Film Editing: Great Cuts Every Filmmaker and Movie Lover Must Know – The Journey to its Creation Part 1
Today is the day! My new book, Film Editing: Great Cuts Every Filmmaker and Movie Lover Must Know is now officially out. It was a pleasure to write and I hope you will enjoy it. You can read all about it and where to find it on this site so here I’ll write about the journey behind it.
Michael Wiese, the publisher, proposes
I am extremely fortunate to have an active, enthusiastic publisher in Michael who runs his company like a benign head of a family and honors his authors with praise and freedom. He grokked my first book (Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video) as soon as he received my 100+ page book proposal and changed my life by accepting it for publication.
This second book, he proposed to me January 2, 2008. He originally gave the book a working title of Editing 101 and viewed that it would “…have an editing principle on every other page. In other words, each two page spread will illustrate a cut that works (or maybe doesn’t) using frame grabs from well known movies.” His only restriction was that I use movies that were 5 years old or less.
I started the book by thinking of all the types of cuts that editors use: match cuts, flash cuts, smash cuts, subliminal cut, etc. I did research by reading and taking editors out to lunch or dinner. I created a giant file of all the info about all the types of edits that I’d identified. From this I made a table and categorized all the edits into categories. The categories became the basis of the chapters.
Pulling the frames
My editor and a fellow Wiese author helped me find software that allowed me to grab frames from movies on DVDs. Then I began my hunt through movies. I turned the sound off on my computer a lot of the time. Why? I’d become engrossed in the movie and miss the cuts. I turned it up to make sense the cut in the context of the scene and movie.
My chapters increased as I fell in love with the cuts and I couldn’t bear to show just one example each type of cut. During this phase I gained more appreciation than ever for what editors and directors do, backed up by actors and a crew of cinematographers, set designers, animators, etc.
Showing all genres
I decided to show that all type of cuts are used in all genres of films so I used genres that I normally wouldn’t watch. I fell in love with movies that I’d missed like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Hot Fuzz. A friend asked if I was including any samurai movies – and lent me Hero; its balletic choreography I will not forget. A nephew gave me Paprika whose clever moviemaking instructions and determined heroine impressed me. And then was the re-viewing of movies like Finding Neverland and The Corpse Bride where I discovered sly cuts that the directors inserted.
More on the journey to the book tomorrow.