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I found an article about editing which I find relevant to myself as I am working on editing the film Johnny Noir, and I would like to do more work as an editor. As well as writing, I also have an interest in editing, and I feel that I have not done as much research as I could have done in this area, and so here is a little bit of guidance to help me become a better editor.

Ways I can improve include:

  • GET FASTER
    Getting faster at editing is important, as indeed being quick with any job is important. The problem comes when you need to start exchanging accuracy and quality for speed. Try to perform the edits as quickly as possible without doing a bad job. Efficiency is important, but so too, is the speed at which you can do it. If you’re a good editor but it takes you 5 weeks to edit a 5 minute piece, you’re less likely to get hired than the guy who is quite good but can do a relatively decent job in a day.
    Ways you can improve your speed include:
    Saving template documents, so you can be up and running as quickly as possible. 
    Memorising keyboard hotkeys and shortcuts.
    Tidying as you go.
    I already know a few of my most used shortcuts, and will always try to use hotkeys when I can as I find it speeds up my work immensely. In certain situations, I have gone into the setting and changed the preferences in order to personalise the shortcuts, so I can act as quickly and efficiently as possible.
    I also like to keep a tidy layout, so I label everything and put it in bins and sequences as I go, so I know where everything is and why it’s there. I hate having masses of unlabelled stuff all over my screen, so I try and keep things tidy, even if this does mean having folders inside folders inside folders inside folders inside folders. It works for me.
    I should start using templates a bit more though, and indeed I do when I know I’m going to be doing a lot of similar work, but frequently I will be working for a number of different clients, so the set up will change with each video, but I do try and use them when I know I will be doing a lot of the same work.
  • TURN AROUND MORE
    As in, physically turn around. When working with a director/producer, talk to them face to face. This helps everyone involved, as it means that I can engage more with them and have a better relationship with them. Hopefully, eventually, they will see me as a creative collaborator, not just someone driving the edit, but someone with something to offer.
  • WATCH MORE WORK
    Both my own stuff and other peoples’. It’s important to know what’s trending in the world around me, what’s fashionable in the world of editing and filmmaking, what are other people up to? As well as seeing what everyone else is doing, I should return to my old work now and again, see what I was doing then and whether it still works. It’s important for you to grow, and seeing what you used to do is a good (if potentially cringeworthy) way to help this to happen. Just being aware of what’s going on, what’s working and what’s not, what’s in vogue at the time, all these are a good way to help create and evolve ideas, and to make sure you’re not being left behind. This can also help you to identify your weaknesses, and if you know where you need to improve, then you can go about improving. If you didn’t know what you weren’t good at, you wouldn’t evolve.
  • MAKE TIME TO LEARN
    This may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to stay ahead is to actively learn new things. I am going to try and give myself a few hours or a day each week in order to look at tutorials or experiment with new ideas in order to learn something new as often as possible. As mentioned in the last paragraph, identifying your weaknesses is important as it helps you to grow and become better at your job, and when you know what you’re not so good at, then you can make time to learn about it and improve on it, until you are good at it. Given time, you may reach perfection.
  • GET MORE EXERCISE
    Working on films means spending a lot of time sitting on your arse. This isn’t good. Spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen leads to straining your eyes, prevents you sleeping very well and can lead to feeling a bit stir crazy. I’ve recently taken up running, and I like to try and get out of the house at least once a day, usually going for a little walk or something, but if this isn’t possible, just making a cup of coffee, taking a break now and again, doing something else means that I can work for longer on one project, but also means that the work I am doing remains valuable, rather than over-doing it and having to come back and realise that I wasted five hours and have to start it all again. All this is doing is wasting time, and the five hours I could have spent not messing up that project is five hours I could have spent learning something new or watching something to get ideas, or getting out, and also means that I don’t have to spend five hours today fixing it.

All these things together should help me improve as an editor, and I take them all into account.

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