Advice for Editors from EditFest LA 2016
Edit Fest is a rare treat in the world of post-production, an entire day devoted to listening to and learning from, some of the best editors in the industry, past, present and future. EditFest happens a couple of times a year in Los Angeles and London thanks to the American Cinema Editors and a bevy of generous sponsors, this year including a presentation on editing in DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic Design.
EditFest LA delivered a quartet of panel discussions and interviews from a plethora of editors on a broad spectrum of topics, but the best part about EditFest is actually being there in person to get inspired and to meet other editors face-to-face.
Met a recent AFI grad at EditFest. He asked for career advice. I said don’t chase money, it traps you. Chase credits, the money will follow.
— Dan Wolfmeyer (@dwolfmeyer) August 8, 2016
That said, pearls of film editing craft wisdom pour forth at every turn and so in this post I’ve brought together the best tweets, articles and videos from the day, so you can catch up on everything we missed. Read this post and you’re guaranteed to learn something to help both your creative editing and your career aspirations!
I’ve previously been lucky enough to attend EditFest London a few times and you can check out those posts for even more film editing craft wisdom!
EditFest LA 2016 Wisdom
EditFest LA 2016 consisted of four sessions each lasting about 90 minutes:
Cutting it in Hollywood – How to break into editing in Hollywood and keep a career going, moderated by Mitchell Danton, ACE.
- John Axelrad, ACE – Crazy Heart, Rudderless, Something Borrowed
- Zene Baker, ACE – 50/50, Neighbors, This is the End
- Barbara Gerard – Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, Supergirl
- David Rogers, ACE – Entourage, The Office, The Mindy Project
Cult Film Favourites – Michael Krulik from Avid chats through the editing of some classic films.
- Mark Goldblatt, ACE – Terminator
- Mark Helfrich, ACE – Showgirls
- Tina Hirsch, ACE – Deathrace 2000
- Norman Hollyn – Heathers
- Jane Kurson, ACE – Beetlejuice
A Conversation with Michael Tronick ACE – Bobbie O’Steen takes you ‘Inside The Cutting Room’.
- Michael Tronick, ACE – Straight Outta Compton(co-editor), Scent of a Woman (co-editor), Hairspray
The Lean Forward Moment – Moderator Norman Hollyn discusses the editing of some specific scenes that inspired the panel.
- Jeff Ford, ACE – Avengers, Captain America
- Kim Roberts, ACE – The Hunting Ground, Waiting for Superman
- Kevin Tent, ACE – The Descendants, Nebraska
- Susan Vaill – Grandfathered, Grey’s Anatomy
Three of the people involved in EditFest LA 2016 have books on the craft of film editing which you can check out here. This is also where most of the session’s got their titles from!
To get started it’s first of all worth checking out Pro Video Coalition’s coverage, which will soon include videos of each session!
UPDATE – The first of the full video recording sessions are now online, as far as I know this is first for Edit Fest!
Tronick mentioned one of his favourite quotes was around how ‘just because someone is faking it, that doesn’t mean anyone else needs to know’. It’s a reassuring thought that even people at his level don’t come into a project with all of the answers, but being able to figure out those answers can be a combination of confidence, skill and experience, all of which can be acquired in a number of ways.
It’s interesting to note that Michael Tronick ACE’s credits include additional editor credits for Suicide Squad, Warcraft, Gone Baby Gone and Iron Man. One day it would be great to hear a few insights on what coming in on a film as an ‘additional editor’ really means!
In the Cult Favourites Film Panel one quote stood out to me, which demonstrates why you should always do your best work and always try to turn up every day with a positive attitude and enjoy any editing experience for what it is. You never know going into it whether it will be a huge success (or not) and you also never know if the next job might end up being less (or more) fun.
As they talked through that involvement, one thing that kept coming up was that none of them ever envisioned they were working on a cult classic when they took the job. For most of them it was just another gig.
Avid’s blog also has a nice write up on the Cult Film favourite’s panel here, featuring tweets and quotes from attendees. The Hollywood Reporter also has a short but well written article about the panel with some further insights from editor Mark Goldblatt on editing Terminator.
You could tell on the page it was going to be terrific,” he said of when he first reviewed the script, adding that he landed the job because “I was available for a limited budget.”
— Liam ? (@EditorLiam) August 7, 2016
If you prefer to digest your film craft knowledge in bite size pieces then this excellent ‘Storify’ timeline from @EditorLiam is the thing for you. There are probably close to a hundred tweets packed with great quotes and images to enjoy in this post. I’ve pulled out a few of my favourites below.
— Jack Curtis Dubowsky (@JackCDubowsky) August 6, 2016
— Jess Bedford (@JessBedford) August 6, 2016
— Monica Daniel (@Monica_Edits) August 6, 2016
— Avid (@Avid) August 6, 2016
Danton:When showing scenes my Assists cut if it gets a bad reception "I Cut That" but if its well received they get all the credit #EditFest
— 3rdPass Media (@3rdPassMedia) August 6, 2016
Danton: I want my AEs to move up… A bad edit doesnt hurt us already in the chair, but an Assists good edit can lead to that Leap #EditFest
— 3rdPass Media (@3rdPassMedia) August 6, 2016
EditFest LA 2016 Videos
Aside from the full panel videos that Pro Video Coalition are soon to be posting, Digimedia Pros were also on site to record a dozen or so short videos. Michael Tronick ACE, (additional editor on Suicide Squad) talks about the challenge of cutting down long films to a length everyone is happy with, and shares a few tips too.
Assistant Editor Nancy Brindley Bhagia shares her advice on being an AE on features and how she landed a gig thanks to networking at an EditFest event!
Check out the full playlist from Digimedia Pros for a total of 12 videos from Edit Fest LA 2016 editors on subjects such as cutting reality TV and documentaries, commercials and music videos and more!