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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What a Feature Film Editor Does

Apart From, y’know, Edit  ☛ I’ve written much in the past about the art and craft of narrative editing, so I thought I’d focus for a change on the parts of the job that aren’t putting shots together. What follows applies specifically to drama feature film editors. I’m also assuming that the feature film editor […]

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The Way of the Scissor People

How to Work with an Editor ☛ I wrote some time back encouraging directors to work with editors, rather than cutting their own material. My colleagues in the cutting room report that they are working with an increasing number of directors who are using an editor for the first time. Needless to say these first […]

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Credits Where They’re Due

Editing tips # 2: Preparing a title sequence   Much has been written on the art of the title sequence, and I plan to cover it myself at some time, but first I thought it might be useful to provide a more practical guide to designing a title sequence. As the assistant editor on features, […]

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Has a Line Been Crossed?

Directing tip # 1: Crossing the Line The first rule of filmmaking most students learn in film school is ‘don’t cross the line’. I’ve met those who see this rule as one of the few inviolable principles of directing for the edit, and others who think that movie grammar has outgrown this quaint prohibition. I’m […]

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Jump Around!

Editing tip # 1: Jump cuts Regular readers may be wondering about the recent silence from the Cutting Room Floor: I can report that an exceptional run of work has stopped play. I’m working hard editing a feature film called We Still Kill the Old Way directed by my friend and colleague Sacha Bennett. In […]

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The Scissor Supremacy

What shot next? ☛ Last time I asked my panel of expert film editors how they decided where to cut. This time, in the last installment of this three-part interview, I’m asking them how they decide what should be the next shot. Assuming that the director has given us a choice of different camera angles, […]

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Return of the Scissor People

Making the cut ☛ Last time I asked my panel of expert film editors how they prepared to approach their material. Now we’re on to the main event – cutting the scene. I wanted to talk about the most basic but central element of the craft: the cut. When do you cut? Indeed, when don’t […]

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Secrets of the Scissor People

Conversations with Leading Film Editors, pt.1 ☛ Compared with other elements of filmmaking, editing is a solitary art. We might have an assistant to help with cutting room admin, and will certainly be sitting with a director at some point, but most of the actual work is done alone. Given that an increasing number of […]

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The Midas Touch

How and why directors make their presence felt ☛ Watch a film by many celebrated filmmakers and, even if you missed the opening titles, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to name the director. You don’t have to do the sort of word-by-word analysis needed to work out whether or not a play is […]

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