Collaborative editing

Posted: 28/04/2013 in Project Flashcards
Tags: , , ,

A short while before the emotional rollercoaster of A Special Announcement began, foley extraordinaire Phil Grigg had convinced me to let a friend of his edit Strings. This was mostly for practical reasons: I had no editing software of my own, and Phil wanted to submit the final film for his course at university, and the deadline was looming. He and Drew both needed time for foley and music, respectively, so we needed to move fast. The editor in question, James Berridge, had a lot of experience, some flashy software, and was keen to help out. After no shortage of consideration on my part, I agreed.

I’m not going to lie – at first I was not happy about the idea. Despite all the above practicalities, not to mention the risks of a first-time director editing her self-written film with very little experience – despite all that, this was, after all, my first ever production, lovingly and stubbornly clung to from the initial concept stages right through to the shoot, and I wasn’t sure I could surrender the footage to another editor. How could anyone else possibly achieve my vision?

But I did eventually concede. We were running out of time, and Phil assured me it would be a collaborative process, and I could have as much or as little creative control as I liked. And I had to remind myself that Project Flashcards is, at its heart, a collaborative project. A fresh set of (highly experienced) eyes was probably exactly what this needed.

That didn’t stop me creating a new storyboard based on the footage and talking poor James through it very, very thoroughly. I wasn’t quite brave enough to trust anyone else completely just yet.

We met initially to go through the storyboard and concepts, and put together the first half before I had to leave. James send me this first half for me to review, and I send him back a (fairly exhaustive) list of feedback. He incorporated it and sent be me back the redraft, this time with the second half as well. Once I’d reviewed that (this was maybe two weeks after our initial meeting) we met up again, and as time was getting on and deadlines drawing near, I decided that whatever we ended up with that evening would be locked off, without questions.

And after all that, I was surprised at how enjoyable and successful the experience was. If anything, James was just the right combination of willing to follow direction and prepared to offer suggestion, because what we ended up with, I am convinced, was as close to what I had in my head as the footage could offer, but ten times better than I could have put together myself. I knew just how I wanted each cut to look, but a combination of my terrible drawings, thorough descriptions and James’ educated efforts produced results which I am certain I would not have managed on my own.

This did make me realise that the collaborative aspect of Project Flashcards is not only to benefit others who are involved, but largely also for me to outsource all the bits I am not able to do myself (writing everything, being good at acting, owning expensive equipment and so  on). By that same token, maybe it will help me learn to outsource the bits I want to keep to myself, and take on the bits I am more apprehensive of.

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