So here’s the thing. Three weeks ago I posted a video for this great new jazz series at the Minnesota Orchestra for my buddy Jeremy. It was a really great opportunity, killer footage, and a really special night. But there was a problem; I didn’t like the end result.
It didn’t feel right, it was missing a rhythm, it really didn’t do the night justice. I had so much great footage, maybe too much, and it was by far the hardest piece I’d yet to edit. I get these feelings of self-doubt every week, since it never really feels like I’m able to go about things properly, or give the process the attention it deserves on a weekly deadline. But that feeling was stronger for this one. So after giving it a week or two to settle in my brain, and going back-and-forth on it with people I trust, I made a list of What Works and What Doesn’t Work:
What Doesn’t Work
These are what set the guidelines for this new edit. For example, initially I thought it’d be really great to use these beautiful pieces that Jeremy had crafted as the audio backbone of the video. But after everything was said and done, it didn’t really feel like it had much of a driving element to it. Which makes perfect sense, the songs weren’t composed around driving a video, but to entertain in a live setting with lots of room for improvisation. So I fell back on a jazz classic from one of Jeremy’s favorite artists, Duke Ellington. And from there I found a new order for clips I had already picked out as favorites, amongst new bits and pieces. I found a font I was more fond of, and I added some animation to make it feel more interesting. All in all, I was left with something that I really think is a better piece.
So here’s the question that you’ve been wanting to ask since you started reading this: “Isn’t that cheating?”. And my answer: “I really don’t know.”
I really don’t know, but I really don’t think so. Here’s what so great about everything I’ve just described: I made something I wasn’t proud to put my name on, and then I made it into something that I was. Isn’t that the whole point of this thing? To fail faster, learn the hard way, achieve a greater level of creative awareness? It’s not easy to throw something into the world that you feel isn’t a true representation of your capabilities, and even harder to admit that you need to go back to square one. I embraced that fear and it led me down a road of self-analysis and reconstruction that made my work and me better. So no, I don’t feel like I cheated. In fact, I feel like this is a highlight of 50 Videos / 50 Weeks.