In a recent video for Variety, a few of the Oscar-nominated editors sat down and talked about what makes an edit of excellence.
For William Goldenberg (pictured above) of The Imitation Game, the overall goal is to take the audience on a journey in a way where they’re not noticing his cuts. “I just want to tell the story in the best way possible and sort of let the audience enjoy it and stay out of the way,” he said. “I think other people can evaluate editing by, ‘do you feel like you’re in good hands with the filmmakers’. If you feel like you’re being taken on a ride and you don’t notice the editing and in the end of it you see a great story, a well-told story, that’s probably great editing.
Joel Cox (pictured left) of American Sniper talked about the psychological effects of the edit and the ability to play with audiences’ emotions in a way that’s unseen. “I’m always telling students that basically, we control your mind, and we can play with it, or we can have you sucked into the story and you don’t even realize time is going by,” he mentioned. “So if you’re starting to be aware of the edits, I’m taking you out of the story.”
In terms of an editing style, Goldenberg said that his role as an editor requires him to match the style of the film as truthfully as possible. “My style changes based on what’s right for each individual film,” he said. “I don’t come and pose a style on a movie that doesn’t want it. It feels like to me that people are getting away from this sort of fast cut feeling of it. I think people are understanding that it may look cool, but there’s no emotional impact. The editing can have a big effect on the tone, and that’s a big part of my job. It’s such a subtle thing and a difficult thing to gauge sometimes, so it’s a really difficult challenge.” (Variety)