A Silver Linings Playbook for Editing Content

Silver Linings PlaybookSilver Linings Playbook, nominated for Best Picture of the year at this year’s Oscars, was edited by director David O Russell and Jay Cassidy. While most directors work in “video village” when shooting a movie, Russell preferred working on set and recording full scenes in their entirety. His unorthodox method of recording everything – even resets – created logistical challenges in the editing room.

Content creators would benefit from studying Russell and Cassidy’s editing techniques. After sifting through hours of footage, they pieced together an entertaining film that has not only wowed box office audiences, but critics as well.


Regardless of the category or genre, content creators have so much to say that it sometimes becomes difficult to squeeze all of the information into a single piece. Director David O Russell reminds us that focus is everything.

While editing Silver Linings Playbook with Jay Cassidy, Russell would sometimes argue with Russell for hours over whether or not a scene should even be included in the film. For instance, there’s a moment where Robert De Niro is pelted in the face with a book. Though it was a great shot, Russell argued that it would be inappropriate for the film.

Likewise, content creators should emphasize the focus of each piece. This goes beyond the content of the piece itself and also includes a focus as to what the writing should accomplish. Focused content:

  • Incorporates brand visualization and meshes with the brand’s overall story and marketing strategy
  • Targets consumers on an emotional and factual level
  • Reveals a connection between the needs of the consumer and what your business has to offer
  • Only includes relevant content

A Playbook is a Long-Term Plan

When Russell and Cassidy argued whether or not they should include the scene of Robert De Niro getting hit in the face with a book, Russell’s main argument for cutting the scene was that it would be inappropriate in the “canon of De Niro’s work.” Russell included long-term thinking not only for himself, but also for those around him.

Content creators should create a long-term plan that goes beyond just planning when content is written and released, and also considers the long-term impact and usefulness of the pieces written. For instance, writing content for a blog requires a different focus lens than writing for a static webpage that may remain displayed untouched for years to come.

One of the struggles while editing Silver Linings Playbook was toeing the line of whether the film was a drama or comedy. By always considering the larger picture, Russell and Cassidy were able to successfully blend the two.

When creating their own long-term playbook, content creators should consider:

  • If there are any cultural tent-pole events to take advantage of
  • The projected growth of the company or website
  • How the content works with the social media
  • What their competitors will be creating
  • How the content will continue developing and unfolding in the long-term

Ultimately, your content playbook should be in line with the overall strategy that you have for your brand. Be sure to format it in ways that will reach your ideal audience. For instance, content for finance consumers will need to incorporate granular data while “how to” articles should be simple and encouraging. Consider the growth in the mobile market and optimizing content for mobile users! Creating content with purpose will resonate with your target audience.

What takeaways did you find in the movie? Does your business have a content marketing playbook?


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Daniel Chioco is a writer living in Nashville, TN. He earned his Commercial Music degree at Belmont University, where he also studied creative writing and wrote for the student newspaper. When he isn't creating content, Daniel works as an actor and films YouTube videos. He is also a freelance musician and is authoring his first fantasy novel.

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