The business of editing


US-based AlphaDogs Post Production recently hosted another instalment of the
Editors’ Lounge discussion panel series about The Business of Editing. Moderated by
journalist Debra Kaufman, the expert panel was comprised of award-winning film
and television editors which included: Richard Halsey ( Rocky, Edward
), Tina Hirsch (Gremlins, Dante’s Peak), Norman
Hollyn (Heathers, Wild Palms), and Glenn Morgan (Project
Runway, Under the Gunn, RoboCop 2

The evening kicked off with a candid discussion on how the panellists got their start
in the business. While the paths they took early in their careers are not necessarily
valid in today’s world of post-production, it was agreed that accepting a wide
variety of jobs, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem, can be a great
start to a career as a film and television editor, and that gaining hands-on
experience while building relationships with clients is likely lead to bigger projects
in the future. Glenn Morgan commented, “Working for one day is better than a
year’s worth of networking when you’re not employed.’ There is no linear path in
working up to becoming a full-time film and television editor. Beyond just working
behind the screen it’s crucial for aspiring editors to get out and sell their skill sets
to potential clients now that marketplace is much more competitive than it used to
be. “You really have to be very creative and innovative about the way you sell
yourself,’ said Norman Hollyn. “Meet people and convince them that you know what
you are doing.’

Another important aspect in the business of editing is how to work with clients.
Whether working freelance or working for someone else, it’s important to be able to
work in a collaborative environment with a wide range of different personality
types. Keeping clients long term also means being proficient in the latest non-linear
editing tools and post-production technologies. Editors must be an expert in the field
on all levels. “Technology has radically changed everything. It’s not enough to be an
editor these days,’ said Richard Halsey.

The later part of the evening included a Q&A session with questions taken from the
live audience and from the live stream via Twitter. When panellists were asked if a
career in film and television editing requires 70 hours a week and a constant
scramble to find work, Tina Hirsch commented, “When you gain more experience,
you are much faster at editing, that’s one side of it. The other side is now the film
and shooting materials are endless, requiring more hours.’ Early in their career an
editor may be required to “pay their dues’ working on difficult projects that
require long days. However, once established it is possible to pick and choose
projects with the luxury of setting a personal schedule by being extremely efficient
and learning the art of time management. Other topics discussed during the Q&A
included how the assistant editor job has changed in the past decade and how new
assistant editors can better prepare for these roles.

The evening wrapped with wise words of advice from Richard Halsey who said, “You
can’t operate in Hollywood unless you have an act, and you better figure out what
your act is. What you’re good at. When you go in for an interview, you better have
it down.’

To watch The Business Of Editing panel discussion in its entirety, visit the Editors’ Lounge Channel .


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