You are NOT a “Born Editor”

Listen, you. The mediocrity has GOT to stop. I know we are currently living in a era that, while welcoming for creators of all social and monetary statuses, does not hammer down the importance of raw, hard-earned “technique”. That does not give you an excuse to take for granted your well-shot RED footage and your underpaid but dutiful actors and crew, to press forward toward tripping at the finish line, making them all for naught in post-production.

I’ve seen gorgeous footage absolutely sabotaged in a variety of ways. Bad sound quality happens often enough (seriously, people. Get a good boom op), but horribly unnatural editing has got to be the most pervasive and the most annoying.  

Editing is NOT just clipping one person responding to another person’s commentary in the reverse shot, one after another, over and over until the end of your film. Editing is sacrificing the reaction for spending more time with the impetus, or vice-versa. It is pushing in or pulling out for intensity’s sake. Editing, like many of the finer arts of film, is fucking with the human consciousness by way of personal, but well-founded choices, okay? Technique matters here as it does in most things that are… good. Sorry-not-sorry. There isn’t really another way to say that. 

There are a few schools of thought as far as editing technique goes. However, one foolproof method will, of course, be Walter Murch’s ‘Rule of Six’.

Fight your urge to scream ‘Okay, Boomer!” and just hear me out.

They’re simple rules, really. Some people will find that applying them is easy and feels natural. Some people will struggle with them for a while. The point is that you need to implement them. Because I swear to God, if I have to watch one more poor, unwilling actor performing one more intense monologue in a medium shot one more damn time…

Ok, look. There are exceptions to everything, and do what you want, and all that, yea? I just wonder sometimes what the big deal is about killing or ignoring what not only ain’t broke, but what is proven to work magnificently. Yes, it is easier to pick up trades in creative realms nowadays, but that doesn’t mean we should be any less technical and studious about them. Certainly you could reinvent the wheel as far as technique goes, but if editing isn’t really your calling in life, and you’re simply trying to do a job well, then why not learn your technique from the greats? And I get it. For many people these things are hobbies, not jobs. But hell, why not git good? Use the medium as you claim it was meant to be used. If you want to affect people, why not use techniques specifically tailored to help you do that? Aren’t you wasting money and time otherwise?

Anyway, I’m not going to explain the rule of six here. Just know they are amazing. Go read the book, and glow up.