My Editing Philosophy

Posted by EJ Higginbotham on March 21, 2013

When I sat down to write this post, it was titled, My Philosophy on Editing. Then I thought, “Why do I need to keep the word ‘on?’ Why not just ‘My Editing Philosophy?And while I’m at it, can I get rid of ‘My’ and just go with ‘Editing Philosophy?’ That sounds acceptable,” I thought. “Though it could be misinterpreted as a blog post about helping people edit (i.e. change) their philosophies, and it’s really about my personal philosophy on editing. My Editing Philosophy it is.”

my editing philosophy 20130320

The 10 seconds it took me to edit one word out of this simple title is a microcosm of my entire philosophy on editing -- deciding what stays and what goes in order to communicate a point in the clearest way possible. Editing is not taking out or leaving in; it’s saying exactly what needs to be said. It’s finding the least common denominator. Why say two-fourths when one-half will do just as well?

I edit all the time. I edit emails, essays, conversations and stories I tell. I edit my day, and I try to edit the way I live my life. My stock in trade however, is editing video, and it is just like any other form of editing. I take raw, creative assets and put them together within the constraints of the project I’m working on.

Turning several hours of video and audio assets into a 30-second commercial is a common request, and doing this while maintaining the integrity and flow of a piece is like a puzzle. Though unlike most puzzles, which have one rigid solution, these solutions depend entirely on who is editing the piece. The ways in which I use pacing and flow to solve an edit can vary wildly from piece to piece. And as I continue to grow, my editing style continues to change. I continue to edit my philosophy.

Come to think of it, maybe I should go with Editing Philosophy.

Do you have an editing philosophy? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.