Unreal Nature

April 16, 2015

Human Choice

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:48 am

… If it’s mind control, there’s going to be somebody editing your mind control. Editing is an ongoing profession.

This is from the interview with Tom Rolfe found in Selected Takes: Film Editors On Editing by Vincent LoBrutto (1991):

[ … ]

How does an editor learn to listen to the material?

There’s a sensitivity gauge somewhere, it depends on what you are sensitive to. If you give a picture like The Accused to a woman to cut, you’ll find not a different picture, but you will see a different substance or texture to it overall. It’s a sensitivity to the editor’s life experience and values. It’s going to be different.

How intuitive is editing?

It’s totally intuitive to me, I cut that way. I’m sometimes sorry that I’ve done something radically wrong, and I have to go back and correct it, because like a house of cards, once the first choice is wrong, everything else is wrong. You go back and build the old foundation again.

How many years do you think it takes to become a good editor?

I don’t know yet. I’m still learning because I’ll change my mind tomorrow about something. To learn the mechanics is nothing; to have the confidence to do what you feel is right and just cut, that takes a few years. You go through the stage of “What if I’m wrong?” and that’s a big fear for somebody when you’re dealing with an audience of millions. It’s when you become confident enough to accept who you are, that’s how long it takes you to become an editor.

Have you ever made the decision not to cut?

Yes. It’s much more important to learn what not to cut. That’s the hardest thing for any young editor starting out; it was for me.

Why is that?

You’re drawing a salary, man, do something, cut, make edits. You learn that the scene is playing, you don’t have to justify your existence by making a cut; it works. It happened more when I was beginning; now I’m much colder about looking at things than I was then.

[ … ]

Where do you think the art of film editing is heading?

I can’t see it being different than it is now. It has always been a matter of making choices, and there will always be the human choice. If it’s an action piece, it will be dictated by one set of reasoning. If it’s a matter of philosophy, it will be dictated by another set of reasons. It’s just a matter of making choices, and I don’t think the electronic wizard has been invented that will make those choices for you. There will always be editing. [ … ] There’s still going to be someone saying, “This will be better if you do it that way.” If it’s mind control, there’s going to be somebody editing your mind control. Editing is an ongoing profession.

-Julie

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