I’m watching a TV show about movie editing. And the editors are saying that they totally control the performances of actors. I wholly agree.

I have seen a lot of movies where the actors got completely trashed by the critics, but where the critics should have trashed the editing. It’s not the actor’s fault if he is “slow” putting his lines next to the other guy’s, or if he indulges in meaningless looks. That’s the editing. Likewise, if the actors look at each other with intense meaning, in a way you can’t forget, in a way that carries so much emotion you want to weep, that’s editing again.

Now Spielberg is saying that the editor is so important, because he wasn’t wrapped up in making the film, casting it, setting it up, directing it. The editor sees the result of the director’s work with an objectivity that the director cannot achieve.

Okay now let me watch the rest of this. It’s good.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

One thought on “Editing”

  1. Two comments on the original posting:

    William Goldman talked about this in one of his books. Essentially there are three stages of making a film: writing, filming, and editing, and that each stage has a different person in charge, the writer, director, and editor respectively. Goldman’s observation was that filming is actually the least important of the three, but it is the stage that gets the most publicity because there is something physically happening to look at during the filming stage, and that is thus the stage that gets all the publicity.

    Secondly, editors are sometimes credited with saving (or even essentially creating) acting performances. You will sometimes hear film industry people say something like “That performance was put together in the editing room” at Oscar time in particular – as a reason for not voting for a particular actor. Essentially there was nothing special about the acting, but it looks like there was because the editor did such a good job of putting the right pieces of the right camera angles of the right takes together in the right way.

    Posted by Michael Jennings on 31 August 2005

    Actually a good editor ‘should’ be completely reliant upon the director being able to express himself exactly, as are sound, camera and the actors. I’ve found that many editors may well have a lucid view of how they envisage the final product but that they tend to work from the producers instruction, rather than from the directors’ one. The result is frequently a ‘director’s cut’ of a movie, which is generally regarded as superior to the one created not so much by an editor as by a marketing focus group under the auspices of the production company.

    Posted by Julian Taylor on 04 September 2005

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