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Re: Literature

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Re: Literature
on May 19, 2007 at 4:34:37 am

I think Chaz nailed it.

The books you should be looking at are not "editing" books, even those by Walter Murch. You should be reading books about storytelling and scriptwriting. Often the analysis that needs to be made is about the story elements - you really need to approach it as a writer. The only difference is that one's tools are pen and paper, the other's is moving pictures and sounds.

The other books to read are reflected in the title of this post - Literature. Read good novels and then reread them with an eye informed by what you've read on the craft of writing. It might not be a bad idea to take a creative writing class or two. That may do more to help then just editing - you can write quite a few short stories in less time than editing a doc.

For your project, you may want to get away from the edit bay and write it out in story form. Or practice telling the story verbally to friends - so when you say, "hey, I'm working on this doc," and they say, "what's it about?" you answer then becomes the narrative structure for the film you edit.

It's funny, editors often talk about being "storytellers" but often neglect working on that aspect of the craft. Just compare the time we spend on that with the time writers spend. Not even close. I just picked up a book by Robert McKee called "Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and The Principles of Screenwriting." He described a storyteller as a "life poet". Writers will often sit for hours at a time, just watching the world around them. Do we as editors do this as well? I dunno, but we probably should...

just my $0.02.

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