Final Thoughts on Editing
The process of editing can be described in four stages: writing, critiquing, rewriting, repeat. You’ll do this until you end up with a script that is concise in its message, complete in its handling of that message. In short, only as long as it needs to be and not a second longer.
Hopefully, you’ve gone through a couple rounds of this process. As you near completion, here are a few thoughts that might help.
Read your script out loud.
During the last couple stages of editing, it’s best to read your script out loud to yourself. Or better yet, if you have a little audio recorder, you can record yourself reading it and listen to it. Your iPhone should be able to do this. Written prose is different than spoken prose. Sometimes you can’t tell if it works or not until you hear it being spoken. And what better voice to hear it in than your own. Yes, it’s weird, but just close your door and get over it.
If in doubt, shoot it.
I didn’t want to mention this until now, so hopefully you won’t use this knowledge as an excuse not to do your editing thoroughly. But after your video is shot, you’ll get another chance to edit the script during the first few cuts of your video. The tradeoff here is that you won’t be able to add anything new. You can only cut and rearrange. But, if you’re in doubt about whether you want to keep a certain portion or not, you can always go ahead and shoot it, and decide once you see the first cut of the video.
Also, keep in mind, if you’re going to do this, the video will need to be shot in a way that the edit points can be covered. The director should have a pretty good idea how that will be done in the video. In fact, he/she will probably leave themselves a few options. But just in case, be sure to point out to the director that you may not want to keep those parts of the script.
Sometimes good enough is good enough.
Through high school and college, I built houses with my dad and my brother. We would build a house from the ground up, so we were involved in virtually every stage of construction. We had a maxim that said, “You never really get done with a house, you finally just walk off the job.” And that was really true. There was always some little thing to do.
In your script, there’s always going to be a word you don’t like or some phase that could be said better. But eventually the law of diminishing returns needs to be considered. Basically, you need to call it good enough, and move on.
Next month, we’ll be moving on as well. We’ll begin exploring what happens when your script is done, and you’re ready to break out the lights, camera, and yell, “Action.”