The scene below offers another example of how parallel editing can be an effective storytelling tool. It’s a re-creation from a documentary about writer Rod Serling. In the scene, young Serling tries to  sneak up on a neighbor and scare her by jumping out with a monster mask on.


The best way to tell this story is through parallel editing. That is, we see alternating shots of the two scenes. This raises the expectation that they are happening at the same time (hence “parallel” action) and will converge. It’s more tense and exciting than if we saw only one side of the scene.

Note how the shots are interwoven to imply the 2 scenes are happening at the same time.

-Shot 1: establishes setting

-Shot 2,3,4 woman (at radio)

-Shot 5: prankster (on deck)

-Shot 6: woman (breaks egg)

-Shot 7: prankster (feet on deck)

-Shot 8,9 woman (at window)

-Shot 10: prankster (w/mask)

-Shot 11,12,13 woman (towel/fan)

-Shot 14,15 prankster (enters)

+Shot 16+ they converge.

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