10, 2007 -- A common pitfall for filmmakers is something called
tunnel vision - where you become so focused on one aspect of your
work that you stop seeing the big picture, and sometimes don't even
see the obvious.
As an editor, I've often caught myself doing this. Editing is so
detail oriented, and includes so many elements, that it's easy to
become wrapped up in some technical or aesthetic detail and miss
Other crafts are susceptible too - a writer may focus too much
on one character and lose touch with the overall story; a director
may become obsessed with one element of a scene to the detriment
The simplest remedy for tunnel vision is to have somebody else
look at what you're doing and ask them what they think. Do they
see what you see, or does something else leap out?
An editor, for example, may spend a lot of time perfecting an effect
or transition only to have the director question something some
fundamental about story or picture. It's natural to do because it's
hard to see everything, every time and all at once.
Something else to try is to walk away from the project for a while,
take a break and come back later. What looked like a disastrous
problem yesterday might not seem so bad today, or you might notice
something completely different.
Film making is frequently about trade-offs and compromises, so
you're often after a balance that anticipates what the audience
will find most significant. This is not to say that you should always
second-guess yourself or follow somebody else's advice, but it is
useful to keep things in perspective - to try to see your work as
the audience will.
NOTE: Craig Tollis is an
Atlanta-based editor and Filmmaker with ten years of experience.
Please send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craig will gladly respond.