From the Blog

An Update From Inside the Editing Room

The process of shooting a movie is so sexy – actors, cameras, locations, so many people working together in this strange but beautiful process of essentially fighting reality to create a reality.

But editing is not so sexy, except that it’s in a dark room. To edit means to cut out anything that isn’t helpful to telling your story and…any mistakes.

It’s the mistakes I kind of want to talk about today. A big part of what we’ve been trying to do with our “behind the scenes” videos and discussions is to share with anyone interested the almost “uncool” part of the process (which – in truth – is most of it). I find myself more and more discouraged by all the “hip” media stuff – the dazzling, sizzling, sexy journey that the networks, studios, etc want most people out there to believe is going on.

So many geniuses in Hollywood!

Then why do so many of the movies and TV shows suck? Why are so many of them the same? The answer is simple – no matter how smart you think you are (or you want other people to imagine you are) making a movie is really, really hard for any of us that try to do it. So many moving parts – you think you know what you want the movie to be when you start out, but then you bring in actors and weather and stomach aches and joy and the whole thing you’re making shifts and becomes something very different – very different.

And then, of course, there are all those mistakes that are made (that I made, that other’s made).


There will be some more videos on that subject coming out over the next little while (as there were all those videos about shooting) but the point here is that we are cleaning up the film, fixing it where it was broken (for a milliard reasons) making what really works even shiner. We’re finding music, composing music, we’re adding sound effects, cutting a scene here and there, a frame here and there. We take out a shot. We realize we were wrong. We put it back. We went up in December and shot more footage and have been cutting it into the film.

And out of all this work (and re-work and re-work) a movie is really emerging. It’s hard, hard, hard work. And that’s the fun part of it. Hard work. Not magic. Hard work, which keeps you occupied, like building a building, brick by brick, window by window.

Why tell you all this? First, to share the experience with as many people who are interested. And also, I guess, I want to speak to anyone who is (or wants to) make films, TV, web shows. I want to smash the bullshit that is put out there about some kind of “magic,” or “talent,” the whatever it is you want to call it that people want you to think you don’t have…because…because – everyone has it! Everyone! Everyone has something masterful in them if they just go after it, if they’re just told about it, if they are allowed to nurture it a little.

That’s, I guess, what Grassroots is really about. Nothing of value (I’m coming to believe) comes from the top. It comes from the bottom, from the roots, from every single one of us. So that’s my rant or thoughts or whatever you want to call them about editing for the day.

– Stephen Gyllenhaal

  1. I hope nice closeups of the fine City of Seattle council people(actors) in the big council chambers scene survive the editing :) So looking forward, as all of us up here in Seattle, to seeing the film. Thanks.

  2. d says:

    when and where can i see the movie. this site says every thing but that,

  3. Brad says:

    Well said *applause*

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