You Start One Story and End Another

A related problem is that the film starts one story and then drifts onto a different track. As discussed in earlier chapters, outlining the film story can help, along with an openness to changing your initial concept of the film, given the natural direction it has ended up taking. Otherwise, you need to accept that the film you now wish you'd shot just isn't covered in the footage and either go back out to get what you need for the story you want to tell or make a different story out of what you have.

Be careful, however, when bending material to tell a story other than the one for which it was originally shot. Be especially careful in situations in which the editing team is separate from the production team, and the link between subject and original storyteller has been lost. It's possible to tell a great story that fundamentally misrepresents the material that was filmed. It's also possible to tell a different but still highly accurate story, especially if you take the time to explore your material with the new story in mind and can conduct additional interviews or shoot pick-up footage as necessary. It's a lot of work. Getting usable and accurate material out of footage that was shot for a different reason is time-consuming and often frustrating, and in some cases, dishonest. Footage of Sally's graduation party should not be substituted for the engagement party you didn't film. Find a way to use the party footage to make a more generic point, if need be.

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