Lecture #9: ACTING, DIRECTING & the EDIT

This week we have guest Jason Tobin for a session on looking at the relationship between acting and editing.

What techniques can help emphasize the feeling of a scene? Sometimes it is as important to see the reaction, or to linger on a shot. Editing is about pace, rhythm and emotion — this class will get us to think about how you make sure you capture this when shooting. In this session we look at some of the considerations around shooting for the edit, ways that different directors approach it, and we will also watch professional actors perform a scene in a few different ways, thinking about approaches to getting the coverage we would need in the editing room.

In the last few weeks we looked at scene construction and in this week’s in-class workshop will look at how directing, shooting and acting interact with the art of editing.

The class will be split in two parts: the first half will be an acting workshop, to help students understand the dynamics of scene construction from the other side of the lens. The second half of the class we will do scene breakdowns of a few different films, and Jason and his professional actors will show you live the options for shooting and for editing a scene.

Jason Tobin on “Are Actors Liars?”


We worked on interpreting a scene from  Kramer vs. Kramer and then watched the award-winning actors on screen as they played it.


Thelma Schoonmaker talks about editing improv in Raging Bull

Lisa Churgin on editing Tobey Maguire and Lasse Hallstrom — Directing actors

Anne V. Coates on editing “Lawrence of Arabia”

Considering Dede Allen: The Editor as Revolutionary 



Assignment # 2: SHOOT FOR THE EDIT

In Assignment #2, your task is to interpret, or reinterpret, a scene.

Basic scene construction, action continuity, graphic editing, construction of time and space should be applied and practiced in this exercise.

Choose an existing scene of film rushes that will be available in the Common Share folder.

Final assignments should be an interpretation of the scene provided in the source material.

Remember — get to the heart of the scene and use some of the various editing techniques we have discussed thus far.

It’s not enough to just follow the timeline of the event as you think it should happen — Create tension in the scene, choose the best takes, give it pace and rhythm, and use your editing skills to make the material shine.


Bank Robbers Part I & II

Listen to Roger Ebert discuss approaches to editing the Bank Robbers scene.