Thursday, 19 July 2007

Secrets of editing

Sshhhhh! Don't tell anyone this.

I might not have ever had to make a programme before in my entire life but I certainly fucking know how to run a proper edit.

Fucking around with footage is standard fucking practice in making telly. Thommo clearly needs to get out of all those poxy management love-ins and down to some edits to catch up on the way we make shows these days.

Wake up Mr DG!!

A lot has obviously changed since your days on Panorama when you probably used Steenbecks to splice black and white 'film' together!!

So this is how it works. Pay attention:

Exec drops by 2 weeks into the roughcut, and is aghast at the lack of dramatic 'jeopardy' in the storyline. Drained and knackered P/D explains: "look, that is just how it happened, okay?!" Exec, fearful that the cut won't play well with me, orders dramatic changes to real-time narrative "to inject some fucking bite and energy to it". P/D, by now just wanting an easy fucking life after a shoot-from-hell, relents after noble effort to protect the genuine timeline of events. Starts sweating about the fact his very trusting contributors still have his mobile phone number.

A week later, I pop down to the edit, cool as fuck, expecting to be impressed. The assembly is adequate. Fifi is going to hate it.


I need some major fucking changes, fast. "Can you make the mother look more angry at her son's behaviour?" I demand. The world-weary, exhausted P/D looks puzzled: "She really didn't get much more animated than that." The Exec - taking my line - barks back: "Well why the fuck not! Look at her son's disrespectful behaviour. I would fucking kick the cunt out if he did that in my house!"

I pipe up - "yes, yes, YES!! Have her boot him out of the home. Brilliant! Did you get any shots of the son storming out of the front door that we could cut in?" P/D looks even more pained, and commands his editor to trawl the rushes.

4 days later, I pop down again for the second viewing. Eureka! Half way through film, just when it needs a little pick-me-up, the son *does* indeed storm out, leaving his mum in fucking tears. I love it! Real moment of jeopardy. Critics will respect this scene, and viewers will be hooked. Television magic. I'm semi-hard. Congratulate P/D on remarkable 'turnaround' in narrative.

Programme airs 6 months later, I get a nice pat on the fucking back from Fifi, the Exec finally breathes a huge sigh of relief when the show gets 2.1 million (AND up against Big Brother!!) but I hear that the P/D has quit telly and decided to train as a marriage counsellor. Poor him!

And that is how modern programmes get fucking made.

Wake the fuck up Thommo!!


Anonymous said...

Tell it like it is, Bro! You da man!!!! (hi-5, slap hands).

Anonymous said...

That's the hard way to do it. Better to go in with a half decent scipt and some good scenarios worked out. That way the mum knows she is supposed to get really angry and you can do a few takes of the son storming out.

Of course you need some easily manipulated contributors - but you don't need to bung 'em much dosh. Just massage their ego's and tell them that they are so whacky there bound to get into Closer or Heat. Then just bandy around a few agent's names. Better still, if your production company also has an artists agency - make a few wild promises.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't comment. I'm still a wreck after falling into the web of Blue Peter's "culture of fear".

Stephen Lambert said...

I've already got a talent agency. And my share price is still fucked.

Maggie @ TVC Reception said...

You left your bag in the toilets by the front lifts.

Please come and collect it.

Anonymous said...

Pure genius. As a veteran P/D, I could have been in that edit suite. In fact, I think I was... Or am I making it all up? I really can't tell anymore...

Mack the knife said...

Alternatively you could leave well alone, then when the film's a hit, cruise north London's canape-circuit accepting praise for your commissioning vision and editorial control. If the whole thing goes tits-up, you could dodge the bullet by admitting you had absolutely fuck-all to do with the film, but then some might wonder what on earth you people are for. Best to do the 'mea culpa' schtick and hope the Ch4/BBC revolving door propels you somewhere even more lucrative and undemanding.

Anonymous said...

Harsh but oh how so true. Having lived under this kind of pressure all my working life, it did occur to me in a dark moment that I could solve all my problems with such arsehole executives by creating my own shadow casting agency. I would hold real-life casting sessions in all major towns. a
Anybody could come along. They fill in a form telling me and my producers exactly the who, what and why of their lives. We end up with details on thousands of wannabes.Along comes TV executive saying he needs a family where the dad works in the auto industry, mum for the local authority and both teenage kids about to look for work. He's doing a doco on working Britain. Normally this would be a pain in the arse job, but hey presto I go to my casting lists and put together the relevant 'family', coach them in what they need to say and do...result, sorted. Wait for BAFTA award.