According to Walter Murch, when it comes to film editing, there are six main criteria for evaluating a cut or deciding where to cut. They are (in order of importance, most important first):
- emotion — Does the cut reflect what the editor believes the audience should be feeling at that moment?
- story — Does the cut advance the story?
- rhythm — Does the cut occur "at a moment that is rhythmically interesting and 'right'"? (Murch, 18)
- eye-trace — Does the cut pay respect to "the location and movement of the audience's focus of interest within the frame"? (Murch, 18)
- two-dimensional place of the screen — Does the cut respect the 180 degree rule?
- three-dimensional space of action — Is the cut true to the physical/spacial relationships within the diegesis?