Film School: 5 Problems In Student Films

Mistaking your own experience for cinema, and other pitfalls.

Sven (aka This Guy Edits) is an editor, and an educator with a focus on beginners. In his video Top 5 Most Common Problems with Student Films, he speaks to editor and educator Dr. Karen Pearlman, who identifies 5 key opportunities in “The Science of Editing”:

  1. Asking (and Answering) “What is this film about?” – spoiler: it’s not about the plot. “If you don’t know what your theme is, then you don’t know what your perspective is on it.”
  2. Repeated Emotional Beats – each beat should tell the audience something new, “the milestones of that emotional journey”. Nuance allows the audience to “change with” the unfolding of the story.
  3. Dialogue as Exposition – “work with actors’ actions more”; or, as the adage goes, “show, don’t tell”
  4. Casting and Performance – rather than trying to elicit a specific mood, find ways for “the actor’s body [to be] fully invested”
  5. Cinematic Empathy – the story should contain its own “emotional dynamics” and “rhythmic shape” – and it often helps when the editor isn’t the writer-director

One of Dr Pearlman’s techniques: a timed read-through of the script. It can help reveal or establish a “flow” – scenes should contract and expand in order to say just what they need to say. The flow should evolve from “Stagnant”…

… to “Dynamic”:

More editing school goodness at This Guy Edits YouTube channel.

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