Chapter 7

This chapter is about shaping emotional exchanges onscreen and emotional responses of audiences. It is about the timing, pacing, and trajectory phrasing of movement of emotions. Practically speaking, this means letting the edit be guided by the performance. “Performance guides the cutting” is something editors say a lot, and it is a good starting place for looking at the principles of crafting emotional rhythms.

In In the Blink of an Eye Walter Murch writes about being guided by one particular movement in performances: the blink. He says an editor can look at when the actor blinks to see the rise and fall of the character’s emotional dynamic:

our rates and rhythms of blinking refer directly to the rhythm and sequence ...

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