I returned back to the United States a couple of days ago and before I even did my laundry, I sat down to edit a quick behind-the-scenes interview video clip of my daughter and I discussing the documentary we had just finished shooting, traveling around the world. I was motivated by a deadline where I needed to provide a video clip from the project, right away.
I was fortunate in that we had just shot interviews of each other talking about the making of the film, while the experiences were still fresh in our heads. So it was relatively easy for me to pull a couple of soundbites from the interviews, sync the audio which had been recorded separately and add relevant B-roll. Within less than 24 hours after stepping off the plane, I had a 5 minute behind-the-scenes short. Nothing fancy, mind you but in addition to providing an opportunity for the film to get awareness, it forced me to start thinking about the overall structure of the piece.
The hardest part of editing is getting started – figuring out how the story will be told. In my case, I’m facing the daunting task of looking through 3 months of material – interviews, B-roll, still images, and behind-the-scenes footage that I need to figure out how I will put it all together. There are a dozen different directions where I could take this film in the editing process. I could choose to make each subject’s story an independent video, with the full length documentary being comprised of them all. Or I could weave the stories together – structuring the piece more thematically. Or I could include the mother/daughter aspect in the film and add some interview footage of the two of us talking about the project.
Just in putting together this quick sample, I have forced my mind to start thinking about the next step – crafting the story. My next deadline is to make a trailer for this film that hasn’t even been edited yet. I will be speaking at the PhotoCineNews Expo in LA in a couple of weeks and I’m motivated by this opportunity to present the workings of this project to a live audience.
As it turns out, jumping right into it was the best thing to do. I overcame the inertia that’s always present, and started focusing on how I was going to tell the story of not only our subjects but the experience itself.