> Learning to edit before starting to shoot on your own may not be for 
> everyone, but I think it's an excellent suggestion.

It is. However, editing 'found footage' from existing films is quite different 
from editing 'raw' footage. Essentially, you're limited to practicing a certain 
kind of montage.

That said, the 'raw' footage doesn't have to be something you've shot. There 
are several packages of footage you can buy designed for teaching/learning 
conventional narrative editing. (Of course, you don't have to edit these as 
they are designed: you can get more adventurous.) The most popular of these -- 
'The Hold Up' and 'Smithee's Lecture' -- are marketed by First Light Video, and 
are priced for schools (i.e. expensive), and the material tends to be on the 
mediocre side. A little Googling revealed this site which sells 9 different raw 
footage packages for $15 each (I can't speak to the quality): 
http://editstock.com/collections/stock-film-dailies/_all-scenes.

There's a package with files for 6 short exercises for $50 at: 
http://starteditingnow.com/Welcome.html

Two older packages no longer in distribution are "Creative Editing" from the 
BBC, and rushes from an old episode of 'Gunsmoke'. If you have borrowing 
privileges at a college library, you can probably obtain one or more of the 
above via inter-library loan. It's possible a big-city public library might 
have something: I wouldn't count on it, but it wouldn't hurt to check.

Jeremy Butler has video files of an old 2 minute TV commercial on the website 
for his "Television" textbook (free to download). These can be considered 
pseudo-rushes for a shorter piece (or, of course, a very long one, if Ken 
Jacobs inspires you...). "There's no dialogue in the original spot so students 
may easily rearrange the order of the shots in video editing software."

It would be nice if some friendly filmmaker could give you some of their 
footage to play with. If you have an actual personal filmmaking friend or two, 
you might ask. But I don't think you'll get anything from cold-call inquiries, 
as people are very protective of their footage...
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