Among the various concepts covered in editing, from my experience there is little question that some beginning media literacy students have enormous difficulties with what seems to be a very basic term: jump cut. To demonstrate an effective use of jump cuts, the piece I reference in Moving Images is the opening of the exceptional documentary Spellbound, in which a spelling bee champion wrestles with a word in a humorous, compelling jump-cut sequence that sets the stage for an enthralling, complex story of spelling bee competitors. However, I have found that even after seeing a number of examples, including that one, many students begin describing virtually any cut of any kind between two shots as a “jump cut.” So, what to do?
Well, in a short time, jump cuts have become the standard main course in the diet of the YouTuber generation. Just days ago, actress Maisie Williams (who has already been watched “growing up” as Arya Stark on Game of Thrones), opened a YouTube channel and quickly got the now-standard huge amounts of worldwide press and over a million views. And this, naturally, with a video made up of a single composition cut a bunch of times from what one would guess to be a few takes. It certainly could have been edited with iMovie, or even WeVideo: it is a single close shot with numerous jump cuts. So — are you looking for another simple lesson for the term “Jump Cut?” Here you go. As Fatboy Slim asked us, “Why try harder?” After all, just one shot in the bedroom confessing or preaching to the mirror has become chatting to millions through the looking glass — only cut it up for the best bits. Of course, make sure you have perfect skin — then it’s on to fame, adulation, and riches.