Beginning the edit: One step at a time…

It has been two weeks since the end of production and no sign of the beginning of the edit.

In that two weeks I had spoken to many documentary makers who are funnily enough, about at the same stage I am. The edit stage for us is that moment when everything has come before is decided – its make or break and none of us wanted to take the plunge into the unknown – it’s also a great way to keep up, pass advice and listen to others about how they are faring. For my own film there really is so much riding on this, so many pressures to hold up. ultimately then, you can see why I have left it so long.

The best thing then, was to just do it, to start the edit and take it a step at a time…but how? Previous experience was just a case of banging it on the timeline and hoping for the best. This film however is different, I couldn’t, not with the amount of footage I have and not with the amount riding on the film too.

A bit of research led me to an interesting page: http://www.desktop-documentaries.com which told me to start transcribing the interviews to help remind me about what has been said and help me keep my mind fresh. This, seemed like a better idea, and for whatever reason, not really knowing how to do it correctly, I got on with it, typing out interviews word for word – and yes this did work, I felt better about the edit and for the first time in a while, I had the chance to recap on some really interesting stuff.

After this I felt I should go one further and begin making a proper log and watch through all the Philippine clips, and so armed with nothing but a wing, prayer and a spreadsheet I began logging the clips with the clip number, description and comments to form a good database of my film.

The points here I want to make is that one, I have made an all important start to the editing stage which for some, is an emotional stumbling block to get over. The second point is that the method of doing the logging and transcribing might not be formally correct but the crucial thing is doing it in the first place.

It’s also worth noting at this stage that as the sole editor of this film, sometimes you find yourself looking for advice, opinion and expertise in working with a documentary edit. I have found some websites very daunting, especially when listing all the things that have to be done and it what order – which sometimes does not help your emotional state.

Useful links such as this one give me useful advice about character, non-time code footage – and photos which I’ve totally forgot about thus far!

Looking at my schedule I’d say that I’ve got a month now to finish the film edit and that’s with a voice over, grade, titles, pictures, soundtrack, which does sound daunting but manageable. ARGGHHHH!!

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