On Editing Low-Budget

You have to choose your battles, so to speak, when
doing lower budget films.

On Editing Her First Action Film

I always think of dialogue as being the hardest
thing to cut, but I have a newfound respect for the whole action
genre—pacing it properly, making it exciting, creating that tension—it
was great to able to do that.

On the Director/Editor Relationship

I think it’s important that the director and editor
have a trust with each other; sometimes that takes a while to
have, especially in new relationships. If you respect each other,
then you will listen to each other, and that’s a good thing in
the cutting room.

On Being Willing to Compromise

A director may say something to me and I may think
‘Now that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard’ and then it
works, or it leads to something else between the two of us. You
have to be willing to try things. I learn a lot from my directors,
and hopefully they learn something from me.

On the Qualities that Make a Good Editor

They should be really good listeners, creative,
willing to try on new things, tenacious. You have to have a lot
of patience; often it takes a lot of tenacity to get to the place
you want to go. You have to be willing to try things a whole list
of ways until you find the answer.

On Getting it Right in the Editing Room

If it doesn’t work the first or second time, you
don’t give up; you have to be willing to try it the 20th time
before you get it right—the exact right frame, the right moment.

On Being a Good Storyteller

You have to be a good storyteller. If you work with
people who are master storytellers, you have a much better shot
at learning your craft.

On Differences in Storytelling

There are different kinds of storytellers. It’s
like telling a joke: there may be six different ways to tell a
joke and five of them might be great, but each has its own personality.

On Cultivating Creativity

I worked as an assistant to an editor named Angelo
Carrao, who was really terrific. One of things that I often watched
him do was take two pieces of film that didn’t necessarily go
together and be really creative it making them work together.
You have to be open to seeing how things might be able to relate
to each other in some way. Basically it’s all about experimenting
and not being limited, not saying, ‘Here are the rules and we
have to apply them 24-seven.’

On the Importance of Intention

There’s that old saying—maybe from Mel Brooks—to
the effect that if you zoom in on a banana tree there better be
a monkey in it. There has to be a reason for doing something—going
into a close up, zooming or dollying in, etc. Hopefully the director
knows that.