Film Editor’s Work_Tedious? Boring? or Fulfilling?

January 21, 2011

I am currently performing the work of an assistant film editor — that is, capturing shots and sorting them out. It is for me, quite tedious and boring so what I am doing is to edit roughly before going on to the next tape. Quite different from my work as mainstream film editor! At Roadrunner for example, I will only be asked to come in when everything’s done—and that means, when all the NG shots have been thrown away and the scenes are all sorted out and properly filed in their respective “bins.”

I am working on an avp which is supposed to be 5-10 minutes in length when finished. We used 10 tapes which means 10 hours of viewing. But since I have to log the shots myself, digitize and sort them out myself, the time I spend automatically double, even triple up. Viewing and reviewing is the first major activity of the film editor. The reason why my eyes are now very tired. Being in front of the computer more than 12 hours a day when I am in the “mood” becomes in the end so disadvantageous. Is it worth all the effort??? Well, when it comes to finally editing the footages, I’ll say that it is worth my time and effort. Editing is an enjoyable act for me. My mind is always at work. It never rests in fact until the film is already in its final form. After any footage viewing, my mind starts to edit which makes my work pretty easier. The edited scenes form on its own. It even looks for shots which are not there. Timeline gets created. So that before I sit down to actually edit, I am already guided by the roughly cut edit formed in my mind. Guided I say, because it does not mean that what my mind formed will actually be its final look. Finalizing and fine cutting the scenes require decisive edit decisions based on actually juxtaposed shots. Sometimes, other shot transpositions work better.

A film editor has to be flexible, welcome to suggestions and ideas, and willing to change the edit for the better. He/she must take challenges that will improve not only the self, and the craft. One must remember that the role of the film editor is very important. The editor can make the film shabby or brilliant — but take note!— depending on the materials that she will work on. The working relationship with the director is also important to be able to come up with the best, or the way he probably has envisioned his film to be. To direct and edit my documentaries is the best thing that ever happened to me. I fight with no one but myself. I just gauge the success or failure of what I have created from the reactions that the film elicits. So far, I get more positive than negative responses towards my docus. Above all, I feel happier and more fulfilled — using film for my research works. In fact, I can honestly tell anyone that more than a filmmaker, I am a actually a researcher. That way, I am similar to my brother Gani, the only difference being the subjects that I am focusing my lens to. But without doubt, Filipiniana subjects in whichever way you look at what I am doing too.


  1. I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  2. Happy too to know that there are people appreciative of what I am posting. Honestly, I do not think of readers when I write. I blog to express myself, and to share some news and thoughts that I personally find interesting…which I know may not be interesting to others. Thanks for the encouraging reaction to the post anyway!

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