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.


Sometimes, You’ve Gotta Punt (Part 2) { EDITORIAL }

It comes up waaaaaay more often than you’d expect (or wish against): you’re given a script, recorded VO, talking heads, and a minimal amount of B-roll. Add it all up, and it makes for not quite enough coverage to satisfy the producer’s vision. Or perhaps maybe the producer’s faith.
In this case, there was a fascinating story about an undercover CIA agent… with scant coverage for any of the stories he was telling. And how could there be? He was undercover.
Still, though, the lack of footage created a kind of black hole where interesting should’ve been. So I conjured a little (okay a lot) in order to add some mystery and intrigue.
Stock footage, satellite imagery, sound effects, motion graphics… it was all a juggling act that helped the story find its way to a local Emmy award.
The producer of this piece is Diane Duthweiler. And, of course, she loved the way it turned out.

Sometimes, You’ve Gotta Punt (Part 1) { MOTION GRAPHICS | SOUND DESIGN }

On rare occasions (hopefully just rare occasions) you come across a highly descriptive paragraph in the script… and find less than highly evokative footage in your bins.
After a quick phone call to your producer to confirm that–yup–that’s all you’ve got, there’s some choices to make.
And the reason there are choices is that–especially in adventure or travel shows–usually a story’s being told; an illustration verbalized. And it’s tricky to cover that stuff.
Enter the stock photo library of your choice… and After Effects.
Of course the clock’s always an issue, but in this case I had time to find art to illustrate what was scripted as well as footage from our own archives to sweeten the deal.
On top of which I designed a little riff on “Tubular Bells” to help flesh out the creepy atmosphere I was going for.