Do more with less. (Walter Murch’s Book review)

If you are into filmmaking and haven’t read Walter Murch’s “In the Blink of an eye”, you are already missing a lot. It’s one thing to make mistakes yourselves and another to learn from others. Discreation of experienced people has always motivated me to learn from them. They have so much to give and I am a taker. This book is as old as me, published first in 1994 and the second edition came out in 2001 which also includes his thoughts on digital filmmaking. I started reading this book today and going through the first seven chapters was a treat. He basically talks about the need for discontinuity in films. I am sure there are some folks who like continuity in their films and I believed the same, until now. With his rule of six, it makes more sense as to why discontinuity is good. But, that all depends on the film and the story you want to show. Both works, depending on your story. I have personally felt the need to keep less with quality than to keep more with no quality. Walter too shares this. if we try to put too much on screen the emotion of the film gets deviated and the viewer doesn’t find himself immersed in the story emotionally. The secret to making a cut is to do more with less rather than, less with more. Then comes the rule of six, which is a priority based checklist based on Walter’s experience and his criteria for making cuts and when a list like this comes from someone who has won an Oscar for editing. You keep quiet, listen and marry it. Rule of six is,
  1. Emotion
  2. Story
  3. Rhythm
  4. Eye-trace
  5. 2D plane of screen
  6. 3D plane of screen
The list is prioritized top to bottom. With emotions, the most important of all and I agree. Then comes, why directors should not be editors or leave editors free to edit. Something which I certainly need is an editor and I know from my personal experience the dilemma of a director. Suppose, there was a scene that cost much and the director wants that scene in the movie but the scene is not good enough to be in the cut. The director would still find himself obligated to have it in the film and end up ruining it. Whereas the editor doesn’t know anything apart from what he sees on his screen and so it is easier for him to cut it. Till now the book is very knowledgeable and easy to understand. Come back tomorrow for a review on the next chapters and why not follow me on, it won’t hurt. hehe