Unreal Nature

June 25, 2015

To Reapproach

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:49 am

… Cutting is an experiment. Unless you’re willing to try new things, you never truly serve the material.

This is from the interview with Richard Marks in First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors by Gabriella Oldham (1992):

[ … ]

It’s interesting that you were obsessed — if I may use that word?

Oh you may!

— with an issue that will last bare seconds on the screen.

But it’s the cumulative effect that kind of thing has. If you make those mistakes every few seconds in a film, you’d walk out of the film twitching! Or you’d feel very uncomfortable and wouldn’t know why. You’re not dealing with reality, but with people’s expectation of reality.

[ … ]

… If you love what you do, you get so caught up emotionally that it’s difficult to tell the difference between reality and the fantasy you’re working with. I often joke that my head thinks in cuts. It becomes a way of looking at things. You do it long enough and work the kind of hours editors generally do, and you start to confuse reality with fantasy. I kid around with people that sometimes if I begin to drift off in conversation, I’ll start to shorten the conversation by cutting it in my head. I’m popping into a close-up, cutting to an over-the-shoulder.

[ … ]

… Cutting is a search to find that connection. Part of the fun for me is having the material pull me in different directions. Cutting is an experiment. Unless you’re willing to try new things, you never truly serve the material. Apocalypse Now taught me the most valuable of lessons, which is that there’s always another way to edit a scene. After three years editing one film, you learn to pull something apart and start from scratch. That’s a hard thing to do because you have your own preconceptions and feelings, and you don’t want to violate something that’s working. But sometimes by forcing yourself to reapproach the material, you just make a quantum leap.

[ … ]

… Every film has things I want to change when I look back at them after a period of time. I very rarely watch the films I cut because I want to change them. What you want to do constantly changes with your perspective. The way I would cut something right now would be different than the way I would have cut it two weeks ago or two years from now. It’s constant change and flux. Every time I look at a film I’ve cut, I remember three more options I didn’t try. Highly neurotic! I like to be quoted as saying, “Films are never finished, they’re abandoned” — I’ve probably plagiarized that quote. Ultimately you can work something forever, and at some point you say, “That’s it.”

My most recent previous post from Oldham’s book is here.

-Julie

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