Wednesday, August 6, 2008

editing = revision = filmmaking/composing/writing

i dare say that in the popular imagination, editing is considered nothing more than simple "cutting." perhaps too, revision is equated with "cutting," or "cutting down." i want to spend some time thinking about and researching these claims because i wonder about the extent to which they (incorrectly) radiate assumptions about writing/composing/filmmaking. in general, this project seems massive, and it is informed by my thinking about new media technologies, how they enable us (all) to be "filmmakers," which is actually the name that was given to editors once editing became more noticeably valuable to film in the early part of the 20th century, especially with the evolution of sound, the integration of video and audio.

as i explore the history of our scholarly discourses on film, i see a missing consideration of editing and/as revision, and i will surely take up the call to explore it in the final chapter(s) of the book on which i've been slowly making progress. if my earlier thesis holds, then this absent element from our talk on film's uses in the composition classroom seems reasonable; why talk about film editing in a class on written discourse, and especially in a class on written discourse posing as "correct," "clear" and "graceful"? ... artists!

borrowing the term from André Bazin, film-composition's "invisible galleries" (i'll explain my use of the term in my book ... and now. you. cannot. wait) intimate a more powerful role for editing/revision/composition, and currently we are in a position to be making films rather than merely studying, talking, or writing about them.

ever since i've been making films, the relationship between revision and filmmaking -- revision as writing, revision as composing/filmmaking -- has fascinated me. editing is, for me, the place of (film)writing, and i find that when i start, i don't want to stop. the sports analogy is the "zone." i'm often there when i'm editing. and even if the film is ultimately special only for me -- even if the response at the screening is less than WOW -- i still have that time, that experience of having made it, of having figured out how to (begin to) create the e/affects i'm after. and there is learning and all kinds of groovy self-actualization and discovery and intervention (into clichéd ways of thinking/being) happening there.

last night, i watched a documentary on editing. many Big Hollywood Directors talked about their work with their editors, and it was magically revealing to see the extent to which they realized that the editors were, as the early 20th C. had it, the filmmakers. i felt a little a.v. girl/geek pride for my editing comrades (hear that, Brad? Josh? Matt?). i see from my list there that those names are all male; the early 20th C. editors were almost exclusively female, until sound came along and men began to see the tech-y cool factor as opposed to the allegedly simple cut-and-paste labor that they'd considered "women's work," a kind of weaving or knitting project for the little ladies. grr.

No comments:

stand up straight & let me get a look at you

It's awards show Sunday, so i'm giving Margot. I'm through with the wishfulness and angst and regret, and Margot, more than an...