Birkhead Editorial

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Andrew Birkhead
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Archive for October, 2009

Connection and Collaboration

Posted on October 29, 2009 in: Editing, life, Parenting by Andrew Birkhead

When my daughter, Sarah, was really young, I took her to the pediatrician for a check-up. I’ve always enjoyed my interactions with Dr. Leland. He’s direct, to the point, and insightful. On this visit he said something that I’ll never forget. As he started to leave, he turned and looked at Sarah, who was around two years old and said “You’re doing a good job raising your dad, keep up the great work.” Ever since then, I’ve been on the lookout for what Sarah might be trying to teach me. Often it’s a tip on how to be a better parent. Sometimes it’s an idea about leadership, being present, forgiveness, or keeping an open heart. Until last weekend the lessons were never related to editing.

Last Sunday we decided to carve pumpkins. I have recently purchased a flip camera and we agreed to shoot the project and collaborate on a video. The process was a blast! I shot the video and we edited the piece together at the studio afterward. For me, the real enjoyment of editing comes from connection and collaboration. Collaborating with my daughter on a creative project is something I’ll never forget, and I intend to do it again, as often as I can.

My best work as an editor comes when I’m connected with my collaborators. I have Sarah to thank for the reminder. Here’s the video we created together.

Lentil Soup

Posted on October 11, 2009 in: Editing by Andrew Birkhead

If you know me, you know of my profound love of creating soups. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why I love soup making until I read a horoscope written by Rob Brezney. He suggests that soups are magical because “their value and beauty as a totality are more than the sum of their parts.” It dawned on me today that soup-making and editing are very similar in that regard. My job as an editor and soup-maker are to create something that’s better than the sum of it’s parts.

Making a great soup and editing a great story work the same for me. With a soup I start with the recipe. Then I change things around until they make sense. For example, last night’s lentil soup recipe looked good until I saw that it called for 8 cups of water. Water seemed boring so I substituted homemade chicken stock. Storytelling works the same way for me. I take the client’s ideas and make them better by ruthlessly discarding what isn’t working and adding elements that work better. Like a good soup, the result is a creation that’s greater than the sum of it’s parts.