Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Living On A Prayer

Oh, Bon Jovi, how you made me feel... I'm halfway there...


In the ongoing saga of editing a show that may or may not turn out to be any good, here is the latest in what hopefully will be a very short run of posts.

Let's call this little number "Playing Well With Others".

Editing is a pretty specialised skill. As I mentioned last week there's plenty of people that can press the buttons, but not too many that can press the buttons that will press your buttons, if ya know what I mean. And no, Kimba, I didn't mean that button.

What also separates a good editor from the reams and reams of average editors is the ability to take direction.

When I'm working in the edit suite I am King. That sounds trite, and more than a little narcissistic, but sadly, and fortunately (odd combo), it's true. Luckily for me I realised a few years ago that there's people out there that are significantly better than me at doing things that I don't know how to do as well as them, and I could probably learn to be better at my job by shutting up, swallowing my novelty oversized ego and listening. I still think I'm King on these occasions... just a quiet one that gets told what to do...

Example... the food show... producer is a woman in her early 40's. Unimaginative would be kind. Hell, boring would be kind. But, she's the producer. She's the boss. (small Tony Danza chuckle...)

So today, as I sat in my lounge with Ms Producer beside me cutting an episode that she'd directed a few weeks ago I swallowed every impulse to try and steer the show towards my little vision and instead concentrated on what she wanted to see on the screen in front of her. The product we've ended up with doesn't look as good as I want it to, doesn't match what I know I could bust out if I had three days with no interruptions, but it's what she wants and as an editor on this particular job that is far and away (small Tom Cruise Irish accent chuckle) the most important thing.

He he, small Tom Cruise... sometimes this shit writes itself!

Aaaand back to it... The difference between this show and most others I've worked on, including many music shows, many dramas, docos and one feature film that all of you will have seen, is that my opinion was listened to. It sure wasn't alway acted on, but it was always listened to. And that's all you can ask for.

It's also why I've been carving out a role as a director. Because if I'm the only one I have to argue with then I'm almost certain that I'm usually going to win. There are also minor aspects of control freakism to it, but whatever. You are.

My long winded point is that being an editor is a strange balance between giving up control, and trying to take control. In advertising you'll be working with the producer, creative director, art director, director of photography, account manager, casting manager, the assistant account manager, the director, the executive account manager and the client that the commercial is actually for... that's why I don't do TVC's anymore...

But on some jobs you can help shape something that really changes what was originally put in front of you. And it's the helping that makes it such, such, such a rewarding job. Taking footage that someone has put their heart and soul into and then making it even better...?

There's nothing like that feeling.


Anonymous said...

Another interesting 'insiders' view of the other side of the television screen.

This post sort of reminded me (though I can't say why) of my Dad's favourite saying, apart from 'busier than a one legged man in an arse kicking contest' is:

'In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king'


kimba said...

you said my name.. and you are good at what you do..
that's enough for a marriage proposal.. almost..

(I think what Kate's dad says sounds a little naughty.. is it naughty?)

the projectivist said...

all this talk of one-eyed snakes is making me hungry.

great post.

Anonymous said...

For the Tom Cruise gag alone you deserve to be King. You are making the work as good as it can be for people who have poured their heart and soul into it. You rule!