Do you want to get more replay video editing business from directors you respect? These tips will help.
So many of us aspire to be the video editor for the best directors. However, we rarely stop and ask them what to look for in the video editors they have chosen. I met with award-winning director Greg Fromholz to gather his thoughts. Here are nine attributes he looks for as a director in a video editor.
1. You make a creative and honest contribution
Fromholz told a story about working with an editor who agreed with everything he said. That person would say, "Whatever you want, you are the director." This is the opposite of what he's looking for.
Collaboration is his favorite part of filmmaking, so he prefers an editor who contributes creatively and who will come forward if they don't agree with him.
He uses the phrase: "The best idea wins." If your idea is better than the director's, it will be used. A good editor is apparently one who makes a director look good – bringing thoughtful creative opinions to the table is a great way to do it.
2. You understand the Editor / Director Dynamic
While it is desirable for an editor to speak confidently, it is also important that they understand that the director has the final call when it comes to creative decisions.
So yes, "the best idea wins." Remember, the director can ultimately decide which idea is the best.
3. You are on time and prepared
If the workday starts at 9:00 a.m., processing starts at 9:00 a.m. Do not turn on your machine. Don't check your emails or install any software updates. Machining.
Fromholz once traveled abroad to work on a cut. He arrived at the studio excited and ready to grind. The editor turned on his computer – then turned to Fromholz to say they'd have to wait three hours while he updated his operating system. Obviously, this is not a way to impress a director. Be prepared. Be professional. Be ready to work when the work day starts.
4. You are excited
According to Fromholz, "nothing beats someone who is enthusiastic about the project."
The editor's mood is often expressed in the last video. Negativity will get you nowhere in this business except at the top of a list of people no one wants to work with.
5. They are honest about their skills
Clear, honest communication is everything. Don't be the person who is so intent on over-promising or stretching the truth.
Fromholz recently worked with an editor who announced that he was also a skilled graphic designer, which is why he was able to take on this side of the project as well. After two hours of work, he produced a severely inferior design. Trying to please a director, he wasted everyone's time with no results.
If your skills are sketchy, think about it beforehand so that these parts of the project can be outsourced.
6. You are organized
There is nothing like an editor with an organized storage system. It's definitely not the most exciting part of the job, but it's important. With an efficient system, specific clips or project files can be called up when needed. You don't get paid to spend your day browsing stacks of badly labeled hard drives.
7. You are polite
It might not sound revolutionary, but good old-fashioned courtesy is essential if you are to become a director's editor. When you spend weeks with someone in a dark room every day, courtesy makes the whole experience far more enjoyable.
Polite thoughtfulness is a delightful quality. When you go for a coffee, offer the director one too. Little things like this make such a difference.
8. You are ready to learn
One thing that an editor can work fantastic with is being open to learning new skills. Fromholz recalled a story about an editor who was open about not being able to create certain desired visual effects. (Do you remember tip 5?)
A few hours later, the editor came back after completing a crash course that taught the effect Fromholz wanted. This was a clear indication of the editor's motivation and work ethic, and saved Fromholz the cost of outsourcing.
9. You take criticism well
Stop being so sensitive. Keep your ego away from it. Pro attitude is important. Don't take criticism personally. Be brave enough to look at it for what it is and see it as an opportunity to learn. Responding thoughtfully to criticism is a fantastic way to grow creatively and improve your editing skills.
This is a difficult industry. You are being criticized. Allowing yourself to be offended is a choice. It is also a sign of your emotional and professional maturity. Shake it off, turn it into something positive, and get back to work.
Personally, I found these findings absolutely fascinating. I will definitely think about this regularly when working with new directors.
Here's a challenge for you: ask a director who you know what they're looking for in an editor. Perhaps you will discover some gems that will improve your career.
Would you like to learn more about the video business? Of course you do! Start here:
Images courtesy of Greg Fromholz.