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How to Become a Video Editor Directors Will Want to Work With

In the modern age of overflowing content and creatives working around the clock to make a name for themselves, many aspire to be a video editor who directors look forward to working with and would partner with if given the chance.

  • Get creative without stepping on the director’s vision or trying to take over the project
  • Be prepared and organized, every second counts and every file should be accounted for
  • Always be enthusiastic to learn and strive to be polite and friendly to your clients and coworkers

Here are nine tips on becoming a professional and consistent video editor.

Make a Contribution

While an editor should work hard to bring the director’s vision to the screen, many of the best editors know that the director doesn’t have all the answers. Don’t be afraid to voice your own input and offer your own sense of where scenes and shots are going and how they can fit together more seamlessly.

Film is a collaborative effort and this collaboration often extends to the editing bay. Even if a director has a particular idea in mind, they’ll often be open to hearing various other methods to achieve their desired effect.

Don’t Push Too Hard

While great editors will try to contribute to the film they’re making, the best editors understand the director’s role and his power in determining the final product. The director always has final say, no matter how good your idea is how much you think it will improve the flow of the narrative.

While the cream rises to the top, it’s oftentimes the discretion of the director to choose what the cream is and what it isn’t.

Use Your Time Wisely

Like any role in the film making process, editing takes dedication to the craft and an understanding of your own timetables. There are often a multitude of “pre-edit” chores to do before the editing starts, such as accessing the proper files and booting up whatever software you prefer to use.

This should all be taken care of before your time on the job officially starts. When you’re on the job, from the first minute to the last, you should be editing, and nothing else.

Enthusiasm is Always Nice

There’s a harsh truth inherent in editing; it’s a tedious, oftentimes frustrating process where every detail matters and every second on the timeline is an eternity. Even the professionals can feel jaded and tired with their work at some point, but they never feel this way for long.

Great editors will keep the enthusiasm for their work at peak condition. If you’re excited to work, you’ll be excited by your final product.

Know Your Limitations

When looking for prospective clients, editors should never over promise. There are many different facets to the job and the range of skill from a novice to a true professional is vast. It’s okay if you’re not a professional, but don’t pretend you are without the skills to back up your confidence.

Attempting to stretch yourself too thin and work outside your boundaries – without proper and thorough practice before taking your shot – is an easy way to displease a director and ruin your reputation.

Stay Organized

An editor’s CPU has the potential to be a maze of clips and folders, impossible to navigate and easy to lose precious production material. Don’t let that be your CPU. You should know exactly where your necessary files are and double check every change and detail you have to work with.

The best editors are in complete control of their craft from top to bottom. Clean up your desktop and navigation system and keep each project separated from each other and well organized.

Be Polite

An oft-told truth in the film industry is that those who find consistent work are those who are consistently easy to work with. Though it sounds like a no brainer, being polite and courteous to the director and any other cast and crew goes a long way in the industry.

Maintaining a positive attitude and making certain not to chafe against the personalities you’re working with is a small but important facet of working in any industry.

Be Ready to Educate Yourself

Another great rule of thumb for any industry, professionals and amateurs alike should share the same open mindedness and humility in their quest for knowledge. While maintaining a consistent routine that works for you and keeps your mind focused and efficient is important, don’t hesitate to lookout for new and exciting techniques to make your projects more impressive.

Many editing tricks and graphic design can be learned from simple crash courses. The only thing stopping you from learning these new skills is yourself.

Accept Criticism

Remember, an editor’s job is to stay neatly tucked away in the shadows while maintaining consistent narrative clarity and cohesion. Editors have less room for razzle dazzle than other positions, and many projects call for a strictly functional cutting method.

When the final project is delivered, accept the criticism and make the desired changes without putting up too much of a fuss. Take the opportunity presented as a chance to learn other styles and improve upon every project you make. There should be no ego or temperament, only the desire to improve as an editor.

Final Thoughts

If you want to be a professional editor that directors want to work with again and again, remember to be prepared, stay organized, and know your limits, while working consciously and confidently with your director.

Follow these tips and you’ll be a pro in no time.


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