Editing as Punctuation revisited

I recently came across this interesting video essay, Editing as Punctuation:  How ‘Punctuation Marks’ in Film Have Innovated Storytelling.

Editing as Punctuation in Film

It is a worthy watch for anyone editing film or video.

I have applied the logic of punctuation a bit differently in blog posts right here on the Edit Foundry.

In this post, It Went Viral!  But did the editing help?  I explain how I use completions of thoughts to help make edit decisions.

In this post, The Logic of Natural Sound in a News Package, I go into how natural sound in stories can be used as punctuation.

When you make your cut and move on to the next shot, there are so many reasons to consider.  Ask yourself these questions as you make decisions.

  1.  Did someone complete a thought? If you apply thought completions to your edit decisions, you will be amazed at how it changes your editing.
  2. Am I continuing a rhythm (pacing) with this edit-decision? Often turning off the sound and tapping a pencil on your desk every time you see an edit will help you discover pacing problems.
  3. Am I disrupting the rhythm of the story with this cut, and is there a reason to do that? This is fun!  Make a cut (or don’t) at a moment that creates a feeling that you want to convey to the audience like surprise, sadness, anger.  Make your audience feel something because of your edit.
  4. Am I cutting because the value of the shot is over? Sometimes it’s really this simple.  Don’t be afraid to make a cut simply because the value of the shot is complete.
  5. Am I cutting for match-action? I sometimes will make a decision about an edit for a match-action reason, and that will override other logic.
  6. Does this cut, at the moment I choose to advance my story? This should override everything, really.  Did it advance the story?  If it doesn’t improve the story, then it should be for another reason, like rhythm.
  7. What if I don’t make a cut at this moment? Sometimes the best edit is one you don’t make.

Lastly, how about you DON’T make an edit.  What does this do to your story if you simply don’t make an edit at this point?  Does this decision NOT to make a cut make your story better?

Thank you for reading.

Shawn Montano