What's a Rough Cut?


Embedded with this post is the latest rough cut from "The Connie Maxwell Story" documentary project. This cut contains two of the narrated segments, "Life in the New Century" and "Transitions." These segments cover the remarkable 46-year tenure of the second superintendent, Dr. Atha T. Jamison. Jamison led Connie Maxwell Children's Home through some very challenging times, including the Great Depression and World War II. He was also known as an innovator who brought a modern approach to caring for dependent children.

You might be wondering what I mean when I describe these and the other segments of the documentary posted so far as rough cuts and why I am posting sections of the documentary in this incomplete fashion. Well to answer the first question, a rough cut for me is essentially a rough draft of the segment. In creating a rough cut, I have taken a portion of the documentary's script and matched it with images, narration and music. Putting together a rough cut helps me to literally see what I have and identify what I may be missing. It also helps me to work on the pacing of the piece and to see if the narration is working to effectively tell the story.

A rough cut is far from perfect. To start, I am using what is referred to as a scratch recording for the narration. This is simply me reading the script at about the pace I anticipate for the final narration. You can tell why I'm not in radio, though, and it's my hope to be able to use a professional narrator for the final recording. This scratch recording may also contain some awkward sentences or even a grammar error that I will seek to eliminate before the final reading.

Some of the images are also likely to change by the time I get to the final edit of the project. In creating the rough cut, I am using the most appropriate images I have been able to find to illustrate that portion of the narration but the search for material goes on. I'm hoping the search yields even better images and video to tell Connie Maxwell's story of hope and healing.

This brings me to the second question about why I am even posting rough cuts. The answer is that I am hoping this can be a group project that involves you. If you are reading this post, you may very well be associated with Connie Maxwell in some form or fashion. Maybe you are a current or former staff member. Maybe you grew up at Connie Maxwell. Maybe you are a family member of a current or former staff member or of a Connie Maxwell alum. And maybe you have information, photographs or video that would help to improve the documentary. If so, don't be shy. Please contact me through this website and share what you have.

One of the fears I have about this project is that I will get to the end of it and then start seeing people coming forward to share material that I would have loved to have included but didn't receive during production. Therefore, I'm sharing the project -- warts and all -- as I produce it in the hope that by seeing the work in progress, people who care about Connie Maxwell will understand what I am hoping to accomplish and the type of material I need.

So far, the rough cuts have dealt with the early history of Connie Maxwell and that there are not so many living links to this part of the children's ministry's history still around. I am very grateful to the staff and alumni of Connie Maxwell who have provided the bulk of the material you have seen so far. I'm moving quickly into the more recent history of Connie Maxwell as I tell the story of Dr. Sam Smith's tenure and of the succeeding leaders, however, and am hoping to hear from more alumni who have resources to share for this part of the story.

By the way, I'll save a fuller discussion of this for a later blog post, but the finished documentary will not be made up solely of these narrated segments you are seeing so far. I've also conducted numerous interviews and will be interspersing various voices sharing insights into the children's home's history.

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