• Sean LaFollette

FILM EDITING ADVICE


Editing Advice

Cut, cut, cut and then cut some more. At some point the film begins to mesh as you know every inch of the picture. What used to work no longer does. Story elements get lost on you because you know the story inside and out. So what is one to do? How long are you supposed to rinse and repeat your edit before calling it a completed film? How can you break out of this insanity?


There really is no right or wrong answer here, it’s all personal opinion. However, I have some advice that might help the process along.


The key to finalizing your edit doesn’t rely on you. It’s time to rely on your friends.


SEND YOUR EDIT TO FRIENDS

Before we send this thing out, we want to get it to a state of completion where YOU’RE happy with it. If you sit back, watch the film and think “this is great I think I’m done”...then it’s ready to send out for some new opinions.


Why would you send an incomplete film out for people to watch?


The main reason really is to make sure the story works. I recommend sending your edited film out to 4 friends and here’s the important part, send them a list of questions to answer. If you fail to send a list, you’ll get feedback similar to “I liked it” and that’s not helpful for anyone. Below are a few questions I like to send.


What did you like?


What did you hate?


Did the story make sense?


Did you ever get lost?


Does anything need to be explained further?


Additional thoughts?


After your friends watch the film and send answers to the questions, you’ll get to see the picture from an outside perspective. You might get similar answers showing gaps in your film. You might get good tips and insight on things you need to modify in the edit. But hold on, there’s an opposite side to this coin as well.


You’ll want to navigate the comments and rid yourself of the ones that don’t make sense. At the end of the day, it’s still just someone's opinion. If you don’t agree with a comment, discard it and move on. It’s all part of the process.

Now that you have your notes, it’s time to get to work. Cut, cut, cut and then cut some more. It’s a vicious cycle, but a necessary one. Now comes the next part of the process.


SEND YOUR EDIT TO NEW FRIENDS

DON”T send it to the same people, it’s not helpful. Pick a few new people to send the revised edit to and get their opinion. Send over the same questions and wait for the response. Dig up whatever additional information you can about this new edit and then make more changes.


From a filmmaker standpoint, you will go crazy with all the feedback, but the picture will also start to become clear to you. You will honestly see it in a new light.


Feedback is your friend.


FINALIZE THE EDIT

Now, you could repeat the process as many times as you’d like, but at some point you need to finish a film. Analysis paralysis is a real thing and you can get caught in it for far too long, missing whatever boat may be waiting for you.


Don’t over analyze, don’t hesitate. Action will always win. Get your feedback, make your modifications and finalize your film. Take action.


CONCLUSION

Feedback is difficult for anyone to hear. You’re putting yourself in the most vulnerable position anyone can be in. You created art and now it’s time to open yourself up to outside criticism. Be brave, be strong and be confident. At the end of the day, you did something amazing others may never do.


There is no right or wrong way to finalize your edit, I’m simply sharing my experience. Let me know if you have any questions! Don’t have any friends to review your film? Send that shit to me, I’ll take a look!


- The Failed Filmmaker

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