One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given about screenwriting was when a writer on a panel, at some event or other many years ago, advised all the budding scribes in attendance to “go on an editing course”. It was such good advice that one day I’ll perhaps get round to doing it. For instead, you see, I thought “I won’t go on a course, I’ll actually edit something instead”. And I did.
I armed myself with a mini-DV home camcorder, and a copy of Adobe Premiere, and some like-minded friends, and over the course of five years or so, I proceeded to write, direct, edit, and (eep!) co-star in a series of shorts. Some were office-based things at my day job, which we’d then show at Christmas parties. Another was a ten-minuter that my wife and I made together, which was shown on a big screen at my wedding (I got married in a cinema – doesn’t everyone?!).
It was a great learning experience, and I recommend trying it. You learn all sorts of things about in and out points of scenes, structure, working to deadlines, seeing material enjoyed - or not – by an audience. Of course - as they were learning experiences - I would never dream of exhibiting them as examples of my work. That would be foolish.
This is where I wish, fleetingly, that I wrote novels: for film is a collaborative medium, and one of my collaborators – Andrew Hunt, also known as Uncle Hunty – has put some of them up on youtube in all their bad sound, wobbly cam, in-jokey glory. I’m not going to link to them from here, but a quick search should give you access if you’re interested / bored / masochistic. No apologies, and since they’re free – no refunds either.