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As documentary filmmakers, we put our whole selves into our films and naturally become entwined with them.  There comes a point in the filmmaking process where we could use an experienced objective eye to tell us what is working, what is not, and provide fresh ideas to help hone

the perfect story.  

In evaluating your work-in-progress, I use my intuitive storytelling skills, communication background, sensitivity to rhythm, understanding of psychology, and neuro-divergent pattern recognition to determine what aspects of the edit is serving the film and what alterations can be made to better support the overall message.

Pre-Production and Production

As a filmmakers, none of us are immune to becoming enmeshed with our projects.  This can lead to oversights that only become apparent in the edit room.  We may find that the information is there, but context is missing.  The interviews are plentiful, but there's not enough action.  The points are well made, but are disjointed without transitions.  We wish we would have gotten just one more establishing shot, one more detail shot to cover a jump cut. As an editor, I have faced all of these issues and more. 


Discussing shot lists, interview plans, film themes, etc. beforehand with an experienced editor can help you anticipate your film's needs before they become problems in post.  Whether in pre-production or production - it is never too early think ahead.


Let's talk about the best possible approach to your story that will ensure clarity and a powerful emotional connection with your audience. Who is your audience? Is your topic specific enough to capture their attention?  Is your topic too specific and in need of a universal approach to generate relatability?  Could your general topic benefit from a personal perspective?  How can you avoid too many "talking heads?" How can you expand your topic into a rich compelling story? Does your story fully support your theme? Does your idea lend itself better to a feature film, short film, or a series?  Together we will devise a proposed film structure that will serve as a foundation in your upcoming shoots and give your story the greatest chance of success.  Yes, it is true that documentaries never follow their scripts.  The best directors flow and adapt as the story unfolds.  However, starting with a clear vision allows for the greatest flexibility down the road.  The deeper you are rooted, the more you can sway with the wind without resistance and without toppling over.



Let's review what you have shot so far and how you are feeling about the film.  We will determine where the film is going and devise shot lists, vérité ideas, B-roll, interview questions, additional sounds, additional subjects, etc. that best support the trajectory of the story.  We will look at your edit plans and determine what additional footage is needed to round out the story and fill any gaps.  Is your footage mostly interviews? Have you captured establishing shots of all your settings?  Have you included close up details for montages, cutaways, breathing room, emotional emphasis?   Is your footage communicating the intended tone?   Is there anything said in interviews that can be shown instead?  For example, close up details in your main subject's home can establish their personality.  They can even get you out of a bind if you've edited yourself into a corner. All together these things may not seem like much, but any one of them can be the difference between a bare disjointed final edit and a profoundly flowing film.


The most intimidating moment for any editor is coming face to face with the blank timeline. If you're unsure of where to start, let's review your footage and find a way in. If you already have a rough cut, let's go through it!

When I watch a rough cut, I am looking for overall clarity and effectiveness. I then narrow in on the details.  Are all the scenes, shots, music, dialogue, etc. working cohesively in support of the theme?  Is the tone consistent? Is the information clear?  Are there too many statements and not enough questions?  Are there questions being asked that are not being answered sufficiently?  Can the scenes be reordered to better invoke viewer participation?

Each story beat has an emotional payoff -

gain, loss, redirection, etc. - and should be working in tandem with juxtaposed beats.  The emotional journey should be dynamic and varied to keep the audience invested. Rhythm and flow also contribute to the viewing experience. High intensity moments are best followed by a quiet moment to allow for breathing and processing.  Too many slow moments in a row will cause the audience to get bored.  These analyses can be applied to the overall film as well as each individual scene, even shot-by shot.


If the cut is near picture lock, I also pay close attention to the length of shots, the order of sound bites, the juxtaposition of shots, and more.  The goal is to ensure that all elements are working together cohesively to support the overall intended tone without competing with each other.  

After I have watched your film multiple times, you will receive a document with your creative analysis.  This includes a general summary with my overall impression as well as patterns I noticed in the editing approach.  It also includes a highly detailed list of notes organized by timecode, each with a specific suggestion and my reasoning behind it.  I provide as much detail as possible so you can make an informed choice that best supports your vision.


The level of detail in the creative analysis document will depend on how far along your film is in the editing process.  The further along an edit is, the more I focus on the minutiae of the edit. I am happy to provide multiple feedback sessions throughout your post production process.

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