Action. { EDITORIAL }

Some names you should remember:
Stacy Sakamoto.
Dick Marshall.
Now, Stacy’s the producer and writer of this story. Dick is the photographer, employing not only an XDCam, but a GoPro, a Canon Powershot, and an iPhone.
And right now, this very minute, you’re looking at the story of which I am most proud.
A lot of that, of course, has to do with the work Stacy and Dick did in the field, as well as the script Stacy subsequently produced.
But there’s also this: a story like this, for this client, usually has to be told with
1) a total running time of  31/2 minutes… ish, and
2) 12-16 hours of editing.
But due to circumstances beyond our control, this story would be told with
1) a total running time of 51/2 minutes, and
2) 8.5 hours of editing.
That’s right: more content… and less time to cut it.
What was I thinking?
Oh sure: Maybe…
Is what I was thinking.
Maybe I can do this.
Maybe it’ll be great.
Or maybe I’ll simply crash and burn.
Had it been 12-16 hours of editing, I’d’ve been inclined to pass the edit along to a friend of mine.
But 81/2? Yeah. I just had to do this.
Some highlights of the edit:
Okay, Dick gave me tons of great stuff. I actually took the time to skip through every clip he gave me, tagging as I went. Unfortunately, I soon discovered, the GoPro footage was AWOL. No kidding. It went missing and (Thank God) Stacy took it upon herself to hunt it down.
As scripted, the story’s open was initially a mix of the actual fight night and practice bouts. I chose instead to lean hard into the fight night; it was so loaded with energy.
But there was also built into the script some very deep, emotional moments two of the boxers experienced. In the end, it was an opportunity to get out of the way as an editor and let the moments play for all they were worth. And they were worth plenty.
Finally, I misjudged the amount of time it would take to cut the two fight sequences, and actually cut around them in case I had to hand the edit over to another editor.
But, turns out the magic number was 30.
Thirty minutes. Go figure.
The story on the photograph that ends this piece is that by the time the team assembled for a group shot, Stacy and Dick had already packed up their gear. So with no time to unpack anything, they used an iPhone to capture this final moment and, at the end of the edit, Stacy emailed it to me from her phone.
And that was that.



Some sequences are mixed blessings.
What else do you call an amazing opportunity to cut a wild river rapids adventure featuring footage from an HDcam, three HDV cameras, and three GoPros?
That’s HOURS of footage, my friends, for roughly two minutes of screen time.
Because we had a longer deadline for this show, and because I was paranoid about missing out on any sound or visual element that would amaze… I watched everything.
Seriously. Everything.
This was one of the few times I tagged and sorted all the footage of a sequence before cutting one frame. Which helped me identify all the pieces I needed to create epic wipe-outs… and provided a rough idea on how to structure the sequence.
At the same time I was sifting through the footage, I was also thinking through what role music would play.
I always knew, for example, that music should mimic the adventure itself: preparation, setting off, rapids, and quiet resolution.
In viewing the footage, I spotted what I needed to transition from one part of the adventure to the next; the guide yelling out in the open being the pivot from setting off to rapids, for example.
Of course all this meant that I indulged… a LOT. And the editor’s cut of this sequence went roughly 45 to a minute longer than what aired.
No worries, though. That longer cut lives on in DVD extras.