So you can work the kit, but can you work with clients? Having many years of facility editing under our belts, we would say they are both just as important. Many editors can do the former, not everyone can do the latter.
This interview by Glen Montgomery should be essential reading for anybody wanting to become a professional editor. Somebody said a while ago, "Nobody wants to pay $150 an hour to work with a grouch." There is a lot more to facility editing than just being able to work the kit, in fact some clients would rather work with a less able editor they get on with rather than a whizz kid with a lack of social etiquette.
GM3 – How do you “sell” a cut? What are your methods for communicating your intent or purpose of an editorial decision?
AR – I offer multiple versions of a cut. I believe in involving the clients in the process. What I do is sit them down and take them through the multiple versions (usually 3 to 5 different cuts). I’ll have my favorite or my recommended cut, of course, and I’ll tell them that somewhere in there, they’ll see my recommended cut, but I won’t tell them which one. This is a great way to break the ice and open the conversation. I also start with the weakest cuts first and progress to the more refined ones. I believe this serves two purposes: the clients see that I put work into refining the cut, but also those first cuts can have some very interesting choices. My first cuts are very instinctual, I try not to over think things too much and that can produce some interesting results that can be brought back into the latter, more refined cuts. It can also produce absolute shit, but that’s the process.
GM3 – What should an editor know about the director/client and his personality that would help the working relationship?
AR – I think at the end of the day, everyone wants to be listened to and be taken into account. I think the thing to remember is that every client is usually beholden to another, bigger client. They are carrying all that pressure and responsibility into my cutting room and it’s up to me to create an environment where the client feels they have an ally. I love the service aspect of what I do. Whether it’s getting someone a cup of coffee or cutting their feature film, it’s all driven by my desire to please and make people happy. I think it takes a very distinct personality to be an editor. We are the bass players of the filmmaking process. Our position is not flashy or glamorous, but if we don’t do our job right, the piece will have no funk, swagger or attitude. If we do our job right, nobody notices, but if we screw it up, everyone will notice.