A fable of bagels, coffee, and future editing success

bagels and coffee IMG_5965-smAn editing fable for your consideration:

A team of executives at a major three-letter TV network give each other high fives over the continuously large viewer numbers on their hit show.

The executives draft a note to the large group of producers and editors who bring this hit show into being every week:

“Thank you so much for your hard work this season. The show has become a phenomenon thanks to everyone’s efforts, and we just can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”

The note is delivered to the offices of said producers and editors atop a ribbon-wrapped gift basket whose contents fill an entire table in the kitchen with a princely spread of bagels, pastries, 6 tubs of cream cheese, and 4 gallon-sized cartons of piping hot coffee with real sugar, fake sugar, cream, stir sticks, the whole nine yards.

Editors #1 and #2 walk into the kitchen and read the note taped on the wall above the spread of food.

“Aww. That’s so cool!” says Editor #1 with a smile. “That doesn’t happen very often these days. They didn’t have to do that.”

“Yeah,” agrees Editor #2. “We really don’t ask for much, just some acknowledgement of our work. Crazy how good that feels.”

Word of the unusual spread of goodies travels through the offices. The kitchen is soon filled with editors and producers.

Editor #3 walks in and reads the note with a snort of disdain.

“You know those executives got huge bonuses from this show’s ratings. We’re the ones that make it all happen, and all they do is send some bagels. They get to walk home with their big fat checks.”

Silence in the kitchen.

Editor #3 splashes some cream in a cup of executive-supplied coffee, grabs a Danish, and stalks back to his bay, closing his door with a slam.

Editor #2 turns back to the table full of bagels.

“Ok, now I’m kinda depressed.”

It was the same spread of pastries and coffee, yet it prompted completely different reactions from different people.

Between Editor #1 and Editor #3, which one is more likely to actively contribute creative solutions to excellently edited stories? To work well with others and get hired over and over again?

Which one is more likely to be a pain in the butt to work with and do the bare minimum to get by and collect his paycheck?

If you read the above story and find yourself agreeing with Editor #3, let me be very clear:

You are part of the problem, not the solution.

If you choose to be offended by that idea, then either reconsider your attitude or move your Poverty Mentality somewhere other than this blog.

Close browser window. Buh-bye.

If you identify with Editor #1, as do I, then good news: there’s some great stuff coming your way.

One of the questions I hear over and over, from both beginning editors to seasoned creatives and active members of The Power Edit Academy: “There’s so much footage here, how do I make sense of it all?”

There’s a very cool solution coming very soon, so stay tuned.

The best way to hear about it: join our email list.

It goes out Monday through Friday with short, entertaining, and insightful commentary on editing and the creative life. There’s ZERO spam, and you can unsubscribe any time.

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PS – I had a text exchange this morning with an Academy alum:

Him: I’m really enjoying your daily emails. They’re very good stuff.

Me: Cool, thanks!

Him: What if I, at different times, identify with all three editors?

Me: Then that would be completely understandable. The main thing is to not camp out with Editor #3.

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