Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Editing - some thoughts

I watched David Mamet's film Red Belt (2008) last night. Mamet is both a film writer and director whose work I like a lot. Remembering that I have a little book of his, On Directing Film, written in 1991, I re-read Mamet's thoughts about the folly of rushing into visual / pictorial solutions. His advice, before rushing into anything is to understand what the scene means (read picture in photo terms) and to understand the progression of the work. He quotes Hemmingway who said, "write the story, take out all the good lines, and see if it still works". Mamet goes on to say that a work only gets better by learning to cut the ornamental, the narrative, and especially the deeply felt and meaningful. What remains? The story remains. Photo-book editors could think about this, I include myself here. Shoot the pictures, edit, make a sequence, take out all the good images and see if what remains works.

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