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Greenlight Script Coverage

Greenlight Script Coverage

American Gem Short Script and Literary Festival


Responsibilities and Skills in Film Editing

Responsibilities and skills in the job of editing a film involves rhythm, instinct, emotion, psychology, art- and it draws from the total talent of one person, the editor in editing collaborates with the film director to create a cumulative sensory event..

Many people cannot define what s film editor is or what he does. This is understandable, for editors have never been celebrities. Editing involves not nearly a theoretical consideration of the effect of one shot upon another, or a linear rendition of a script, or a mechanical measurement of frames. It is all that and much more- rhythm, instinct, emotion, psychology, art- and it draws from the total talent of one person, the editor, who collaborates with the director to create a cumulative sensory event.

For starters, an editor organizes minutiae, intensify subtleties, heighten emotions, and blend countless elements of image and sound to create a film. Unlike film directors, however, editors are not accustomed to explaining their work to an inquisitive outsider. They often respond to requests for interviews with hesitation, a momentary loss for words, surprise that someone is even asking who they are and what they do. But once involved in an interview, like other creative people behind the screen, editors become articulate expounders of their complex art.

Following the introduction of sound into film at the end of the 1920's, filmmakers were now obligated to combine greater number of elements in the editing process; dialogue, music, and sound effects. A prime example of this can be seen in the movie "Singing in the Rain," where the ups and downs of introducing music and words to the filmmaking process is portrayed. 

Editing became locked into preserving the flow of dialogue as recorded during production. Only after the novelty of sound had worn off could words, music, and sound effects to enhance the visual become the enterprise of the editor. Overlapping dialogue, manipulating volume, using subliminal sounds and silence, and cutting action-reaction shots to dialogue were among the new considerations faced in the editing process.

Over time, certain directors and editors have been able to work together on successive projects and thus have developed a kind of "buddy system" in which the film would be cut by someone who understood the director's vision. A few editors also exerted great influence on directors and producers. 

Editing is the movement and manipulation of frames, within which more movement takes place


What is Film Editing?

Once a good working relationship is established, many directors request to work with the same crew in their future projects. Directors such as Stephen Spielberg, Oliver Stone and George Lucas are just a couple of names that have used the same editor, composer, cinematographer, etc. is several of their films.

Because directors names are so prominent in feature releases, if a film is critiqued from an editorial perspective, the director would usually be cited for its success or failure. This is almost always the case even though the director's degree of involvement in the editing could vary considerably.

The demise of the studio system in the late 1940's and 1950's virtually destroyed job security and created a highly competitive free-lance market. Editors now often speak of the unsettling reality of being unemployed for long sketches, not knowing when the next job will come.

Directors shoot from more camera positions and with more takes that might increase options in editing; so film "coverage" increased, obligating editors to organize and reduce the amount of footage sometimes in ratios of thirty to forty to one (ratio footage exposed to footage used in the final cut).

Still, the greatest challenge in reaching modern audiences and creating outstanding films is understanding one's specialty. Today's filmmaking places enormous responsibilities on each major mind behind a movie: scriptwriter (preproduction), cinematographer (production), and editor (postproduction), who are all answerable to the director and producer. 

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