I remember back when I interviewed to get into the Film School, I said I was interested in writing and directing because that’s where the story is shaped. The head interviewer added the editor to that list, though in a condescending way (I’d later learn that the guy is indeed a prick, and fortunately is gone).
But, he was right, and lately this has been coming back to mind, mainly during the editing of my thesis (my Gossip Girl-esque hyper-real one, not the documentary).
During the first cut screening the beginning was fantastic and exactly what I wanted (going back to why it’s important to see the end film in your head), while the end was a disaster. It just didn’t work. Partly this was due to some acting by a tough-to-cast mom role, but ultimately it’s my film and my doing. Going back to knowing what you want, the beginning was very clear in my head while the end was not, and thus, this happens.
Back in the edit room, we did what now makes perfect sense – match the tone of the two halves. What was once a lame, melodramatic torture scene is now an exaggerated awesomeness-taken-to-an-11 torture scene.
A total makeover with no tears involved.