Let's see if I can recap and categorize our editing process in a way that may be helpful to myself or others.
1. Shoot a movie.
2. Begin editing on individual scenes, focusing on obtaining a rough cut of each scene. Follow your instinct, your heart, your intuition, your head... whatever you trust the most. I personally cannot tell you exactly why I chose to edit the scenes in the order that I did, except to say that it wasn't my head that was leading me.
3. As you edit individual scenes place them on a master timeline, each scene a single clip. (i.e. drag the sequence with the scene on it down to the master timeline and it will appear there as a single clip in FCP).
4. Once all of the scenes are on the master timeline you can watch what you have all the way through and decide whether you wish to continue being an editor/filmmaker or whether you would like to go be a shoemaker in Italy (I read that Daniel Day-Lewis did that not so long ago). In my case I have decided to be continue being a filmmaker after watching the 2 1/2 hour version of Dollars & Signs.
5. Based on reactions and notes from the rough cut, cut out all of the scenes which you have doubts about, and keep only the strongest individual scenes.
6. Arrange the remaining scenes in a structure that works loosely. (Dollars & Signs has greatly benefitted from Andrew's willingness to work long hours during steps #5 & #6. He was able to cut stuff out that I would have been too attached to, and the result was a version of the film that was 90 minutes long. He accomplished this by working one scene at a time and piecing them together in TEST SEQUENCES. By the time he got to the 90 min. version he had four of these test sequences.)
7. So now what we should have is two master timelines. One with each scene as a single clip and another which is all of the individual clips. I think it is helpful to have both of these because, say, I decide I want the first scene to be the second to last scene it is so much easier to make that change on the master sequence made up of whole scenes than it would be on the master sequence made up of all of the individual clips. The problem here is that you may have to make changes to two sequences instead of one, depending on how major the changes are.
8. Now watch the 90 minute version, and "based on reactions and notes from the 90 minute's, etc." (i.e. see #5), although the only difference is here you may be adding some stuff back in. Stuff that was cut because it was assumed to be non-essential may need to go back in, depending on your reaction to that 90 minute cut.
8. So, that's where I am right now. It was so much more messy than this of course, and this enrty itself I find to be fairly messy. I am currently burning a DVD of the 90 minute cut with a few things added back in from Andrew's version. I am going to watch it on a different TV to get a fresh perspective on it. And then return to it with a vengeance.
Hope all of you are well.