July 14, 2013

Creatively Stagnant? Here's a Video Editing Tip That Might Get Your Brain Juices Flowing

Light BulbHow many times have you come across an article with a title like "50 Million Ways to Get Rid of Writer's Block" and "Unlikely Foods that Will Jumpstart Your Writing". Being a writer myself, I enjoy the plethora of creativity advice, tips, and tricks, but I'm often at a loss as an editor. The repetition of commercial jobs or the tediousness of a project you've worked on for months can turn your once purified spring of creativity into a sludge-filled stagnant pond. Well, Vashi Nedomansky of VashiVisuals has got you covered. Check out this editor's approach to dealing with creative stagnation after the jump.

Nedomansky's blog post shows how he deals with that familiar rundown feeling that you get after days/weeks/months/years of editing. He says:

Sometimes an editor/creative person/human being needs to reboot his mental computer. Often when work crushes you down with its repetitiveness and sheer volume -- one can get stuck in a place of darkness and discombobulation. Up is down -- and white is black. I find the best way to get out of that funk is to cut something random yet with a purpose. Take something innocuous and give it your voice. Take something normal and spin it on its head.

We're talking mashups, people! By taking some random piece of footage and recutting it, dubbing over existing audio, or whatever you feel inclined to do to it, you can revitalize your creativity for editing.

To get an idea of what a mashup is, Nedomansky made 3 and posted them with his article ("Banking with Borg" is amazing.) Here is one from his article for you to check out:

Here is one of my favorite trailer mashups:

Some sources Nedomansky uses are YouTube, Archive.org, and The Prelinger Archives. After downloading your footage, experiment. Try new things. Fail. The whole point of this is to spur your creativity -- to force your brain to reboot and start anew, so trying something completely experimental or foreign to what you normally do might be the thing that gets you out of your rut.

Have you ever tried editing mashups in order to get inspired, or do you have your own methods? Let us know in the comments.

Link: Video Remixes: Edit To Reboot Your Brain -- VashiVisuals

Your Comment


Reading about gear should only be done when one has a concept and is ready to shoot. There's a disproportionate amount of people (myself included) focusing on production and not about pre-production and creating concepts.

That's what separates the artist, and the technician. But every person serves a purpose in this world.

July 14, 2013 at 10:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


my point is, constantly reading about gear hinders creativity.... for me.

July 14, 2013 at 10:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


That's a great point. Unfortunately it's part of my job, but it can absolutely derail me from more usefully creative work. As a displacement activity it's right up there.

July 14, 2013 at 10:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


Not sure I agree, from my own perspective, of course. Reading about new gear, or different uses for it gives me new (to me, anyway) shot ideas and inspiration. Making dollars in film/video is all about knowing how to deliver someone's visual images cleanly, quickly, accurately, and more cheaply than the competition. That comes down to tool knowledge and skill, so I'd say understanding as much as possible about the solutions lets you make the visual problem into a puzzle that's solvable.

July 15, 2013 at 12:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


Very good point. What's great with mash-ups/re-edits is that the assets used to create them are everywhere...ready to be morphed into the artist's vision. What makes someone an artist? Someone who creates...

July 16, 2013 at 10:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


I do exactly the same thing when I get some down time. I find it really refreshing. Here's one of the mushups I did with The Room and Team America. I can't really remember why I started doing this but it's nice to get a few laughs out of people.

The Room vd Team America

July 14, 2013 at 11:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


I like the idea! I will share this with my HS production students this year.

While reading I thought about Hemingway's cure for writer's block: write one great sentence, that's it (my crude paraphrase). Maybe that can be applied to editing: cut just one great sequence.

July 15, 2013 at 7:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


When I was just getting into editing, I obviously had zero footage to work with, so I started out with mashups on iMovie.

Here's one I made with "A Clockwork Orange" and the Kanye West song "Hell of a Life". They go together pretty well.


July 15, 2013 at 3:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


In the middle of doing a mashup of Apocalypse Now and making it into a comedy. Once I have it edited I'll be sure to share it!

July 16, 2013 at 5:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


That's awesome. This article made me realize I do the same thing. I usually feel like I'm on a wasteful tangent, but I have found that if I just take the few hours (or couple of days on and off) to finish one of my ideas, I really do get refreshed and remember why I love editing so much. Here is my first mashup. I've done a few shorter ones since (Archive.org along with freemusicarchive.org are wonderful treasure troves of films to download and work with)

July 18, 2013 at 4:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


a master piece

July 19, 2013 at 2:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


Call me an ignoramus but how does one acquire the footage and avoid licensing/copyright claim issues on YouTube?

September 27, 2013 at 3:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


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December 13, 2013 at 6:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM


Yea I had to do the same thing a few weeks ago so I cut this Nightmare on Elm Street/Wolf of Wallstreet = Wolf of Elm Street trailer. I'll probably go back and do the same but reversed.


July 21, 2014 at 4:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


July 21, 2014 at 4:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


I edited a Bad Boys trailer as if it was a love story between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, I was kinda suprised the tv station gave the go ahead to air it.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbuaYqjuaqA&w=420&h=315]

July 21, 2014 at 4:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


just you do not diffuse it and it's okay, life private watching - and you can easily put it on YT because nobody will complain about your small tricky film of 4 or 5 minutes maximum

July 21, 2014 at 9:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


July 21, 2014 at 9:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


What about taking a break from editing altogethor! This is the best way to re-discover your creativity, get inspired by another art form, by nature, anything but another video file!!

August 11, 2014 at 2:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


So I got around to creating the Apocalypse Now trailer that I said I was editing and here it is:


Feedback is welcome!

August 12, 2014 at 4:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


An interesting exercise is re-edit footage using a previously existing audiotrack with its own voice over. You can get really creepy results.


August 15, 2014 at 2:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM