The most challenging part of producing this documentary has been the editing process.
Distilling months of research, hours of audio, and such a complex story into seven minutes seemed a herculean task. To make it more manageable, I began by revisiting all my audio and saving the soundbites I felt were the most powerful or conveyed the story best.
I then edited these into a structure with a small amount of accompanying expedition from myself. However, although I’d planned for the documentary to be mainly character based, the interviews alone could not carry the weight of the story.
In trying to do so, I had also over edited everything, making the piece feel too tight and rushed. This meant that although it contained a lot of information, the emotion of the story was compromised.
Finding a balance between telling as much of the story as possible and giving the people that make up the story the space they deserve was difficult. I had to realise that it was going to be impossible to include every aspect of this huge debate in the piece and decide which facets I felt were the most important. It also meant getting comfortable with a tool I had never used in radio journalism before; silence.
After more attempts than I’d care to mention, I finally learnt to slow down the speed at which I speak, so that it’s actually understandable. I hope.
Overall, the editing process has taught me that even though editing is where the majority of decision making in regards to the story’s angle takes place, it can sometimes be best to take a step make and let the story speak for itself.
Listen to the final cut of Reasoning with Death: The assisted dying debate here.