I’ve learned to enjoy editing. What used to frustrate me about it is that my lack of technical knowledge always got in the way of what I was trying to do. I knew where I wanted to go, but not how to get there. And you can read all the manuals and watch all the YouTube instructional videos you want; the only way you’re really going to learn how to do something is by doing it. And doing it. And doing it. And as you hunch closer and closer towards the computer screen, the pain creeps farther and farther into your shoulders.
I must have logged over a thousand hours now at Final Cut and I still know probably less than half of what it can do. I’m fine with that – I like having the chance to keep learning. Most directors work with editors who do the actual moving around of the pieces and the assemblies of the scenes. And my intention going into this film was to do exactly that. I’ve never been able to work with an editor before because I could never afford to hire one; I’ve always cut my projects myself (with the exception of Cities And Plains which was finessed beautifully by the DoP Aerlan Barrett after I showed him a rough cut) out of necessity. But recently I’ve been thinking about filmmaking as a function of craftsmanship. The Apple dictionary definition of craftsmanship is: the quality of design and work shown in something made by hand; artistry. Now, even most films that are still shot on film are edited digitally, which is not the same kind of working-with-your-hands as editing once was. But though the tools have changed, you absolutely still manipulate the medium with your hands. Shifting images around, manipulating sound levels, tweaking the colour scheme – editing is where the film is really made, assembled, crafted. “Quality of design and work shown by something made by hand” are values that I think absolutely still apply to filmmaking, though we use our hands in different ways.
I want to be a craftsman. I want to build and shape things. As much as I enjoy the more cerebral tasks of working with people in the planning and execution of a shoot, I want to be there to move the pieces around myself and see how they go together. I’ll always collaborate with someone more technically gifted than me, because people with a superior understanding of the technology involved will always have different ideas and some of them will always be better than mine. But I want to get my hands dirty, too. As dirty as they can get punching away at a keyboard and moving a mouse around, at least.
I hope you enjoy this latest little piece I’ve crafted. The whole movie will be finished soon, with the help of some other talented craftspeople who specialize in picture and sound.
Until next time.
Dylan – Edmonton, AB