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Knowing When to Blink: The Philosophy of Editing Our Lives

May 5, 2013, 10:00 AM

The book I would recommend above anything else is a beautiful little set of essays about editing called In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch. He’s an amazing film editor.  He edited Apocalypse Now, a couple of the Godfather movies.  

He’s also a great thinker about editing and in a sense, a philosopher of editing.  The whole book for him began out of this observation that he was cutting the movie
The Conversation and he noticed that, as he was cutting this scene that Gene Hackman was in, he was just kind of going by feel and he was cutting wherever it felt right to cut. But he noticed every time he would make a cut it would be on the blink.  Gene Hackman would be right in the process of blinking, like those two frames where his eyes were shut, that's where he would cut.  

And he sort of stood back from that and said, now, why am I always cutting on the blink?  What are blinks?  What do blinks do?  And it sort of leads to this amazing set of observations about rhythm and timing and about chaptering and how we break our day, how we’re constantly editing our day with blinking.  It’s just amazing.  He’s a great thinker.

This What to Read recommendation was recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 


Knowing When to Blink: The ...

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