Make your own cuts; don’t just take leftovers

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How often have you found yourself scrambling to find a piece? You have to find a new piece for the upcoming tournament and NOTHING is appealing. You have exhausted the team files, searched on-line, and now you are going to the final option: asking others for past pieces. We have all been in this scenario, and we have all succumbed to the anxiety and bitter frustration of being pieceless.

If you know a few solid speechies you will, most likely, be given a piece to float you through the season. And that’s fine. Everyone has stolen material from others. We either see a piece we love and decide to do our own version, or we find ourselves in the situation described above and start the interrogation process.

There is nothing wrong with pulling a heist on previously used work. What is wrong is making the choice to take a piece and not owning it. So you like that girl’s performance of “Girl, Interrupted?” Go out, read the book, and then make your own cutting! Even if you are given a piece that is cut, there is no excuse to not read the source material and make a version of the work that is unique to you. Simply taking a piece and adding nothing of yourself to it, other than you saying the words, is laziness. You might be asking why making your own cutting is so important when a perfectly fine one is being held in your hands. For starters, who is to say that cut is “perfectly fine?” You were not there when decisions on what was kept and what was eliminated were made. There may be lines/paragraphs/NEW IDEAS that were omitted that speak to you strongly. You also do not know how well known this piece is on the circuit.

It always annoyed me when I saw what was essentially the exact same cutting of the same story at a tournament. Judges are the same. Do you think you will be unique when all a judge can think of is how they saw this same performance last season (or even this season!)—only the other performer was better!? Finally, not making your own cutting devalues the ownership you can claim on the piece.

You are less invested and therefore more prone to not invest as much time into practice. I personally feel more pride when I have taken something and crafted it by myself. Even if the story had been used before, by making my own cut from the source material I made it my piece. Forensics is a challenging world that offers you the ability to be distinct. Very rarely can you say that you created art from beginning to end with your own merits. Take advantage of that.

Do you ever wonder if it's just the same cutting of a popular piece floating around, the original source material "lost" long ago? haha, sometimes, yes!

It's amazing how a different cutting of the same work can create an absolutely different piece. Even if some of the plot points remain the same, the FEEL is varied enough to be a new product. Totally refreshing!

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