Saturday, July 31, 2010

Editing the story out of your story...

The idea for today’s blog came from an amazing event I attending this past Wednesday- the San Diego 48 hour film project. This is a nationwide event that travels from city to city drawing in the crazy, the insane, and the unbelievably inspired.

Now first let me say, I have nothing but awe and admiration for the folks who take on this madcap adventure. For those who are scratching their heads- yes it is just as the name implies- 48 hours to conceive, write, direct, shoot, and edit (and all of the insane parts that fit in those categories) a 7 minute film. I went on Wednesday to see a very fun film (The Serendipitous Adventures of Darbo: Episode Six - Darbo Goes to Earth) done by some gloriously talented and creative friends. I was amazed by all of the films I saw- doing what they did in 48 hours and not ending up in a loony bin is inspiring for anyone who is in a creative field.

But some of the films did have editorial gaps. I have no idea how much film is laid down by most of these teams, but I’d venture a lot more than 7 minutes. Which means editing- A LOT- of editing. There were a few films (I won’t mention their names, I don’t know the folks behind them and what they did was still crazy good) that lost some story due to editing.

A film editor working with tons of film (yeah, I know it’s digital, work with me folks) is doing a job very similar to an author looking at a too fat novel. Thinking, “what can I do to get things down to size, but still workable.” Now these folks in the 48 hour had a pressure that few if any writers would feel- in most cases the entire team is running on mere hours of sleep and they have very little time to get it together.

But the problem that appeared in a few of those unnamed films can befall any of us- cutting out something vital to the story.

As authors were often told to keep it tight, get rid of the extra verbiage. But are we cautious enough in keeping the story itself intact? In keeping its heart and soul vital and alive?

How as writers can we know that we are keeping the spirit- and more importantly and intact story- alive as we go through our slash and burn editorial process? I’m at a point where I’m going to putting in some pretty heavy editing hours on numerous projects VERY soon-I need to be very aware of not losing my story to fit the book length.

Any ideas, hints, tips, etc are most welcome!

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