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The Funny Business of Editing

Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 2:56 PM ET

If you fear you're not always getting the whole story, you're right.

You never get the whole story, sometimes even if you're in the middle of it.

Camera monitor filming newscaster
DreamPictures | The Image Bank | Getty Images
Camera monitor filming newscaster

One of the reasons I wanted to become a journalist was so I could witness events and get as much of the truth as possible.

I wanted to see things with my own eyes.

However, I usually have to turn all that witnessing into a two minute story. I am forced to make choices. What's important, what isn't? What gets left in and how much do I have to leave out? This requires a degree of skill and a good editor.

Two different reporters can give you two completely different stories.

So can two different editors.

Much like reporters have to summarize a day's worth of events in two minutes, film editors who cut "trailers" have to reduce a two hour movie into a spiffy little promotion. What scenes and themes get highlighted? What ends up on the cutting room floor? These editors wield a lot of power. In fact, they can change the entire tone of the film.

They can also have a lot of fun.

With that in mind, look as this remix of the trailer from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". In the hands of an editor, it's no longer a comedy, it's a coming-of-age drama. It's not about Ferris, it's about Cameron!

All that done with editing!

But this isn't the first time someone's had a little fun rebranding a great film. Here are two of my favorites: "The Shining" as a comedyabout a kid who just wants a dad, and "Scary Mary Poppins".

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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