CHAPTER 1

Rhythmic Intuition

How does an editor make decisions about where and when to cut in order to make the rhythm of a film?

When asked, most editors will say something along the lines of “by intuition” or “you just know when it's right.” For example, in First Cut, Conversations with Film Editors by Gabriella Oldham, editors are quoted talking about rhythm and editing as “magic” (Sheldon Kahn), “feels right” (Carl Kress), “it's intuitive” (Bill Pankow), “it's intuition” (Paul Hirsch), “having a sense” (Donn Cambern), “you just know” (Sidney Levin), “exclusively in the realm of intuition” (Merle Worth), “an internal sense” (Richard Marks), and “we go by intuition” (Alan Heim).1 These are extremely estimable editors, and there is ...

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