Cutting: What Part of the Action Do You Show?
– If you only show the anticipation of an action, the audience will wonder if the action happened or whether it will happen in the future.
– If you show just the aftermath of an action, you imply that the event already happened before we arrived to see it.
– If you show the lead up to the event then cut to after it, you imply that the event happened but while we were away from the scene.
– Whenever you don’t show the event but imply that it happened, the audience will create it in their own minds.
Each part suggests the whole in the minds of the audience. The more you allow the audience to participate in the construction of the story, the more they will make it their own. Thus, they will feel all the more because they are reacting to their own experience. This is using suggestion to its full potential.
Motivated Cuts: Cut for a Reason
In order for cuts to remain “ invisible, ” they need to follow certain criteria. They must be motivated. The biggest motivation they can have is to move the story forward. There are other motivations to cut, most of which involve giving the audience information to follow the story. The following is a list of reasons to cut to a new shot:
– To delay the answer to a narrative question.
– To provide a new view for information by changing the position of the camera.
– To create rhythmic pacing.
– To provide contextual meaning by showing a wider view.
– To make connections for the audience by comparing two shots.
– To visually compare and contrast ideas.
– To recall a memory of an earlier scene for the audience.
– To show what a character is looking at.
– To point out something to the audience in detail.
– Cut away to compress time and cut out boring parts. The boring parts are those without narrative questions or are not relevant to the theme of the movie.
Excerpt from Directing the Story by Francis Glebas © Focal Press an imprint of Taylor and Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.