Home > JoeRants, Movies > Editing for continuity – who cares? (part 3)

Editing for continuity – who cares? (part 3)

December 10, 2011

So for those who still need to be convinced that continuity doesn’t matter, here’s a great video:

Richard Wiseman does a number of great psychological experiments that lead into interesting ways to think about film. Another good example:

You probably saw the gorilla because you’re in on the game, now. But I promise you, lots and lots of people don’t.

The interesting part to me is that both examples give the audience an activity. In the first, you’re watching a magic trick, in the second, you’re supposed to count the passes. And that activity keeps you from noticing the huge odd events transpiring.

That’s what story does, if you’re engaging your viewers. It keeps them from looking at those continuity details, because we’re involved in the reality that’s unfolding in front of us. It’s when that reality isn’t holding our attention that we start watching “the margins” for continuity errors. Again, if continuity is your problem, then you have a bigger problem then continuity errors. The problem is that people are bored with your film and aren’t looking where they should be.

On a side note, these two examples are examples of cognitive film theory, a movement that’s been led by Dr. Joe Anderson, who I had the pleasure of working with at UCA (and lunch with yesterday), and taught me that film theory doesn’t have to be useless. It can actually study how people experience films and help filmmakers understand their audiences. Film theory that actually does something for filmmakers, and not just give jobs to people who want to watch films for a living – awesome! Cause I’d love for someone to explain to me how understanding the use of symbolism in any film helps me to make a better film. Sure, it’s cool to figure out, but how’s it get butts in seats for my movies?

Check out David Bordwell’s blog for more info about cognitive film theory (and just a good blog in general!). Or look up Joe’s books on Amazon here and here.

And sorry, there will be a part four, where I talk about why I think continuity matters so much to (amateur/student) filmmakers. I wanted to get to it this time, but I got caught in a tangent.

And I think I’m gonna have to go to an every-other-day posting format. I might put up interesting links and things as I come across them, but I need to focus over Christmas on some pre-production, so original content will need to get scaled back just a bit. I’m sure my 17 regular followers will be crushed, but I’m also pretty sure I see you all at least once a week, so you can tell me how upset you are in person. :)

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