Paper Cut Musings
paper cut. Ouch, damn, now there’s blood on my document or book.
paper cut. Outline that provides the initial plan of attack for editing a documentary or other non-scripted piece.
I’ve always been amused by the double entendre of this phrase, appreciated only by those in our business. A paper cut is a linear ordering of topics, lines, shots, and sounds to include. I am also amused by the fact that we create from a linear piece from a linear paper cut yet we edit on non-linear systems. Having created a lot of online training courses, I know that viewers can absorb material in a non-linear fashion. I also know that films are linear in the end; no matter how much they jump back and forth in time, viewers watch them as they’re intended to be seen, from first frame to last.
In this time of sped up editing schedules and mountains of footage, many editors (especially on scripted shows) have little or no time to screen footage – they just plunge in and start cutting. So paper cuts may be going the way of the synchronizer and the splicer. Also, as we know, the footage does not always cut together the way a paper cut calls for, just like a script.
How many of you make index cards and lay them out on a table or pin them to a wall so you can organize your doc ahead of time? Do you make notes on a transcript? Make your own outline and/or use the director’s/client’s/producer’s?
To mischievously mix meanings: In this steadily “going green, paperless” world, will there will be no more paper cuts?