The Art of the Edit – Taking Good to Great

Silver_Linings_Playbook_PosterYesterday I rented the DVD Silver Linings Playbook and cuddled up with my dog Samantha for a few hours to some chocolate coffee and cake to spoil myself with a little me time. I didn’t know much about the movie before I rented it, but had received some good recommendations from a few friends at my office. I knew a few things:

1) I knew it had won awards

2) I knew it exceeded the producer’s expectations for it

3) I knew it was over a year old

So, I hopped online and looked at Netflix, but the movie wasn’t there. Then I hopped over to Amazon to see if they had it, and they did, but even though I was a Prime member it would still cost me $12.99 (yes, even 18 months after this movie was released that’s the price they were looking to charge), so I put it in my queue but before I pressed purchase I hopped on the Redbox website to see if one of the boxes near my house had it in stock.

Bingo! They did.

So I reserved the movie online, hopped in the car, retrieved the movie from the kiosk on my way to pick up Samantha and then settled back home for some fun and laughter.

That might seem like too much information for where this story is going, but stick with me… it has a point.

It was really a fun and touching movie. If I had seen it with someone I’m sure I would have had a lot to say in a discussion afterwards, but I watched it alone (I could have gotten into a discussion with my dog Samantha, but that might be weird.)

A few hours later I watched the DELETED scenes, and what a great lesson I learned from doing so.

There were about 8 deleted scenes which varied in length from 30 seconds to several minutes. I STRUGGLED to watch the deleted scenes because they were so boring. They didn’t add anything to the movie. It was an enlightening experience and made me think… How often do we put stuff out into the world without fully vetting it and making it the most polished, perfected, exciting thing?

The Art of the Edit is something we need to take note of and incorporate into our process more fully. If you’ve ever worked with a writer you already know that even when you think you’ve written the perfect content, there is something to be deleted, something to be clarified and something to be corrected.

After watching the deleted scenes of Silver Linings Playbook I could see why they chose to delete those scenes and believe that if they had kept them in, the movie would not have reached the award winning caliber that it did. This movie was so successful that even 18 months later I would have to pay $12.99 to watch it online, and it was still listed in the local kiosk for Redbox. That’s a noteworthy success metric.

So how do we implement this new way of thinking/doing in our business?

1) Always get a second opinion. It’s so important to step out of your box and get the input of others to make your service or product better. Production houses do this with focus groups, and so can you. Get a team of reviewers that are willing to review and test your ideas, concepts and protocols to see if they need adjusting.

2) Expand your network. It may seem easy for a blockbuster movie to get coverage everywhere, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. As the movie gained interest the distribution reps had to work hard to get it to the people while the window of opportunity would close. That hustle would be the make or break difference between an OK film and millions of potential dollars

3) Keep that good thing going. I went to the website for Silver Linings Playbook, and even visited their Facebook and Twitter page, and it’s all still active. The mistake some business owners make is to let the activities around their promotions fade and become dated. This movie is obviously still pulling in viewers because they haven’t let that happen.

So what are you working on that needs the art of the edit? Pull out what you can, add what you need and get someone else to weigh in. It just might take your latest creation to award winning status. Share what you’re working on in the comments below.

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