First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors

First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors

First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors

First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors

Synopsis

First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors presents a new collection of twelve interviews with award-winning film editors who discuss the art and craft of editing in the twenty-first century. As a follow-up to the successful First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors (now celebrating its 20th anniversary), this new volume explores the transition of editing from the age of celluloid to the digital age. These extraordinarily articulate editors share their passion about film, offer detailed practical examples from their films to explain their process as well as their challenges, and imbue each interview with unique personality, humor, and cinematic insights. First Cut 2 continues the tradition of the first volume by interviewing both fiction and documentary editors, contributing to a rich, holistic appreciation of editing. It also introduces a significant interview with an independent filmmaker/editor to emphasize today's multiple opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to make their own "small films" and achieve success. Together with the first volume, First Cut 2 offers a panoramic survey of film editing and preserves its history through the voices of its practitioners. The stories told will engage students, inform general filmgoers, and even enlighten industry professionals.

Excerpt

Twenty years may seem endless, but they may also feel much like the blink of an eye.* in the twenty years since the publication of First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors, this duality of endless/instant has come to characterize everyday twenty-first-century life, not to mention the evolution in the techniques of filmmaking, and of film editing in particular. Before looking at editing specifically, however, a snapshot of the twenty years that led to this second volume, First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors, may illuminate this duality that both intimidates and exhilarates.

During the late 1980s, when I was seeking editors to interview for the first volume, I had no such tools as Yahoo, Google, IMDb, or any other database that is at one’s fingertips today. I had chanced upon a book at the Coliseum Bookstore in New York City that happened to list the credits of most working and retired editors of feature films from the golden age of Hollywood to the 1980s—and, unbelievably, their home addresses and telephone numbers. Subsequently, I mailed letters requesting interviews, and each editor graciously answered using my return self-addressed stamped envelope. To screen films for my interviews, I rented ten or more vhs tapes each weekend from local video stores, to the wide-eyed wonder of attendants behind the counter. I recorded all interviews on audiotapes, vigilantly watching the turning wheel of the cassette to make sure the fragile tape did not catch in the recorder’s mechanical jaw. Via snail mail

* in editing, this phrase has special meaning. Not only does this natural flutter of the eye permit the optical illusion that is film, but it is also the title of a classic book, In the Blink of an Eye (2001), by veteran film editor Walter Murch, who was a pioneer in the “digital revolution” that is frequently referred to in this set of interviews.

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