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Better Editing Through Time Travel

November 10th, 2015

The secret to creating quality content? It’s simple: time travel.

Welcome back to Content Creator Community College, sponsored by the PodPledge - crowdfunding specifically designed for content creators, such as my channel, Pair Of Dice Paradise. If you’re mulling over monetizing the media you make, check ‘em out.

As one who has admired artists in many different creative mediums over the years, whether it’s video, literature, or Bavarian Alpine Yodeling, I have found one thing to be consistent among content creators and the work that they produce. Upon completing a project, there is a sense of pride and fulfillment. But then, after some time goes by, an artist will often look back on their older work, and they’ll no longer be impressed by it. Sometimes, that former sense of pride even turns to embarrassment. When they look back on their prior work, all they see now are its flaws.

This is actually a good thing, because it demonstrates artistic growth. When you start to see the issues in your older work that you previously overlooked, it means that your eye for the creative and technical aspects of the medium you work in, is improving. You are, essentially, strengthening your editorial muscle. And - especially for podcasters, bloggers and vloggers - being able to serve as your own editor is a crucial skill.

Not every content creator out there has the luxury of having access to an editor. Many are just a one-person operation. So, those of us working in that environment must be able to toggle between content creator mode and editor mode. In content creator mode, you get to come up with ideas and perform them. But in editor mode, you have to see your work through the eyes of someone who has never viewed it before, and train yourself to realize what’s working, what’s not, and then cut, splice, filter and refine as necessary.

One way to improve your editorial skills is to use time to your advantage. Get some temporal distance between you and your work before you edit it. For example, I script most of my videos, including this one you’re watching now. ...hi. After I write a script, I’m usually excited about how incredibly brilliant I was, and I’m just itching to go record it immediately. However, I’ll force myself to put what I’ve just written aside for as long as possible before producing it. If not overnight, at least for several hours.

Because even when I think the first draft of a piece is perfect, when I come back to it, I always always ALWAYS find issues I overlooked before. Some problems are nearly insignificant, but others are so blatantly obvious that they boggle the mind. Time helps give a fresh perspective. And a fresh perspective helps reveal: word choice improvements that can be made, sentences that can be restructured, important information that was overlooked, and content that seemed relevant at the time, but is superfluous and - as painful as it may be - needs to be cut.

Taking some time away from your work between revisions of it can almost be like working with a second person. You’ll have present day you and future you, working together in harmony like some sort of cross-dimensional science experiment gone horribly awry. Good times.

Editing is a skill, and so, the amount of time that’s necessary to distance yourself from your work in order to view it objectively, will lessen with practice. The more you do it, the better you’ll become at stepping away from your own bias and seeing things with a first-time viewer’s perspective. 

For further viewing on the subject of training yourself to be your own editor, I highly recommend a video on the subject that was recently published on the Basic Filmmaker YouTube channel. I’ll include a link to that video in this video’s description below.

So, what do you think? Do you script the media that you produce, and, if so, how much time do you take between drafts, and how many drafts do you usually go through before you’re comfortable stepping in front of a mic or camera lens? Take some time after subscribing to this channel to let me know in the comments below.

Also working to master time travel is our sponsor PodPledge, the crowdfunding website for content creators. Whether you’re developing a one-time feature, or producing multiple seasons of a blog, vlog, podcast, YouTube channel, or website about paperclip sculptures, PodPledge helps you crowdfund it by empowering your backers to support you with either one-time donations or subscriptions, which automatically continue from one season of your production to the next, helping finance it for years to come. 

Get started gaining backers for the media that you make by creating a crowdfunding project on PodPledge’s website today! Because receiving support from your fans is a great way to Stay Inspired.

The official blog from the crowdfunding site designed specifically for media makers.

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