Instructor - Norman Hollyn

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Lesson #4

September 16, 2003

Assignments for Next Week

Handouts for this Week

Lesson for This Week

Added Material


Examining The Sequence

The material that comes from the set is malleable. Ideas which work well on paper (and in the director's mind) are often less successful in the context of the completed footage. If the Rule of Threes has taught us anything it is that a given idea, image or character will change depending on what comes before and after it. Once a scene is completed, it must be viewed in the context of the entire film. So we need to be careful as to what each element says to us.

Two weeks ago we talked about the individual shot and its placement within a scene. Last week we saw how an individual scene can be structured and talked about the construction of beats within a scene and how they play off of each other.. Tonight we will discuss the individual scene and its placement within a sequence of shots. We will also discuss some of the tools that an editor has at his or her disposal to control these changes.

Last week you were handed a script from a scene from HEATHERS, a film which I cut way back in 1989. The scene underwent a number of changes both in its internal editing and in its placement within the film. An analysis of the script for the scene should provide you with several ideas about what is important in the scene, who is the major character, how she changes, and where the emotional beats (changeable moments) are. Then, keeping in mind that this is a comedy, try and figure out why we ended up changing the scene.

Once again, you scene analysis should tell you something about the characters, how they change, what the director wants us to feel coming in and going out of the scene, and give hints on where to make editing style changes. Look for the beats.

Finally, you'll receive back the loglines that you handed in during class last week. I've given you notes on how to improve them for the next time. NOTE: I am not asking you to rewrite this logline. There will be two more logline assignments and the notes I'm giving you on this first one are to help you in those future ones.


The following handouts will be given out this week. Click on the blue highlighted terms to get to the actual handouts.

Script for the scene from DALLAS
This is the scene that we will be working with this week. Though you will only be synching the dailies this week, it should be helpful to see the script. It will also help you to begin to think of a scene analysis.
Kevin Tent talks about GIRL INTERRUPTED
Tent talks about the re-editing process during the cutting of GIRL, INTERRUPTED. Note, in particular, his discussion aboout how scenes are shortened and lost. Material which may be great is sacrificed for the greater good of the film.
Tim Squyres talks about editing CROUCHING TIGER
There were a number of challenges editing this superbly put together film, not all of them what you'd expect. Tim Squyres talks about the editing process on this film.
Andrew Marcus talks about HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
Marcus talks about the re-editing process and rearranging scenes. He also discusses the aspect of bringing style to a film and making the editing style consistent with everything else.
Editing Process Flow Chart
In chapter 4A in our book (pages 97-104) there are four charts which detail the flow of materials from the shooting all the way through the theatre release. This chart details one more, increasingly important, method of working -- where no film is ever worked with after shooting. This is typical on television and is more and more common on lower budget films. Most medium to higher budget films still sync film dailies so the crew can see what their work will be like in the theatre (and make any necessary adjustments before too much material has been shot). In addition, previews are normally held on film because of the easy availability and higher quality of 35mm projection rooms than video.
16mm Equipment You Will Need
USC provides you with the equipment to do everything you'll need to work with the DALLAS footage that you will beusing next week. You'll need to kick in with some supplies. Here is a list of everything that a well-equipped editing room will need. Since all you will doing will be conforming, you won't need everything. Check with Cory to see what you will and won't need.

Assignment for Next Week

Read Chapter 7 and 7A in the textbook
This set of chapters deals with alternate methods and editing that is different from that discussed earlier in the book.
Line the script pages from DALLAS
Remember to use the on-screen solid lines and the off-screen squiggly lines to help you create this road map. This will help you to do your scene analysis.
Sync the footage from DALLAS
After you do, take a look at the footage and compare it to the script. Start a scene analysis, if you have time.
Re-edit the VISITOR face-off scene
Some of you may be re-editing this week.

Added Material

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Dede Allen Interview
Last semester, after one particular interesting class, I was asked about some of my favorite editors. Jerry Hambling is one and Dede Allen has to be another. This is the first part of a two part interview in the Editors Guild Magazine devoted to Dede, her process and her observations about the changes in the editing world. There are some wonderful comments about her thinking processes and the need to view your film as many times as necessary to know how to improve it.
Subtitled "Cinema in the digital age" this is a growing site which is devoted to Digital Cinema. There is a great page of links to sites which show digital films, rent digital films, talk about digital films, and help with digital films.

Though I've tried to accomodate other browsers THIS SITE IS DESIGNED FOR BEST USE WITH IE for the PC, SAFARI for the Mac, and FIREFOX for both the PC and the Mac. It also looks reasonably good on the iPhone. Lucked out on that!

All material, except where noted, ©1999-2008 by Norman Hollyn. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail at my office
Last Modified - September 30, 2008