Friday, November 23, 2007

Frugal Traveler: Seattle

There's a new episode of The Frugal Traveler posted. This one's on Seattle.

I had a very tough time with this edit, but in a way that's hard to explain. The short version: the main strategy with these pieces is to create a flow. We follow along from one event to the next, but -- since it really isn't the type of thing where we worry "Will he make it?" or "Can it be done in time?" or "What will he decide?" -- there isn't necessarily a driving conflict or goal, but instead a need to keep it interesting from one experience to the next. We go along for the ride, so it has to be an enjoyable ride.

And this time, though there was the usual collection of good material, there were a couple of spots where there were two problems happening at once -- and I just kept feeling there was no way to make the material and voiceover work together. I ended up, midway through the process, abandoning the first half and finishing the ending.

And then I sat there, staring at two big holes, realizing I still didn't see a way to reasonably smooth out the viewers path through the video. I had shots to cut to, but there were reasons why one shot couldn't cut to the next -- and the usual amount of this that happens just by chance was, unluckily, amplified.

Eventually, as I got to know the problem areas on a first-name basis, I found ways to close those uncloseable gaps. Steal a little from this shot, intended for a slightly different purpose, then change this one here, then try that one ... Eventually there were ways to keep the written shape of the piece intact, and to keep the viewer on a smooth, comprehensible path.

I think the final version is straightforward and simple, but getting there was a complicated and tough road.

1 comment:

Mark Schoneveld said...

I watched the episode when it came out... You did a great job, but I was wondering about the source material... seemed a bit lacking. He just went to a bunch of restaurants, but I was hoping for more story. And what about the 'drinking a lot, the next thing I know it's 6am and I'm at the fish market' bit? I wanted to hear about the wild carousal. Also, he mentions his sister, and then interviews her as an 'expert'. :) Heh. Nice move.

I guess it sticks with the over all premise of the Frugal Traveler, but I haven't been as excited about these one-off pieces. When he's on the road, there's a lot more spontaneity, a lot more unexpected twists in the story.

Plus, $500 is a frugal weekend? Ahem.