Interviews with Film Editors on Film Editing

Editors on Their Craft

Here is a quick round up of some recent interviews with incredibly successful film editors on what it takes to become an incredibly successful film editor. If you take away one thing from these interviews I think it should be that you just have to cut a lot to get where you want to be.

Oscar Winning Editor – William Goldenberg

Post Oscar success for Argo, William Goldenberg (who was actually nominated against himself for Zero Dark Thirty – for more on that film check out this previous post) gave this in-depth interview with Production Apprentice about what a film editor does when working on films like these. There’s a really decent amount of detail making it well worth a read.

Attitude is everything for me. I would say is that if you have a great attitude and can work a fourteen-hour days with a smile on your face and you can treat people well, that’s key.

I’ve seen editors that are incredibly talented fall on their face because they’re argumentative and they’re grumpy. You have to have the skills, but you also have to be a positive and hard working man or woman. It doesn’t happen without all those skills. You have to understand, as an editor, it’s the director’s movie and you’re trying to help them make the best movie. If you want to direct a movie, go ahead and direct a movie, but this is about helping this director make his or her best movie.

In this google hang-out interview from Gold Derby.com Goldenberg (ahead of his Oscar win) chats about the two differing films and their respective directors. Also if you’re in the US you can watch this other interview via AOTG, which I can’t see, so I hope its good!

Alan Edward Bell – Student Interview

What does an editor do

In this short interview posted on Alan’s blog, he answers some insightful questions emailed in from a student fan. If you’re at film school yourself or just interested in what it takes to become an editor then this is a great chance to get the run down of what day-to-day life looks like for a highly successful feature film editor.

My advise to you is to cut as much as possible. Decide what format, features, TV, commercials etc you want to be in as there is very little cross polinization between these areas in the business. I chose features and pretty much stick with it. Remember that the key to success is attitude and perseverance. Anyone who thinks they need to break into the business is going to fail. There is no wall needing to be broken down. Think of it as a mountain which you need to climb. One step in front of the other. Ask yourself how can I be more valuble to the people that want to hire me. As an editor some many things come first, the story, the director, the studio, the producers, then your needs come into play. It’s not what can they do for me but what can I do for the film.

Terry Rawlings in Conversation

This is a really entertaining ramble down memory lane with film editor Terry Rawlings. Rawlings first worked with Ridley Scott on Alien and then went on to cut Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire and Goldeneye to name just a few.

Editing For Story

Guy Ducker has brought together the insights of three editors in this blog post (part 1 of hopefully a few instalments) about how they approach the task of watching through dailies, constructing the story and basically making it all happen.

So, what are we looking for when watching the rushes? Chris gives a good summary: “you’re looking for something you can tell the story with”. Ewa comments “I don’t think about editing much when I first watch the rushes. Keeping the script in the back of my mind, I look for the strongest, most true performance, staying open to what grips me”. Chris says that he’s always looking for the performance that feels the most real. ‘Performance’ is the key word when talking about the editor’s principle of selection.

Andrew Weisblum film editor

And finally in this shorter article from Filmmaker Magazine Black Swan and Moonrise Kingdom editor Andrew Weisblum shares what it is like to work closely with the same few directors (Darren Aronofsky and Wes Anderson) on all their films in the last 6 years and some insights from some of their most successful films.

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