to leave on Prime?

The titles that are still pulling good numbers on Prime will stay there.  With the ebb and flow of how things go, that will change month to month.  If a movie is making enough (in minutes, Amazon has suspended income reports because even they can't seem to figure out their new payment system) it will remain as an option on Prime.  No sense in dropping an income stream, but once a movie drops to the point where a few rentals would yield the same income, we'll turn Prime off for awhile.

This creates an "urgency" to see the films that are available included with Prime while they are there.  A movie that is always available as Prime has no need to be purchased or rented.  You're creating your own "over supply" of your product.  Plus, "Back on Prime" gives you something to promote.

The risk.

Since "minutes streamed over a 365 day period", is how they determine which tier of payment a movie is on, turning it off of Prime for too  long, especially if it's pulling any significant numbers, can run the risk of your movie dropping a tier because it will pull far fewer numbers as a rental.  This means when it goes back to Prime you may actually be paid less per view than if you had left it alone.

So, experiment at your own risk.  With so many titles I have some flexibility to try things out.  If I learn anything concrete, I'll pass it on here.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

It's all done with mirrors.

100 !

This is my 100th published blog for the Production Diaries. In this space.
That's quite a few qualifiers.  I'm not sure if I did a production diary blog anywhere else, but I run two other blogs here.  Combined I don't think I have 100 between those other two.

This being my 100th post here I thought it should be somewhat special.  Not necessarily groundbreaking and certainly not "a look back", but not just one to make the numbers either, which is why it's been so long since the last post.  I wanted to wait until I had something fairly significant to share.  Significant besides, "Yay, I wrote 100 blogs!"

As for the "look back", that's what a diary is for.  If you want to look back at my old blogs, have fun.  There are 99 of them dating back a few years.

It's all done with mirrors.

Well, not all of it.  Not even a large percentage, really, but you've heard that phrase before and it seems to make sense here.

I'm not talking about magic.  Not in the traditional sense.  I am talking about the trick of fitting multiple cast members in a scene within a small space and not just showing the backs of heads half the time.  We used the method enough times and it seems like something indies can make use of, so I thought I'd share my recent experiences.

Jennifer Wenger and Michelle Prenez in Jack vs Lanterns

In this scene from Jack vs Lanterns, for example, I had started out with an upper angle on the floor with both Michelle and Jenn in a two shot. It was a neat enough angle, but they were either in profile or one of them would turn a bit and all the camera would see is the back of her head.  Plus, from Michelle's side I couldn't see that cool logo on her shirt. ;)

What would the British do?

If you watch as much TV from the UK as I do, you'll notice that they often use a mirror shot to create a mood, keep both characters on camera or just make things more interesting than a standard over the shoulder conversation shot.  With that in mind, I've learned to make use of reflective surfaces when I can.

Watch out for yourself.

And I mean this literally.  If you, like me, run your camera, watch out for your own reflection.  Not just in mirrors, but windows, well polished cars and chrome or reflective surfaces in bathrooms.  Nothing breaks the mood like a sudden appearance of a camera and operator in a car door.

With small monitors, like when  you're shooting guerilla style and using just what's on the camera, it can sometimes be hard to spot your reflection, so, when in doubt, give a little wave and see if you spot the movement.  Position cast and props accordingly.  Choose your angle, but run the blocking to make sure you don't suddenly pop up when someone steps away from that car's mirrored finish.

Back to why these are useful.

We have several short scenes in Jack vs Lanterns.  Usually these are bits of exposition, which I try to interrupt with either humor, suspense or action.  So, I tried to keep conversations short.  That also means that cutting from character to character for each line can make for a furious pace.  Now, quick paced can be good, but too quick can be jarring, especially when it's unnatural or obvious that you're doing to it to keep the speaking character on screen.

So, for these scenes where two or three of us where speaking to each other, but the only location that worked for the camera was behind someone, we used a mirror.  Like, in my bathroom. (There are three scenes in the movie that take place in bathrooms.  I had to borrow a bathroom as a set.)

All three of us had lines in this shot and there were reactions to those lines.  I did use some close ups here as well, but for a 32 second scene too many cuts would have been jarring.  Also, small room or not, an establishing shot is always useful to help the audience picture what's going on.

We had to rewrite and improvise here a bit and the results were, in my opinion, hilarious.  Hopefully audiences will agree.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Writers write.

Today's blog is inspired by a question from "Anonymous".  I don't know how long the question was there unanswered because it had fallen into my spam folder, probably for mentioning another blogging platform.  Anyway, part of the question was, in part, "Any advice for aspiring writers?"
(You can find the entire question on the helicopter blog)

My answer to this question was as common and cliché as the question itself.

Just write.

I know,  you've read it before.  It's the answer all writers and self-proclaimed writers (I am more self-published than second party published in every area of my writing) give when confronted with the question.  This isn't because we're plagiarists. It's not because all writers lack imagination.  It's not even because we were all given the same advice and then never thought about it again.  The reason most writers give this answer is because it's a simple, but powerful, truth.  If you're writing, you're a writer.  You may not be a good writer.  You may not even be a coherent writer, but  we all have to start somewhere.

Another thing authors, screenwriters, poets, columnists and writers of every sort will point out is that writing is one of the few passions people can pursuit without any significant financial investment at all.  If you have some time to set aside, a pen and a pad, you can get started in writing something.  Sure software and apps help make it faster, check our spelling and now ever our grammar, but to just write and find you voice, all you need is about $2 worth of supplies and someplace quiet and well lit to work.

My first 40 or so first short stories were written on legal pads with disposable pens.  My sister and my Mom eventually typed out a few of them on a word processor for me the first times I submitted them and had them rejected by publishers.  Three of those stories became the first three short films I did when I "returned" to filmmaking after the disaster that was my first feature movie.

And that brings me to my next point.

Trim down your obstacles to work on your rough spots.

"Z: The Last Letter" is a black and white silent movie about a dog and a mail man.  There is no spoken dialogue and it was all shot outside, during the day.  It is also based on one of those short stories I wrote way back when I had first gotten out of college and thought I'd try to do some writing before I got a "regular job".  You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

I had produced a feature horror video a few years earlier and hit the same pitfalls many of us did before digital made picture quality easier to maintain and tips and tricks were everywhere to be found online.  My lighting at night wasn't enough, the microphone I used barely captured audio from more than a few feet away and I tried to produce a story well outside of my budget or level of ability at the time.  So, I decided to make some shorts and work my way up through my weaknesses.  By eliminating lighting at night and recording sound on location I eliminated my two biggest production problems and was able to concentrate on the story and character direction.

I think this can be applied to writing as well.  If you want to write a novel, start with some short stories.

Maybe you have trouble composing complex plot lines, or intersecting stories. Maybe your weakness, as is mine, is character development. Perhaps you have some difficulty with describing locations or surroundings in a satisfying way.  Try what I did with the shorts.  Choose what you or your readers feel your weakest spot is and eliminate it from work you plan to publish or submit to others for publication. For now. Take this same area that  you need practice in and make it the center of your personal projects.  

Which leads us to my next point.

Let others read your work.

If you're like me, the trouble here is finding people who aren't aware of or worried about your fragile ego.  I know, how could a mega talented, handsome, charming, modest demi-god like myself have a fragile ego?  Well, I do. I can prove it.  Remember those 40 or so short stories I mentioned?  How many have  you ever heard of or seen printed here?  

Exactly.  Once those first rejection letters came in, I more or less gave up.  For a good long time.  Eventually some got published on websites or in small printed publications, but I never felt they were very successful and so I sort of stopped writing for awhile.  Not writing meant, you guessed it, I wasn't a writer.

You need to let people read your stuff and give you constructive criticism.  Not all criticism will be constructive and that you'll need to ignore.  The most useless stuff will often come from other writers who really love your work, but sort of hate you.  Learning what to take to heart and what to ignore is probably the most difficult part of starting out.  Let me give you some rules to live by as a writer.

There are no rules to writing.

This is obviously not true.  If you want people to understand what you write and you want the experience to be somewhat enjoyable and easy to follow, the basic rules of grammar and spelling will apply most of the time.  Knowing these rules and learning when to break them will also allow you to add flare to your writing and give your characters some depth.

That said, writing being a creative endeavor, any other rules helpful writing instructors may give you, such as, "You should introduce all of  your main characters within the first act of a play" or "Never introduce a plot point that isn't going to develop and resolve by the end of your story" are to be looked upon as guidelines and NOT hard and fast rules.

Basically, aside from proper grammar and spelling, my only hard and fast rule in any art form is that there are no hard and fast rules in any art form.

Being creative is about bending or breaking conventions.  Knowing when bending or breaking a convention actually works for readers or an audience is where the talent portion comes in.  That goes back to the need to have other people read your work.

You know what you're trying to say with your story, so often things that read as fine to you will still confuse other people.  It's like a family in-joke that makes you and all of your cousins crack  up, but when a friend who doesn't know the background of the story is around they get that blank stare while the rest of you chuckle.  Your readers may not have the same context as  you and you need to be aware of that.

Writers read.

I do not read enough to be an excellent writer.  My interest in reading came late in life and for screenwriting I grew up during a golden age of mediocre television. The fact that I watched more TV shows than movies as a kid definitely presents itself in my earlier screenplays, which play out more like old anthology episodes than films.

Read what you enjoy, but occasionally read stuff that bores the heck out of you in order to expand your perspective.  Read the classics.  Read things assigned widely in schools.  These will put you in touch with the "collective unconscious" of many of your readers.  Read the news, if you can find anything that qualifies.  Read nature magazines, fashion magazines, car magazines and magazines and websites about things you have no interest in at all.

If nothing else, reading so many things that don't interest you will inspire you to sit down and write something that does.  Hopefully it will interest other people too and you'll be on  your way to being a published writer.

Either way, you will have written something and thus, on that day, you will be a writer.

This is an inside HFP episode about "Z", but to watch the film
Please visit the Amazon links above.
It's still free with an ad, but I think you'll find the quality there
a bit better, and honestly, I'll make a bit more if you're
signed into your Prime Account.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Editing When It's Your Second or Third Job

Filmmaking may be your passion.  It may be the most important thing in your life aside from eating and breathing, but if you're getting tips from me, there's a good chance that it's not the thing paying all, or even most, of your bills.  That eating thing you need to do requires  you to have another job, so filmmaking sometimes takes a back seat to (gasp) RESPONSIBILITY.

Well, I'm currently editing a movie that it's taking me a year to finish up the shooting on. Read some other of my blogs and you'll see the myriad of excuses, causes, reasons and whatnot that has gotten me to this point.  But all of this has taught some things about organizing my time, now that it's mostly under my control again, and I'm going to pass these little tricks on to  you.

Know what requires the computer's time, but not yours.

In digital editing there are tasks that require very little of  your time, but a fair amount of the computer's time.  For example, transferring footage from CF or SD cards to  your computer's hard drives. The larger the cards you shoot with, the longer it will take to transfer your footage and back it up to a second source.  This time can be spent doing other things, but  you will want to keep a semi-clear head so that you know you've moved and backed up every shot you may ever want before you format that card.  I miss tapes in this regard because the transferring of footage from a digital tape to a hard drive was an opportunity to trim footage and not capture all of the "garbage".  Sometimes you wouldn't even bother transferring takes that had no value in the movie and no comedic value for outtakes, plus you got to name them during the process.  Also, the tape itself acted as the "back up" unless you planned to erase it to shoot on it again, which I never did.

So, what was the downside?  You couldn't always leave the computer alone while the footage moved over.  Batch captures were a thing, but they didn't always work very well and you lost other benefits, such as unique names for each clip.

I transferred the footage for Jack vs Lanterns long ago, but currently I'm importing files to a project and it's going to need to "conform the audio".   That takes awhile, so I'm writing this blog.

Renders are another good time to step away and get something else done, although shorter scenes may only leave you room to go to the restroom.

Always back up your work, but maybe do it efficiently.
Okay, a hard drive crash can ruin any editors day.  RAID systems help and backing up all of your settings, your computer, etc, etc.  Some of these things take a lot of time and others take a good amount of money.  Two things not every indie movie maker has.  For cloud editors this may seem moot, but I would suggest backing up your cloud based work to a hard drive in your possession, when possible, because any single location can become a problem.

Here's an old trick that won't allow you to salvage every project, but will at least make your day suck less should a drive crash.  At the end of your scene edit or  your day of editing, export all of your final cuts to a different hard drive.  So, here's how this works.  You just edited scenes 23, 27 and 29.  You export them to drop into the larger movie project timeline.  Instead of exporting them to the same drive you're working on, you export them to a different hard drive.  Preferably external.

Now, if the drive you're editing on crashes, you do lose the projects for 23, 27, and 29, but the final cuts  you had are still there, sitting on another drive.  And vice verse.  If you lose the exports,  you can always export them again because the edited projects are safe on a separate hard drive.

Take advantage of the digital copy of your script.

I don't care what software you used to write  your script, it will come in handy during editing.  I used to edit either from memory (for shorts) or from a paper script.  This edit, I'm mostly using my digital copy of a revised version of the shooting script.  For one thing, I have no  desk real estate to give to a binder with 98 pages in it.  I'll still refer to my notes now and then, but I don't have the script next to me all the time.

For another, all this time later and how we shot a bit rushed, it can sometimes be tough to figure out on the face of it which scene the footage I'm about to edit is from.  Sure, I may have shouted out the number and it should be on my slate, but cuts, recuts, rewrites, etc, moves pages and scene number around.  If I can't find a scene by number, with the digital script, nearly any keyword will allow me to find it in a minute or two. (Usually less.)  It also makes it quicker to skip around to all of the scenes shot in one location or on one set. "INT. LAB" was my search term for 3 days of editing.

Use multiple smaller projects.

It can take awhile to load a project with a lot of clips, audio, special F/X layers, etc.  Breaking your movie down into smaller projects makes each one easier to load and easier to manage.

Some will make sense to compile into one project.  For example, all of those Lab scenes were a single project.  It let me import the backgrounds to be keyed in once and I could also reference the lighting and chroma key settings from previous timelines for the next scene very easily.  

Plan breaks.

One of the biggest problems with time managing your passion is knowing when to stop.  Your other job, your spouse, your kids or pets will all need  you to have some energy left for them.  Plan interruptions that will make you stop every few hours, especially if you're tackling a very big edit.

Whether it be dinner, walking the dog, or just some down time before bed, decide before  you start editing about when you'll stop and why.  Set an alarm if you have to in order remind yourself.  Also, being your own boss on this project, know that you can ignore that alarm if you're really in a groove, but try not to abuse that privilege.

Happy editing!