Probably one of the most familiar words heard in filmmaking is when a director calls action. But is this really the right word to use and is it even appropriate? In the chapter Natural Takes the point is made that actors should never give the appearance of waiting for action to be called. The suggestion is offered that filmmakers should allow their actors time to warm up and get into the moment. Along this same line, another idea is to consider not calling action at all and simply saying, "Whenever you're ready" or "Ready." This seems to be more relaxed, conveys more naturalness, and give actors permission to get themselves into the scene. We think this is an idea worth considering. We are aware that traditions die hard and that the word action is deeply ingrained in everyone's collective unconscious, but we shouldn't let tradition stand in the way of progress. 

A recent study showed that overlapping edits can produce some of the smoothest transitions possible. Overlapping does not mean placing footage over footage as in a dissolve. It means repeating a small part of the last action seen in a prior shot at the beginning of the next shot. In this sense, the action is seen again from a different angle but only for a split second, which is 2-3 frames or more precisely, about 1/10th of a second. The original research study can be found here.

The Art of the Cut is set for publication on September 1st, 2015.