There's A Mummy in the Edit Suite

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has wrapped principal photography and after a break for the holidays, Director Rob Cohen is back in the editing suite piecing together his 30th film.

On his blog, Cohen explains the philosophy of assembling the million feet of celluloid into something that he hopes will win over audiences in a little under 7 months:

Editing is rhythm, modulating the storytelling at the proper pace like a conductor setting the time signature for the orchestra. There are passages of your story you have to slow down for nuance, performance, and information. There are times when the narrative must have more attack. Scenes need to breathe—but not too much or the movie might drag, seem too long, too obvious. It is so much like music, dependent on rhythm, and storytelling melody.

There are thousands of cuts in a film and each cut represents a thousand considerations: go to Brendan who is speaking the line or to Maria who is reacting to it? Show the full scope of the set or build up a unique location in pieces? Actors are the main driving force of the edit and performance is the highest value. A film might move along so fast that the humanity is lost; it might be wallowing in humanity and the narrative excitement is lost. It depends on the nature of film and the inner voice of the film and how well a director and his/her editors respond to the urgings that actually come from inside the movie itself.

Cohen shares some amazing insight into filmmaking on his blog and while its quite easy for me to make fun of the project (come on, its the third mummy film!), you have to hand it to the guy for being so candid about his work. I mean, here he is explaining every subtle detail of the editing process; analyzing the psychology of a shot and scrutinizing every possibility for something that will most-likely be lost on the millions of people that are going to see it only because its the latest thing out or simply the fact that it has Brendan Frasier in it.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens August 1st, 2008

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