9 times out of 10, I’ll get the job that starts from the beginning: “Phil” they’ll say, “We got this heap of footage, and we want you to come on in and make some sense of it.”

But then there’s that 1 time out of 10, the time I get called in to re-jig a film that hadn’t yet been tamed by other talent. That 1 time out of 10, the time when I get to jump in and sculpt the clay that already got softened up by other hands, that time is a hoot.

I love jumping into a sandbox that’s already been warmed up. A certain number of permutations have been tried, and, with enough experience under my belt, I can analyze those permutations, analyze the creator’s intent, strategize a new permutation, then… play.

I saw “A Good American” last night, a doc about a math guy who spent his life finding patterns in data that could ultimately save lives. I’m not saving lives in my little edit suite, but I am finding patterns. In some cases I’m letting them go as facile, too recognizable to be taken seriously. In others I’m embracing them as fresh enough to have a real impact on audiences.

I walked out of that film last night with a head full of thoughts, the main one being that life is generally spent trying to make sense of the world around us, the people in it, and ourselves. There are a few who manage to reach some communicable wisdom. They’re usually the ones with something to say, and sometimes they’re like Icarus, too close to the message to make it clear.


I think that maybe I’m Icarus’ wing man. Maybe I don’t burn with the stories within me, but I can help the ones who do to spread their flames.

And maybe that’s just fine.

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