“There is No Rough Cut…”

Posted on May 29, 2007

“…always present your best cut.” That was probably one of the more useful pieces of advice I got from Editing Professor Bill after I screened the first cut of Cubicles yesterday to him and Editing Professor Sandro.

I felt the screening went pretty well. As always with critique, you have to filter out the genuine issues versus one person’s opinion, such as Bill saying he wasn’t sure if my documentary was an infomercial while Sandro completely saw the opposite (I’ll side with Sandro on this one). Here are some notes that could probably be applied to any first cut screening.

  • For this first cut I didn’t worry about B-roll or choppy cuts between interviews. It’s mostly just an assembly of the interviews and footage to get the overall flow of the story down. I didn’t add any extra footage or polish it off, just in case I had to do any major changes.
  • I need lots of B-roll. Right now the film is a bunch of talking heads, and if it aired on NPR a good chunk of the message would still come across. I’m still on my quest to find B-roll that will illustrate what is being talked about and what I want to say visually.
  • It’s okay to cut out the ‘ums.’ Pretty much everyone is guilty of ‘umming’ between thoughts, so I didn’t really give leaving it in a second thought. But apparently the keen ears of the editing professors noticed it and told me to cut it out and stitch it up with some B-roll. I guess this is the equivalent of air brushing out the blemishes.

There were some more notes but they’re more specific to my project (work on ending, etc.). The second cut needs to be pretty close to the finished product (B-roll, titles, music, etc.). That’s due this Friday, so it’s back to the edit lab.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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