You've probably read me making the point that you only get better as a swimmer if you spend time in the water. More practice usually means that your body learns subconscious corrections during swims while your brain does some iterative trial and error with new techniques, layering them in with tried and true techniques. Over time your hands and feet and your brain develop a feel for the water that makes your swimming more fluid and enjoyable. I say it all the time. Mastery is all about time in the water.
So I've been trying to master video editing and it's hard and frustrating. Not the technical stuff; I know which buttons to push and how to make my clips look the way I want them to but it's the actual sequencing and the cadence and knowing where to end one segment and start another one that seems difficult to me. These are stylist choices and aesthetic choices. I guess a video editing style reflects a person's story telling styles.
So last weekend my son edited some food preparation footage he'd shot for school project and I was mesmerized by the way the quick cuts and the music created a 1:30 piece that riveted my attention for the enture duration. Yesterday we were out jogging around the lake in the heat of the afternoon and I asked him how he learned to edit so well. Was it the classes at school?
He glanced over and then said, "Well, you have to consider that I started playing around with video when I was about ten and that my friends and I have been through a lot of trial and error in trying to edit our stuff for the YouTube channel and stuff. If you add in the three years of cinematography classes at school you'd get that I've edited a couple of hundred pieces. That, dad, is how you learn an editing style."
Then I asked his if he wrote the scripts first and if the narration was an important framework. He responded, "Video is basically a visual art. I know what story I want to tell but I start with all the visual pieces and I put them together first. Then I add in the basic narration. But here's the deal: a good video is a like a children's picture book. The pictures are what captivate the kids. You only need enough words to drive the story along and no more."
We jogged on. He looked at me and decided I needed a few words of encouragement so he added, "Dad, it's just practice and paying attention. Do more videos for yourself and don't concentrate on client work. Once you've got a hundred fun videos under your belt you'll have a style and your clients will probably like it. It just takes time in the water."
I always give that advice to other people. Sometimes I need to hear it too.