The Editing Room
by Jenni Ruiza & Jesenia
One of the most exciting things that can happen to a writer – is to be involved in the video editing process. Why? Because you get to see the magic of your words come to life right before your eyes! It’s like witnessing childbirth each and every time you sit in that editing chair.
It’s hard work with long hours – but in the end, you get to see your idea flourish and become exactly what you envisioned from the beginning, when you were putting that pen to paper! Fortunately, as the Becoming Ricardo writers and producers, we are heavily involved in the cutting room floor. This means we have full control over what stays and what goes – but that is no easy task.
So, what really goes into editing a webseries? First of all, keep in mind “Becoming Ricardo” does not have a traditional web-series run-time, as each episode averages 16 minutes. Why is that? Because we’re aiming for Television distribution, so we’re producing a package that is “Made-for-TV”. This is why we call it a WebTV Sitcom.
We use Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). We switched from using Final Cut 7, after having so many bad experiences last year while editing our pilot episode, which included: dealing with the colorful wheel of death after forgetting to save our work every 5 seconds, forcing us to re-edit the pilot at least 4 times – in addition to the painfully long exporting process (close to a full day). All of that in mind, it was clear that we needed to upgrade our software to the FCPX.
While we’ve been excited to work with the time-saving FCPX, not every rainbow has a happy ending! Recently, we experienced a major crash on the FCPX software, which corrupted our entire Episode 2 file – forcing us to re-edit the entire episode again!!! YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT – IT HAPPENED AGAIN!!! One would think we’re cursed – but DO NOT WORRY – WE ARE DETERMINED and realize there is a reason for everything.
So, we are pushing back the release date of that episode – making it a Labor Day Weekend release and we are moving on! Does this frustrate us? ABSOLUTELY! Did we want to take the entire computer and external drives and “Office Space” them in an open field, old-school gangsta style? OF COURSE! But we didn’t. Instead, we learned from our mistakes and will now back up every freggin time we complete an editing session.
TIP: You need to duplicate your project and make sure there’s a separate reflective file with a timeline in FCPX just in case you lose one file.
ANOTHER EDITING TIP FOR THE WRITER/PRODUCER WHO EDITS – You cannot be completely married to your script. Just a little bit honeymoon respect for it – but don’t expect for it not to change and then call you in the morning. (sorry, we’re getting off track) At the end of the day, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes an improvised line from an actor is what can make a scene amazing!
Also, you have to ask yourself: Is this relevant to the story? There will be times when the words you write are not needed – lines can be replaced by a dirty look or an evil laugh and it can complete a scene more than what was originally written in the script. These are the gifts that your actors will often give to you if they’re truly invested in their work and this is when you need to separate the writer from the editor part of you, if you’re wearing both hats.
Not everyone can do it because sometimes it actually does hurt, but then this question comes up: Do I want to keep these words there because I’m being a stubborn writer ass? In which case, the answer is usually – YES!!! As comedy writers, your jokes need to speak to the masses – not just your friends.
So, being able to take a step back and watch your edited footage with un-shaded eyes – is always the way to go! This is why you need to watch it over and over and over again – because what may not pop out during a late night editing session, will definitely SCREAM at you the next morning, after you’ve had your yummy breakfast and some coffee. Finally, you must remember: Editing is an art – don’t rush it.
With the release of our second episode being pushed back, we wanted to share the brand new show opening complete with an original theme song and a look into what’s ahead for the season. Enjoy!