There have been a number of famous ‘cuts’ in the history of film, the bone toss in 2001, the burning match to a sunrise in LAWRENCE are two obvious ones.
Larry Bridges made a ‘famous’ cut for me.
I shot a commercial for Nike called MEN AT WORK and the central figure was Moses Malone, who had a regal bearing. He looked like an ancient Moorish King. This was the first time I worked with Bridges and the only real note I gave him before his first cut was to make a profile shot of Moses work. It really had no real place in the storytelling but I loved the shot. Larry made it work as a matching jump cut to Moses in action. Breathtaking (for me). Larry also did work that opened my eyes by using camera mistakes in the editing. I didn’t ‘stage’ action but just let the guys play so everything would be authentic. I used my old documentary techniques of groping for the shots and focusing by hand (rather than using the camera assistant) and Larry used these for editing moments and it was exhilarating. It opened my eyes to a new way of working.
When I began formal filming, I always cut in the camera. As soon as the take was over I stopped filming. I always felt that there should be no distractions when screening dailies. I always tried to film in sequence and I always used electronic slating so there were no visual slates. Larry’s editing style completely shattered my way of seeing. Clients, with their normal paranoia, look for problems. When I shot, I always printed everything since there might be a moment, even in a bad take, that was useful. I always admired Adrian Lyne’s work for its boldness and I heard that he once stopped a screening when a client commented adversely on a shot, saying that the client wasn’t capable of watching dailies.
Anyway, Larry Bridges allowed me to put mistakes in my work because I trusted him to make them into his art.