Focus On – Scott Gray ASE on “Top of the Lake”

Focus On – Scott Gray ASE on “Top of the Lake”

The structure of tension is important in episode 5 how did you build that in the edit?

I really couldn’t tell you much about the structure of tension.  The script was great and I cut it to the best of my ability. It is an intuitive process for me.  Garth and I kept cutting and cutting until it felt right.  Late in the process we were asked to include the “wake” scene at the end of our episode [it was originally the opening scene for ep 6].  Accordingly there was much trimming, of the earlier material, to make it sit properly within the ep and to meet the duration requirements for BBC.

There are few words spoken throughout did you remove much to allow the actions to do the talking?

In almost all scenes there was dialogue removed. Ideas became redundant, whether from good acting, directing or the cumulative effect of the previous scenes leading up to that point. In several areas we found that the scripted dialogue trod on the moment and it was much nicer to let it play out in the audiences heads.

You have a long standing working relationship with co-editor Alexandre de Franceschi did this help with keeping a cohesive style?

My relationship with Alexandre started in 1990 when I was employed as his assistant.  My first job was sharpening chinograph pencils [for marking the film], emptying rubbish bins and making coffees. All up I have spent nearly twenty years working alongside him. Through osmosis, I have probably learnt a lot of similar ways of approaching editing, both creatively and technically.  We have now co-edited three projects together.  I finished a film, he finished one for me and we both cut TOTL. In each project it was a completely seamless transition between editors. It is great that I can now edit alongside my mentor and I know he feels the same about me.

Describe a typical day in the edit suite

Coffee, edit, coffee, edit, coffee, edit, lunch, coffee, edit, coffee, edit coffee edit, go home.

Every director is different and some like to breath down your neck and others appear occasionally. Whatever their preference I always end up with a couple of hours, at the end of each day, to fine cut and tune our work.

What is your favourite experience?

Finishing the Rough Assembly!

(February 2014)

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