In Defense of Taking Your Time


Editing–good editing–is rarely done quickly. You might call it a slow process but I prefer to think of it as a deliberate one.

We think, we ponder, we reconsider. Because good work, work that illuminates some previously hidden part of ourselves and the audience, does not come quickly.

For me, creativity is always intertwined with intuition. David Mamet described it like this, “Art is the spontaneous connection of the artists to his own unconscious — about insight beyond reason.”

Sometimes it feels like scampering around in the darkness. We dig and we shape. And we take up time.

Once, I wrote and directed a five-minute film that took three years to finish. A two-minute one took the better part of a year.

To finish is to exhaust all other possibilities. I don’t know a better way.

You can compare yourself with others, worry about sliding in to a deadline last minute but here’s the truth: time is the greatest gift an editor will ever receive. And you should absorb every minute of it you possibly can.

Don’t stop working until someone pries the keyboard from your carpal-tunneled hands. Because once your film is given to the world, there’s seldom an opportunity for revision.

In the end, most viewers don’t care about your speed. They care that you get it right.


Written by Eric Maierson for the MediaStorm blog.


Title image: MediaStorm producer Ligaiya works with renowned photographer Rick Smolan and his intern Olivia to put the finishing touches on a MediaStorm project, courtesy of MediaStorm on Instagram.