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First Cut 2

First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors

Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    First Cut 2
    Book Description:

    First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editorspresents a new collection of twelve interviews with award-winning film editors who discuss the art and craft of editing in the twenty-first century. As a follow-up to the successfulFirst Cut: Conversations with Film Editors(now celebrating its 20th anniversary), this new volume explores the transition of editing from the age of celluloid to the digital age. These extraordinarily articulate editors share their passion about film, offer detailed practical examples from their films to explain their process as well as their challenges, and imbue each interview with unique personality, humor, and cinematic insights.First Cut 2continues the tradition of the first volume by interviewing both fiction and documentary editors, contributing to a rich, holistic appreciation of editing. It also introduces a significant interview with an independent filmmaker/editor to emphasize today's multiple opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to make their own "small films" and achieve success. Together with the first volume,First Cut 2offers a panoramic survey of film editing and preserves its history through the voices of its practitioners. The stories told will engage students, inform general filmgoers, and even enlighten industry professionals.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95399-4
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Twenty years may seem endless, but they may also feel much like the blink of an eye.* In the twenty years since the publication ofFirst Cut: Conversations with Film Editors, this duality of endless/instant has come to characterize everyday twenty-first-century life, not to mention the evolution in the techniques of filmmaking, and of film editing in particular. Before looking at editing specifically, however, a snapshot of the twenty years that led to this second volume,First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors, may illuminate this duality that both intimidates and exhilarates.

    During the late 1980s, when I was...

  5. 1. Keeping Beats
    (pp. 13-33)

    With a computer screen glowing off to the side of his New York cutting room, Mark Livolsi spoke of some of the box office smashes he has edited, includingWedding Crashers, The Devil Wears Prada, andMarley and Me. Livolsi peppers his comments with some essential metaphors (playing jazz, handing off batons, making a stew) that many editors here, as well as in the first volume ofFirst Cut, have evoked in discussing their art and craft, establishing the multilayered nature of being an editor. In addition to metaphors, Livolsi offers practical illustrations of the many day-to-day decisions and pressures...

  6. 2. Pushing the Envelope
    (pp. 34-63)

    Forty years after assisting legendary editor Dede Allen, Angelo Corrao provides an important historic link to editing some of the iconoclastic films of the 1960s and 1970s. Echoing many experiences of the veteran editors in the first volume ofFirst Cut, Corrao speaks of the pure physical labor that editing entailed back then. He recalls spinning reels, spliced film running through a Moviola, and trims hanging like ribbons in a bin. His mentors, Carl Lerner onKluteand Sam OʹSteen onSilkwood, ʺwould sit quietly reading the scene over and over to refresh themselves and slowly ask for the rolls...

  7. 3. Cutting from the Gut
    (pp. 64-83)

    As a young volunteer in the American Film Institute program, Julie Monroe first apprenticed on Oliver StoneʹsSalvador, a fortuitous event that has fixed Julie in ʺthe Stone campʺ for years. She quickly learned the valuable emotional response of ʺcutting from the gut,ʺ or breaking rules, that has guided her ever since. Monroeʹs work with other directors as well has broadened her understanding of different directorial styles and approaches to filmmaking. She also points out the vital nature of collaboration with other editors and the contributions that such a team eventually makes to key sequences within a film that are...

  8. 4. Sensing Psychology
    (pp. 84-106)

    Jonathan Oppenheim was hoping to be a painter, despite growing up with a close connection to film. His mother was Oscar-winning actress Judy Holliday. His father, David Oppenheim, was a renowned classical clarinetist and later head of Columbia Records Classical Division, who then moved into documentary film producing for Omnibus and CBS Reports, and finally became dean of New York Universityʹs Tisch School of the Arts, where he presided for twenty years, during which time the school became one of the preeminent film schools in America. Oppenheim eventually discovered his own voice in documentary film editing, once he had understood...

  9. 5. Capturing the Feeling
    (pp. 107-125)

    A common thread linking most editorsʹ experiences is a sense of musicality, and Lucia Zucchetti emphasizes this point frequently in discussing what editors think about or feel when cutting. Whether music is part of a sequence—or purposelynotused when expected—Zucchetti considers how music allows audiences to incorporate their personal feelings into what they are seeing. She cites several examples from the award-winning filmThe Queen, in which both the use and nonuse of music play a pivotal role in underscoring the poignant events surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Zucchetti also discusses more of the ʺatypicalʺ in...

  10. 6. Speaking Cinema
    (pp. 126-148)

    Because of the intense collaboration that molds the editorial process, many editors develop relationships with particular directors that span decades and are as tight as a familyʹs. In such collaborations, editors and directors learn shorthand language with which they complete each otherʹs thoughts and understand in a flash the nuances of a film that realize a directorʹs vision. Joe Bini has had a long relationship with Werner Herzog, starting withLittle Dieter Learns to Flyin 1997. He cites examples from several of the often controversial and visually striking films that comprise the Herzog collection, including a consideration of the...

  11. 7. Editing the Self
    (pp. 149-173)

    Editors hired to cut directorsʹ visions admit to living with the film, daily and obsessively, as if it were their own. For an editor who is also an independent filmmaker, the obsession is both inexpressible and perfectly articulate. As writer, director, cinematographer, editor, sound editor, and producer, Alan Berlinerʹs life is inseparable from his films and vice versa. He keeps personal journals that capture the midnight thoughts of a filmmaker who sleeplessly deliberates over ʺfour words too manyʺ or ʺtwo frames too longʺ to create his life-works. So blurred is the line between life and film that Berliner has even...

  12. 8. Pointing to the Middle
    (pp. 174-196)

    If Emma E. Hickoxʹs allusion to editing as touching the heart seems familiar, it should: her mother, Anne V. Coates—award-winning editor ofLawrence of Arabia—referred to that quality as driving her editing process in her interview for the first volume ofFirst Cut. Yet not remembering what her mother said, Hickox speaks assuredly of finding her own inspiration about film from ʺthe middle,ʺ the emotional site within oneʹs being that makes editing successful. Drawing from an impressive résumé across myriad genres, Hickox admits her dread of losing an audience during a preview and her desire to help audiences...

  13. 9. Honoring Lives
    (pp. 197-218)

    Kate Amendʹs professional life has been primarily dedicated to portraying the conditions of women in a number of powerful documentary films. From a raw and gripping look at bulimic women, to tracking families ravaged by AIDS around the world, to entering the mind of black actress and activist Beah Richards, to documenting women on the frontlines of war, and even to chronicling the adventures of a cowboy matchmaker, Amend ʺconductsʺ the footage that her gifted directors provide to construct riveting stories of women who might otherwise be forgotten and womenʹs issues that are critical to remember. Amend discusses the power...

  14. 10. Weighing the Gold
    (pp. 219-241)

    When reminded of the ʺchemical reactionsʺ that editing symbolically produces from the powerful images and sounds that make up a story, Richard Chew did not hesitate to mention yet another metaphor that editors often use to describe themselves and are described by. As an ʺalchemist,ʺ an editor can ʺcreateʺ gold where only its potential seemed to shine. But lacking spells or magic wands or Bunsen burners, Chew discusses the many practical aspects of creating this illusion with examples from his now-classic fiction films spanning more than forty years. His anecdotes provide rich comparisons and contrasts between directorsʹ approaches to storytelling...

  15. 11. Making It Work
    (pp. 242-267)

    Fresh off his success at the Sundance Film Festival premiering his latest documentary on Roger Corman, Victor Livingston admitted how rewarding editing can be when both the subject and the audience are happy with a story he labored to construct as the ʺtruth.ʺ While truth is his responsibility, Livingston has also discovered inventive techniques to unpack a larger essence that encapsulates this truth while heightening the cinematic experience for the audience. Intrigued by the idea of film as mimicking the processes of the brain, Livingston, much like Zucchetti and Corrao, relishes atypical ways to cut typical scenes. As Livolsi noted...

  16. 12. Striking the Balance
    (pp. 268-294)

    Film may have diverted Michael Tronick from an intended career in law, but in hearing his excitement over numerous encounters with ʺfilm royaltyʺ on both sides of the camera, one cannot imagine Tronick doing anything else. Moving from his early experiences with industrials into a music editing gig, Tronick quickly became a well-respected music editor on some of Hollywoodʹs ʺgreatest hits,ʺ and he provides an important consideration of this specialized postproduction field, which seems arcane and undefined to most outside the industry. He eventually switched to cutting film itself, and this joint perspective allows Tronick to articulate the complex interrelationship...

  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 295-296)
  18. Index
    (pp. 297-310)