When is a Movie not a Movie?

The Spielberg Supremacy   Last week Steven Spielberg called for a tightening of the rules of the American Academy, which awards the Oscars, to prevent films like Roma, which is backed by Netflix, being eligible in future. Now BAFTA is also feeling the pressure, with two cinema chains – VUE and Cineworld – protesting over the eligibility […]

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How to Travel in Time

The Art of the Flashback   Flashbacks are on my mind at the moment. I’m currently working on two feature projects – one as writer, the other as editor – which are structured around multiple time periods, so my brain has got well-used to jumping around in time. Flashbacks are pretty common these days, but […]

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“One for Lloyds”?

How many takes to shoot   “One for Lloyds…” is a phrase often heard on movie sets in the UK. It means shooting a second take, even if take one was perfect; y’know, just in case. Lloyds is the centre of the British insurance market – I believe their policies once demanded that a minimum of […]

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The Return of the Reel

In Which the Writer has a Kodak Moment Film is dead. It was coming for a time: when I left film school I got a lot of work as a 1st assistant editor because I was good at hand-holding editors who were being forced to stop cutting on 35mm. That was the late 90s. The […]

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How Long You’ll Need to Edit…

…and When You Should Stop.   One question that I’m often asked when interviewing for a low-budget feature is: “how long do you think you’ll need?” The answer is… it’s complicated. There used to be a rule of thumb for feature films: 1.5 times the length of the shoot. This was based on the assumption […]

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Brando recognition

When is a good actor not a good actor?   A weird thing sometimes happens when two or more people sit down in a cutting room and look through takes. They will agree on which take has the smoothest camera move or focus pull, there’ll be little disagreement about whether the shoot looks better with […]

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The Hateful One

How Did Harvey Happen? It should go without saying that I deplore those incidents of abuse against women that Harvey Weinstein’s admitted to, and those of which he’s been accused, but it’s gone without saying by too many people for too long, so I feel the need to add my voice. What does it say […]

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The Invisible Art of Editing?

Invisible vs. high-profile editing   I started in the cutting room at an exciting time for editing. The high-octane style popularised by music videos shown on MTV and made possible by editing on computer rather than on celluloid, was starting to filter through to feature films. In some cases it led to the sort of […]

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