The flip-side to behind-the-scenes commentary is the deleted scene. It’s interesting to see how they fit, or rather, didn’t fit in.
Sometimes the commentary will mention why certain scenes were cut, but usually the viewer is left to figure it out on her own. Every once in a while, there’s a surprise: what appears to be a throw-away line later on suddenly makes sense and starts to carry weight, or an entirely new character is born and vanishes in those few seconds.
Generally, however, deleted scenes are a bust; the why of it is obvious: the original was scene was too long, the joke wasn’t funny, or the scene didn’t add anything.
And yet, those scenes were originally deemed good enough, important enough and relevant enough to be written and filmed.
They obviously got nixed in the editing room, but did the writer or director know those scenes were going to get the ax even as they were being created?
I wonder which of Julia‘s scenes will end up on the cutting room floor. Is it the one that, even as I type it, I question if it’s worth writing? Or is it one that I’m so passionate about that I’m blind to its absurd length, bad joke and redundancy?
Why would I keep writing a scene if I thought it would just get deleted later? Sometimes I delete it before finishing. Other times, though, there is a kernel that I just need to get out. It might bloom into a good idea or plot point, or it might not. However, I won’t know until I read the piece as a whole.
There’s also part of me is concerned that I need more words. I’m afraid that I’ll tighten and tweak Julia right out of novel status, but that she’ll still be too long for a short story. I don’t want her to languish in novella purgatory and never be published or read.