|Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo.|
Breaking into the Business
We all started working together when we first got
out of film school, and I’ve worked with many of the same people
ever since. It’s not so much about climbing over the wall to get
into the film business; you just get a group of people and walk
through the front gate together. And that makes it a lot easier
than going one by one.
The Digital Learning Curve
Learning the craft of editing has changed in the last
five to six years. Your ability to watch and learn is now compromised
because people can go into a room, close the door and work by themselves.
They don’t need an assistant for the manual labor part of it like
they used to. So the most important thing is that you really insinuate
yourself into the process. Work with an editor who will let you
be in the room while they’re cutting.
The director-editor relationship is one of the hardest
and most rewarding parts of the job. You have to be able to really
get along with somebody. You end up spending six months in a room
with someone and you end up becoming their shrink, collaborator,
co-writer—you’re their everything. So you have to be able
get along with that person. If that chemistry’s not there, it is
not going to work.
An Independent State of Mind
There is no such thing as independent film in America
anymore. Independent film is a state of mind, as opposed to a way
to describe the distribution process. In the next few years, we’re
going to start seeing a rebirth of independent film because of all
of the DV movies that people are making on their own. That’s going
to be the new wave of independents, like it was in the late ’80s
and early ’90s, when people were saying ‘I can’t deal with years
and years in the development process to make a film. I’m going to
go out and do it.’ There will be a resurgence, I think.
On Creating a Character
[With Sy, Robin Williams’ character in One Hour
Photo], we didn’t want to marginalize him. We didn’t want to
turn him into a psychopath; we didn’t want to turn him into the
killer. A character like that has to be edited with love. At the
same time, you may have narrative obligations to make him a threat.
And when you’re playing both sides like that, that’s when it’s a
lot of fun. Don’t play both sides and you wind up with one-note
I think the best advice—this was originally delivered
by Dede Allen, who’s one of the great editors and one of my heroes—is
that you have to work the scene. You have to make it play. What
she means by that is you just don’t know how much you can do with
a scene until you’ve worked it over.
It takes a lot of patience to sit there and wait while
the editor works it over or while the director comes up with these
harebrained ideas that you think are never going to work—and you’re
going to put six to eight hours into trying an idea that you’re
sure won’t work. Well, that idea that may not work leads to an idea
that does work.
Editing is a beautiful thing. You just have to keep
working it until the ideas come. And when they do, you sometimes
end up with more than you ever thought you could achieve with that
material. You just have to work it, and that’s the thing that people
primarily have to remember: it’s a lot of work and it requires a
lot of patience.