To do a montage, shot or work of art that talks one must:
1. Figure out what your message is.
2. Decide to communicate the message.
3. Put things or arrangements in that contribute to the message.
4. Take out or exclude things or arrangements which don't contribute to it.
It also helps to know what is meant by «message». (Def: Message — is a unit communication of a significance.)
It also helps to know the definition of «montage» which is — a series of shots with one message.
One should also know the definition of a shot and should understand that a short cut or glimpse of something is just a blip or some frames as opposed to a scene or a «picture» and there is really a missing word for this in the English language.
A scene is a picture with a message in its own right.
A shot is anything and it has no message in its own right and doesn't talk unless connected to other shots or scenes.
One should also know what is a sequence and what is an action sequence.
A sequence is a series of scenes related by location or general subject.
In films or a photo story it is comparable to a chapter in a book.
An action sequence is often fast cut to give the appearance of rapid movement and will never be a montage as each picture in it is a scene and therefore has its own message.
Individual shots in a montage have little meaning in themselves individually but when cut together deliver a single message.
By confusing an action sequence and a montage or a montage shot and a scene, one gets very little audience reaction and after all, that's the name of the game.
Doing things for self-satisfaction is for professors who can't.
All of this comes under the heading of integration. Integration consists of uniting the similar.
If you try to unite the totally dissimilar and unrelated you don't have integration and you don't have art. You have chaos.
The principle of integration applies to all editing and composition in all fields.
The above 1, 2, 3 and 4 is a formula that helps one to achieve clear aesthetic communication of art.