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film editor
on Feb 20, 2007 at 9:01:15 am

hello everybody,

I've been a video editor for 3 years now, my main work has been documentaries.
I always got the feelig that I'm missing a lot by not being able to edit film, lots a films are being made where I live and I would love to edit drama and film.
the thing is ... I don't know what i need in order to become a film editor insted of a video editor! is there a school you recommend? how long do i have to study for that? could you please tell me from your experinces as film editors?

many thanks

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Pixel Monkey
Re: film editor
on Feb 20, 2007 at 3:05:11 pm

Lots of schools and lots of books. However, best two things in my opinion:

1.) Every city has a grassroots film house where all the independent filmmakers go to drink coffee, rent cameras and use old flatbed machines. Find yours. They usually have small classes.

2.) though it sounds funny, get a part time gig as a projectionist in a movie theater. They train you on the bare-bones editing needed to fix the reel when it breaks. (Priceless.)

`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey

A picture says 1000 words. Editors give them meaning.

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Re: film editor
on Feb 27, 2007 at 12:58:31 am

There really isn't "video" editing or "film" editing at this point. Very few people edit linear videotape or edit with actual film prints on flatbeds. Pretty much everyone uses NLEs (AVID, FCP, Premiere, etc.). Many films - including the ones you might be able to work on - are being shot on DV or HD.

What you are talking about is narrative fiction editing. Do some research and reading on narrative editing and storytelling., the Creative Cow, etc. are great places to start. Watch "The Cutting Edge" on film editing. Bryce Button's "Nonlinear Editing for DV: Story, Aesthetics, & Craft" is an excellent resource and I'd highly recommend it. Watch the films of the type you want to edit, and really look at them as an editor. If you're using FCP, you might want to look into getting Jerry Hofmann's FCP 4 book. The information is still mostly relevant, but what's great about it is the project on the DVD that comes with the book is a narrative short that you edit - it has all the footage that was shot - great experience to edit narrative fiction.

But to really get experience, try editing a couple of projects free of charge. Look at local film schools for students looking for an editor. The beauty of a student short is that they are short. You'll begin to understand the narrative structure and editing for story and performance. You could check at a local film school for a class on editing, or a beginning production class. A scriptwriting class might be of value to.

You could also post your services at film schools- say you're an experienced doc editor needing to get experience in narratives. Don't forget that editing documentaries requires many of the same skills of storytelling as narrative fiction films. Check on Craigslist (and similar local outlets) for folks with little or no money looking to complete their films. It's the old trade off of no money for no experience :-). If you're in an area where lots of films are being made, go to them and asks if you can be an assistant on a film.

You could even take a short script and shoot simple scenes yourself with actors (try to get real actors, even students) and then cut it. Great experience, especially working with actors, seeing how they perform in front of the camera, then editing that performance.

Good luck!

"Go slow to go fast"

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