The Whole Story
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Joe Hickson on the telephone. When I explained to Mr. Hickson that our interview would take about 30 minutes, he laughed. He had so many experiences during the war; he didn’t know how he could possibly sum them up in half an hour. I suggested that as a starting point, we focus on one particular story–one operation that he wanted to talk about. Well, he launched right into it. In glorious detail, he described one very hairy operation during which his plane crashed and his crew survived in a dinghy for 3 days. He remembered the story in such precise detail, and the experience itself was unbelievable.
The story of this operation lasted 30 minutes. It was literally a play by play. The challenge for me became how to edit this interview into a 5 to 10-minute clip without dishonouring the integrity of Mr. Hickson’s story.
Surprisingly, this was the first time I have come across this dilemma with this project. It got me thinking about the nature of editing and its potential to reduce someone’s experience. As an interviewer, it is often not difficult to choose a clip when you have 3 or 4 seven-minute tales. However, it is very difficult to cut when one particular story lasts 30 minutes and everything about it is completely compelling.
Our Deputy Project Manager, Jill Paterson, ultimately helped me edit the interview in a way that did not disrupt the narrative too much. However, I would like to include the entire story here for your interest. It is worth listening to in its original form.