Instructor - Norman Hollyn

Lesson #6

September 30, 2003

Added Material

Assignments for Next Week

Handouts for this Week

Lesson for This Week


Editing For Action

Over the last several weeks, we've been looking at various aspects of the building blocks of editing -- the cuts, the scene, and the sequence. Knowing how to manipulate those elements helps to make for great editing. This week we move into a discussion of action editing. Our class tonight is in two parts -- we have a guest speaker and there is this on-line component.

Michael Tronick starting editing in much the same way that I did -- as a music editor. In 1987 he began editing picture, starting with such films as BEVERLY HILLS COP II, LESS THAN ZERO and MIDNIGHT RUN. Since then he has edited a wide range of films TRUE ROMANCE, MEET JOE BLACK, THE SCORPION KING and the recent S.W.A.T. Most of his films tend to be in the action range, more because of Hollywood's tendency to typecast everyone, including editors, than because that is all he can do. However, he has a true flair for how to construct action sequences, and tonight, as we move into a discussion about editing genre specifics, we will see just how the construction of scenes in an action world is similar to what we've been talking about for these last five weeks.

Tonight he will discuss the editing of action sequences -- with excerpts from two or three of his films. How do all of the disparate elements involved in putting together a sequence -- sound, music, special effects -- influence each other?


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

Michael Kahn interview
The man who cuts all of Steven Spielberg's film talks about the Zen behind editing, in a talk he gave to a number of assistant editors, sponsored by the Editors Guild (the union that represents editors and a slew of other crafts).
Robert Dalva talks about Jurassic Park III
Dalva, who has been cutting since the 1960s, talks about how movies have changes and what inspires him in the process. He also talks about editing different types of films -- how it's all about the same rules. Just what we talk about in class!!
How A Film Is Made
You saw this chart back in week one, but since we're working digitally now, I thought it would be a good refresher. This chart gives you the basic flow of a film when there is no 35mm or 16mm used in the editing process. I've turned the chart on its side so you can print it out if you'd like.
Things I've Learned as a Moviemaker and Confessions of an Indie Editor
Tom McArdle edited the soon-to-be-released THE STATION AGENT. Here, in two articles excerpted from Moviemaker Magazine, are his thoughts on screenings, flexibility and more. The second article, an interview, discusses how he thinks about a film before editing even begins. He quotes Francis Coppola who says "the script cut never quite works out as well as you might hope it will." That's what editing is all about.

Assignments for Next Time

Read Chapter 9 and 9A and in the textbook.
These chapters talk about the recutting process.
Re-edit the scene from DALLAS
Based on the notes given in class, recut the scene while still maintaining true to your original scene analysis. You will stay in the same director/editor combinations that you were in for the first cut of the scene -- the editor will be the one whose last name comes earlier in the alphabet.
Matchback to the 16mm print
Each partnership will get a 16mm print with key numbers that should match the key numbers in your original FLEX file. Sub-clip the part of the scene that I've told you to select. Then create a Film Cut List (see this handout for an example of a cut list) for that sequence. Conform that section to film. We will be projecting this material next week so make sure that the material is properly spliced, on both sides.

Added Materials

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Movie Cliches
Why is it that if a movie hero listens to his answering machine and one important message is unexpected then he usually has two very short messages on the tape before, one spoken by a man, one by a women. ("Here's John! I'll see you tomorrow at eight.".... beep ... "This is Sallieeeeee! I'll call again later." ... beep .... and then finally "Ahhhh! The killer is .....". If however the message is expected be sure that it will be the first one on the tape.). And how come whenever someone looks through a pair of binoculars, you see two joined circles instead of one? That's because It's The Movies!! This site is a hilarious collection of often-true conventions in movie writing. You've got two choices now -- use every one of them in your films here, or use NONE of them.
Steven Soderbergh watches "All The President's Men"
The New York Times will occasionally sit down with a filmmaker and watch one of their favorite movies while interviewing them. In the February 16, 2001 issue writer Rick Lyman sat down with Steven Soderbergh to watch Alan Pakula's ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. Soderbergh, the director of OUT OF SIGHT, TRAFFIC and ERIN BROCKOVICH (among others), talks about many things but I excerpt the following one here, as it reflects on some of the Rule of Threes issues we talk about here in class.
"It's all about the task of luring the audience from one scene to the next... I've begun to believe more and more that movies are all about transitions," Mr. Soderbergh said. "That the key to making good movies is to pay attention to the transition between scenes. And not just how you get from one scene to the next, but where you leave a scene and where you come into a new scene. Those are some of the most important decisions that you make. It can be the difference between a movie that works and a movie that doesn't." And the transitions in "All the President's Men," he said, are marvels. The movie does not race forward. There are no action scenes, no big dramatic moments. And the plot frequently dead-ends into unresolved cul-de-sacs. But the overall effect is thoroughly gripping."

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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