Resources for Film Editors To Improve Your Craft

Resources For Film Editors To Improve Your Craft

Every editor is always a student of film. No matter how high you rise there will always be new things to learn, new problems to solve, new creative approaches to take. So if you’re an editor looking to improve your craft, how exactly do you do that?

Well, the following resources should hopefully have most aspects of the art, craft and technique of editing covered. First off is the Art Of The Guillotine’s brand new interactive magazine – The Assembly. A clean, informative and professional front end for the huge community compiled database that is the AOTG network – which now features over 45,000 submissions and growing daily.

The Assembly – Interactive Magazine for Film Editors

The Assembly AOTG Magazine

Thanks to AOTG founder and The Assembly Editor-in-Chief Gordon Burkell’s tireless efforts, there is a huge wealth of post-production related content amassing daily on But with so much great content available, the challenge of finding what you need, or being able to extend the depth of any given post by finding others like it, is now not really a problem at all.

Having been given a sneak peak at the magazine you definitely want to stop reading this and go sign up for it right now. Jump over to AOTG’s sign up page and then come back and keep reading! As it works on any iOS and Android device, everyone can carry it in their pocket.

It is seriously well written, with contributing writers – many of them working editors and post production professionals – delivering in-depth articles on a diverse range of topics such as the science of how an audience ‘computes’ an edit, the origin story of the hugely popular #postchat, to articles on metadata and the work of editing a critically acclaimed TV series.

film editing magazine the assemblyEach article in The Assembly not only features videos, websites, audio clips and more than you can access with one tap, but it also connects you to the best that the AOTG network has to offer. This connection is one of the best of the interactive features in The Assembly. Each article has a ‘Resources tab’ that takes you to a list of selected linked articles and information to help you go deeper into the focus of that particular article.

Lastly, one of my favourite things about The Assembly, which is a tiny detail that makes a massive difference, is that all the ‘extra’ resources that you access – be they videos, websites etc are opened within the app. This means when you’re done viewing that particular extra you can just hit ‘done’ and you’re right back in the app.

Learn How To Cut With EditStock Rushes

The main way to improve as an editor is to edit more. But if you’re just starting out, or trying to move into a new area of editing (say from corporates to commercials) one of the challenges is getting hold of quality rushes to practice on. Thanks to editor Misha Tenenbaum and that challenge is now no longer an excuse.


The idea behind EditStock is a simple but effective one: download the rushes from a variety of real world projects, edit them in any software you like, upload your cut and get feedback on your work. You’re then free to use your edit on your showreel and hopefully get hired on a paying gig.

download real world footage to practice editing

With a decent range of editing genres available (scripted comedy, drama, commercials and trailers) and an exceptionally affordable price of $14.99 per project there isn’t really a reason not to give it a go. You can even download a free sample project to get a feel for how it works.

Frame of Reference – Interviews With Editors

Frame of Reference - interviews with editorsEditor Twain Richardson’s Frame of Reference series – subtitled “Interviews with the best editors in the world” – is a a must read resource for any aspiring or developing editor. Featuring a vast archive of interviews with professional editors working all over the globe, it is a gold mine of editing wisdom.

Helpfully each interview features the same set of questions, which rather than becoming repetitive, only serves to increase the value of reading each new interview, because every editor answers the questions differently. It’s a great way to understand some of the essential principles behind becoming a successful editor, as well as the huge range of unique approaches to getting the job done.

Here are a few choice quotes to give you a feel for the calibre of editors/assistant editors and quality of material available in the collection.

Joe Walker12 Years A Slave (pictured above)Eventually, the film takes on its own rhythm and shape, and you begin to obey that instead.  As you can tell from Steve’s films, part of the game is trying to find ways not to cut.  It just hands you an enormous benefit when you do, cuts are as sharp as a Damascus sword.  I am often thinking of that during dailies – keeping up the momentum whilst getting around the scene simply.

Shane RossBroadcast TV Documentary editorOne big tip that helped is when a producer told me to get away from the desk and sit on the sofa…watch it from his perspective.  This happened when he said there was still something slightly wrong with the cut, the pacing wasn’t right. I didn’t see it. So he said “step back from the edit chair and sit back here. Watch it how I am watching it.” So I did. Sure enough, it worked. I saw what he was talking about.  When I was at the desk, I was “too close” to the material. When I was able to step back and watch the cut from a different perspective that I could see it the way an audience might.  It really helps.

John Lee (Assistant/Associate Editor) – Inception: The best tip I got was from my father-in law, Bob Jones, who used to cut for Hal Ashby and Warren Beatty amongst others. He said “Cut to what you want to see, when you want to see it.”

Cliona NolanEmmy winning Broadcast TV credits: Editing comes from the gut, it’s all about instinct and emotion, it might sound odd but I always have to feel out the rhythm of a programme and cut when my gut says to. With content I try to remember how I felt when I saw or heard something the very first time watching it, so if it felt strong the first time but not so much after seeing it over and over I always try to hold on to my original feeling on it.

Eddie HamiltonKick Ass 1 & 2If you get stuck on a scene just force yourself to go through it even though it is painful and then get pass it and then one of 2 things will happen, you either come in the next day and say hey thats not bad or you will look at it and you will be fairly clear on whats wrong and what you need to do. But you must have something so that you can start assessing whether you can turn left or turn right. If you just have a blank canvas there is nothing you can do. So my advise will be to just get through the scene, get to the end of it. 

Interviews with Editors

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