October 31, 1996

Robin called me today to tell me that the film consists of only 234 shots. I had thought that we had 300 shots, so this news warmed the cockles of my minimalist heart. (And my minimalist wallet as well--negative cutters charge by the cut. At the prevailing rates, I just saved $375-400.) A bit of context: classic Hollywood films were said to average about 600 shots a film. That figure probably decreased a bit with the advent of widescreen processes, but I would guess, without statistics to back me up, that modern American films are more cut-intensive than ever and are racking up a lot more than 600 shots on average.

If I may dwell on this subject, which gives me an infantile pleasure: Honeymoon, which is currently 95 minutes long, averages 24.4 seconds per shot. Here are similar statistics on some other films, taken from an article that Barry Salt wrote in the seventies.

My film has longer takes and less cutting than even the Preminger and Renoir films on the list, which surprises me. I guess that we modern types who were inspired by Preminger and Renoir throw a little extra artsy self-consciousness into the mix, which makes our films come out more Catholic than the Pope, so to speak.

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