ONE SHOT AT A TIME
I came across an article on Twitter recently that discussed the myth of the modern editor. In it, the author describes the modern editor as a “self taught, do it yourself, do it all, one stop shop”
It goes on to discuss how that could impact the final cut if you are constantly focused on other things.
One statement in particular kind of hit home a bit.
“Sometimes they jump right to making the cool lower thirds for the edit rather than spending their enthusiasm for the edit on watching the footage they have. If you don’t do this part of the job, you shouldn’t consider yourself an editor.”
At work, I’m an editor. I start my shift and think of nothing except editing for our nightly shows. However, when it comes to 17 West Productions, I do tend to take on multiple roles throughout the post production process. I’m an editor, a colorist, a sound editor (I try at least) and I’m addicted to Photoshop and After Effects. Truthfully, it’s pretty fun to design graphics for various projects I work on but at the end of the day, you have nothing if the edit isn’t perfect.
Do I fit this definition of the modern editor?
Currently, I’m editing a short film we shot last spring and I’ve basically been picking at it here and there. Lately, I’ve been working on the edit more and I’ve found myself ignoring everything except cutting in order to create something worth while. I realized reading that post that I was spending a lot of time wondering about the final mix and the type of fonts I’ll use in the credits. In that sense, the article is right. If you’re an editor, you need to focus on every single shot, cut and transition. You should be thinking about nothing else except the best possible way to convey the story you are trying to tell.
So while I’m definitely looking forward to ‘packaging’ my new movie, I still need to craft a good movie first!
Another Take on The Modern Editor
On the other hand, I also think that the modern editor SHOULD have experience in more aspects of the post production process. At the end of the day, if you’re an editor, then you need focus, evolve and be the best editor you can be.
Still, these days, there are people out there who are multi talented and can easily take on more than one job. When it comes to independent filmmakers, it’s almost a necessity in order to save money. The more jobs you can do (and do well) on your own, the less people you need to hire on to finish your movie.
Also, resumes tend to look a lot better if you’re an editor with experience in other areas. You may not have to build graphics or produce music but if you have a greater understanding of the work needed, it helps inform your decisions as an editor. I suppose the trick is finding a balance and being able to separate yourself from those ‘other’ jobs in order to think of editing and nothing else.
Regardless, editing is editing and you have to stay focused. I’m guilty of losing focus. A computer with Final Cut Studio and Photoshop is an incredibly powerful and addictive tool with limitless possibilities. Learning new software packages is part of the fun in today’s easily accessible post production world.
I love my job and my movies. Editing is such a fantastic way to be creative and truly fine tune something you can be proud of… But graphics are fun too.