The Director Editor Relationship

Most directors of any worth are also apt to be competent editors. Many, like Fred Wiseman and Mike Rubbo, edit their own films. So, given that the director (who is in most cases also the writer) knows the most about the film, why not let him or her go ahead and edit it as well? One answer is sheer fatigue. The shooting process tends to be such a debilitating and demanding period that often there is no energy left to supervise the equally arduous task of editing. A second answer, perhaps more important, is that editing is best done with a fresh eye. And that's something an independent editor has and the director lacks.

Like it or not, the director brings a tremendous number of hang-ups to editing, one being his or her familiarity with the agonies and trials endured getting the footage. The director sometimes falls in love with material regardless of its worth. The independent editor, however, sees only what is on the screen. Everything else is irrelevant. Consequently, he or she is often a much better judge of the value of the material.

The good editor can also be a tremendous creative stimulus to the director. The editor is there not just to carry out technical directions but also to advocate better ways of looking at the film and new and different ways of using the material. He or she is there to support what is right, challenge what is wrong, and put new energy into the whole process.

Finding the right editor is crucial to your success because documentary editing is so much more open than is feature editing. In documentary, there is often no story, no script; the director dumps a bunch of rushes into the editor's arms and demands that he or she find the story. Creation and invention are vital to the very nature of the documentary editor, while such qualities may not be so necessary for the feature editor.

As a director, I find that working with a talented editor is one of the most dynamic and stimulating parts of filmmaking, and most films are better for having that person around. History bears this out over and over again. Roger Graef's films for Granada Television are superb, but their excellence owes much to the editing of Dai Vaughan. We talk of the poetry of Humphrey Jennings's films, yet again, much of their success is due to editor Stewart McAllister.

The relationship between the director and the editor can be tremendously fruitful, but it can also be quite hard. In essence, you have two strong characters dissecting, analyzing, and arguing about the film for days on end. When you agree, it's fine, but when you disagree, the air can get quite hot. Yet, when you finish, you usually have something finer and better than if each had worked separately on the film.

Film Making

Film Making

If you have ever wanted the secrets to making your own film, here it is: Indy Film Insider Tips And Basics To Film Making. Have you ever wanted to make your own film? Is there a story you want to tell? You might even think that this is impossible. Studios make films, not the little guy. This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay.

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