Art of the Cut: Conversations with Film and TV Editors

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Art of the Cut
Conversations with Film and TV Editors
By Steve Hullfish

282 Pages - 50 B/W Illustrations


Art of the Cut provides an unprecedented look at the art and technique of contemporary film and television editing. It is a fascinating "virtual roundtable discussion" with more than 50 of the top editors from around the globe. Included in the discussion are the winners of more than a dozen Oscars for Best Editing and the nominees of more than forty, plus numerous Emmy winners and nominees. Together they have over a thousand years of editing experience and have edited more than a thousand movies and TV shows.

Hullfish carefully curated over a hundred hours of interviews, organizing them into topics critical to editors everywhere, generating an extended conversation among colleagues. The discussions provide a broad spectrum of opinions that illustrate both similarities and differences in techniques and artistic approaches. Topics include rhythm, pacing, structure, storytelling and collaboration.

Interviewees include Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road), Tom Cross (Whiplash, La La Land), Pietro Scalia (The Martian, JFK), Stephen Mirrione (The Revenant), Ann Coates (Lawrence of Arabia, Murder on the Orient Express), Joe Walker (12 Years a Slave, Sicario), Kelley Dixon (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), and many more.

Art of the Cut also includes in-line definitions of editing terminology, with a full glossary and five supplemental web chapters hosted online at www.routledge.com/cw/Hullfish. This book is a treasure trove of valuable tradecraft for aspiring editors and a prized resource for high-level working professionals. The book’s accessible language and great behind-the-scenes insight makes it a fascinating glimpse into the art of filmmaking for all fans of cinema.

Please access the link below for the book's illustration files. Please note that an account with Box is not required to access these files:

https://informausa.app.box.com/s/plwbtwndq4wab55a1p7xlcr7lypvz64c

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Editor Bios

1. PROJECT ORGANIZATION

     Introduction

    Cards on a wall

    Project Organization

    Scene Bin Organization

    Scene Bin Organization with JPEG Markers

    Selects or KEM Rolls

   Sequence Organization

   Organizing a Timeline Layout

   ScriptSync

   Conclusion

2. APPROACH TO A SCENE

    Introduction

    Screening Dailies (Rushes)

   Watching Dailies Backwards

   Finding a Starting Place

   Fast and Rough to Start

   Using Select Reels

   Conclusion

3. PACING AND RHYTHM

   Introduction

   Pacing is Musical

   What Determines Pacing?

   Letting it Breathe

   Pacing Due to Screen Size

   Conclusion

4. STRUCTURE

   Introduction

   Length of First Assembly

   Working the First Assembly

   Hitting Beats

   Structure

   Intercutting

   Killing Your Babies and Eliminating Shoe Leather

   Screening

   First Assembly in TV

  Conclusion

5. STORYTELLING

   Introduction

   Editing is Foundational to Storytelling

   Speaking into the Script

   Character

   Perspective

   Structure

   A Student of Story

   Conclusion

6. PERFORMANCE

   Introduction

   Editing as Stewardship

   Finding the Performance

   Performance that Tells the Story

   Shaping Performance

   Editing Bracketed Performances

   Using Audio from Different Takes than Picture

   Split Screen: The Invisible Weapon

   Performance Needs Context

   Conclusion

7. SOUND DESIGN

   Introduction

   Sound to Sell Visual Edits

   Selling the Environment

   Collaboration with Sound Team and Assistants

   ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement)

   Conclusion

8. MUSIC

   Introduction

  The Purpose of Temp Music

   Choosing Temp Music

   Cutting Without Temp

   Songs and Diegetic or "Source" Music

   Temping a Franchise Film

   Using Score

   Conclusion

9. COLLABORATION

   Introduction

   Landing the Gig

   Styles of Collaboration

   Notes

   Social Skills

   Don’t Edit the Way you think the Director Wants

   TV’s Collaborative Environment

   Conclusion

10. DOCUMENTARY

   Introduction

   Schedule

  Approaching the Material

  ScriptSync

   Shot Selection

   Pacing and Rhythm

   Structure

   Sound Design

   Music

   Collaboration

   Notes and Revisions

   Miscellaneous Documentary Wisdom

   Conclusion

11. MISCELLANEOUS WISDOM

   Introduction

   How Did You Break Into the Business?

   Emotion

   Geography

   Learn From Your Mistakes

   How Do You Judge the Editing of Others?

Author Biography

Steve Hullfish is a feature film and TV editor with credits including, "Courageous," "War Room," "Champion" and the theatrically-released feature documentary, "Clinton Inc." Hullfish is the author of five other books, including The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction and Avid Uncut. Hullfish also trains editors and colorists around the world.


Reviews

    "The greats like Schoonmaker and (the late) Coates are here. But so are the current blockbuster cutters like Eddie Hamilton . . . their methods and style are as individual as the individual themselves. And you as a reader will find yourself muttering ‘Absolutely’ or ‘Nope…that does not work for me.’ And you find yourself seated at the table as this masterclass is going on. And it’s a really big freakin’ table."

    —Book Review, by Jonathan Dowler, Canadian Cinema Editors

    "Steve Hullfish has interwoven great swathes of interview and made them flow like a well-constructed movie. You get concentrated information fired at you from the most eclectic, dynamic range of editors from all genres, mediums and nationalities . . . Most editors, when asked how they do what they do (a question we are all perhaps a little tired of now) answer ‘Instinct!’ This marvellous book is the first I’ve read (sourced from many horses’ mouths rather than books written from a single perspective) to refute that. There are concrete techniques to learn here as well as aesthetic considerations that stay our hand or entice an ‘I’ and an ‘O’ on a favoured shot. There is something for every editor on every page whether they’re new to the industry or, like myself, with many decades behind me."

    —Book Review by Alan Miller, GBFTE’s First Frame, Spring 2018

    Art of the Cut may indeed be the essential tool for the cutting room. Here is a reference where you can immediately see how our contemporaries deal with the complexities of editing a film. In a very organized manner he guides the reader through approaching the scene, pacing and rhythm, structure, storytelling, performance, sound design and music. I am placing this book on my shelf of editing books and I urge others to do the same.

    —Jack Tucker, ACE

    "In addition to having ready access to the experiences of so many editors in one volume, the book also makes great use of its formatting, structure and layout to enhance the learning experience and make sure you take away some practical wisdom."

    —Jonny Elwyn, Film Editor

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