The Story Behind the Story: “In the Cutting Room”

I’m a filmmaker as well as a writer, and I worked for many years as a freelance video editor. “In the Cutting Room” is based in part on one of my early gigs, over a decade ago, when I was still working as an assistant editor (on the “vampire shift,” 8:00 PM to 4:00 AM). For several months, I worked inside a closet-sized edit suite as described, using a RAZR flip phone to set my activity alarms, keeping my legs from falling asleep and trying not to go mad. To be visually, aurally, and socially disconnected from reality in this way is a curious experience, and I hope I’ve managed to capture some of the oddness and claustrophobia of it.

As for the video’s subject matter, I never worked specifically on a tap-dancing video, but I have friends in the field who’ve faced similar assignments: frame-by-frame performance analysis for contests and world records. There is in fact an ongoing Guinness World Record for “most taps in one minute,” and I would imagine they tabulate their figures through some similar means.

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About Sean Gill

Sean Gill is a writer and filmmaker who has studied with Werner Herzog, documented public defenders for National Geographic, and won the 2016 Sonora Review Fiction Prize. Other recent stories may be found in McSweeney's, Word Riot, failbetter, Akashic Books, and So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.