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Arts & Entertainment

Editing: Part 2

Ron Howard

Lesson time 09:39 min

Early cuts can break your heart, but Ron knows that editing also offers a thrilling chance to uncover your story again and see your film in a new and improved way.

Ron Howard
Teaches Directing
Ron Howard teaches directing, editing, and storytelling in his exclusive video lessons.


I can't emphasize enough how valuable it is to show your project to audiences who don't know anything about it. They don't all have to be test audiences in a multiplex with preview cards to fill out and questionnaires, although I believe in that process. But just as valuable is that screening with 10 friends, if they're willing to really talk to you, who have not seen the project before. And you run it start to finish. You don't stop. And afterwards, you make yourself vulnerable. Tell me about my movie. What did you get out of it? Sometimes you have to read between the lines because of course they're going to be polite and kind to you. So don't be too fooled by that. Anything other than a rave means that they have a little hint of criticism under there. But what you need to begin to understand is what is this story communicating? Really, how are people feeling about it? I know how they were supposed to feel. Well, where is that consistent? Where is that being achieved? Where is it different? If it's different, is it better or not as good as I'd hoped it would be? Or is it some other idea altogether? Audiences receive these images and sounds in ways that are often very surprising. Sometimes somebody will say something, some piece of exposition pretty much flat out. And it's clear. It's there. But for some reason, the audience isn't even hearing it. So that creates a moment of confusion. If that's happening, you have to understand it and find another way to say it again and/or clear out the sound and make sure people get it. And you want to get to a very-- you want to go kind of macro and micro on your analysis of your project during the post-production period and be creative about the solutions, because sometimes the concerns that an audience has really provokes you to look at the scene once and for all in a very original way. And it sometimes suggests that you edit it and approach it in a way that is better than you ever would have dreamed of, and more interesting, and a more surprising approach, less conventional. And often, the most unconventional ideas come out of a need to try to eliminate some problem, get it out of the movie, or reinforce some idea or some feeling that isn't quite being conveyed. [MUSIC PLAYING] Editing is a very personal thing on the one hand, but it's also a period where some objectivity from outsiders can really benefit you. So there's kind of an intersection here between feedback that you're getting, not only from the editors but the people who are watching what it is you've put together and giving you some information, some reaction. It's vitally important that you continue to understand the themes, the ideas, the story that you're trying to tell, the thing that you believed in from the beginning, and yet not cling to it. What you want to begin to discover is, well, what else it either succee...

About the Instructor

Ron Howard made his first film in 15 days with $300,000. Today, his movies have grossed over $1.8 billion. In his first-ever online directing class, the Oscar-winning director of Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind decodes his craft like never before. In lessons and on-set workshops, you’ll learn how to evaluate ideas, work with actors, block scenes, and bring your vision to the screen whether it’s a laptop or an IMAX theater.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Fascinating! Very insightful, practical, inspiring and of course informative. Thank you, Ron!

Great teacher, very down to earth but also knowledgable in explaining the process of filmmaking. Recommend it to any filmmaker, starting or experienced.

I have directed 4 low budget independent projects. As Ron said at the end, his class has given me an additional confidence as a director. All the nuts and bolts of making a film are laid out in order and told in such a relaxed but informative way that I would highly recommend this to all film makers, writers and actors.

Loved how Ron shows us exactly how to work with actors and demonstrates the staging process, capturing a ton of coverage and the one take shot



Quick update you should now be able to access the full class - so sorry for that inconvenience!

Simon F.

This has been excellent and a reminder that all directors are completely different in the ways they work. I would also suggest this could be made even better if there were a handful of concrete examples e.g. when Ron referred to the red-edit and new dialogue required to fine tune a scene from Apollo 13 it would have been great to see the clip. Same goes for the Frost Nixon scene recreated so well in the staging segments. Then of course there may well have been rights issues there. But all-in-all a joy and a pleasure to watch.

Audrey O.

Very interesting but I agree with the comments that some concrete examples from the movies would help a lot.

Mal D.

As interesting as the talk is it is sorely missing examples to back up what RH is talking about. Select scenes that he deconstructs and why he decided to change one cut to the next. That, I feel would be more beneficial. Right now its all surface.

Andy G.

I would say listen to a movie without watching it as well - gives you a sense of dialogue timing as well as sound elements that tell the story audibly. I find myself pacing the visual edit to the pacing of dialogue and sound design more often than not. I also agree that showing examples of what he is talking about would really help these Masterclasses. I think these lessons are good, and doing that would make them great.

Steve A.

I love the dialog, but I also wish that there was more than just talking in these videos. "Show, don't tell" as they say. A few examples would add a lot to this, bringing us through some actual editing projects on the computer and cutting together video sequences that portray very different meanings.

Graeme R.

It's so good to have a highly accomplished director tell you how the process really works, and calibrate your expectations.


My nephew went to South Africa to shoot a film. He thought the filming was the hard part until he started editing.

Matthew H.

Editing is definitely a key part to making a movie. It's where you turn your dreams into magic.

Ellak E.

Great. Though you cannot test the world by testing it with a small amount of people. I was in acting school and circus and the audience gave great applause in the show but when the teachers used to watch the performances they always gave poor feedback. I saw myself recorded and I think that my performance was astonishing. So everyone looks as beautiful as each one is and as suitable the informations are given for each type of personality. Opinions, by the way, are swept by the wind, sometimes materials remain in the showing business and are more successful with time as the world gets ready for their content. I just must say that if one becomes a great quality being our arts become too. EK