The documentary I’m an editor on (currently titled We Breathe Again) had its first gathering of all the major creative post members on the project. From October 8-13th, the Producer, Director, Post-Production Supervisor, Editor, and Assistant Editor all finally met in the same space (about an hour north of San Francisco) for what we dubbed “Edit Lab.”
I’m all for “cloud collaboration” — in fact as long as you have the talent and skills, where you live really doesn’t determine the kind of projects you can work on anymore. Even as short as five years ago, if you weren’t in a major hub like LA or NYC, good luck working on a film. Now, with such tools as Dropbox for sharing project files and Skype for conference calls, you can realistically have editors all over the world working on the same film. It will only improve in the near-future. With the announcement of Adobe Anywhere, we can see where the industry is headed.
All this being said… what an amazing experience it is to actually be physically in the same space when working with other creative people. The edit team was able to get through an enormous amount of work together, and found our problem solving skills — be it the structure of the film or technical issues, were far superior as a group.
As an editor, I’m a team-oriented person by nature. I know my best work comes from collaboration with the director and producers, either by fleshing out their ideas or contributing my own. It is not often though, that every member on a film is as comfortable working with others. Egos tend to get in the way and progress can come to a halt.
This film has been different. We all were able to share our ideas (even the bad ones) without judgement. The days (usually 12-16 hours long!) flew by. The energy, passion, (and plenty of humor!) was tangible. For almost a week, we ate, slept and breathed the film. It came into conversation during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even the moments before bed. I don’t think every film can be made this way. Huge Hollywood blockbusters can’t allow each crew member to voice their opinions on every aspect of the film — it would be anarchy! But for those special passion projects, where the small, tight-knit crew truly cares about doing the characters and stories justice, there is no better way.