Making the director comfortable, but not too comfortable

Alan Heim, editor:

The editor, the assistant, and the apprentice have been together for, say, there months. You’ve been sitting there looking at this material and occasionally muttering under your breath, being unhappy about it in some way, and suddenly, here’s the perpetrator. You’ve got certain loyalty and the director is now an outsider. You get to the point where the editor has to make the director feel comfortable in the cutting room.

Also from Selected Takes:

There are ways of getting your view across without challenging the original concept for the film. The whole process is a compromise and you have to be willing and able to get other people to compromise. That often leads to some tensions, and you’ll lose a lot of the fights. … I can work on a film and be tremendously intense about it, but after is said and done, it’s the director’s movie. At some point you have to be willing to give up and let the director do what he wants to do, even if you feel it’s not right.

He edited Network, All That Jazz and American History X. If you’re in New York on Thursday 27th September, you can ask him your own questions as part of the Manhattan Edit Workshop’s series of seminars with distinguished feature film editors. The event is free, it starts at 7:30pm sharp at the Helen Mills Theatre, 139 W 26th Street. RSVP to The Manhattan Edit Workshop.


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