<I>Música</I>: Melissa Kent edits Amazon Prime's coming-of-age romantic comedy
May 17, 2024

Música: Melissa Kent edits Amazon Prime's coming-of-age romantic comedy

Música is a coming-of-age romantic comedy, that takes viewers on a fun, musically-driven journey as Rudy finds love with Isabella, all while navigating his career and his Brazilian culture. The film was directed by Rudy Mancuso, who also stars in the project, along with Camila Mendes and JB Smoove.

Música debuted at this year’s SXSW Film Festival and is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Melissa Kent (pictured) edited the feature and recently took some time to answer Post’s questions about her work.

Hi Melissa! How did you get involved in editing Música? 

“I am always on the lookout for any movie that heavily involves music, so when I saw that Música would be made, I was immediately intrigued. As luck would have it, it was being produced by Wonderland, McG‘s company, and I had just worked for them editing Tall Girl 2 for Netflix. I reached out to express my interest, and a few days later, they set up an interview with director/writer/lead actor/composer Rudy Mancuso. Rudy was intent on finding an editor who “speaks music,” and with my background in piano, guitar, singing and dancing, we totally clicked.”

What kind of timeline were you working under? 

“Factoring in time-off for the holidays, we made this movie in nine months, which is a touch quicker than average. It was a six-week shoot and I was keeping up to camera. Then Rudy and I had the standard 10 weeks to finesse the director’s cut. After incorporating the studio’s notes, we showed it to audiences and then shot a couple additional scenes that, true to form, Rudy made sure were some of the best scenes in the movie, like the ‘day-in-the-life’ montage, where he turns into a puppet. If you’re going to do something, might as well take it to 11.”

What is your editing set up? 

“My assistants Jill Piwowar, Todd Greenlee, Kenzie Woodrow and I worked from home, so we each had an Avid. Using PacPost Live, we had access to a virtual editing room. I would stream out of the Avid via my iMac and use a laptop for the video-conferencing portion. Between the three Avid monitors, the iMac and laptop, plus an iPad for texting each other, I had six screens going. During the edit, Rudy was in three different countries and the whole process worked really well.” 

From an editing or storytelling aspect, what scene would call attention to? 

“Beginnings are vital for establishing the world and the tone, the characters and the plot, and this first scene probably required the most attention. It is incredibly elaborate. The opening title card, ‘Based on a true story. Unfortunately,’ helped set a humorous tone, and we gradually revealed what it is like to be inside the mind of a synesthete, where everyday sounds like those in this diner [turned] into rhythm. I had a lot of options for how to build the conversation between Rudy and his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, Haley. Meanwhile, he becomes more and more distracted by the sounds in the diner, like utensils clinking, tea being poured, spatulas on the grill. He taps his foot and the diner sounds progressively organize into rhythm, as he literally catches musical notes escaping from Haley’s mouth, climaxing with a massive set piece whereby customers and employees have broken out into rhythmic performance and dance, destroying his ability to pay attention to their conversation.

“As my edit of the scene evolved, it was crucial that the music always stay musical, so any tiny change in the dialogue scene required good care that the rhythm of the music always remained exactly in time. We aimed to build to this crescendo of musical rhythm, without confusing or exhausting the audience at the outset. Ultimately, I think it walks the line and kicks off Rudy’s journey in an unusual and entertaining way.” 

What are your thoughts on this project?

“This is a non-musical musical. Characters do not break into song. The rhythm performers are using everyday items, like brooms, trash cans, books, cash registers, microwaves, checkers and so much more, to create music. And these sounds were recorded live with up to 100 microphones at once. Shout-out to executive music producer Jamie Rise for placing every one of those mics! Rudy Mancuso is one of the most creative people I’ve ever encountered, and I hope this is just the first of many films he will make.”