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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Editting the Story

I saw a story over at recently that stirred some thoughts on how to approach my story once I finish writing it and prepare to edit it.

Here are the videos.  If you have not seen them (and don't mind potential minor spoilers if you haven't seen the movies yet) watch them.


The first video, of a scene near the end of The Avengers, shows how much a scene can change in the editing process.

The start and end are similar enough to the movie.  Tony gets to Start Tower ahead of the rest of The Avengers and enters without the Mark VI armor.  It ends with Loki throwing him off the building and Mark VII saving him.  The Avengers arrive as the portal opens.

But the scene is quite different in between.  There are several distinct differences, like Thor and Banner flying to New York in the Quinjet.  This tells me many other story elements changed, if Thor and Hulk were not originally thrown from the ship as in the final movie.

The largest difference I noticed deals with Loki's power to manipulate and control people.  In this video, Loki uses illusion and suggestion to attempt to control Tony Stark.  As in the final movie, Loki's plan is to force The Avengers to fight Iron Man, but this early version is a much more elaborate ruse.  Loki imitates Jarvis and tries to get inside Tony's mind.  Tony plays along the entire scene in hopes to get the drop on Loki. 

This is all purely conjecture, but I guess Loki's powers of persuasion and manipulation were difficult to show on screen, especially in an action movie.  I imagine a lot of time was needed to properly explain his abilities.  What would take minutes of screen time, and might confuse viewers if done poorly, only took seconds with one minor change:  the staff.

By giving Loki his staff, he now has the power to control people in a simple and effective way.  It is obvious when watching the opening scene of Avengers that Loki is controlling the minds of Hawkeye and Selvik with the staff.  Adding the staff even works with this scene, as you get the funny moment where the staff cannot reach Tony's heart and therefore Loki's plan to control Iron Man fails.

The other two videos show other scenes that changed in the final movie.  I assume the Iron Man 3 scene wasn't as funny or useful an end for Trevor, so it was modified.  The final clip, of the Avengers, shows some minor tweaks to the final movie with one major difference.  There is a whole extra character in the scene!  I remember reading that Joss Whedon wanted to use The Wasp in The Avengers, and here is a little proof of that. 

I feel I learned a lot from these videos about the editing process.  As creators, we have to be willing to modify our creations.  We need to understand our stories well enough to fight for what is essential (Loki attempts to manipulate Iron Man and fails) while also understanding what details can change to make the story flow better (add a staff, remove an entire character!). 

I still have a ways to go before I edit Asa's or Trezl's stories, but this knowledge actually helps me write.  I do not have to get the details correct on the first draft.  I need to tell the story and understand the essentials as I push forward.  There will be more drafts (with the help of a good editor, I plan) where I can fix and tweak and change the story to make it enjoyable.

Thanks for reading.

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