Fall 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 73 of 91

72 CINEMONTAGE / FALL 2015 CUT/PRINT Cutting It in Hollywood: Top Film Editors Share Their Journeys by Mitchell Danton, ACE Introduction by Michael Kahn, ACE Hollywood Adventures Publishing Paperback, 377 pages, $49.95 color; $29.95 black and white ISBN # 978-0984030125 How to Avoid the Cutting Room Floor: An Editor's Advice for On-Camera Actors by Jordan Goldman, ACE Paperback, 133 Pages, $14.99 ISBN # 978-1512334852 by Betsy A. McLane C ontrary to the popular adage about achieving success in Hollywood, building a career as an editor definitely includes "what you know" as well as "who you know." Mitchell Danton, ACE, makes this very clear in Cutting It in Hollywood: Top Film Editors Share Their Journeys. Moreover, if some aspiring actors think they should rely on the "who you know" part of the saying, Jordan Goldman, ACE, can help set them straight with How to Avoid the Cutting Room Floor: An Editor's Advice for On- Camera Actors. These books offer practical advice, how-to examples, personal stories and inspiration from two Editors Guild members who made their own ways through the trenches to attain notable careers as picture editors. A member of the Homeland editing team since the show's beginning in 2011, Goldman won an Emmy Award (with David Latham) for cutting the pilot. He is also known for his work on the miniseries 24: Live Another Day and has cut over 70 episodes of television during 20 years in the business. For Goldman, a key part of his job is helping actors create great characters — ones whose thoughts and emotions pull viewers into their stories. Speaking directly to his actors/readers in the book's introduction, he writes, "I don't want to cut you out. I want you to shine. I love actors and the amazing work that you do." The first-person style continues throughout, which makes reading the book feel like sitting down for a cup of coffee and some serious advice with a professional who truly cares about you. Editors will themselves enjoy this quick read, recognizing (perhaps with a chuckle or a grimace) the situations Goldman explains. His caution to actors, "If your scene partner is late on their cue, don't break demeanor," is exemplified by an anecdote of a performer who begins making faces on camera when a stuntman is late on the cue to plow into him. The actor gets tackled anyway, but because he broke character before he was hit, the entire take is unusable. Experienced actors may know how to react in such situations, but anyone starting out in a screen-acting career should buy this volume and memorize its rules. Goldman also creates a valuable tool to help actors avoid needless mistakes. Describing how he approaches editing, he states, "Throughout the process, I'll do whatever I can to bolster all of the actors' performances. My personal opinion is that performance is the most important thing in a scene, so I will always choose an average shot of a great performance over a beautiful shot of a bland performance. Sometimes, I will even use a take which has slight camera-focus problems if the performance is really incredible." This bold declaration may give actors too much to hope for when an executive producer or director dominates the editorial choices, but if performers — or anyone who appears in front of the camera — follow the very useful guidelines outlined in How to Avoid the Cutting Room Floor, they will be much more likely to wind up onscreen. For more information, see Similarly, Danton's tome is a must-read for everyone who aspires to get into, or move up the ladder in, post- How-To Advice from Award-Winning TV Editors

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of CineMontage - Fall 2015