December 28, 2004

With Thanks And Apologies To My Editor

There are some habits that are hard to break. For example, when I get lost driving, it's usually because I've exited or turned too early, not too late.

In writing, meanwhile, my tendency is to overwrite. Reading back through scripts I've shot--those'd be Souvenir installments at this point--I find they lay absolutely everything out, with no insinuations or hints.

But then when I look at the footage, I see I've corrected for that, but then I still overshoot. I cover nearly the entire script, but with more restraint, more naturalism, less intentionality than the script contains.

It's only when I edit that things get pared down, cut back, cease to be so didactic, almost, or overly melodramatic. I remember, for example, listening to some raw Bjork song while writing, thinking of it as the soundtrack while shooting, and then being repulsed by it during editing, where we replaced it with an almost-silent ambient drone.

I'm reminded of this because I turned in a draft for an off-site writing gig yesterday that was easily 2.5 times longer than I knew the final product would be. Which left my poor editor to crank on it in a day and give me back a version that's only 25% too long, I'm guessing.

I feel/cause your pain.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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first published: December 28, 2004.

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