Jeremy Bowtell on Editing in Media

In our Media 1 class yesterday, we began with a presentation from guest speaker Jeremy Bowtell on editing; specifically, in film. For me, editing a film is the best part of filmmaking. I find it a meditative experience, requiring patience as I go back and forth trying to find the right place to cut. What I found interesting in Bowtell’s presentation was this trifecta that contributes to editing in film: Rhythm, Emotion and Story.

Rhythm refers to the technical aspect of editing; does the cut fit into the sequence in a way that fits with or challenges the rhythm of the score or soundtrack, or has a jarring or subtle effect on the audience?

Emotion refers to whether the style and Rhythm of editing evokes a feeling within the audience. For instance, in the gore-filled ‘torture-porn’ horror, Saw, the style of editing in the flashback of Amanda Young instils anxiety, fear and apprehension in the audience through its face-paced, erratic and frenetic style of cuts.

Story is how narrative within a film progresses based on editing. Bowtell provided us with a quote by Edward Dmytryk: ‘Never make a cut without a positive reason.’ This can be referred back to how Story and Editing are intertwined, as Dmytryk is saying that a cut made through editing should be done to allow the narrative to progress in a relevant and efficient manner.

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