Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version

Winter 2005

Document Type



Documentary Editing, Volume 27, Number 4, Winter 2005. ISSN 0196-7134


2005 © the Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


There is a Chinese curse that goes: "May you live in interesting -1 times." Well, this organization and documentary editing in general seem always to live in "interesting times," and this year has proved no exception. Through the course of it, I noticed I had lost some weight. One day, while admiring my new Adonis-like physique, it occurred to me that most documentary editors are on the thinnish side. (Now Records people, on the other hand .... ) I wondered how it was that editors, who all of you must admit, are as desk-bound a group as can be found, achieved such remarkable weight control. Then I came across the latest pronouncement of the Surgeon General about Americans and fitness. It seems they have discovered that some of the activities that editors specialize in consume significant calories. Stretching a dollar-something all editors do very, very well-burns approximately 75 calories per hour; swallowing your pride, 50; and when done for funders and university deans it jumps to 100; pushing your luck burns 250; making mountains out of molehills, especially in grant proposals, 500; running around in circles-a favorite activity of editors-bums 350 calories per hour, and bending over backwards to meet the unrealistic expectations of others, nets a bum of 175 calories. So cheer up fellow editors-our funding may remain forever "soft," but our abs will be rock hard.

I use this anecdote as an introduction because I am about to recommend another editorial aerobic exercise-juggling your overcrowded schedule to add yet another responsibility. But I hope that I can demonstrate to you that the effort is worth the cost many times over. I will introduce it by harkening back to an earlier Presidential address. John Kaminski in his fine and thoughtful Presidential address delivered in 1989 and reprinted in the Twenty-fifth anniversary issue of Documentary Editing, advocated the need for editors to disseminate through other publications the knowledge they had accumulated preparing their documentary editions. John was prescient in anticipating that the work of editors would be valuable and well-received when presented in a less daunting format than documentary editions, but unfortunately it was not editors-save a few who function well without sleep-who "cashed in."