When Card Sharks Fall Asleep: A Lesson in Editing

Posted on July 18, 2011


I learned to play poker at a rather young age.

I knew the four suits in a deck of cards and had a reasonable knowledge of how to play five-card draw before I could determine which shoe went on my left foot and which on my right.

So when poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker main event — where thousands of people pay $10,000 each to play hoping to capture the most respected title in poker — started being televised I was glued to the TV.

But this year ESPN is trying something new. They are showing hours of unedited play from the main event on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.

The problem is, as big a poker fan as I am, even I’m bored watching this coverage. Very few hands in a poker tournament are actually exciting plus most players take a long time to make decisions about calling, raising or folding. 

What a great reminder of the power of editing.

It can take the World Series of Poker from being dull enough that even a true fan of the game turns it off and make it into prime time viewing that is absolutely riveting.

Keep that in mind every time you prepare any type of content.

I don’t care if you are reading a station promo, airing a phone call or doing an interview.

Editing makes your content more interesting not less.

I talk to so many talent who struggle with editing. They can’t separate themselves — or their ego — from the content long enough to consider what really matters to the audience and what doesn’t.

And that’s how you lose them. By not cutting out content your listeners simply don’t care about.

Of course, if you are having a tough time editing you can always bring your content to a mechanic.