Don’t Edit Other Directors’ Stuff

I’ve been running into a lot of people in independent film who are so incompetent that they are completely oblivious to their own incompetence.

There are a bunch of things a director can say that make the editing process for a 4 minute short take hundreds of hours. Unfortunately this is not a hypothetical situation.

“I know you said you needed us to use a slate, but the shoot was really crazy and we just didn’t have time”

“We didn’t (ever) white balance because there wasn’t enough time.”

“I couldn’t make a shotlist because I don’t have any editing equipment”

“I can’t tell you which is a good take because I have to see it and I don’t have any editing equipment”

“I couldn’t make a storyboard because I need jump cuts and they are too fast to write down”

“I know the actor’s face is completely dark there, but you can fix it in post and add some more colors”

“There’s a hair on the lens in this shot, but you can fix it in post”

“I know you said to get a tape cleaner last time because the camera wouldn’t sample our footage, but I heard it’s bad for the heads to run a cleaner on them”

“Just make this shot we filmed at sundown less grainy, ok?”

One shot had the actress standing against the crashing waves of the ocean. Her direction was to turn and consider the ocean, and then walk into the waves. The cameraman’s direction was to execute a slow and constant zoom. What he did instead was zoom in about 20%, wait 2 seconds, zoom another 10%, wait another second, and then zoom the rest of the way. The waves are in the shot the entire time. DIRECTOR: “Can you change the time so the zoom is constant?”

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