Chapter 29 of 32 from Ron Howard

Editing: Part 2


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.

Topics include: Show the Edit to an Audience • Uncover the Story Again • Watch Other Films With the Sound Off • The First Cut Will Break Your Heart • Find the Thrill in the Discovery

Ron Howard

Ron Howard Teaches Directing

Ron Howard teaches directing, editing, and storytelling in 32 exclusive video lessons.

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Class Info


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...

Direct your story

Ron Howard made his first film in 22 days with $602,000. Today, his movies have grossed over $1.8 billion. In his first-ever online class, the Oscar-winning director of Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind decodes the craft of directing 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.

Watch, listen, and learn as Ron Howard breaks down directing in his first-ever online class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Ron will also answer select student questions.


Ron Howard

Ron Howard Teaches Directing