The great thing about being out and about in a multicultural city is that you have plenty of options to practice editing. Unlike my parents and many of my friends, I only understand (almost) one language. There is a silver lining to this cloud. When people around me speak any language but English, I don’t understand what they are saying.

When people are having conversations in languages I don’t understand, I can practice my editing. I do this by looking at each person in turn, choosing when to look from one to the other based on where I would edit. As I do not understand what they are talking about, I use the body language and eye-trace of the people involved. It works fine when two people are face to face on a train. It works better when three are sat a little further apart.

A great deal of editing dialogue is making the edits invisible by showing the audience exactly what they want to see when they want to see it. If you cut to someone thinking about what is being said at the moment the audience wants to know what they are thinking, they will not see the edit. They will take the time to absorb how the person not speaking is reacting.

It turns out that most of the cues we use to help us follow the emotional component of the conversation aren’t verbal.

That is why editing without listening (or even understanding) the dialogue can be very helpful. So get out into the multicultural world. If you have the handicap of being a polyglot, put on your headphones, crank up the stereo, ignore the words being said.

Keep practicing.


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