“Would you tell me which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get,” said the Cat.
“I really don’t care where” replied Alice.
“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
– Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), novelist and poet (1832-1898)

This perfectly reminds me of the process of editing this video reel. I’ve had a great many deal of ideas of how I wanted to lay out my newest editor reel. While I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do or said I would do, I am quite content with the results. Surprisingly, you would think you need an exact layout of what you want to do. But editing – it’s very organic. Sometimes, it comes to life before your very eyes without much prodding.

The process went very much like any other edit. I brought in all the various videos I knew I wanted to pull from. That can be the most overwhelming time, when you scrub through each video trying to pinpoint the best moments and how you will use them. I think even before I went to open Premiere CS5, I went into it trying not to care too hard about the process and just see where it took me. Before, say when I edited my last reel, I was very very focused and cared a great deal about every single thing involved. It might have even caused my video to lose it’s way, but it didn’t produce that lucky happy result where it all works. I think it bulked itself up a bit more than it should have.

Somehow, when you lose yourself and give up some control, you really might find what you are looking for! So I just simply stopped caring. I made fast decisions, cut here or there and almost knew where in the song I wanted the cut, used Magic Bullet (the one that comes with CS5, gah I wish the actual full plugin) to add a bit of a darker feel to the shots, and then found the most intense and dare I say dramatic piece of music off Freeplay. What on Earth was I trying to accomplish?

I wanted a short reel. This much I knew. Within about a minute. I mean, who can’t wait for just a minute for something? I wanted to grab the viewer as fast as possible and keep their attention the whole time. Maybe shock or intrigue with the various cuts I made. Not so jumbled it would leave the viewer feeling icky, but Hopefully, in the reel, I’ve accomplished that much. The music was specifically interesting to me, and isn’t it true that sometimes we don’t know WHY exactly we like something…we just do. It set the pace of the edit – I knew some spots could be more mellow, and then BAM! It’s like a wakeup call to whomever is watching with the faster cuts, aided by the fact that I had a lot of great footage to pull from. The Sons of Amber shots were probably the most perfect for cuts to match the music, and admittedly I’m very partial to that film since we invested so much time and effort.

Advice for anyone editing their reels is the following: Do not overthink it! Sure, it may be nice to add in a ton of AE effects and all these big grand ideas, but at the end of the day, it’s what you can do for ‘now’ that matters most. And do it the very best you can, that’s all anybody can ask for. Once I stopped putting unreasonable ideas on the table, this reel just came to life. And even if it wasn’t everything I ever dreamed for, what is exactly what you hoped to be? That is why these reels are always changing to highlight our skills. And there you have it…