Language:: Writing as Video::Editing

| July 4, 2011

Akinnaso (1991) reflects in his chapter “Literacy and Individual Consciousness” on how gaining literacy (especially coming from an oral culture, as he did in Nigeria), fragments and subdivides one’s thought process. “The nature of schooling, writing, and ‘scientific’ inquiry further socializes us into talking about experience in bits and pieces. The segmentation of experience is further reinforced by the linear nature of language: sounds and letters are produced in chains” (p. 85). This reframing of language as smaller pieces and slices, organized into larger strings, parallels video editing. The timelines created in video editing software are chains composed of multiple clips, stitched together through splices and cross fades, which in sum total add up to a story (or at least a conversation).

In many ways the filming and editing process is also very similar to the writing process. One must think through a topic first, and then conduct relevant research. Similar to reading papers on the same topic to see what has been done and what is out there, it is helpful to watch related videos (which are so accessible now due to YouTube and other online video hosting sites). The raw footage is like a data source, a body of material that needs to be honed and organized. The editing process itself is analogous to writing because one must arrange the footage around cohesive topics or theses; there is an introduction and conclusion; and one must watch and re-watch to shape and fine-tune their video, just as one must read and re-read their writing to create a finished writing piece.

Video editing does not equal writing, of course. The ability to create a video does not directly transfer to the ability to write an extensive research paper. Yet there are parallels; there are similarities; there are enough commonalities to support video production in English and language arts curricula, especially since digital media production is an increasingly important skill in the 21st century.