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The Healthy Edit by John Rosenberg

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Chapter 7

Genre Editing Styles II

The Comedy

One of the most challenging genres is comedy. Unlike other story forms, comedy requires frame-by-frame precision. A comedy editor is akin to a microsurgeon whose exactitude allows him to reattach severed nerve endings, repair vital organs, and avoid unsightly incisions. A horror editor acts more like a general surgeon, one who gets the job done but doesn’t mind leaving a few scars in his path. In fact, he may prefer it. The comedy editor’s work, and therefore the jokes of which he is the guardian, can live or die based on the timing of a couple frames.

Despite the demands placed on the editor by comedy’s need for precise timing, the genre offers guidance in a unique way. With thrillers or dramas it ...

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