Recently, my family and I have started to spend time putting together puzzles. We began with one that was 750 pieces, but have since then graduated to 1000 and 2000+ sized puzzles. In constructing these puzzles, it got me thinking about the editing process.
Traditionally, you begin a puzzle by putting together all the edge pieces. They're easy to find and, once connected, show you how large the completed puzzle will be. While my family is able to pick out most of these pieces shortly after opening the box, we always end up missing a few here and there. Likewise, when starting to edit a project, you need some sort of blueprint or groundwork to build upon. This can be in the form of a script, or even some written down ideas or pitches. But, like constructing a puzzle's frame, these editorial foundations may be incomplete, with stories and concepts often tweaked later down the line.
If upon my initial sifting of the puzzle pieces I'm unable to pick out all the edges, I tend to jump into filling in the middle, knowing that as I push forward, the sea of jagged shapes will reveal the smooth, stray ones I need. Editing also requires a lot of moving forward and back. You construct each scene on its own, but continue to keep the overall story and motivations of the characters in mind with every cut. If you ever feel that an actor's performance in a previous scene is inconsistent with how the later ones are playing out, you can always go back and adjust for a stronger edit, and in turn, a clearer and more solid film.
When the last piece is finally placed in the puzzle, you get a chance to sit back and marvel at your handiwork. You take a few pictures, talk about maybe framing it, and, inevitably, start thinking about buying another one to begin the process all over again. The thrill of crafting something out of the seemingly incongruent is what draws me to editing, puzzles, and even programming. You're given building blocks that look insignificant and useless on their own, but, when mixed together, make a product that would buckle if even one of them was out of place.