Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's all in the edit

In recent days I've been building a presentation by committee. And it's forced me to consider how to collect ideas from a wide audience, put them through a filter, a funnel, and then develop a unique, singular voice. If only I could draw, it would make a great visual: All the voice of the world at the top, been strained into a funnel with a neat, well-crafted set of ideas at the bottom.

I'm struggling with how to make the process less painful for all involved. It's a struggle to edit. As a retail company, we are forced, constantly, into editing because the size of the box is finite. It's true for newspapers, magazine, broadcasts, and museums. In some sense even for Google and - how much surfing is one person really willing to do on any one topic or product category - after a few pages of results, I'm done!

When I first moved to NYC, almost a decade ago, I worked for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Todd Haimes was then, and remains, the Artistic Director. And he's brilliant. The best there is. In an interview, he was asked why he never directed shows. He answered, "I have no interest in directing shows. My passion lies in bringing talent together to get the work done." He is a curator, an editor, of talent. He gathers, sifts, and funnels a multitude of great theatrical pieces and builds a season of shows each year that make a cohesive, powerful statement.

I thought about Todd as I worked on this presentation with a multitude of people voicing their opinions about what's important. Deciding what matters and what doesn't matter really is the hardest work on Earth, and the most important - through editing we define who we are, and what matters.

The photo above can be found at:

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