Art of the Cut To Technique

From: Jack Remick]
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 4:30 PM
To: Vladimir
Subject: cut to


Look at cut to as a technique you use to get control of a story.
It’s not an end point. It’s a passing technique that, when you use it fast, gives you the story you have built in your unconscious/archetypal brain.
Ordering the cut tos  is a left-brain/mathematical exercise.
The technique is useful when you’re trying to find the sequence of scenes in a story.
Because you rely so much on your analytical brain, you don’t trust or are uncomfortable with the intuitive side.
Cut to is intuitive, platonic in a sense. It is not cartesian.
Good work today, even if you don’t believe it. You don’t believe it, do you?
See you Tuesday?

—– Original Message —–

From: Vladimir
To: ‘Jack Remick’
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 9:13 AM
Subject: RE: cut to
Hi Jack,
Yes, I am not comfortable with “cut to” technique because I assume that repeating this exercise several times will give different answers.
And what good is an answer if it is always different?
The usage of cut to technique does not fit my “analytical brain”.
At the same time I know I have an issue with overweighting the analytical side.
And I am willing to work to overcome that.
I’ll use the cut to sequence from yesterday to construct the new draft. I may or may not have the new draft ready by Tuesday, but I’ll come to Louisa’s anyway.

Good working with you, Vlado

From: Jack Remick
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 10:08 AM
To: Vladimir
Subject: Re: cut to

Art isn’t math. There is no equation that will produce art. There are only processes and techniques. Compare a Bach fugue, any of them, to a Max Reger fugue and you’ll see what I mean. Reger tried to turn the counterpoint into a precise machine that would crank out full-blown fugues but all he turned out were mechanical reproductions that are terrible, dull, uninteresting and while containing  volumes of notes contain no music.
In art, you don’t get a unique answer. That’s why painters overpaint, that’s why poets rewrite, that’s why screenplays go through dozens of iterations, and that’s why translations are never finished but only abandoned. Techniques give you ways to approach a final draft, they are not an equation.
I’ve said it many times before–art, writing arts especially, are platonic in nature in that they deal with shadows and implications. There is no hard science here. to wit: Reger.
If, however, you take your own advice and repeat this exercise a few times, you will get more flexible in your thinking, you will stretch your emotional base and you will have a way to get deeper into both form and content and that will allow you to feel more comfortable as you muck around in the unknown and sometimes the unknowable–which is always there pecking at your intellect. Here’s a note about Brahms:
Only a man well versed in baroque counterpoint could have written the propulsive, heroic fugue that concludes the Handel Variations, and only so strong an individualist as Brahms could at the same time have kept it from being a mere copy of an old formula…
Two items of interest there: Well versed in baroque counterpoint and kept it from being a mere copy of an old formula.
Well versed means he studied, worked, dove into the form to find out what makes it what it is, and old formula means he didn’t get mechanical but brought to it a huge invention. And sure enough, here’s what Brahms says:
“When a new Handel edition come out and is sent to me, I put it in my library and say, ‘As soon as I have time I will look it over.’ But when a new Bach edition appears, I let everything else go.”
Understanding form allows you to grasp the deeper aspects of the art. If art is superficial, it is worthless and perhaps not even art–what is art? The French like to think of it in part as the ineffable. There’s not enough time to spend it in superficial pursuits.
Keep writing. Discipline is your obligation to the gift.

From: Vladimir
To: ‘Jack Remick’
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 11:05 AM

Got it. Thanks. Vlado