It’s crunch time, the deadline is looming and you’ve been staring at the monitor for more than 5 hours. But now, after hours of working you find yourself stuck. You don’t know what to do in the next edit. As an editor, this can happen. It might not be as commonly talked about as “writer’s block” but there is such a thing as “editor’s block.”
Whether you’re editing for your personal videos or film projects, on freelance or you’re working at a video production company, it’s a good idea to know what to do when these editor blocks show up. Here are some tips you can follow:
Take a Break
Yes, this sounds like an obvious solution but so many don’t take it. When you do hit a block, it’s always a good idea to take a break. Go for a snack, a walk outside or maybe some quick exercises. Doing so gives you a chance to look at your work with fresh eyes. If possible, you can even have scheduled breaks after every few minutes especially if you know you have a long day in front of you.
Jump to the End
When you hit an editing block in an unexpected way, don’t freak out. Instead, try working by starting from the end. This is ideal when working on short pieces like trailers or short YouTube videos. Often hype reels end in a high note so it’s a great injection of fun. Jumping to the end right after you hit a block can change your pace and give you a sense of clarity.
Go by Sound
We’ve recommended editors try editing without sound before and it’s not a bad idea when you find yourself stuck and can’t move forward for some reason. But you can also with the sound, it can help add inspiration and give you a visual cue when you need it. Switch it around and go check the music you have available. Spend some time editing with it and see if it’s helping you unblock your editing wall.
Stop. Just Stop. (And Try Again Tomorrow)
Yes, we mean it. When you’re not going anywhere and your edit is not turning out right, it’s best to temporarily stop instead of pushing it. Let’s face it, sometimes, we tell ourselves we need to muscle through. But think about, when you’ve hit a block and you push through, chances are, your editing will end up sloppy. And you don’t want to have to redo your editing later on when you make more mistakes or find the edit isn’t something you like. While not everyone will have the luxury to put off work temporarily, if you do have it, do it. Come back the following day and edit through again.
Review Your Work
A good way to break a block is by reviewing all the previous video edits you’ve done for the project. You can do it by sequence or revisit previous edits you’ve done. You’ll often find something you didn’t see before that might inform or help push away the block you’re experiencing.
Bring a Friend
If all else fails, why not bring a friend? Get a second opinion or ask someone for an idea on what to do. If you work in a video production outfit, you’ll be surrounded by great creatives in the industry and it will be easier to find a friend who can give you their opinion or lend you a helping hand.
The great thing with editing is even if a particular reel might seem like an impossible edit to do at the moment, there’s always a solution.