Insights from a Film Editor: All Good Things Must End
March 2nd, 2018
The Final Insight From a Film Editor
As all good things must end, so too must this article series come to its close. In the final piece in the Insight of a Film Editor series, we will discuss an opportunity that Lawrence Jordan has crafted to give people skills that they wouldn’t typically have access to outside of having an assistant editor job. The program is called Master the Workflow and can be a great starting point for aspiring editors. Traditionally becoming a full-fledged film editor requires mastering the assistant editor job first. Getting a firm grasp on the mechanics of the cutting room and learning the proper editing room politics is essential. This course is meant to grant all of the daily skills necessary for aspiring editors.
The course starts at the pre-production stage and follows you through 32 lessons and six main modules to the final delivery of a digital master to the studio. It covers everything required of an assistant editor from the editor’s cut, director’s cut, studio changes, and then finishing off the film with colour correction and mixing the sound. The bonus for the course is that it is entirely online and can be accessed at any time so you can always refer back if you have questions. It includes pdfs of all lessons, audio downloads, and a “Digital Codebook” which is a database to keep track of everything that comes into the editing room and makes it easy to call it up at a moment’s notice. This database took two years to build so it will undoubtedly prove to be an immense asset.
Being that it is quite a comprehensive course, it should prepare you for anything that may be thrown your way. It covers all of the significant aspects that are part of the job and also what an assistant editor may encounter. Like anything, there are always variations, and real life happens very differently than a structured course, but it will provide the right foundation so that one can be adaptable to anything they may come across. It will be useful to know that the course yields the best results if you have some basic knowledge of Avid Media Composer or other non-linear software. It is not an introductory course to learn about the program itself, it is more to provide people who already have basic editing knowledge a way to make it a career.
The course came to be when Lawrence was working on a film titled Naked for Netflix. His assistant editor Richard Sanchez showed him what became the Digital Codebook of everything they had shot so far. Not being a huge budget film, it was impressive that they shot over a million feet of film in about a month. This may not seem impressive, but Apocalypse Now took three years to shoot over a million feet of film. Digital technology makes it easier to film more sooner so being organized is a must. This got Lawrence thinking about how much assistant editing had changed since he was doing it. He also was thinking about how you can’t get a job without the skills, but you can’t learn the skills without a job. Some of the skills needed can be picked up in film school, but Richard and Lawrence both wondered why the process had not been covered from beginning to end yet. They both love teaching and thought it would be highly beneficial to have highly skilled assistant editors instead of always having to learn on the fly. By doing an online course it has made it available to students everywhere, and technology is making it easier for people to get their filming equipment, the medium of film is becoming more democratized and will hopefully only become more accessible to anyone who wants to make movies. Lawrence and Richard also offer scholarships to students who have applied to a variety of industry diversity programs. They aim to help anyone who has traditionally had a more difficult time achieving these types of dreams. With this scholarship, they are trying to reach out to underrepresented communities to give them a chance to share their voices and creativity.
Well, there you have it: an in-depth look into some of what it takes to be an editor, an assistant editor, and resources that may be available for you to achieve your goal. Until next time, good luck out there with all creative endeavors and may this info help anyone who is looking for a way to walk further in their filmmaking journey.