Jordan wrote a guide to editing short films for MovieScope magazine last July. Here are some of the main points from that article.
- Short film editing boils down to a deceptively simple discipline: tell me a good story efficiently.
- While feature films allow one to explore complicated thematic issues and and character, the strong short film is about articulating one clear idea.
- Concentrate on two key questions: 1. What is the idea driving it? If more than one comes to mind, eliminate the weakest ones.
- Much dialogue is completely unnecessary for narrative purposes. It's a character-building tool, and it is easy to get carried away.
- Make actors look their best even if the script didn't give them anything to do.
- Editing a short film is NOT about following the script beat-by-beat.
- I can only edit the material in front of me, so I must be ready to make radical and bold decisions that draw out the best in the material and challenge my initial expectations.
- I prefer to edit scenes in a way which conveys important story material but does not resolve cleanly.
- Interest is generated when one can build tension and conflict in a scene and then flee from it to the next, while making it seem somewhat resolved.
- I've discovered that continuity and match action editing are grossly overrated.
- Make them wish the film were longer, not the other way around.
2. Ask whether the film as a whole can function without a scene, a line?
Every minute, second and frame is precious in a short. Make each one count.
Here's a short film, called Knuckleball, made by Jordan Kerfeld about a year ago.
First posted: 8 August 2012