Method Editing: Cutting in Character

by Paddy Bird on
August 13, 2020

We’ve got a great episode for you this week. A question I get asked so often by many editors is "How do you watch a sequence dozens of times and still have the same enthusiasm and emotional distance from it to make it perfect?” This is a very difficult issue for so many editors and it certainly was for me in the early days of my career.

In this episode I talk through a trick that I picked up and adapted from my days spent studying method acting. This mental technique allowed me to conquer the very problem of watching something so many times over and not become burnt out by the footage. It’s a really interesting subject and I dive deep into the history and psychology around it in this week’s show.

Also, tune in to find out who won our special Eddie Hamilton competition which I announce at the end of the show!

Method Acting

In this week’s episode I talk about my attempt to become an actor in the mid 90’s before I caught the editing bug. I studied with Jack Waltzer, one of the legends of method acting who taught people like Dustin Hoffman and Sigourney Weaver.

Method acting was a system first developed by Konstantin Stanislavski, the Russian theatre practitioner, who used it as a way to get actors to experience the role so that all of the hundreds of body language behaviours that they broadcast to the audience looked genuine.

Diagram of Stanislavski's 'System'

This Week's Competition Question

This Week's Competition Question

All you have to do is email us your name, location and answer to this question...

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Tracks Featured in This Episode from Universal Production Music

Track 1: Voyage Spectacular

Time: 0.02
Composer: Rob Lane
Publisher: Abbey Road Masters
Album: Voyage Spectacular
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Track 2: Graceful Wings

Time: 23:03
Composer: Al Lethbridge
Publisher: Atmosphere Music Ltd
Album: Inspiring Worlds
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Track 3: Dawn Beauty

Time: 25:25
Composer: Laurent Dury
Publishers: Koka Media, Universal Publishing Production Music France
Album: Suspended Beauty
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Track 4: A Single Teardrop

Time: 25:48
Composer: Dave Hewson
Publisher: BBC Production Music
Album: Solo Piano - Sad And Nostalgic
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Track 5: Changing Water

Time: 26:09
Composers: Philippe Guez, Yoann Guez
Publisher: Kapagama
Album: Observational - Acoustic Beds
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Track 6: Spiders Have Secrets

Time: 33:13
Composer: Rob Lane
Publisher: Abbey Road Masters
Album: The Fantasy Orchestra
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Track 7: Kick Back Relax

Time: 37:33
Composer: Nathaniel Reeves
Publisher: Focus Music (Publishing) Ltd
Album: Lo-Fi Chill
View Track


Essential Picture Cutting Theory

Saturday, February 20, 3PM GMT

The way we design the shots on our timeline is a huge indicator of our skill level. Elite level editors obey a vast range of visual grammar and pacing principles when crafting any sequence. But film schools, online courses and training manuals focus on the software and none of these essential creative principles.

This month's live webinar will teach you everything you need to know about pro level shot cutting. You’ll learn: Shot Flow, Visual Grammar, Pictorial arcs, Tone and pacing, and Stylisation.

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