Is it art or not? The answer is yes.

The Power EditAs editors, are we artists? Some say yes, others say no. Others say it depends on the project. Some years ago I was wading through an editing forum and found the below thoughts from a user named guanacaa58:

I think editing is directly analogous to writing. Here’s a couple of lines of writing that I consider art:

“When my love swears to me that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies.
That she might think me some untutored youth
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties”
-William Shakespeare

Here’s some writing I don’t consider art:

1) milk
2) eggs
3) bread
4) coffee
5) floor cleaner
6) cat food

Sometimes when you edit you’re making sonnets, sometimes you’re making grocery lists. Those that make sonnets all the time (lucky folks) say “editing is art!” Those that make grocery lists most of the time (poor people) think of it as a not terribly exalted organizational craft. And of course, there’s all the stuff in between poetry and grocery lists, all the competent, expository stuff that grazes the edge of art occasionally.

No matter how often you get to engage in Shakespeare, everybody still cuts shopping lists at some point – I certainly do. One of the things I always ask myself is, “how can I bring more Shakespeare to the shopping list?” There is almost always a way.

Don’t get me wrong, some projects are not worth slaving over every frame. Having said that, let me be blunt: there are lots of career editors here in Hollywood who appear to never even to attempt Shakespeare at all – I know this because I’ve built my career cleaning up after them.

I say, bring the excellence. Bring the Shakespeare EVERY DAMN TIME, and bring it appropriately to what the project is. 

How does that work? That’s a longer discussion, but I break it down in detail right here.

And if you’re one of those rare people who know the value of bringing the Shakespeare, or want to learn how to do it better, you should join us here.

Because when you bring the Shakespeare when everyone else brings the shopping list, you stand out from the crowd of cynics and wannabes.

And beyond that, when we ALWAYS bring the Shakespeare, no matter how humble the project, we elevate ourselves, and we elevate the well-being of others. We spread a little more Truth into the world.

And the world needs more of that.

Leave a Reply