On Sunday 23 July, at the Lord Dudley Hotel in Woollahra, three editors from varied backgrounds reflected on their career a decade after receiving accreditation, in a very entertaining and informative event, hosted by Dr Karen Pearlman.
Philippa Rowlands ASE – Reality & Factual Sector
I like the challenge of trying to make it work.”
A strong theme on the day was the idea of service - Philippa spent 11 years on the ASE Committee, and she was keen to represent the reality sector. She has seen the expected hours grow over that time; for example, the 50-hour week was early on seen as a way of avoiding paying overtime, but it was rare that you would work that much. Now it seems to be the standard expectation and there needs to be a better understanding of the “law of diminishing returns.”
Bernard Garry ASE - Commercials
Advertising is a 30-60 second medium and this constraint is an art form in itself. There is also a bit of “room theatre” that an editor needs to learn in managing clients. Your editing style comes from your aesthetics; your sense of rhythm is affected by the music you like. The internet today can offer more opportunities to work on mini art pieces or docos where the outcome satisfies an audience, not a client. On the editor/director relationship, Bernard says “Ads at worst take two weeks and I reckon I can hold my tongue for that long. I’m reading Buddhism for busy people and that might help,” he laughed.
One of the benefits of commercial success is being able to give back to editing by supporting the ASE Guild; and being able to identify talent and transition Assistant Editors into cutting. “We’re a community and we need to keep feeding it,” he said.
Jason Ballantine ASE – Feature Drama
A big part of the job is to manage the director’s expectations against the reality of what they’ve actually shot. He explained “I think it is a great insurance for the production to have the Editor on during the shoot, giving instant feedback, discussing things that aren't quite working or extra shots that are required”.
The director needs to feel secure in the “cone of silence” in the cutting room, and it’s crucial for the Editor to find a way to “politely tell the truth.” The first assembly might be three hours long, cut quickly so that there is instant feedback during the shoot. It is important to have the confidence in your own skill to openly talk about what’s working. He then wants the opportunity to bring his own creative read to the scene before he spends 10 weeks with the director.
Jason also explained transitioning from being a very respected Assistant and moving across to the driver’s seat. He said that Australia is a great place to quickly advance in your career as well as gain international credits, because the union in the US restricts an Assistant’s chance to move to editing until they have enough hours, which can take many years. “I feel like I’ve completely shot through the back door.”
ASE Executive Committee Member
(Photos by Adrian Barac)