Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai.

Choose work you like.

If I’m lucky enough to choose, and I am at the moment, I’m
going to choose what I like. That just sort of makes sense.

If you don’t want to be an assistant, you don’t
want to be an editor.

If you don’t like assistant editing, you’re not going to like
editing. Because every bit of assistant editing—which I happened
to like a lot when I did it—is still there when you’re a film editor.

Watch the actors’ eyes.

Everything about film editing takes place in
the actors’ eyes.
As long as an actor gives you eyes that you can work with, you
never have to cut until he tells you to—until he blinks or turns

Be aware of transitions.

An actor’s transitions are the most important thing to me. I cut
to see how actors make transitions. So when there’s dialogue going
on, for me, the important thing is who’s making the transition,
not necessarily who’s making the statement.

It’s all about music.

When you’re editing film, it’s all about music. I’m
not saying use music.
But editing to me is just music and an interpretation of music—and
I’m not even musical!

Editing can’t be learned.

I’m not really sure you can learn editing from someone,
but you can certainly see someone who does it in a very interesting

There are no rules, unfortunately.

I wish there were rules. If there were rules,
I could say to my assistants—who I want to go out into the world
and cut: these are the rules! But it changes from picture to

Filmography for Steve

The Last Samurai (2003)
The Four Feathers (2002)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
X-Men (2000)
The Siege (1998)
Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Courage Under Fire (1996)
Braveheart (1995)
Legends of the Fall (1994)
Jack the Bear (1993)
Glory (1989)
Steele Justice (1987)
Wild Thing (1987)
Extreme Prejudice (1987)
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)