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How To Edit Past Rabbit Trails

By Adam Bush on October 19, 2017

I was chatting with a fellow church storyteller last night. He’s a church video guy like all of us, with an interview he’s shot, ready to edit. His main problem: his interview has too many stories.

This is common. People don’t have one story, they have MANY stories, often all intertwined. So, inevitably in an interview multiple tangents, stories, rabbit trails, and details come out that are interesting, but muddy the waters of THE story you’re trying to tell. So, what’s an editor to do?

Whether you walked into the interview with a solid idea of your story or you sat down and said, “Tell me your story,” (which never works, btw – more on that by downloading The Story Guide) there are two key ideas to get your through the murky waters of a convoluted story.

01 Remove Every Distraction

Your story has to consistently progress forward, raising questions AND answering them along the way. So, if there’s a detail that is getting in the way of the real story, EVEN IF IT’S INTERESTING, cut it out. Lee’s Story (which you can watch here) is about a man interested in significance, but at the sake of his family. During his raw interview, we hear how he worked for his father’s church for a season. There were tensions there, as any family working together might have. Having worked for my family before, I find that interesting, however it distracts from the real story. I can pull it out and not miss a beat. Your job is to do the same.

02 Remember Your Story Spine

In The Story Guide, we learn the importance of creating your story structure: your story spine. The beauty of this system is that when you sit down to edit, you have a “Bible.” It’s your guiding light. Something from the interview not fit within this spine? Dump it and move on. Save that detail for the next story your lead shares (which is totally an option).

Remove the distractions and stick to your structure. You’ll find it liberating when editing. Check out more by downloading The Story Guide. Happy storytelling.

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