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Inspiration – “Art of the Cut” with Joe Walker

Inspiration – “Art of the Cut” with Joe Walker
Joe Walker on the set of 12 Years a Slave. (Photo by Jaap Buitendijk).
Joe Walker on the set of 12 Years a Slave. (Photo by Jaap Buitendijk).

I just finished reading an incredible interview by Steve Hullfish with “12 Years a Slave” editor Joe Walker. His caption “An interview that turned into a must-read master class in editing.” Is not hyperbole. If you’re an editor go read this immediately. If you’re a director, go read this immediately. If you’re interested in the art of film, go read this immediately. You will learn.  You will be inspired.

Moments that stood out to me,

“If you don’t cut, when you do cut it delivers you such a rhythmic weapon in terms of editing.”

“Part of the necessary process of film-making, it seems to me, is that you love everything into existence during the shoot while you’re gathering the elements of the film. But in the first assembly of the film, every actor’s poignant pause has been lovingly preserved, and you realize that it’s now dying on its feet. Then you have to twist your logic around to a much more punitive attitude of giving every moment a very tough look. All those pauses, you now have to sell some to buy others. Gradually, hopefully, you get to a place where you don’t want to change anything any more and it’s become solid in some way. I think Scorsese got it right when he said, “Your film is never as great as your dailies and never as terrible as your first assembly.” It feels like you need that process.”

Now I have to find something new to edit…

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