View Full Version : New blog post: "The Art of the Edit - Part 2"

01-11-2016, 04:55 PM
My new blog post looks at how we re-edited my new feature http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3625136/combined after getting some good advice from an objective viewer.

As always, I'll do my best to answer any questions :)


Steve Olander
01-11-2016, 08:46 PM
I like the feel of the scene you provided. The music is perfect for giving the audience an "upbeat" feel.

A friend of mine had a free screening of his film, conducted by people who had nothing to do with the film, and the audience were random people who had no idea what kind of film they were going to see. They just knew they were going to get free popcorn and soda pop to watch a movie for free...even though the movie is not finished, or at least not "theater ready." The audience would then be required to fill out a questionaire about the movie and then they were on their way. They didn't know if it was a big Hollywood studio movie or an indie one. Everything was cold, and nobody knew who did the movie or how much it cost. The feedback he got was incredible and as unbiased as you can get. He will never release a movie without going through this process again.

You may want to try something like that to tighten it up even more. Showing people the film in an unfinished state gets more opinions from the audience compared to a finished film because they feel it is too late to make changes to what appears to be a finished film.

Did your story follow the standard story arc? Did you have a beginning, Plot Point 1, middle, Plot Point 2, and ending? That would create the curve in the second illustration. The first illustration appears like a story that did not follow that standard, or was that a result of editing only?

I'm glad you were able to fix the film by rearranging scenes and other editing techniques.


01-11-2016, 09:02 PM
The initial order worked in my head and on the written page but not on the screen. The beginning and the end didn't change, nor did the basic changes that the father and daughter go through. The information that's revealed to the audience about relationships still comes out, but in a different order than originally structured. The order that things happen now works far better from an emotional perspective than it did originally. It's definitely a character-driven story; if it were a murder mystery or thriller this type of re-work is unlikely to succeed.

We did an electronic version of what you describe, actually before we went to an industry professional. I uploaded a password-protected rough cut to Vimeo, and sent in to about 50 people, accompanied by a questionnaire on Google Documents that they were asked to complete anonymously. It was definitely very helpful, and we made a number of changes before going to the next stop.

Steve Olander
01-14-2016, 06:56 PM
Thank you for your answers. It is interesting how re-ordering some things is what made the emotional perspective work. I know what you mean about everything working on paper. There is a reason that we feel it needs to be rewritten an infinite amount of times, and we never want to call it "finished." However, some of that finishing ends up getting done in editing, and editing is where the film really is made.....though we like to think we are writing it the best way it can be told. That was enlightening.


01-14-2016, 08:55 PM
That was enlightening.

Good! It's nice to know someone actually reads some of this stuff :)

And - shameless plug - I do hope you'll check out my first feature Surviving Family. Our leading man, Billy Magnussen, has been on quite a roll lately.
It's on Amazon Prime (free for members, rental starts at $2.99 for non-members), iTunes, and CineVolt.

12-19-2016, 05:29 AM
Hi Mara,

Hope I’m not getting confused. When I click on your link it takes me to your blog, but it seems to be about the reviews of your film and not on your editing approach. Hope I haven’t missed anything.

- Wolf

12-19-2016, 11:02 AM
Sorry for the confusion - it was on 2 older blog posts from Nov 2015 & Jan 2016.
The first part is here:

and the 2nd part is here:

12-19-2016, 12:02 PM
Thanks, Mara. I’m watching/reading it now.

No pun you your blog’s name, but yes, sometimes less is more. I know editors also talk about decompressing dialogue -- spacing it out and delaying the delivery or lines, to enhance the dramatic aspect of a scene or sequence. Perhaps the same can be said here in terms of how you restructured the film.

I have a student working on an animated film based on the voice over of a man who had spent time in prison and the things he saw and did. The voice over was given in a single recording session, but I had encouraged the student to space out the voice over story and description elements by adding pauses between sentences, and even within sentences to delay the deliver for a more dramatic impact. He did so and the the difference was pretty amazing.

The lead up to the denouement moment of a story is just as important as the denouement moment itself.

- Wolf