Delete Most in Draft

From Weekly I/O#68

To write well, delete most of what you put on the page, as films often shoot 50 to 100 times more footage than what actually appears in the final cut.

Article: Editing – Moving Pictures

In the last century of Hollywood's Golden Age, feature films often shot 10 times more footage than necessary, known as a shooting ratio of 10:1. And the editors had to look at all of it, sorting through more than 10 hours of footage for every hour of film in the final cut. This included retakes, spoiled shots, multiple angles, and even scenes that would never make it into the final film.

Nowadays, with digital cinema, it's common for films to have 50 to 100 times more footage than the final cut. For example, the filmmakers behind Deadpool (2016) shot 555 hours of raw footage for a final film of just 108 minutes. That's a shooting ratio of 308:1.

Writing is a lot like video editing. You have to delete most of the content in your draft before hitting the publish button. You have to write 5x more but write 5x less and be able to kill your darlings.

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