I am a filmmaker and when I first approached filmmaking over 8 years ago, I was fascinated with all aspects of it. From development to post production to sharing the finished product with everyone. I loved it all and I couldn’t get enough of anything related to filmmaking!
However, for one reason or another, after I graduated college, I had this odd relationship with post production (the end stage of filmmaking, often involving editing, special effects, adding sound and music, etc.). I suddenly felt that post production was the bane of my existence. I proudly proclaimed that I loved pre-production and production (the planning and filming stages of filmmaking), but that post production just wasn’t for me. I made up wild excuses about how I couldn’t work in any aspect of post production simply because I didn’t know how to do it (which was really a lie) or that I wouldn’t be able to produce a good end product so I shouldn’t even try it in the first place.
Needless to say, all of this put a huge roadblock into my post college filmmaking, creatively and commercially. It also became a huge problem between Rene and myself. Since we co-own our film production company together, this basically left him to do all of our post production all by himself. Not very partner-like (or lady like) of me at all!
Unfortunately, this persisted for a few years, and my having adrenal fatigue during these years probably didn’t help. I’m certainly not proud of that time of my life, but luckily this attitude in myself changed after working on a very grueling editing project for one of our clients.
Rene and I had taken on a journalism video project for AOL News that had a very fast approaching deadline. The project was to film several interviews with random people on the street about the upcoming health care reform being voted on by congress. After we finished filming the interviews, we were then tasked to edit our footage and similar footage taken all over America. It was a huge amount of footage to go through, and we only had a day or so to edit and deliver five videos. I knew that the project was going to be too much for Rene to edit all by himself, so I offered to help in editing, even though I personally didn’t want to edit at all.
The first night of editing ended up being horrendous. The video formats we were given were not the best for editing and heavily taxed our computers. We had never tried to bring in so much footage just for one project, and it took us hours and hours of troubleshooting before we even got to editing the footage which was due the next day. I tried to help as much as I could the night before, but ended up going to bed after finding some excuse or another.
When I woke up the next morning, I found Rene sound asleep on the couch with the television still on. He had spent all night and much of the morning troubleshooting and prepping the video footage before he finally gave up and just fell asleep out of pure exhaustion. When I woke him up to find out about the details of the project, he described the situation as dire. Nothing had been edited, our computers couldn’t handle the heavy load of videos and the editing software was constantly crashing. Rene was worn out, and he seemed to believe that the project was not going to happen, and he was so tired that after he told me so, he promptly fell back asleep. I quickly proceeded to panic. I knew that Rene was in no position to do anything for a while, let alone edit. I knew that I was the only one who could help the project along at this point. I sucked up my excuses, ordered a huge amount of food to be delivered and got straight to work.
The first thing I had to determine was if Rene’s assessment of the project was correct. Some of it was true and some of it was perhaps exaggerated out of exhaustion and delirium. The editing software sure crashed a lot, but I soon learned how to prevent some of the crashing and saved very often so as not to lose any editing progress. When I started to work, I was extremely stressed out by the whole situation, but as I began to make progress on the first video, something in me actually started to enjoy the editing process. The intricacies of editing the video became more clear to me, how to form the video so that each interview answer flowed well into the next. Before I knew it, I had finished a cut of the first video. And everything I had believed about myself and post production suddenly no longer held true for me.
The first cut I did was very well received by a sleepy Rene and it didn’t suck like I originally believed it would. I also found that being forced to edit a project allowed me to see how fun video editing could be. I saw the goal, then immersed myself into the project, enjoyed the challenges of each aspect of editing, worked at it, and then emerged with a product I was proud to call my own. The whole process was fairly painless to my surprise.
After feeling proud of my first video cut, I quickly proceeded to start the edit for the second video while Rene prepped the first video for delivery. I ended up enjoying that second video edit just as much as the first, and went on to edit a third video, too. By the end of the day, I had worked some very grueling hours on delivering two videos, ate a lot of take out food, and promised three more video deliveries the next day, but I came away with so much more than that.
Though the conditions were not ideal, and I was stressed out for much of the day from having to do post production without much help from Rene, I discovered a love and passion for the whole process. I saw that while it was work to edit and take a video to final completion, if I just recalled how satisfying it is to show someone the finished product, getting into the nitty gritty of post production wasn’t so difficult after all.
I’m pretty glad that I had this experience to show me that I can love post production again. I’m glad that it was an extra difficult situation so that I will always remember it well. I hope I never forget all the joys that post production and editing can bring, and that I continue to take on as many editing projects as I can in my future creative and commercial works.
I am still very proud of the work I did on this project and was extremely excited that it went online for the public so quickly after completion. It’s perhaps not the most creative project I’ve ever worked on, but it means a lot to me all the same. You can take a look at all five of the videos here. Let me know what you think!
Do you feel negatively about editing or post production or any aspect of something you love to do? Did working on it help you work through that negative feeling? Please share about your experiences!