Editing and Me
It’s difficult talking about editing. In the cutting room there’s lots of discussion of shape (we need to flesh it out, cut it back, bulk it up) of impact (moments need to strike hard, hit home, land softly) and other strange things.
That’s because editing isn't something you can point to and look at, the way you can with photography; nor is it something you can go over on the page, the way you can with words and with music. It's a strangely slippery subject, and I was fascinated from my first encounter with it.
After discovering I had a knack for cutting, I went to study editing at Bournemouth Film School, graduated in 98, and cut my first feature in 05. Other people seem to like my work too - it’s been nominated for two BAFTAs, been selected for Cannes, and won many awards.
Working with fiction and documentary filmmakers can be a very different experience, but the underlying craft is the same - telling a story through pictures and sound. Documentary is an Editor’s medium like no other, where you become a co-writer on the material, discovering scenes and designing their construction. It can be primarily an exploration, where the end is unknown when you begin. In contrast, the intensified world of fiction allows for more ambitious, specific creations. The wiggle room is less, with the footage delineated by the screenplay, and mostly you work towards a predefined goal, finding choices that not only work on their own terms but also synch with the original vision of the film. I find great satisfaction in both kinds of work.
As well as editing I also work on projects at the script stage. I’ve consulted for a number of producers in the UK and overseas, giving analysis and advice on making their story the best it can be. Film Editors and Scriptwriters feel like cousins to me - no-one else in the filmmaking team has to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty with story craft quite the way we do. The best Directors and Producers have keen a sense for what works and what doesn’t, but when it comes to solving problems and making the damn thing actually work, it’s Film Editors and Screenwriters who are at the coalface.
So it felt natural to me to share two decades of experience with the men and women who are the truest creators of all - the writers.