5

JULY, 2018

ACE EditFest, London
Career
Events

Last weekend we headed to the American Cinema Editors EditFest UK 2018 in London. We were treated to a brilliant day of expert panels full of fascinating assistants and editors at all stages of their careers with some big hitting award winners thrown in for good measure. From beginner editors to those with some serious titles under their names, EditFest proved to be a great opportunity to take a snapshot of our industry, assess its health, and connect with colleagues from the editing community. And let me share the good news friends, things are looking rosy.

Here are the top takeaways from the day:

There are jobs out there – lots of them.

The film industry is growing and thriving and it’s yours for the taking.

One assistant editor we managed to chat with said he had turned down four jobs that very week – this is more than encouraging news. Remembering that this was EditFest UK, it was also clear from the day that the industry in the UK is blowing up. Thanks to a growing infrastructure and the crafty tax breaks on offer, it seems like editors these days need to be prepared to work on both sides of the Atlantic.

ACE editfest

 

Now is a very exciting time

With the onward and upward rise of Netflix, Amazon and others spurring on an upsurge of quality productions of epic proportions, there is a lot of exciting work going on, on both sides of the pond. With Prime, the networks, cable channels, and satellite all clamouring to make the next must-see box set, that’s a lot of work getting made for very hungry content providers. It’s a good time for everyone in the industry from pre to post production. With a focus on delivering the next must-watch complete with astonishingly high production values, it also means that the work is of an exceptional standard and is also often long-running. Now is the time friends, get out there and get connecting.

“I have terrible news and great news. The terrible news is that there isn’t a specific way to become an editor. The great news is that there isn’t a specific way to become an editor.” – John Venzon, ACE

There isn’t one direct route into the industry

The main takeaway of the event was that there isn’t just one route into the industry. We heard from editors and assistants who had been to film school, hadn’t been to film school, worked on indies, worked on shorts, lucked out in a major way, and from those who had just persisted long and hard to get where they are today. We couldn’t put it better than John Venzon, ACE (Lego Batman, Storks, South Park the Movie) when he says: “I have terrible news and great news. The terrible news is that there isn’t a specific way to become an editor. The great news is that there isn’t a specific way to become an editor.”

What was unanimous amongst all the speakers, was the message that it’s not a case of what or who you know, instead, it’s all about who knows you. We’re going to be covering this in future articles, but the main point is this: your career is in the hands of the people who remember you as a positive, go-getter with an excellent attitude. Keep this mantra in mind as you make your fiftieth coffee of the day, or as you take the trash out on your way home… Smiling as you go and being friendly to the people you meet will pay off in the long run – honestly.

Saying yes to opportunity

One of the most interesting panels from our perspective was about making the leap from assistant to editor. What seemed very clear was that for almost every speaker, their big chance had come from being able to recognize and say yes to opportunities that came their way. It might have been the chance to edit a corporate vid (granted, for the wife of a pretty big director!), or the chance to cut a second-attempt trailer, or even the chance to get in on the ground floor with a brand-new production company. Either way you look at it, all the speakers recognized that their chance had come from an unexpected opportunity at an unexpected time. Keep your eyes and ears, people!

Editfest speakers
editfest3
editfest discussion2
cutting crime

What was unanimous amongst all the speakers, was the message that it’s not a case of what or who you know, instead, it’s all about who knows you. We’re going to be covering this in future articles, but the main point is this: your career is in the hands of the people who remember you as a positive, go-getter with an excellent attitude. Keep this mantra in mind as you make your fiftieth coffee of the day, or as you take the trash out on your way home… Smiling as you go and being friendly to the people you meet will pay off in the long run – honestly.

Saying yes to opportunity

One of the most interesting panels from our perspective was about making the leap from assistant to editor. What seemed very clear was that for almost every speaker, their big chance had come from being able to recognize and say yes to opportunities that came their way. It might have been the chance to edit a corporate vid (granted, for the wife of a pretty big director!), or the chance to cut a second-attempt trailer, or even the chance to get in on the ground floor with a brand-new production company. Either way you look at it, all the speakers recognized that their chance had come from an unexpected opportunity at an unexpected time. Keep your eyes and ears, people!

Gender parity

One of the most warming aspects of the day was the completely equal gender split between both speakers and attendees. In the age of #metoo and #timesup and the glaring fault lines within the film industry overall, it was refreshing indeed to see equal amounts of men and women making their way in the sector and an equally split number of youngsters coming up through the runner ranks. And why does this matter? Well, the more equal the people who work in film, the more equal the end results are likely to be.

Chris Lebenzon is one cool guy

The day’s keynote speaker was none other than Chris Lebenzon, long-time editor of Tim Burton’s films and others such as Top Gun. Lebenzon seems to be one laid back guy but wouldn’t you be if you were in post-production for Disney’s latest live-action story retelling? Yes folks, watch out, you are about to see an elephant fly, for real. Dumbo is heading his sweet little way to the big screen – and soon.

 

keynote speaker

 

Should you go to ACE EditFest?

Yes! So, there were lots of great messages being conveyed by the day and we couldn’t help but to walk away feeling like ours is the industry generating the biggest buzz right now. There is so much good stuff happening: excellent work, a healthy shorts, docs, and indies sector, an exploding scripted long-form sector and some seriously talented and focused people.

To spend the day amongst peers is so valuable and it’s an experience well worth tapping into for yourselves. ACE runs EditFest in Los Angeles (coming August 25th 2018) and London and features an ever-changing line-up of people at the top of their game ready to engage with you. If that’s not enough to convince you, we were also treated to a lovely lunch and a cocktail party to mingle and network afterwards. Win win.

Positive folks busy doing excellent work at the height of the industry – what’s not to love?!

Niki Smith is a freelance writer and film academic from the UK. You can find out more about her here: www.rocketsmithcontent.com

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