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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Killing Children and Other Editing Stories
So, the process of editing is painful. Very painful, especially for someone as self critical as I. The first cut of the film told me I had to re-shoot the ending, and then things got really bad. Endless fiddling, watching the same few scenes over and over again - after a while you only see the flaws. And for this film, I'll admit that there were plenty to see.

Then I made the mistake of showing a rough cut to another filmmaker - and wasn't prepared for the negative feedback. I felt a bit like George Lucas who, after showing Star Wars to Brian DePalma, was met with the immortal comment "What's all this crap about the force?" Obviously, I still have a lot of work to do. So, here are my new filmmaking lessons:

7. There's no right way to edit. It's kind of like playing music - you have to listen to it so many times that you just go on feel.

8. Every idea is worth trying. Especially in the world of non-destructive, non-linear editing, if you have an idea, it's easy to try it out without destroying the whole structure of the piece. Some of the best ideas come from this.

9. Be prepared to listen to your friends. I suppose the addendum to that would be "whatever they have to say", because after I calmed down and re-read my friend's email, he actually had some good suggestions about how I could make the film better. Friends tend be honest. That's the problem.

10. You must kill all your children. That was something an old writing teacher of mine once said, and it's especially true of film editing. Anything you thought when writing the script would be good - be prepared to delete it. You have to approach a film with fresh eyes. That's probably why the real filmmakers use professional editors who aren't so wedded to the material. If you've lived with the project for a while, written it, directed it, acted in it, etc., it's a lot harder to trash those scenes that you slaved over, however necessary it might be.

Next time, I'll report from the land of re-shoots, digital color correction and scoring. Stay tuned.
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 12/06/2005 Comments (3)
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