Lucas J. Harger
Lucas J. Harger
editor of moving pictures
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More On the best shot

A devil whispered in one’s ear: “Is this the best shot?”

There are no “good” shots or “bad” shots, just varying degrees of appropriate.

Dearest devil, a better question would be, “Is this shot appropriate for this moment?”

On Bad Notes vs. Good Notes

Bad = do this
Good = feel this
That’s really all I have to say*.

*Project context must be taken into consideration. Film vs. Cooperate videos, ect.

On Scene Objective

Getting into and consequently out of a scene can be some of the trickiest parts of the first assembly (mentally and as far as workflow goes). Once transitions are established, the cut begins to take form. The assembly begins to feel effortless and we wonder how we got so caught up in the transition in the first place, once we are on the other side of the mountain.

I believe all scenes should be cut with intention: with a purpose and a vision. What is the function of this scene? This should be our driving question as we assemble. The answer to that question will inform where and how we make cuts. Decisions are being made regardless of the intention. The decision is the constant while intention is the variable (one of the elements separating a poor editor from a good editor). While you’re at the decision making process, it is better to be intentional than careless. I’m not saying that every decision is a conscious one. If so, this can create dry cuts often, lacking emotion. When we exclusively, consciously cut we miss what Eisentien calls the “fourth dimension of film.”

Regarding thoughts on subconscious decisions, Spielberg has said, “are there any other decisions worth making?” Some call it cutting from the gut. Regardless of terminology, subconscious cutting is a step to uncovering the fourth dimension of film. The process of juxtaposing images of Meaning A and Meaning B, but when consecutive they create meaning Z.

So what definition am I presenting as the idea of intentional cutting?

Scene Objective.

What is the objective of the scene you are cutting? What is its function in the act and story? How is this scene used in the tapestry of the film? These are important thoughts to consider prior to entering the edit room (a great prepro exercise for the editor/director). This exercise can often be done with the script. It's a practice that will make you familiar with the story and the intent of the scenes within said story. Read a scene, write four words or phrases that capture the objective of the scene, then cut to that objective.

All good editors will know that these established objectives are not immovable. Objectives can, will, and should change throughout the edit. What you first thought was the objective of scene five is not at all the objective when cutting scene thirteen. So what then is the point? To stay on point. To create a common terminology with the director. To have a feel for which scenes may need more objective or less objective. To understand the flow of the story and structure.

To see the film before the film exists.

On Protecting the Audience

I don’t use this term to encourage too much information. That is to say, consider your audience ignorant. However, I use it in a way that says, “when they are unsure, they are not confused.” Your audience shouldn’t feel lost for extended periods of time. If they do, anger sets in.

So we must build a report with the audience throughout a film that lets them know that we will pay things off in due time. This can be accomplished in may ways, at many stages throughout the filmmaking process, however, I’m an editor.

We must build characters and show their traits in the micro moment, to inform a greater (macro) narrative: the narrative of the film. We understand why this character is acting this way because we have seen them react similarly before. History has given us a sense of comfort. We have see this before, so we know that it can happen.

Now you may say, “of course, why would we not build our characters in this way?” An issue may not exclusively arise in the assembly phase, but in the refinement and trimming stage. We (editor, director, producer and whatnot) know these characters. We know what they would say and would not say. So we begin to cut out those seemingly superfluous cues. But they are not superfluous in the least. They are giving a first time audience the tools to dig into this character. Sometimes we cut too deep and therefore, need to backup a little.

In these moments, we try to protect the audience. We try to give them a history with the character, or the world on which they can build their own perspective and enter the narrative themselves.

On the Best Shot

I recently had a director ask me if I had the best shot in the sequence. Define best shot.

I can say with certainty that there are no best shots when cutting a film. I would even goes as far to say that there are no worst shots either. However, that's an entirely different topic.

The best shot is relative. I'm not speaking on a personal taste level but on an intention level. The question should be “is this the best shot for the purpose of…?” The director’s job is to define the purpose (or be willing to explore), and the editor’s job is to execute on that said purpose. The conversation should then turn to emotion, “how does this shot make me feel verses that shot?” As an editor, the best shots are those in support the director's vision.

I recently noticed this while rewatching the movie La La Land, specifically in the scene where Emma Stone’s character, Mia has just sung a song about dreamers. There is an intense, beautiful performance that literally encapsulates the entire film. The scene is a masterclass in directing. And…it’s back focused.

So was that the best shot? Yes. Absolutely.

Dreyer In Double Reflection

All of it was so real and so correct and so believable, and yet one did not believe it. One was always made interested, often impressed, but seldom moved. A devil whispered in one’s ear: “Is it not all technique?’
- It was soul that was lacking!

Instead of isolating itself, film, on the contrary, needs to make contact with stimulating minds outside its own circle, and led by its own sound instincts film has, on its own, gone to the source of all art representing the human being: to the poets.

In order to give the truth, I dispensed with “beautification.”

Film must go back to the street—yes, more than that, it must go inside houses, inside homes.

...but the truth is, you know, that the great majority of films give the impression of having passed through the same “assembly line.” They lack the stamp of a whole personality; common to them is something strangely indistinct, blurred—originating from not having been created by one simple, strong personality but by an anonymous “organization,” a kind of “kneading machine” for the manufacturing of what Dr. Schyberg calls usable films.

…and the critic, who not only tolerates but even approves of an artist who compromises with his individuality for the sake of popularity, commits a double treachery, in this case both against the film as an art and against criticism as a vocation. Every critic and every artist will agree with me about this.

This conquest for the artistic film should be greeted with joy, as surely as every endeavor away from the factory product toward the individually stamped work of art is always a good thing.

The innermost essence of film is a need for truth, and it lies in its nature to shun exaggeration and hollowness.

Because it is like this, we directors have a very large responsibility. We have it in our hands to lift the film from industry to an and, therefore, we must go to our work with seriousness, we must want something, we must dare ‘something, and we must not jump over where the fence is lowest. If film as an art is not to come to a standstill, we must work to create a mark of style, a mark of personality in the film. Only from this can we expect renewal.

I don’t bring a picture just for the sake of the picture, just because It's beautiful; if the picture effect does not promote the action it is injurious to the film.

But realism in itself is not art; it is only psychological or spiritual realism that is so.

But no one who has seen my film can doubt that technique for me is a means and not the goal and that the goal has been to give the spectator a richer experience.

For since realism, in itself, is not art, and since, on the other hand, there must be harmony between the genuineness of feelings and the genuineness of things, I try to force the realities into a form of simplification and abbreviation in order to reach what I will call psychological realism.

At last, the interviewer asked: “What is film to you?”, and Dreyer replied: My only great passion.

But I think it is dangerous, by the way, to maintain that one rhythmical form is better than another. All forms are useful when they are adapted to the character of the scenes they are to be used in, according to the rhythm of the action, the environment, and the intensity of the dramatic tension itself. As a matter of fact, one has to be cautious in talking about old-fashioned and modern rhythm, for the old-fashioned one can under certain circumstances be the most modern.

I think we can all agree that film, as it is today, is not perfect. For this, we should be only grateful, because in the imperfect there is continuing development. The imperfect is alive. The perfect is dead, set aside, we give it little attention. But in the imperfect a thousand possibilities break through.

We have been hung up on photography and are faced with the necessity of freeing ourselves from it. We must use the camera to supersede the camera. We must work toward no longer being slaves of photography but becoming masters of it.

The ability to abstract is the prerequisite. Abstraction gives the director a possibility to reach outside the fence behind which naturalism has enclosed the film. Cinema must work itself away from being a purely imitative art. The ambitious director must seek a higher reality than the one he obtains just by putting his camera up and copying reality. His pictures have to be not only a visual but also a spiritual experience. What is important is that the director share his own artistic and spiritual experiences with the audience, and abstraction gives him this possibility by allowing the director to replace objective reality with his own subjective perceptions.

On Not Knowing What You Are Doing

There’s a certain dark period in the suit when one is pushing their way through scene. Stumbling in the dark, looking for any sort of safety line to pull your self from the depths of the unknown. Safety lines of your story, your voice and your characters.

This is the point a story can be easily break, be watered down, or even take wrong turn. For this reason, it is important for one to stop and ask “what am I even doing?” I recognize leaving room for happy accidents, and I recognize their place in a film and edit, but “what we are trying to accomplish” should always be at the forefront of the editors mind.

We are to cut with an end in mind. We should know, even if the end changes, where it is we are cutting to. So I suggest, on a chalkboard, write out a Scene Title as well as a a Goal. Where it is we would like to audience to be at the end of this act, scene and moment? Where it is we would like the characters to be at the end? Where is it we would like the story to be? Answering these questions will help us push the film to the next stage of evolution; our characters to their next stage; and the audience to theirs.

If we keep these elements in mind and on board while we cut a scene, scenes will be focused and meaningful. And ideally, lead us away from making wandering scenes. They serve as a light amongst the darkness of not knowing where it is we are heading. They become foot and hand holds.

Notes on the Cinematographer

Metteur-en-scéne, director. The point is not to direct: someone, but to direct oneself.

An image must be transformed by contact with other images as is a colour by contact with other colours. A blue is not the same blue beside a green, a yellow, a red. No art without transformation.

To set up a film is to bind persons to each other and to objects by looks.

Two persons, looking each other in the eye, see not their eyes but their looks. (The reason why we get the colour of a person's eyes wrong?)

Not to use two violins when one is enough!

Passionate for the appropriate.

The soundtrack invented silence.

A single word, a single movement that is not right or is merely in the wrong place gets in the way of all the rest.

Noise of a door opening and shutting, noise of footsteps, etc., for the sake of rhythm.

A thing that has failed can, if you change its place, be a thing that has come off.

Dismantle and put together until one gets intensity.

To find a kinship between image, sound and silence. Is give them an air of being glad to be together, of having chosen their place. Milton: Silence was pleased.

Dig into your sensation. Look at what there is within. Don’t analyze it with words. Translate it into sister images, into equivalent sounds. The clearer it is, the more your style affirms itself. (Style: all that is not technique.)

What is for the eye must not duplicate what is for the ear.

If the eye is entirely won, give nothing or almost nothing to the ear.* One cannot be at the same time all eye and all ear.

*And vice versa, if the ear is entirely won, give nothing to the eye.

When a sound can replace an image, cut the image or neutralize it. The ear goes more towards the within, the eye towards the outer.

The omnipotence of rhythms.

Nothing is durable but what is caught up in rhythms. Bend content to form and sense to rhythms.

Your film will have the beauty, or the sadness, or what have you, that one finds in a town, in a countryside, in a house, and not the beauty, sadness, etc. that one finds in the photograph of a town, a countryside, or a house.

Two simplicities. The bad: simplicity as starting-point, sought too soon. The good: simplicity as end-product, recompense for years of effort.

The eye (in general) superficial, the ear profound and inventive. A locomotive’s whistle imprints in us a whole railroad station.

When you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the best—that is inspiration.

Cutting. Passage of dead images to living images. Everything blossoms afresh.

Slow films in which everyone is galloping and gesticulating; swift films in which people hardly stir.

Cut what would deflect attention elsewhere.

Not beautiful photography, not beautiful images, but necessary images and photography.

Empty the pond to get the fish.

Obvious traveling or panning shots do not correspond to the movements of the eye. This is to separate the eye from the body. (One should not use the camera as if it were a broom).

It is with something clean and precise that you will force the attention of inattentive eyes and ears.

Let the cause follow the effect, not accompany it or precede it.

Shooting is not making something definitive, it is making preparations.

The most ordinary word, when put into place, suddenly acquires brilliance. That is the brilliance with which your images must shine.

Be as ignorant of what you are going to catch as is a fisherman of what is at the end of his fishing rod. (The fish that arises from nowhere.)

Laugh at a bad reputation. Fear a good one that you could not sustain.

On Micro and Macro Pacing

How a film is paced tends to be discussed on a seemingly singular and macro level. But there is much to dissect from the micro pace changes within a film. The pace between 3 shots, between a moment, between a scene act and film. As we pull out we see the dominate pace, but the successfully paces films take us on a journey of pace. If then put on a linear timeline, we can see the structure of the film in a sort of roller coast shape. All of these pace changes are of course deliberate. Weather through control or lack there of, films have pace. Its matching the pace to the story where craft can be discerned.

If we are to cut interesting and therefore meaningful films, we should consider pace throughout. Im not sure at the moment weather pace should be planned, as too many happy accidents happen throughout, but pace should be on the forefront of the editors mind. Pace should, along with emotion, be a driving factor in any cut. More than continuity. Continuity is a red herring in the search for pace and emotion. The mind fills in blanks and mis-steps constantly and is a trick we should employ when in search for pace and emotion. This then is truth concerning pace, it is paramount to all other factors, except its equal counter part, emotion.

Now a quick note about average shot lengths. They should be considered not on an entire film level, but on a scene level at their widest. Considered, through the lens of intrigue and a desire to see how a film is shaped. Not what it ends up being. A lot is out there which attempts to show ASL’s of this film vs. that film. This is worthless information. Show me the ASL of scene 1 vs. scene 4. Much more interesting.

Sculpting in Time

The true artistic image is always based on an organic link between idea and form.

Masterpieces are born of the artist’s struggle to express his ethical ideals. Indeed, his concepts and his sensibilities are informed by those ideals. If he loves life, has an overwhelming need to know it, change it, try to make it better, —in short, if he aims to cooperate in enhancing the value of life, then there is no danger in the fact that the picture of reality will have passed through a filter of his subjective concepts, through his states of mind. For his work will always be a spiritual endeavor which aspires to make man more perfect: an image of the world that captivates us by its harmony of feeling and thought, its nobility and restraint.

Naturally his unique position does not lessen the enormous value of the contribution brought to the work by all the other members of the team; but even in this interdependence the others’ ideas only actually enhance the work when the director knows how to choose between them.

The artist expresses these things by creating the image, sui generis detector of the absolute. Through the image is sustained an awareness of the infinite: the eternal within the finite, the spiritual within matter, the limitless given form.

The universe, being linked with that absolute spiritual truth which is hidden from us in our positivistic, pragmatic activities.

Art is born and takes hold wherever there is a timeless and insatiable longing for the spiritual, for the ideal: that longing which draws people to art.

The beautiful is hidden from the eyes of those who are not searching for the truth, for whom it is contra-indicated. But the profound lack of spirituality of those people who see art and condemn it, the fact that they are neither willing nor ready to consider the meaning and aim of their existence in any higher sense, is often masked by the vulgarly simplistic ery, ‘I don’t like it! ‘Hs boring!’ It is not a point that one can argue; but it is like the utterance of a man born blind who is being told about a rainbow. He simply remains deaf to the pain undergone by the artist in order to share with others the truth he has reached.

Collaboration between screen-writer and director therefore tends to be beset by difficulty and argument. A valid film can be realized even when the original conception has been broken and destroyed during their work together, and a new idea, a new organism, has emerged from the ruins.

And really it’s so easy to shoot a scene beautifully, for effect, for acclaim . . But you only have to take one step in that direction and you are lost.

Cinema should be a Means of exploring the most complex problems of our time, as vital as those which for centuries have beer the subject of literature, music and painting. It is only a question of searching, each time searching out afresh the path, the channel, to be followed by cinema. | am convinced that for any one of us our film-making will turn out to be a fruitless and hopeless affair if we faj] to grasp precisely and unequivocally: the specific character of cinema, and if we fail to find in ourselves our own key to it

Imprinted Time; a principle that would free my hands, making it possible to cut away everything unnecessary, alien or irrelevant, so that the question of what the film needed and what it must avoid would be solved of itself.

In fact, making a short film is almost harder than making a full-length one: it demands an unerring sense of form.

All creative work strives for simplicity, for perfectly simple expression; and this means reaching down into the furthest depths of the recreation of life. But that is the most painful part of creative work: finding the shortest path between what you want to say or express and its ultimate reproduction in the finished image. The struggle for simplicity is the painful search for a form adequate to the truth you have grasped. You long to be able to achieve great things while economizing the means.

Editing a picture correctly, competently, means allowing the separate scenes and shots to come together spontaneously, for in a sense they edit themselves; they join up according to their own intrinsic pattern. It is simply a question of recognizing and following this pattern while joining and cutting. It is not always easy to sense the pattern of relationships, the articulations between the shots, particularly if the scene has been shot inexactly, in which case you will have not merely to join the pieces logically and naturally at the editing table, but laboriously to seek out the basic principle of the articulations. Little by little, however, you will slowly find emerging and becoming clearer the essential unity contained within the material.

In a curious, retroactive process, a self-organising structure takes shape during editing because of the distinctive properties given the material during shooting. The essential nature of the filmed materia! comes out in the character of the editing.

How does time make itself felt in a shot? It becomes tangible when you sense something significant, truthful, going on beyond the events on the screen; when you realize, quite consciously, that what you see in the frame is not limited to its visual depiction, but is a pointer to something stretching out beyond the frame and to infinity; a pointer to life.

Rhythm, then, is not the metrical sequence of pieces; what makes it is the time-thrust within the frames. And I am convinced that it is rhythm, and not editing, as people tend to think, that is the main formative element of cinema.

In so far as sense of time is germane to the director’s innate perception of life, and editing is dictated by the rhythmic pressures 1n the segments of film, his handwriting is to be seen in his editing. It expresses his attitude to the conception of the film, and is the ultimate embodiment of his philosophy of life. I think that the film-maker who edits his films easily and in different ways is bound to be superficial. You will always recognize the editing of Bergman, Bresson, Kurosawa or Antonioni; none of them could ever be confused with anyone else, because each one’s perception of time, as expressed in the rhythm of his films, is always the same.

Of course you have to know the rules of editing, just as you have to know all the other rules of your profession; but artistic creation begins at the point where these rules are bent or broken.

This account of the making of Mirror illustrates that for me scenario is a fragile, living, ever-changing structure, and that a film is only made at the moment when work on it is finally completed. The script is the base from which one starts to explore; and for the entire time that I am working on a film I have the constant anxiety that perhaps nothing may come of it.

The point is that the depth and significance of a director’s work can only be gauged in terms of what makes him shoot something: motivation is the decisive factor, manner and motif are incidental.

The true cinema image is built upon the destruction of genre, upon conflict with it. And the ideals that the artist apparently seeks to express here obviously do not lend themselves to being confined within the parameters of a genre.

Never try to convey your idea to the audience — it is a thankless and senseless task. Show them life, and they'll find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate it.

I find music in film most acceptable when it is used like a refrain. When we come across a refrain in poetry we return, already in possession of what we have read, to the first cause which prompted the poet to write the lines originally. The refrain brings us back to our first experience of entering that poetic world, making it immediate and at the same time renewing it. We return, as it were, to its sources.

On Subtlety

Much has been said about the nature of subtlety within filmmaking. So much so that I almost don't feel the need to add to it. Almost.

The qualities of an audience we cut to are the intangible ones. The qualities that make up the lens with which the audience views the film through. An audience who has no regard for their lens, no sense of their emotion and preconceived ideas concerning the subject, is no audience. They are critics. And we do not make films for critics. We make films for audiences [1].

So we cater the acts, scenes, and cuts to these intangibly held qualities. The way in which we cater is through subtlety. We let the life of the audience member inform the screen in a way that makes the cut meaningful to them. The obtuse viewer is one who's mind is made and they look for ways to accept or reject a film into their worldview. Not, letting the film inform their worldview. So when we create a film for the obtuse, with obvious cuts, with much information, with vast amounts of context, we create a devise to prop up the ignorant. To fuel the fool.

However, when we use subtlety, suggestion, visual reference that inspire thought and internal dialogue, we are then creating meaningful, confrontational films. It is here a word must be said on clarity. There must maintain clarity throughout the film. Creating subtlety and suggestive cuts is not ignoring the necessity of clarity. The editor is often the last in a long line tasked (especially within doc work) to hold exposition and subtly in balance while maintaining clarity. It's like stretching a rubber band between your hands. Stretching that rubber band as far as you can without it snapping. Keeping that tension (clarity) between exposition and subtlety throughout the film tends to result in a more meaningful piece.

[1]It is my personally held belief, tho backed purely from circumstantial evidence; that the best filmmakers are also the best film watchers. The ones most accepting and least negatively, or technically critical. To be a good filmmaker, one must be a good film watcher.

Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer

By delaying edits, not moving the camera, forswearing music cues, not employing coverage, and heightening the mundane, transcendental style creates a sense of unease the viewer must resolve. The film-maker assists the viewer’s impulse for resolution by the use of a Decisive Moment, an unexpected image or act, which then results in a stasis, an acceptance of parallel reality—transcendence.

Deleuze feels that “mature cinema” (postWWII) was no longer primarily concerned with telling stories to our conscious selves but now also seeks to communicate with the unconscious and the ways in which the unconscious processes memories, fantasies, and dreams.

On a Technician vs. Editor

The danger is that the more proficient and experienced…you become, the greater the danger that you will become a ‘technician.’ -Kazan

My theory is an editor must be a technician but a technician isn't necessarily an editor. It stands to reason that when defining an editor, we must use words like technician in conjunction with artist. Then we being to get a glimpse of a true editor. Editing cannot survive without the technician side.

As we gain experience, knowledge and technical prowess we lose the wonder and awe of filmmaking. Look at the greatest filmmakers of our time. They are giddy when talking of inspiration and dreams for their films. The best filmmakers are the ones that perceive the danger of becoming a technician and actively fight it.

This is more the risk for any position in filmmaking that requires a high level of technical knowhow to complete the job. Editing is among these crafts that run the highest risk of merely becoming a technician.

How does one fight this seemingly inevitable outcome. Through passion. Through a realization of the technicians irrelevant existence in real film. Through intentional surroundings (films, music, art, books, hobbies, relationships). Looking for ways and activities to partake in that enhance editing, but not directly. In short I'm advocating editing as a lifestyle, not a duty or job.

Everything in life is pertinent to the editor because everything in life is edited. We live and receive edited versions of reality. In conversation, in outings, in walking the block, in vacationing, in reading, in all things we perceive and actively edit out lives to retain the useful and meaningful bit and toss the irrelevant and drab moments. Our minds are always editing. Its in this way we can learn the craft of editing in everything. Why do we only remember this moment? Why have I forgotten that trip but remember this trip? What is this author communicating to me through the edit? In every way we are living in the edit and the sooner we understand how this is, we can adapt the tricks and craft of the universe to our cuts. And by this, we resist the technician.

On the Director and the Editor

The relationship between the director and editor is a sacred one. In a simplest sense the editor must operate as a technical extension of the directors brain. In another sense as cup bearer for ideas. In yet another the final writer and producer of ideas. In another the voice of reason or perhaps the voice of insanity. However, at all times a co-created / collaborator. And at none of the times a technician exclusively (this is for successfully and effective films). Simply, a filmmaker sacrificing (willingly and joyfully) to the Filmmakers vision.

The roll of the editor, in my opinion is to keep the conversation with the director at a conceptually high level for as long as possible. Discussions on character development, pacing, vision, spine, goals, feels and emotions are topics i want to live in. There come times for discussions of frames, outputs and technical requirements. However, if a director walks into my suite and we start right in on lower thirds, on trimming this shot or that shot, I have missed the mark and now must work to get us back to a high level.

A film is never as good, and always much better than a director thinks before walking into the suite. The hard work in the edit suite will test the footage, test the story and test the directing. A good editor leans into that responsibility and privilege with grace and gentle guidance. Uncovering what is in the directors head, and translating it to screen. The editor in many ways is a translator of thought and emotion. The bridge between the director and the screen.

…a good director always has the leading influence on the editing of his film, the value of that influence being proportional to their instinct for and knowledge of editing. - Edward Dmytryk

It would appear that film editing is the art of filmmaking. - Baron Rothschild

Film Technique: VI Pudovkin

That the basic means of expression which is unique to motion pictures lies in the organization of the film strips—the shots—which in themselves contain the elements of the larger forms— the scenes and sequences—and which in relationship motivate the film's structural unity and effectiveness.

The expression that the film is “ shot” is entirely false, and should disappear from the language. The film is not shot, but built, built up from the separate strips of celluloid that are its raw material.

Editing is the basic creative force, by power of which the soulless photographs (the separate shots) are engineered into living, cinematographic form.

This is the reason why the greatest artists, those technicians who feel the film most acutely, deepen their work with details.

Editing is the language of the film director. Just as in living speech, so, one may say, in editing: there is a word—the piece of exposed film, the image; a phrase—the combination of these pieces.

Only by means of a close collaboration can a correct and valuable result be attained.

Collectivism is indispensable in the film, but the collaborators must be blended with one another to an exceptionally close degree.

Film-art begins from the moment when the director begins to combine and join together the various pieces of film.

Letters to a Young Poet

In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn't matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn't force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!

Read as little as possible of literary criticism such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are clever word-games, in which one view wins today, and tomorrow the opposite view. Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentation, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened. Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.

On the First Audience

The first time watching footage is sacred. You never get back the first watch. And there is no greater position to hold in filmmaking (in my opinion) than that of the first audience.

It’s in the first watch the emotional cut begins to sequence. I take note of my emotions and reactions to moments I see unfolding on the screen. Then translate and heighten those moments, emotion and reactions to the audience. Simply put, provide the second audience with a first watch experience but consolidated, pointed and ideally more powerful than that of raw takes or moments.

Love and respect being the first audience. The second audience can tell if you do not.

And editor must identify, maintain and further a directors voice in editing. The directors unique fingerprints can be observed in the rhythm of a film. It is their filmic dialect. The voice of the director must be made clear in the editing not invented or discovered, but made clear. Polished. Revealed. So much so that a directors voice can be so dependent of the sensitive to that voice, by the editor, that the director will return to the editor do the life of their career. It is the sensitivity to the directors filmic dialect, and pushing forward and refinement of that dialect from one film to the next, that I believe a director feels the desire and sometime the need to maintain the same editor from picture to picture.