Real is better than perfect
Unscripted…it’s not the easiest way to make a video. I have found myself in editting, trying to construct the storyline and finding that we have missed something. Or a shot doesn’t work out the way I need it to work; wind, water or rain noise spoils a great conversation…. Finding solutions to building that story when there is no possibility for pick-ups is a challenge I’ve had to rise to many a time.
And editting an interview as well. In our case interviews are more often conversations. We try to help people to speak from their heart, we react with enthousiasm and curiosity, not only pushing our own (or the clients’) talking points, but wanting to find the real story. And like in normal conversations, there are a lot of “eeehhhs” and “uuhms” and sentences that just don’t always…you know, the way we speak in reality, to each other. See what I mean?
Unscripted and Unstaged
And yet I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. Because in the end, everything we make needs to be believable. We are not on outfit that makes spectacular, über-slick, perfectly cosmeticized edits. We hardly ever use a voice-over who can connect every ad hov shot together in a post-production narrative; boy that would be easier.
If anything our edits are a bit raw, documentary styled. We do plan what we are going to film, we do know the context of our story and prepare for it. But what happens, happens. And we let it happen. We do not script, we do not tell people what to say, we do not stage.
Unbelievable and untrustworthy
In the past months, in high-priced, over-produced video series made by powerhouse add agencies for huge multinationals I have seen scripted spontenousness, staged funny moments, polished over awkwardness and corporate press-releases narrated by actors that all make me cringe.
The end-result is a story that I do not believe, by a brand that as a result I do not trust. The production values are as good as you can get, but it’s wasted because it is not believable. Hundreds of thousands of euro’s down the drain. And in one case even a serious public relations backlash because the company in question was caught out on it’s bullshit.
Real is better than perfect
“I’d rather apologise than ask for you permission.” I like that saying, because it conveys a kind of rebellious attitude and daring I think and hope I have, at least in some measure. It doesn’t go 100% to the point I am trying to make, but in a way it does.
You see, rather than investing huge amounts of time and money in planning and scripting and staging every detail of a shoot to eliminate any chance of failure, I’d rather invest in the moment of the shoot. Obviously we also plan, we don’t go in blindly. But rather than stage to the second, we go about creating a context and then being fully prepared for and aware of everything that happens, and trying to capture it when it does. All that in trusting that reality will serve up something great and real.
And then comes an investement of time and effort and creativity in post production to build the real story from all those authentic building blocks I have loaded into my editing suite. And yes, we may have missed something, and yes, sometimes the audio is difficult or lighting sometimes fails. But the story is good, the story is believable, the people are authentic. It may not be perfect, but then again, reality hardly ever is.