In this class, I will analyze some of my favorite moments from films that delve deeply into the body and the psyche with their unique editing with films such as The Landlord, All That Jazz, Ali: Fear Eats The Soul, An Unmarried Woman, Merry Xmas Mr Lawrence and others—and will explore how the sequences might have looked on the page versus how the director and editor interpreted and executed it for the screen.
I will also illustrate how I create a sequence for my own show Pier Valentino’s: Show Without End!, where I largely improvise around an idea or notes, and then create the narrative in the post production editing process.
In many films, what we see on screen is nowhere near what was on the page. Some films are "written" almost entirely in the editing process. Even if you’re a screenwriter who doesn’t intend to direct their own films, it’s important to understand the role that film editing plays, and to learn how to better consider and utilize its potential for creating more nuanced, intuitive, and complex storytelling when you sit down to write your stories for the screen.
Editing is as much part of the writing process as creating the screenplay itself, and in truth, it's the part that I most enjoy, the part that feels the most like writing poetry. It’s where the conscious meets the unconscious in a liminal space where things hidden by trauma and neglect can be accessed, interpreted, and assembled safely into the folds of the story. The work of putting words to the page meets the discoveries and compromises made during the shoot—and an unpredictable alchemy transpires. A necessary mutation occurs.