This is hard to describe without images as examples, but here's an attempt...
You need to understand what you want your image to convey, and then eliminate the superfluous.
In documentary photography or cinematography, after years of practice this all might happen instinctively in a moment, but it's helpful to think about your intention while you're photographing.
Say, you have a boat (or boats) on a river. If you're trying to convey pastoral tranquility, it would be appropriate to use a wide shot, with the boat tiny in the frame and with a lot of surrounding countryside.
If you want to convey the feeling that there's lots of traffic on the river, you'd frame a group of boats tighter, without much space around them, but you might still show the whole boats.
(If you have a really wide shot with the entire river filled with traffic, of course, then that's an extremely busy river, and the wide shot helps make that point).
If you were doing a whole sequence on boats, you might have an intermediate shot, say taken from the bow, of the boatsman standing or sitting in the boat. To keep context, you'd show part of the boat as well as the boatsman, so the shot would be full with some but not a huge amount of space around the person. As the sequence gets more energetic or more specific, you would tend to go in tighter.
For punctuation or energy or transition, you might show the bow of a boat cutting through the water, or a close shot of a paddle dipping in or out. For some sequences, the energetic shot of the bow or the paddle might work as the introductory shot.
If the boat were at a wharf or near shore and the subject were the boatsman handing off some cargo, a very wide shot probably would be inappropriate, as you wouldn't really see what the person was doing. You'd want a medium shot at least... or a tighter shot panning with what's being handed off to the person receiving it... or a static tight shot that cuts to a reverse tight shot of the other person receiving the goods.
There are a million different ways to handle framing and shot composition, and what you do within a sequence would affect this.
Beware of slow pans. If you're going to pan on static subjects, get a solid tripod with a good fluid head. They're expensive. Make sure a pan has a purpose, with a beginning and end point. On pans with moving subjects, try to hold composition.
Though zooms can be used to great effect, particularly in combination with pans, I'd recommend to a beginner, or to anyone using a camera without an extremely good zoom control to keep your finger off the zoom button.
In editing a sequence, you also should pay attention to what you're trying to convey and, again, eliminate the superfluous.
In general, wider shots (which have a lot of information and therefore take time to see) are cut slower than tight shots, which are simpler to assimilate. I too would be wary of a lot of quick cuts. I tend to use quick cuts only as punctuation or at the climaxes of sequences. An entire sequence of quick cuts, I feel, is not exciting, because it lacks pace and contrast.
Rules of course can be broken if you understand what's behind them.
Editing is key. The interweaving of music, sound, and narration with edited images is an art in itself.