Notes and Quotes from EditFest London

Yesterday - Saturday 29th June, was the first ever EditFest in London. The EditFest is a day's worth of talks organised by the American Cinema Editors - and has previously been held in Los Angeles and New York.

I took some notes and made some very ropey audio recordings, and would like to share some of the quotes from the day here. Each session was 90 minutes long, so what's below is only a very very small fraction of the insights shared during the day by the guests - and doesn't at all represent the more personal discussions that attendees were able to have with the panellists between sessions and during drinks afterwards.  

Overall it was an absolutely amazing day, and I hope they come back next year (as has been hinted).

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To be an editor

I've recently started an acting class (more on that soon), and as it's a beginners class the attendees generally aren't in the industry. One or two would like to write or direct, but generally people are within other careers.

I've been honest and told them what I do. Here's a conversation I had last week after class with a small group:


Them: so what do you edit?
Me: Animation, mostly, at the moment. I have a short film or two coming up on the side.
Them: So where do you go after that? What is it you want to be?
Me: An editor.
Them: No, I mean, would you like to direct?
Me: Nope. I love editing.
Them: But... you already edit. What do you do next?
Me: Edit more. Edit better.


I'm not denying that there are editors out there who have always had their hearts set on directing. After enough sets of bad dailies I have sometimes wanted to make a film under the impression I at least knew a lot of what not to do.... perhaps that's why I'm doing well in animation editing where I have input over the way the framing works, the timing of lines, and the way we actively expect lines to be re-recorded to change performance.

Perhaps it's the lack of perceived credit/ glamour in the eyes of the public that puts the job down? I'd imagine most people on the street would find it very difficult to name any editor. Ask them about directors, and the job becomes much easier. It's true, our sector of the industry does seem to get marginalised (I remember commenting on Twitter one time when I noticed the editorial department credits of a feature film listed below on-set catering) and ACE and MPEG are actively campaigning for greater festival recognition of editors (see for more information). Editors are traditionally seen as the quiet workers behind the scenes, and that's how a lot like it. But the lack of recognition for the job as a craft, and to want to always learn how to do your job better, does sometimes grate.

Bye Sally

Today both my Twitter and RSS feeds have been abuzz with the news of the death of Sally Menke ACE.


Whilst editors are usually unseen (both on set and on screen) and therefore relatively unknown, Sally's work with Quentin Tarantino evolved to become much more than that in both areas. On any given DVD it would usually be possible to find Tarantino gushing about the importance of collaboration in the edit room as a chance to rewrite the story one last time - and the nonlinear nature of many of his films gave the general public the chance to consider work beyond the shooting stages and sets.


Something extra-special, though, was the way that Quentin would get his cast and crew to shoot several seconds of them greeting Sally, to keep her company in the edit room - sometimes in their own right, sometimes by way of apology after fouling up a take! I've always liked to assume that their inclusion of a "hi Sally" reel in some DVD extras (see below) was his way of letting the world in on some of their relationship. It's always seemed to me like an ideal dynamic to aspire to within a director-editor partnership.


So bye Sally. Your presence in the cutting room will be missed by more people than you would have known.