“Funny Pains” documentary: Post-production Vol. 2

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The past 2 months have been intense, to say the least, I was pulling 14-16 hour days editing our documentary, I had a deadline set and I was determined to make it. After the first 3 weeks of organizing, transcribing interviews and making very hard decisions about what to put in and what leave out, I found a method to this crazy schedule once I revised all the footage a couple of times, the story began to unfold right before my eyes and I could tell the key moments that I needed in order to paint the right portrait of Wendi.

I see Wendi as a true warrior, a woman that does not stop in her pursuit to be funny, to be better and to make us laugh, a woman with a tumultuous and difficult past that overcomes it all once she hits the stage. This is the story, the human spirit, the will, the power, the I’m-not-gonna-stop attitude the comes at you once the story unfolds. As the director I knew I had something special here, every single day we shot I was blown away by the footage we captured, but I didn’t have the time to fully understand what I had in my hands, now in the editor’s role I’ve come to understand Wendi way more, I’ve cried with her and laughed my ass off in the process I’ve seen her performances hundreds of times and I still laugh, I’ve also found myself wanting to find the people that have hurt her in the past to fuck them up (but I didn’t), I’ve traveled through her childhood over and over again, that has made me feel really close to her.

Meeting Wendi has been the biggest learning experience of my life, not only as a filmmaker but as a man, she opened up about dealing with some mental illness issues, that motivated me to read and learn more about bipolar disorder and depression, to really try to understand it which opened up a whole new level of empathy in me. She opened up about a horrible event that is both heartbreaking and maddening, a story that relates to a lot of what’s been coming out in the news lately. She will inspire and connect with many people after they see this documentary. I have nothing but respect for Wendi.

To this date, I have not met someone funnier than this woman! One of my favorite things from this experience has been talking comedy with her, I’m comedy super fan, always have been and always will be, so to have access to her AMAZING comedic mind was a real treat for me, how she builds a joke, a bit, why and when you do a call back, I was geeking out most of the time but I was great at hiding it during the shoot, she’s brilliant.

At one point I asked her about women in comedy and all women shows, and she said “I don’t care if it’s man or a woman on stage, I care about it being funny, I deeply give a shit about being funny”, that really stuck with me, it truly captures the essence of her attitude towards comedy as a craft, even though she doesn’t like to see or listen to her performances to point out the spots that need to be polished, with a computer like memory she can pick out what needs a different delivery, what needs to be moved and what needs to go. Just like that. She’s aiming to kill every single night, and I was a witness to that mentality.

We are shooting some interviews in January for the completion of the doc, a new website is in the works, the new poster is almost ready, we are hitting the deadlines and getting ready for the release in March. This is unreal to me, I’ve never been so mentally tired in my life! and also, I seldom take the time to feel proud of myself and really enjoy my work, this time around I am, this is maybe the final lesson I’m taking from Wendi.