How do I Become a Film Editor?

Amanda Allen
Amanda Allen
Working on other aspects of film post-production offers prospective film editors a way to gain experience and make connections in the industry.
Working on other aspects of film post-production offers prospective film editors a way to gain experience and make connections in the industry.

Film editing is a demanding part of the filmmaking business that typically allows a person to express his or her creativity. Generally, film editors have one of the most thankless jobs on the movie set since it is their job to cut and join segments of film so that that movie runs smoothly. Top-notch editors, however, usually are always in demand in the movie and television industry.

Traditionally, editors worked directly with physical film, though much of their work is done using computers today.
Traditionally, editors worked directly with physical film, though much of their work is done using computers today.

The process of film editing is technically involved, and there are some computer software programs that prospective editors typically need to be fluent in before they try to secure their first job. Avid and Final Cut Pro typically are recognized as essential programs to the editing process. Final Cut Pro is less expensive, generally easier to navigate, and is used most often. All film editing is basically completed digitally – it is rare for someone to cut and splice an actual film. People that live near film schools could enroll to learn as much about filmmaking as they can; to be a good editor, they typically should learn about directing, acting, and narrative flow, as well.

Most film editing today is completed digitally.
Most film editing today is completed digitally.

People who want to become a film editor could begin by practicing at home with their own computers and Final Cut Pro. Becoming proficient with the program could give them an advantage when the time comes to seek work. All one has to do is grab a video camera, shoot some footage, and start editing.

It could be worthwhile to for you look for an internship, as it might be a great way to get your foot in the door. Interns typically do not do a whole lot of real film work, but they typically get a firsthand look at how an editing room works and how the editor does his or her job. Another way to get started in film editing is to become a production or a post-production assistant – they spend a lot of time in the editing room.

A film editor must be able to work well with a film's director.
A film editor must be able to work well with a film's director.

After an internship, the next step typically is to get a job as an assistant editor. Assistants work to digitize footage, as well as pick out certain footage, music, and sound effects. When one knows their way around the editing room, he or she usually will begin to develop relationships with editors. To become a film editor, it typically is essential to be well acquainted with the entire project – both film footage and script.

A lucky few might impress an editor and get a chance to work with him or her again. Working repeatedly with the same editors can be a great way to build credibility and increase your chances to become a film editor. One generally needs to be patient, however, because it can take years to become a film editor.

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    • Working on other aspects of film post-production offers prospective film editors a way to gain experience and make connections in the industry.
      By: Sergey Lavrentev
      Working on other aspects of film post-production offers prospective film editors a way to gain experience and make connections in the industry.
    • Traditionally, editors worked directly with physical film, though much of their work is done using computers today.
      By: winston
      Traditionally, editors worked directly with physical film, though much of their work is done using computers today.
    • Most film editing today is completed digitally.
      By: muzzoff
      Most film editing today is completed digitally.
    • A film editor must be able to work well with a film's director.
      By: 12_tribes
      A film editor must be able to work well with a film's director.