Norman: It's easy to take a look at the various scenes we've been looking at and say sure that applies to those clips, but what about mine? I've got a commercial, or a comedy, or a music video. Nothing like what you've shown, Norman. Well it's a good point, so let's start to examine various genres and forms, so we can see just how well everything we've learned so far. Holds up. Dessert Date is a short comedy scene in which Anil, an uncomfortable but happy 20-something, is on a first date with Dolly, a charming and friendly young woman.
When Dolly leaves the table for a minute, her place is taken by the confident Amelia. Who starts munching some of Dolly's dessert until it and her coffee are almost finished. So that's our log line. Now we have to find out where our lean forward moment is. To do that, we'll do what we always do. Look at the script and do an analysis of it. So that tells us that Anil is nervous, though very happy that things have been going well so far. The entire first section is told from Anil's point of view so is our log line. We want to follow Anil's arc here.
On the second page of the script we see Amilia enters. The script note that Anil is not quite sure what to do. Later on it indicates that he's getting more and more confused. Here it says he can not figure out what to say and here Anil has no answer. On page three the script details what happen when he can't take it any more. Anil cant stop her right before she leaves. Then it talks about the actions that he takes as he realizes that Dolly's going to be coming right back.
Finally, let's note the interaction between and Anil and Dolly after she returns with the dialog and the very long pause. Doing our usual analysis, we'll figure out that this is Anil's scene. Next, how does he start the scene? Well, he's a bit nervous, but happy. How does he end the scene? He's flustered, confused, upset. Even though this is a gradual change, we still want to find the lean forward moments. And they seem to happen right around the area before and after Amelia gets up and leaves.
Before she leaves, he's trying to get her to stop. After she leaves, he realizes that he's in big trouble, and he tries to clean up. So, let's take a look at an early cut of the scene and see how it was shaped to show those things and give us that lean forward moment. Oh, and let's add one more thing to to the mix. We need the scene to be funny. Dolly: Aw, maybe go to the beach. Anil: All right. Dolly: Horseback riding, maybe. Anil: Hey. Dolly: haven't really planned it out. Just going to see what goes up. Server: Ma'am.
Dolly: Oh, wow. Anil: It's all good. There you go. Server: Sir. Anil: My favorite. Dolly: Thank you. Server: Anything else? Anil: nope. Server: All right. Anil: That's good. Server: Enjoy. Anil: Thanks you. Dolly:Thanks. This looks amazing. Anil: Let's go. Let's dig in. Dolly: I'm going to excuse myself really quickly. Just one moment. I'll be right back. Anil: You all right? Dolly: wait for me. Anil: I will be waiting.
Female: I just wondered if I should get this, yeah. Anil: That's alright. Female: Yup, definitely, definitely want to get this. It's good. Oh my goodness. It's really good. Just one more bite. It's rasberry. What's the name of this on the menu? Definitely hate paying for things without knowing if you're going to like or not huh.
Mm. Okay, let's just see if this goes with coffee. And, this tops it off, this is so good. This last little, crumbs are really good, did you try the crust on it. I'm imagining this, with it, and I think it's going to be. Perfect. Mm-hm. Wash it down. Dig in it's really good.
Dolly: Sorry about that. I've been thinking about this. Anil: Hm. Norman: Notice how this scene is shaped. It starts in the wider or medium shots with Anil and Dolly, but it keeps focused on Anil. When Dolly leaves, we spend a long time on Anil. We've also kept his adlib line, I will be waiting, in the hopes that we'll get a laugh out of it. Or at least prepare us for a later laugh when he reacts to Amelia sitting down.
Note that the rule of threes applies in a comedy here. You set up the audience's expectations, then you confirm the expectations and then you thwart them. It is important then to let the audience think that Dolly is going to be returning to the table which happens right here on the shot on to Anil. Of course, we could have cut back to the wide shot showing Emilia walk in and sit. But, we'd like to hide that from the audience a bit longer. So, we play Emilia's entrance and the first part of her sitting on Anil's shot.
He won't notice, maybe we won't notice. There are two other areas that I'd like to highlight here. The first comes around the lean forward moment and the second comes at the very end. Let's look at the area where Amelia goes too far with the coffee and then gets up to leave. Note that we been keeping in Anil's meduim or meduim close up shots most of the time as he get more and more fustered. When she finally decides to take her last bite.
We drop back for the wide shot so we can see him trying to stop her. This also changes the size of the shot. And that's going to attract the audience a little bit more. If we wanted, we could also add more sounds of him rearranging the plates to increase the emotion that the scene analysis tells us that we need. His sense of being flustered. That could be funny. Now, let's look at the end of this scene. We spend a bit of time with his panic, which is very different than the way he started this scene.
And then we bring Dolly back in, and notice this is in a similar shot to the one we used for Amelia's entrance. This callback to the earlier shot is subtle and might not be noticed by the audience, but it's a very common device used by editors to introduce a concept early in a scene. And then twist it a little bit later in the scene. Notice one thing about the final beat here. You'll notice that something is very different here than in the script.
We've eliminated all of Anil's dialogue, cutting instead to a close-up shot of his sheepish, embarased, flustered grin. So we did that for the comedy. What was important in our scene analysis was that we show his change. I judge that all of his readings of his scripted lines were less funny than this grinning look. In later versions we would of course, smooth out the edits where Anil's emotions change from one side of the cut to another.
We'd also test what playing cheesy restaurant music would have for the comedy. But we now have a shape for the comedy of the scene. We would want to go in and see if we have left enough time to truly see the pain and the panic in Anil's face in the latter half of the scene, while he's struggling to figure out what to do with Amelia. Editing is as I've said, re-editing. And comedy is no different. In fact, in my experience, comedies require more edited versions than dramas, as you try and ring every possible laugh out of every possible cut.
But if you keep the rule of three's and the lean forward moments in mind. And if you make sure that you build to those moments, then you're going to have a much better comedy on your hands.
Start with an overview of concepts like the rule of threes, review a sampling of footage from films past and present, and then dive into script analysis. Find out when and when not to make cuts, how to collaborate with clients and directors during recutting, and how to ground the emotional backdrop for your piece with music and sound. Norman closes with a look at adapting to different genres and filmic styles.
- Exploring the history of video editing
- Controlling what the audience sees
- Identifying the logline
- Performing script and scene analysis
- Coming up with an editing plan
- Cutting from on-camera to off-camera action
- Understanding the value of recutting
- Shaping moments with music
- Working in a specific genre
- Mixing editing styles together