Making movies

Last week I finished editing my first film. It came out of an idea to explain more of what I do as a coach, how I do it and what led me to work in this field. It’s been well received by those who have seen it and been shared a few times.

I’d had the idea for a while and knew some of the things I wanted to convey. I lined up a great interviewer and gave them free range with the questions. We discussed a few angles and areas we could cover and then pressed “Record” on my camera. Which is where it all changed…….

I thought I’d be self conscious and awkward on camera but in fact I relaxed. Given (nearly) unlimited time and a large memory card I was free to roam across many subjects, explore different avenues. Rather than a continual stop start approach we just left the camera rolling and took what came. I’m not sure that I fully covered what was in my original plan but that didn’t matter. We went with what came – and there was lots of it. Which presented it’s own problem…….

I’ve never really edited film before and so with almost 2 hours of footage I had a lot on my hands. First I had to watch everything and make notes as to what might be useful. Being both director and subject is hard work! Then I had to make decisions about whether to leave in the questions or sacrifice them for reduced runtime. In this social media “always on” world I felt that anything over 5-6 minutes just wouldn’t be watched. My first take at it was around 15 minutes. I tried to squeeze it down and got it under 6 minutes. Then however it was uneven. I found myself re-editing discarded footage to change the balance and indeed the emphasis. This really surprised me. My initial story idea had been lost in the filming, my new ideas lost in the edit and here I was almost starting from scratch with what told a new (and compelling) angle on my story.

So what did I learn?

  1. Plans change, and that’s good.
  2. Talking about your ideas really helps crystallise them.
  3. Don’t rush to discard what doesn’t work at first.
  4. Be open to constructive criticism (you know who you are – thanks).
  5. Trust yourself. The new film is 7 minutes and people are watching it.

There’s an NLP presupposition which says there’s no failure, only feedback. Did I fail to make the film I set out to? Definitely. Am I happy with what I achieved? Absolutely.

Please do check it out here or on youtube if you prefer


About Jon Bartlett

I'm a coach, blogging on things that occur to me, that I want to share and any other fun stuff I find lying around in the real world.
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