Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Deleted Material: Dead Weight?

One of my favorite things to see in movies is all of the deleted material, including deleted scenes and alternate endings, and director's cuts. Why? Because you get to see a rougher version of the end result. And it makes me happy that everyone who has ever done anything creative has deleted stuff. It makes my hesitation to hit the cut button feel less like a panic attack.


Ctrl + Z. Undo! Undo! Bring it back!

Some things should be deleted. Cut. Excised.

In Disney's Aladdin, instead of the main character being a street-rat-riff-raff orphan young adult, in the original draft he was a young 8-10 year old with a single, poor mother who was disappointed in him for stealing things. The executive at the studio nixed the idea (and for good reason).

Famous painters have historically painted over parts of their work that they thought were crappy, or re-used canvas and other materials that had half-done bits on them. Throwaways. Picasso's "The Old Guitarist" apparently started as an old woman rather than a bent old man. Van Gogh's "Patch of Grass" was originally a portrait of a woman, seen by art experts by fancy high-tech x-rays.

I've also painted over, or otherwise destroyed my own paintings. There have been a couple I've crumpled up and thrown in the garbage. Then again, I still have sketch work I did in grade school (and I'm no Picasso or Van Gogh).

Sometimes you need to start from a fresh, new perspective. And then again, sometimes the deletion is a mistake. Or at least it feels like one. Sometimes you're too close to it and are only seeing the warts, so the instinct is to toss out the baby with the bathwater.

Dang babies mucking up perfectly good bathwater.

I'm still fighting with learning when to trunk stories, when to let them rest, and when to do some serious operation-don't-hit-the-sides-or-you'll-buzz-and-lose. When to re-use a portion, and when a scene really really is dead weight and needs a double tap in the forehead.  

Have you ever deleted or scrapped a project that you shouldn't have?

This topic brought to you by the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, where [DELETED for cursing involving the words 'kick-ass'] authors from all across the globe bring you their ideas and head-stuff on the same topic each week. Next up is [DELETE! DELETE! Cybermen shall DELETE!] Gilroy Cullens at Swords vs. Pens [DO NOT DELETE].

1 comment:

  1. I don't even edit at the sentence level anymore, I just delete what doesn't work. And if I still need a sentence there, I write something fresh. I've also been known to delete entire scenes of characters looking at pretty artwork or discussing trivia. :)