Last year I edited three feature length documentaries. Two have been released and the third is due out in the coming months. The first film was TCT: Fashion in Leeds [Vol 1].
At the beginning of the Summer I switched companies, from making short viral content to long form documentaries. I was sat in an LA bar a couple of hours before my flight home and I get an email I’d been waiting for, a job offer. Around four weeks later I was starting my new job. The first project was a fashion documentary.
The project was already a couple of weeks in and some decisions had been made, some I was able to contribute to. My main areas in the production was sound recording and the majority of the post-production. The time scale on the film was 3-4 weeks to complete everything. At the time I was not feeling optimistic about those time scales, but once I got working and saw how this new company worked I realised that it was achievable.
For around two weeks we had non-stop interviews, I think we interviewed 14-16 people, there were so many cool stories I’d never heard before about the city I’d spent my entire life in. All this time I thought I’d lived in a quite boring city… It was great to meet so many fascinating people and some of them have become good friends.
I’d never edited a documentary of this size, but as always, it’s much easier to think of it as editing lots of smaller sections. I’ve spent much of my career as a ‘predator’ (a producer/shooter/editor), so I’m used to being alone, however, this was a team project and we worked as a team.
With this being a team effort I needed to up my filing system. Luckily I’m quite an organised editor and have a fine folder system, but there are times when I’ve left things on my desktop or in the downloads folder and then at a later date move the project to an external hard-drive… and anyway, things start to get lost. This needed to be waterproof tight, no files getting lost, everything named, absolutely solid, so that anybody can walk in and find what they are looking, or in weeks, months, years to come everything is right where it needs to be.
I sat for the first week with the story editor, where we found the narratives, I say ‘we’ more so him. I pitched in, but more from an editing continuity side of things. After the story was locked in I was left to make it look pretty and run smooth.
The filming of the next documentary TCT: Music in Leeds [Vol 2] overlapped the editing, which at times became confusing, mainly getting people names mixed up. There was no rest in between project, just straight onto the next. There was a short break between the Music doc and the third film, but only a few days.
It’s great being busy, you really get the feel of the buzz and the hustle to get things done. Although it does take over you life somewhat…
The film premiered at the Vue cinema in Leeds city centre. It was great seeing my name on the big screen.
Featured photography by Shang Ting-Peng