The Way of the Scissor People

How to Work with an Editor ☛ I wrote some time back encouraging directors to work with editors, rather than cutting their own material. My colleagues in the cutting room report that they are working with an increasing number of directors who are using an editor for the first time. Needless to say these first … Continue reading

Credits Where They’re Due

Editing tips # 2: Preparing a title sequence   Much has been written on the art of the title sequence, and I plan to cover it myself at some time, but first I thought it might be useful to provide a more practical guide to designing a title sequence. As the assistant editor on features, … Continue reading

Rule of Thumbnail

Screenwriting tip #1: How to Introduce Characters in your Script   For an unknown screenwriter it’s always a struggle getting a person of influence – an agent, a development executive, a producer  – to read your script. There’s a reason for this. When these readers do turn the title page bearing an unfamiliar name, all too … Continue reading

Jump Around!

Editing tip # 1: Jump cuts Regular readers may be wondering about the recent silence from the Cutting Room Floor: I can report that an exceptional run of work has stopped play. I’m working hard editing a feature film called We Still Kill the Old Way directed by my friend and colleague Sacha Bennett. In … Continue reading

Coming Soon, part II

How to make an industry trailer ☛ My last piece was about the trailers that show in cinemas, the ones the public gets to see. However, before a movie’s theatrical trailer or even its teaser has hit the big screen, there may have been a couple of promos already cut for that film. Indeed new … Continue reading

The Scissor Supremacy

What shot next? ☛ Last time I asked my panel of expert film editors how they decided where to cut. This time, in the last installment of this three-part interview, I’m asking them how they decide what should be the next shot. Assuming that the director has given us a choice of different camera angles, … Continue reading

The Art of Screen Dialogue

Working in layers ☛ A month or two back I wrote a piece about the nature of screen dialogue, focusing on naturalism and style; back then I suggested that there was more to say about the business of making your character talk. There is. Part of the challenge of writing really good dialogue lies in … Continue reading

Cast Away!

Some thoughts on audition technique ☛ Casting can make or kill your film. Get the wrong actors for the roles and your audience will be watching the lighting. Even if you get the right actors for each part, but they don’t gel with each other: the audience will start planning their weekend shop.  It’s vital … Continue reading

Screenwriters Anonymous pt.2: Sustainably Sourced Feedback

How to handle feedback ☛ Readers of my previous piece will have swallowed their pride and sought feedback on their screenplays from carefully selected readers, whom they have taken pains to approach with an attitude of open enquiry (you have done that, haven’t you?) But what happens next? Is it just a case of getting … Continue reading

Screenwriters Anonymous

Script feedback – how, when and why? ☛ I love screenwriting. It’s both the most important and the cheapest part of film-making, in some ways the most fun but definitely the hardest. To give you a sense of how hard, two of the worst scripts to have been filmed in the UK in recent times, … Continue reading

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