Michael Berenbaum: Things I’ve Learned As A Moviemaker

Al Pacino

Berenbaum worked
with Al Pacino on Chinese Coffee.

Trust yourself. A lot of times
I’ve worked with first time directors and they get into situations
where people are telling them ‘This is the way it should be’
or ‘We’re running out of time,’ and they let people
who don’t really know what they’re trying to capture on
film change their ideas. And they always regret it.

We’re often in the editing
room saying: “I wish they hadn’t talked me out of doing
what I wanted to do” or “I wish I hadn’t listened
to them.” And that’s the case in any situation. You have
to believe in yourself. You have to trust your instincts. And you
have to let people know what your thoughts are. You can’t sit
back and do nothing. You have to get the nerve and get up and do
it.

Some people may say film is a hard
career to get into. A lot of people I went to film school with are
no longer in the industry. But if you have the determination and
the love of film, you stick to it. Eventually you’ll get where
you want. Some people struggle longer than others. I’ve had
great luck in my career in that one thing has lead to the next.
You can certainly study film, try and follow the footsteps of the
great masters of film. But editing all comes down to an instinctual
feeling of what you should be looking at, what you want to tell
the audience and a sense of rhythm. And I don’t know if you
can learn that. But first and foremost, you have to trust yourself,
not let anyone talk you out of what you want. You have to trust
your heart.

Editing Filmography for Michael
Berenbaum

Chinese Coffee (2001)
Before Night Falls (2000)
A Cooler Climate (1999)
Illuminata (1998)
Kicked in the Head (1997)
The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
White Lies (1996)
Basquiat (1996)
Reckless (1995)
Canadian Bacon (1995)
Mac (1992)
Barton Fink (1991)
Misplaced (1990)
Miller’s Crossing (1990)
D.O.A. (1988)
Raising Arizona (1987)
The Cotton Club (1984)
Alphabet City (1984)

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