Aspiring Film Editor Guide: Tips & Software To School Yourself For Cutting Room Jobs!

 

Editing Collage

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UPDATED: October 2011

In our latest guide for all the readers who are aspiring to act, write and direct for the film industry, we focus our efforts on tips, training and schools for the emerging film editor. Often called the “invisible art”, every motion picture from the most humble web video to the plushest IMAX film is made whole by expert editing. The magic of transcending time and space in film is achieved by cutting film, creating something wholly new out of the disparate images.

The team at TomCruise.com greatly appreciates the tremendous work editors do to make the movie experience magic. Often unheralded, they are the ones weaving together the stories we love to watch. The video below, a portion of the documentary, The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing, features some of Hollywood’s most renowned editors and directors as they detail the importance of a film editor:

Wow! Award-winning directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, who have worked with Tom Cruise (The Color of Money, Minority Report and War of the Worlds, respectively) weighed in on the important role an editor plays in making a film great. Some of Tom’s most critically acclaimed performances involved working with the most respected editors in the industry. Editors David Brenner and Joe Hutshing work cutting together the story of Vietnam veteran, Ron Kovic, in Born On The Fourth July truly helped Tom’s portrayal to stand out!

In fact, Tom received three Academy Awards nominations for his performances  (Jerry Maguire, Born on the Fourth of July and Magnolia) and in two of those films, the editors either won (Joe Hutshing and David Brenner for Born On The Fourth July) or were nominated (Joe Hutshing for Jerry Maguire) for Oscars as well!

Hutshing has collaborated with Tom, Cameron Crowe and Oliver Stone as well as Steven Spielberg on several other film projects. A four-time Oscar nominee, Hutshing also won the Oscar for his work on Stone’s film, JFK and as you can see in our photo collage at the top of the post, Hutshing went on to work with Tom on Vanilla Sky and Lions For Lambs.

Tom has also been very fortunate to work on four other movies that earned Best Achievement in Film Editing Oscar nominations:

That’s quite the list! It should be becoming quiet clear that editing ranks as one of the most important aspects of the filmmaking process. As such, the TomCruise.com team once again searched high and low for the best information available to give aspiring editors the resources you need to start a successful career in the industry. Like our other aspiring guides for actors, directors, mobile filmmakers, producers, screenwriters, stuntmen and visual effects artists, this guide provides access to a wealth of knowledge and materials to help you familiarize yourself with the profession.

  • A description of what a film editor does, including typical skills, a glossary of common terms, software tools and the different titles for film editors
  • Books written by industry experts with helpful tips and advice
  • Publications and blogs to learn more about the film editing industry
  • Internships and competitions open to film editors
  • Colleges and universities offering degrees and programs specifically for aspiring film editors
  • Professional training programs run by industry leaders
  • Unions, groups and associations for professional film editor

Get ready to begin your trip to cutting together the next masterpiece!

While the process of editing has evolved from physically cutting film to manipulating it nonlinearly on a computer, the philosophy to storytelling hasn’t changed a bit. It may not be the flashiest side of the industry, editing is easily among the most important and respected fields by other filmmakers. Are you ready to become the cutting room king or queen? Read on!

As always, the TomCruise.com team welcomes your comments, feedback and suggestions. If you have experience in this field and can direct us to any additional information or resources, we’d love to hear from you so we can add them to our next update. Please use the hashtag #aspiring2actwritedirect in all your social media responses about these guides.

GLOSSARY

Like many professions, film editors have established a vocabulary specific to their industry. Professional film editors may use many technical terms while performing their work, so we have selected several of the most common words and phrases to highlight in our glossary.

Avid – A digital editing system frequently used by full-featured offline, film and online editors. The system offers a wide range of effects, including real-time 3D effects and multi-camera capability.

Continuity editing – Maintains the storyline by editing shots and scenes together to create smooth flowing transitions while eliminating visual inconsistencies.

Cross-cutting – Used to show a relationship between different sets of action or to build suspense by quickly cutting back and forth between two or more sequences of actions, suggesting the actions are occurring simultaneously but in different locations.

Cut – Splicing two shots together during the editing process to create a visual transition in which one shot instantly replaces another shot on screen. May also establish a rapid transition between one time and space and another.

Cutaway – An individual shot inserted into a sequence, momentarily interrupting the flow of action. Generally used to introduce a relevant detail.

Dissolve – A gradual scene transition in which an editor seamlessly overlaps the end of one shot with the beginning of the next one.

Eyeline match – Part of continuity editing, the term refers to the practice of matching the eyelines (gazes) between two or more characters. For example, if character A gazes off screen to the right in shot A, the editor will cut to character B who will look to the left in shot B, returning the gaze and establishing a relationship between the two characters. The term may also be used to establish the proximity and continuity between a character and an object.

Fade – A visual transition between scenes where a shot is gradually replaced by a dark area with no images. An editor may gradually fade into a new scene to indicate a change in time or place or introduce the closing credits to signal the end of the film.

Final cut – The completed edit of a film that has been approved by the director and producer as the version and will be shown to audiences.

Intercutting –Related shots are inserted into a series of other shots, usually to create contrast.

Master shot (Cover shot) – A long shot of an entire scene that an editor can use to facilitate the components of closer shots or assemble a sequence.

Montage – Several shots are edited together to create a visual and emotional impact. May also be used to indicate a passage of time.

Rough cut – An early effort by the post-production team to assemble the footage into the final version of the film. The equivalent of a writer’s first draft, the director, producers and editors review the rough cut and suggest changes as part of the process of completing the film.

Post-production – Refers to all of the processes that occur after the principle filming has been completed, including editing, visual effects and sound effects.

Sequence shot – An extended shot including an entire scene or sequence without any editing.

Shot – A single image that is generally described in terms of the distance of the camera in relation to the object in the frame. The most common types of shots include: big close-up, close-up, extreme close-up, extreme long shot/establishing shot, long shot, medium close-up, medium long shot and medium shot.

Splice – Joining two pieces of film together.

Synching Dailies – Interlocking the pictures and sounds from the day’s film shoot.

 

FILM EDITOR TITLES/ROLES

Unlike many other fields in the entertainment industry, such as actors and stunt performers, a professional film editor can establish a life-long career if he is willing to work his way up and maintain positive working relationships within the industry. The good news is that there is a definite career path an aspiring film editor can follow, including earning a bachelor’s degree with a focus on film editing and then working your way up through the ranks. While it may take a few years, if you are willing to learn the ropes as an intern or apprentice film editor, you can refine your editing skills while establishing valuable contacts.

  • Apprentice Editor – An entry-level union position that supports the assistant editor and the film editor. General duties involve logging film, helping to load film into an editing machine, such as an Avid, running materials between the production houses and tracking all the elements.
  • Editor (Film Editor, Picture Editor) – A supervisory position responsible for assembling the film or video footage into a cohesive sequence while establishing continuity and maintaining the director’s vision. Synchronizes the dailies with the sound track and may review the dailies with the director, noting the director’s preferences. However, the majority of the editor’s work occurs in post-production and will deliver an editor’s cut of the film as soon as possible after shooting has wrapped.
  • First Assistant Editor (Assistant Editor, Associate Editor) – A mid-level position responsible for supporting the film editor and supervising the daily operations of the editing department, including overseeing the second assistant and apprentice editors. Manages logging and tracking footage, maintains department paperwork, coordinates with the film lab and sound transfer facility as well as oversees the post production process until the final print is completed.
  • Second Assistant Editor – The primary responsibility of this role is to support the first assistant editor. The daily assignments may vary and may include cataloging the shots and maintaining the daily reels.

A film editor must know how to be a good listener and successfully collaborate with others, even though he will also work many hours alone. A successful editor is able to keep his own ego in check. While an editor should be prepared to present knowledgeable suggestions to improve the quality of the film, he must remember that one of his main responsibilities is to facilitate the director’s vision for the film, not impose his own.

As we mentioned earlier, the same way some directors cast certain actors that they enjoy working with over and over again, some directors may also repeatedly hire the same film editors once they have established a good collaborative relationship. Generally, you must be prepared to constantly look for work because once a film is completed; a film editor’s job is done. Forming professional relationships with directors and producers can help bring stability to the career of a professional film editor. If you have both people skills and the technical skills, you should go a long way as a film editor.

BLOGS

A good way to find out more about a filmmaking discipline is with some research from authorities online, and editing is no different. There are plenty of blogs written by industry leaders introducing newbies to the basics of editing as well as covering the more technical aspects of the craft for experienced professionals. To that end, the TomCruise.com team has gathered several of the most respected online resources suitable for a wide range of skill levels.

ACE Logo

American Cinema Editors Tech Blog – Part of the American Cinema Editors (ACE) official website, the technical blog provides answers to a wide range of questions involved in making a feature-length movie. Created and maintained by the leading professional motion picture editing association in the world, topics may involve advanced editing techniques and discussions about home computer equipment and software, along with troubleshooting tips and useful resources. While some of the posts may be beyond the knowledge base of a budding editor, the blog should hit the right note for an experienced film editor.

Creative COW – Founded by the wife and husband team, Kathlyn and Ron Lindeboom, the comprehensive online resource features tutorials, training, podcasts and a newsletter as well as a detailed blog for professional film editors. Beyond the wealth of information, the site also offers an active online forum of conversation and support, the inspiration behind their acronym ‘COW,’ which stands for “Communities of the World.”

HOLLYN-wood – University of Southern California Professor of Cinematic Arts and Editing Track Head, Norman Hollyn, combines his teaching abilities with his years of experience as a professional film editor and author to present complex editing techniques in a straightforward manner. Norman also co-produces, along with post-production consultant Larry Jordan, an ongoing series of short video episodes about the art of visual storytelling on 2ReelGuys.com.

The EDITBlog

The EditBlog on Pro Video Coalition – The creation of professional commercial editor Scott Simmons, the EditBlog provides both in-depth and general information for the aspiring or established editor. Sponsored by Adobe (who we’ll discuss in a moment) this blog focuses on answering practical questions during the editing process. Good read for the day-to-day editor.

Splice Now

Splice Now (Steven Cohen) – Written by noted Hollywood editor and AVID Editing System master Steven Cohen, this blog ranges from industry news for the working editor to notes on his own Avid tutorials and items of general interest to editors. Thoughtfully written, Cohen offers no-nonsense insight into the industry through the eyes of an experienced craftsman.

Hollywood Reinvented

Hollywood Reinvented – While not a video editing or movie editor blog specifically, Hollywood Reinvented focuses much of its energy on the digital tools editors now use to shape films, along with conversations with professional editors. Again, this site is a bastion of practical knowledge for the amateur or professional editor to beef up their knowledge of non-linear editing techniques. A solid industry read.

The Art of the Guillotine – Professional film editor and Ryerson University professor, Gordon A. Burkell, founded the online publication and encourages visitors to interact and contribute to the comprehensive industry blog. The site features a detailed glossary of film editing terms, an active community section, a media section with informational blogs, articles and podcasts as well as a knowledge base of helpful editing techniques and tips.

PUBLICATIONS

Another step many emerging film and video editors will take on their path to cutting room enlightenment is perusing publications and periodicals specific to the discipline. Luckily, there are two strong industry groups (which we’ll discuss in detail later) who produce a pair of such specific magazines.

cinema_editor

Cinema Editor: ACE Magazine – Since May 1951, the industry publication has been providing an insightful base of knowledge from some of the most respected editors in the field. Published by the American Cinema Editors, the magazine covers both artistic and technical discussions (the aesthetic side) as well as the professional relationships in the industry (the business side). Not available on newsstands, contact ACE for information about subscriptions and purchasing individual back issues.

MPEG

Editors Guild Magazine

Published by the Motion Picture Editors Guild, the official U.S. film editors union, the bi-monthly magazine profiles some of the latest successes in the editing industry, along with technical tips and columns from industry veterans. Several articles are accessible online and the print version is available through subscription.

 

BOOKS

Once comfortable with the lexicon and feel of the editing landscape, many aspiring editors will be inspired to seek out even more information about the craft. While not an exhaustive list, these books provide a great introduction to the fundamental philosophy of editing along with some insights into the technical advancements in the field.

On Film Editing

On Film Editing

by Edward Dmytryk – Written by professional director and editor, Edward Dmytryk, the time-honored primer on the basics of film editing philosophy has guided the principles of many cutting room champions. The Information is presented in a straightforward style and should be included on any aspiring video and film editors reading list.

Selected Takes

Selected Takes: Film Editors On Film Editing by Vincent LoBrutto One of the most important lessons illustrated in this book is that experienced editors are able to maintain the larger vision while shaping a film from raw footage. By reviewing the philosophical reasoning for decisions made in the cutting room from the careers of 21 editors whose works stretch from Ben Hur to E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, the readers are offered an insightful view into the world of professional film editing.

blink of an eye

In The Blink Of An Eye by Walter Murch – Written by one of the most respected film editors in the business, Walter Murch (Julia, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient and Cold Mountain) covers a range of editing elements, including digital editing, continuity vs. discontinuity and the role of dreaming in filmmaking. Readers are provided with a thoughtful discourse on how and why editing can deliver a heightened emotional experience through film.

conversations

The Conversations: Walter Murch And The Art Of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje – Presented in a question-and-answer format, the author delves into “the invisible art of filmmaking” through his conversations with renowned film editor, Walter Murch. Murch worked on The English Patient, the Academy Award winning film based on Ondaatje’s novel. The two explore the meaning of editing and how the alteration of the visual experience brings a film together and transcends the meaning of any one shot. In fact, Murch won two of the nine Oscars The English Patient was awarded, one for Editing and one for Sound (along with Mark Berger, David Parker and Chris Newman). Murch also won an Academy Award for Sound for Apocalypse Now.

Nonlinear

Nonlinear4 – A Field Guide To Digital Video And Film Editing by Michael Rubin – For the practical student of film editing, Rubin’s book outlining the principles of non-linear editing may be right up your alley. The instructional guide breaks down the aspects involved in successful computer editing, such as workflow, audio syncing and mastering the final print, rather than focusing on a specific editing system.

The Lean Forward Moment: Create Compelling Stories for Film, TV, and the Web by Norman Hollyn – As a professional film editor as well as the Editing Track Head and Professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, Hollyn describes how his Lean Forward Moment Method of storytelling engages an audience and provides real world examples to illustrate the concept. His techniques can be applied to all aspects of the filmmaking process and can also be applied to multiple steps of the creative process, including preproduction, production and postproduction.

The Technique of Film Editing, 2nd Edition by Karel Reisz and Gavin Millar One of the most comprehensive books on the art of film editing, authors Karel Reisz and Gavin Millar introduce readers to the techniques of film editing. If you are a student looking for editing knowledge or a professional just looking for some interesting reading material on editing, this is it. Ken Dancynger has written several subsequent editions of the book, most recently the fifth edition, The Technique of Film and Video Editing, Fifth Edition: History, Theory, and Practice. While those are helpful books in their own right, many industry professionals still recommend the first two editions written by Reisz and Millar.

 

SOFTWARE TOOLS

Armed with knowledge about the abstract nature, philosophy and principles of movie and video editing, you are now ready to get your hands on the tools to actually make the magic happen. As we learned in the film clip from The Cutting Edge at the top of the guide, with thousands of shots, each frame measured in 1/24 of a second, it can take months or even years to edit all the raw footage from a feature film production into a two-hour film.

We have provided descriptions of three popular non-linear digital editing systems available for use on most computers. While there are many more editing systems available on the market, two of these three systems are considered the industry standards. The third is also widely available through a producer of the industry-leading imaging software.

avid

Avid Media Composer – Among the first digital editing systems wildly available, Media Composer by Avid has long been established as one of the most dominant digital editing software used by professional film editors. Used on several Oscar winning productions, Avid continues to evolve to meet the technical demands of a Hollywood clientele, such as handling integrated effects and audio capability as well as simple editing tools.

FinalCutProLogoBIG

Apple Final Cut Studio Pro – Once an upstart product meant for the less-serious editor, Final Cut Pro has evolved as a serious contender to Avid’s title as the editing software of choice for Hollywood’s editing icons. In fact, Walter Murch himself earned an Oscar nomination for Cold Mountain in 2003 using the then-new system. Produced by Apple, Final Cut is considered moderately priced in comparison to other film editing software. As an added bonus, the software is compatible with many off-the-shelf components of Apple computers.

premiere cs5 logo

Adobe Premiere CS5 – While not an industry standard, many emerging filmmakers familiar with Adobe’s still imaging software may feel comfortable using their non-linear video editing software as well. While not as popular industry-wide, feature-length movies like Superman Returns were cut using Premiere to great effect. Among the most affordable pro-style software available on the market, Premiere is ported for use on both Macs and PCs.

PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Once you have your hands on the tools to edit a movie, you will need to learn how to use them. Fortunately, there are a number of opportunities to help you learn the basics or take you to the next level in your career. Professional training options range from instructional workshops to certificate programs. Students will not only develop their editing skills but can make valuable professional connections. All of these programs provide a combination of technical and aesthetic training along with a strong dose of industry know-how.

NYU SCPS

New York University (NYU) School of Continuing and Professional Studies – Professional Certificate in Editing Affiliated with the renowned NYU film school, the Certificate in Editing program leads an ambitious aspiring film editor through intense hands-on instruction in the art and science of editing. More detailed information about the two certificate options is provided on the official website.

Edit CenterThe Edit Center, NYC – Based in New York City, the unique program offers students the chance to learn the editing process while actually working on feature length films heading to production. During a six-week Art of Editing Course, emerging film editors who need the opportunity to learn how to edit a feature film are paired with independent filmmakers who need their movies edited. Students have worked on critically acclaimed films, such as Winter’s Bone (Oscar nominee for Best Feature) and Frozen River (Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2008). Although no prior film editing experience is required for the program, at least working knowledge of computers is high recommended. The educational facility also offers a series of Apple-Certified courses, including An Introduction to Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Pro Advanced Editing.

Apple Training and Certification Programs – Many of Apple’s professional applications have become an industry standard for photographers, editors, sound designers, visual effects and multimedia artists. Most Apple owners are already familiar with the free in-person workshops and instructional podcasts to help you develop your software skills and maximize your equipment but you may not know that Apple has also created a series of certification levels. Certifications are available for Aperture, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, and Motion and for the editor anxious to learn how to wield this powerful tool without the extras of theory, this may be the route for you. So, if you are ready to take your editing skills to the next level, consider becoming a Certified Associate, Certified-Pro Level One or Certified Pro – Level Two for Final Cut Pro.

  • Introduction to Final Cut Pro – The introductory class provides an overview of Final Cut Pro, outlining all the basic features of the program and the meaning of the interface.
  • Comprehensive Study of Final Cut Pro – The next level of the hands-on training program includes working with clips, cue points and final output for printing.
  • Final Cut Pro Advanced Editing – A multi-day course offers comprehensive training of the Final Cut system combining both the overview and advanced editing courses.

AVID

The team behind Avid also offers a comprehensive list of authorized training opportunities through their training partners and training centers. The list features a wide assortment of schools and facilities teaching all facets of editing, from straightforward Avid instruction to certificate and degree programs. If you are an emerging film editor excited about learning Avid and mastering a system you can use throughout your career, then carefully look through the choices on the Avid Learning Partner site and pick the one that’s right for you!

 

COLLEGES

American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory – Graduates of the two-year conservatory program receive an MFA and advanced training in six disciplines, cinematography, directing, editing, producing, production design and screenwriting. Members of the program usually have some experience in the field and have an undergraduate degree. In addition to the hands-on training taught by industry professionals for Conservatory Fellows and a seminar series for emerging filmmakers, the competitive program provides the opportunity to create a thesis film with access to Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members for their cast and some financing assistance. Notable AFI alumni include Darren Aronofsky (Oscar nominee for directing, Black Swan) and Victor Du Bois (The Last Samurai).

New York University Tisch School of the Arts – Maurice Kanbar Institute of Undergraduate Film & Television – Located in the heart of NYC, the respected university features limited class sizes and numerous programs for aspiring filmmakers on both the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition, students have the opportunity to compete for a $200,000 prize for a feature film and if you are interested in studying abroad, the Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore offers MFA degrees in animation and digital arts, dramatic writing and film production. Notable alumni include Thelma Schoonmaker (A film editing Oscar winner for Raging Bull, The Aviator and The Departed), Joel Coen (Oscar winner for writing, directing and Motion Picture of the Year for No Country for Old Men) and Charlie Kaufman (Best Original Screenplay Academy Award winner for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Theater, Film & Television – The beautifully landscaped campus features a multi-cultural environment and a different vibe from its nearby rival, USC. The film program focuses on storytelling and students will benefit from the renowned UCLA Film & Television Archive, whose collection is one of the largest in the world. Notable alumni include Francis Ford Coppola (Oscar winner for Patton, The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II and The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award) and Pietro Scalia (Best Film Editing Oscar winner for JFKBlack Hawk Down)

University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinema Arts – Located in Los Angeles, students are exposed to multiple elements of film, television and interactive media production and have the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of cross-disciplinary classes, regardless of their chosen area of specialization. With programs in Critical Studies, John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts, Interactive Media, Film & Television Production, Peter Stark Producing Program and Writing, USC strives to inspire the next generation of filmmakers. Renowned film editor, Walter Murch (Film Editing Academy Award winner for The English Patient and Best Sound Oscar winner for The English Patient and Apocalypse Now), is among the many notable USC alumni.

 

INTERNSHIPS & COMPETITIONS

Once you’ve completed your training, then what? Usually that means it is time to secure an internship and apprentice under the leadership of an experienced mentor but it could also involve entering student competitions to showcase your skills and gain the notice of industry leaders.

ACE Logo

ACE Internship Program & Student Competition – Both programs offer the emerging and aspiring film editor the opportunity to prove their mettle to the best in the industry. The six-week ACE Internship Program invites an extremely limited number of aspiring editors who have attained a college degree in Film or Video to spend one week with three established editors to learn the professional standards of feature length, episodic and long-form television editing. The next five weeks involve shadowing assistant editors in television, features and reality TV. The ACE Student Editing Competition challenges 50 aspiring film editors from around the world to edit an identical set of video dailies (clips) to create the most original story from the source material. Three finalists will receive a plaque for their achievement at the annual ACE Eddie Awards.

Amazon Studios Filmmakers Contest – Participation is free for the monthly contest and you have the opportunity to win cash prizes. Aspiring filmmakers, including editors, can share your work and interact with an international community. Encouraging collaboration, awards are given to screenwriters and filmmakers but may also include any individuals who have contributed to the project through meaningful revision suggestions. Amazon Studios is searching for projects that have the potential to make a major motion picture and the contest is based on allowing and rewarding different people bringing various viewpoints and skills to help make the story more compelling. A great learning opportunity for any aspiring film editor. The full details of the contest are available on the official website and in the Development Agreement.

The 48 Hour Film Project - Born out of a friendly competition between Mark Ruppert, Liz Langston and their filmmaking friends, a challenge to make a complete film within 48 hours has grown into an international competition. Open to everyone with any type of video or film camera, participants and their team have 48 hours to write, shoot, edit and score their movie. Contestants receive a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre on the first night of the competition, a Friday. The challenge is to incorporate all of those elements into your movie, producing the completed film 48 hours later. Filmmakers who have successfully completed the challenge will have their movie shown at a local theater. Emphasizing hands-on experience, creativity and teamwork, participants also have the opportunity to interact with other filmmakers, acquiring valuable contacts and resources. The complete rules, contest dates and locations are available on the official website

 

UNIONS & PROFESSIONAL GROUPS

Like many other unions and professional groups in the entertainment industry, film editors find fellowship and collective bargaining power by banding together when offering their services to producers and studios. These labor unions and organizations set the industry standard rates for editors as well as add legitimacy to a professional editor’s credentials. Unions also provide film editors with safety requirements in their work environment and offer health benefits.

American Cinema Editors – While not a union, ACE is an important professional group that bands the best editors in the world together for mutual benefit through trade contact, sharing information through an in-house magazine and offering the highest form of credential – peer respect. To join, potential members must have a minimum of five years professional experience as an editor and two current ACE members must sponsor their application. Prospective members must be approved by the Board of Directors and then by current ACE members before membership is granted to the respected association.

MPEG Logo

Motion Picture Editors Guild – Founded in 1938, the trade union is a branch of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. The union uses its collective bargaining power to negotiate union contracts, enforce existing agreements and secure better working conditions, which may include salary, health insurance and credit.

 

______________________________________________________________________________

Whether you have graduated from a film school or earned a certification in film editing, it will take some time to build a successful career in this competitive field. You should be willing to start at the bottom and be prepared to pay your dues as an intern, production assistant or apprentice. If you can prove you are willing to work hard, maintain a positive attitude and seek out opportunities to observe experienced editors, you can build a professional network to help further your career.

Apprenticeships and internships may be available at your local television stations, commercial production houses or postproduction facilities. Gaining hands-on experience and industry contacts is more important than limiting yourself to feature films or television series when trying to land an internship.

As we mentioned earlier in the guide, many professional film editors stress the importance of people skills as well as technical skills in establishing and maintaining a successful career. Because film editing is a relationship-based business, it is incredibly important to have a reputation of someone who is easy to work with as well as a skilled editor.

With those final thoughts, we close the book on this chapter of the Aspiring to Act, Write and Direct series! For all the cutting room geniuses set to emerge from the next generation of filmmakers, we hope this has been a helpful primer. Use this information to help you find the spark to ignite the fire of your passion to make movie magic! If anyone can do it, it’s the creative force in our community of movie fans.

Do you have film-editing experience? If you are willing to share your knowledge and direct us to any additional information or resources, TomCruise.com team would welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions. Connect with us on TwitterFacebookOrkutGree or Weibo, and please remember to use the hashtag #aspiring2actwritedirect in all your social media responses about these guides. To keep up with all the latest Tom Cruise news, projects and events, subscribe to the TomCruise.com official newsletter today!

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:  The books, publications, blogs, contests, festivals, fellowships and schools referenced on this page DO NOT come with any implied or explicit endorsement from Tom Cruise, TomCruise.com or its representatives. This resource article DOES NOT constitute a solicitation for  story, concept, or idea submission. Do NOT post any story, concept, or idea to the comment section of this page, nor via TomCruise.com form, email or any other manner of communication to TomCruise.com or it’s representatives. The presence and sole purpose of any and all user comment posts added to this page by TomCruise.com site visitors is to allow site visitor expression and are absolutely not a request for story, concept or idea submission. Any idea/stories or concepts submitted here against this policy will be summarily ignored and deleted by the TomCruise.com team. Site visitors post comments on this page voluntarily and at their own risk and TomCruise.com assumes no responsibility for providing visitor comment post confidentiality.”

  • Koppelm

    Terrific comprehensive overview of editing and resources. May I also humbly recommend the book I wrote on Walter Murch, BEHIND THE SEEN (Peachpit Press), which chronicles documentary-style his editing and mixing of the film COLD MOUNTAIN from start-to-finish. This was the first major motion picture on which Final Cut Pro was edited — the book also uncovers the surprising relationship Murch had with Apple when it came to using their software. nn(http://tinyurl.com/4dnncba)nnCharles KoppelmannBerkeley, CAn

  • http://twitter.com/synapticlight SynapticLight

    very cool, good resources there. Can’t believe that I have not read In the Blink of an Eye Revised yet :O

  • http://twitter.com/hwreinvented Hollywood Reinvented

    Just want to say thanks for the shout out from the good folks at TomCruise.com. Have been a huge fan of Mr. C way back to the days of “Risky Business” over at Paramount around the same time I was getting my start under Richard Marks, A.C.E. on “Terms of Endearment”. It’s a testament to Tom’s love of the filmmaking craft that he has highlighted the often overlooked contribution of the editor in this great post.nnBest regards,nLawrence Jordan, A.C.E.nhttp://hollywoodreinvented.com

  • http://twitter.com/Karen_ShNi Karen

    Wow, how great is all this! Particularly, I admire the enormous talent of the people that makes us enjoy our passion, film … Tom, I especially love all the despilegue of the art in U movies, no one like you! I love U! :D

  • Pingback: Learn Filmmaking at TomCruise.com | Hollywood Reinvented

  • gb

    You forgot http://www.artoftheguillotine.com which aggregates all information about film editing across the web. Might be useful for editors to know about.

  • http://twitter.com/Azeemisokay Azeem

    behind the seen, how hardwork done. its really intresting….

  • Marcella Lucchiari

    Awesome… Thanks for sharing.

  • Holidaymermaid

    Hi guys~ I always thought the editor brought it all together along with the actor & director’s vision. But that final cut is priceless and though not glamour filled I always wanted to do it. I am in my 40′s now so it’s to late for me but I love these resources and I encourage young people to follow their dreams & go for it. I did go to a performing arts school and learned so much about myself and everything around me.nIt is a tool you will use forever. Do it!nHoliday Mermaid

  • David

    great stuff!!, Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=626420970 Anonymous

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