They say that a novel is never finished, only abandon. There are always more improvements that can be made by editing. Always more mistakes to be found. At last you reach the point where you don’t have enough emotional energy to continue and anyway you’ve reached your deadline, so you send the damn thing off. The same it seems it’s true for films.
Having written a short comedy screenplay entitled Pixicillus, gone through pre-production then actually filmed the thing this summer, it was time to start sticking it together. My good friend Gav Irons of BRAG Films set about editing it into shape.
The first edit was a rough cut. He called us together to see the result. We sat around the television watching, thinking ‘that’s not too bad’ and chuckling from time to time. Of course there were things to change. By the end of the session we’d given Gav a list of corrections about a mile long.
When we came together to see the result of the second edit, we found ourselves laughing at most of the jokes. Cutting a quarter of a second here. Adding half a second there. It had made all the difference. But by the end of the evening we’d found half a page of new edits – things we hadn’t spotted the first time.
The long suffering Gav worked away on our list so that when we came together the third time and watched our short film we found ourselves laughing out loud all the way through. But would other people find it funny?
The deadline was upon us. The last couple of edits - they had to be the last as we’d run out of time - were done. The film was sent in. And on Monday we went down to the Firebug bar in Leicester and saw, for the first time, our film projected on a big screen in front of the real audience.
The film began. I held my breath. Would they get jokes?
Then they started laughing and they didn't stop till the end. At moments like that, writing gives you its rewards – when you see people enjoying your work. Perhaps the editing is worth it after all.