Appendix C: Editing 101
This appendix has links to articles and videos that talk in detail about the actual work of editing. They define terms, give examples, discuss approaches, etc.
It’s divided it into four sections: Online articles, Online videos, Books, and Miscellaneous.
Instead of separating tech from aesthetics, we organized it to be alphabetical based on the title of the item.
Please let us know through the contact page if you come across anything that we might add to this appendix.
About editors’ organizations
There are two organizations in the USA that are dedicated to editors (there are others, of course, like workshop places, but these are the two main ones, and of course there are others in many other countries.)
American Cinema Editors (ACE), which runs the EDDIE Awards.You can find information about all the ACE members on their website.
And just a note in relation to women editors: There have been presidents of ACE since its founding in 1950. As far as I’ve been told, there has only been one woman who held that position. Tina Hirsch was president of ACE from 2000-2004.
Cutting the Film by Anne Bauchens in “We Make the Movies” edited by Nancy Naumburg, 1937, pp. 199-215
A 1937 essay providing a detailed explanation of the craft of film editing.
Editing and Cognition beyond Continuity by Karen Pearlman in “Projections” volume 11, issue 2, Winter 2017
An essay exploring the relationship between film editing rhythms and the audience’s cognitive perception.
Film Editing Is the Invisible Art by Josh Apter at NYTimes.com
A critique of how editing awards ignore documentaries and can seem focused on “most editing” instead of best editing.
Give Them Some Credit!: How Post-Production Practitioners Received On-Screen Acknowledgment by Peter Tonguette at Cinemontage.org
A history of the ways in which different kinds of editors have earned the right to be credited in Hollywood films.
“À la recherche du montage perdu”–chapter 1 of “Le Montage au Cinéma” by Dominique Villain, Editions cahiers du cinéma, 1991, pp. 6-45 (in French).
The first of two chapters of a book by the editor Dominique Villain covering many facets of editing in France during the mid to late twentieth century.
“Montage terminé, montage interminable”–chapter 2 of “Le Montage au Cinéma” by Dominique Villain, Editions cahiers du cinéma, 1991, pp. 46-109 (in French).
The second of two chapters of a book by the editor Dominique Villain covering many facets of editing in France during the mid to late twentieth century.
P.O.V. 6 The Art of Editing at POV.imv.au.dk
Issue of a Danish film studies journal with ten articles about editing (in English).
Should Critics and Festivals Give Editing Awards? Yes, and Here’s Why by Sam Adams at IndieWire.com
An argument for more editing awards.
The Cutter by Margaret Booth in “Behind the Screen: How Films are Made” ed. by Stephen Watts, Dodge Publishing, 1938, pp. 147-153
A 1938 essay explaining of the editor’s technical responsibilities and artistic influence on the film.
To Appreciate the Art of Film Editing, You Must Start With a Frame of Reference by Ann Hornaday at WashingtonPost.com
Overview of editing’s role in shaping a film’s story and rhythm.
5 Things Film Editors Literally Do – According to Science by Karen Pearlman & Sven Pape at This Guy Edits on YouTube.com
A video explanation of five essential editing skills: watching, sorting, remembering, selecting and composing.
Directed by Alex Shuper
Documentary film about editing featuring Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dody Dorn, Thelma Schoonmaker, Mary Stephen, and others.
(Requires a purchase or subscription to Amazon Prime.)
Editing as Punctuation in Film by Max Tohline at Vimeo.com
A video essay on how editing functions as a form of punctuation in cinema. On his Vimeo page, there are numerous other videos related to editing.
Editors on Editing with Glenn Garland, ACE at AmericanCinemaEditors.org
A series of video interviews with editors including Maryann Brandon and Tatiana Riegel.
How Star Wars was saved in the edit by David Welch & Joey Scoma at RocketJump Film School’s YouTube page
Video discussing how Marcia Lucas and the other Star Wars editors removed, rearranged, and inserted elements to improve the pacing and storyline of the film
After the Facts – A short essay film about editing by Karen Pearlman on MediaCommons
Manhattan Edit Workshop at YouTube.com
This site has a vast number of video clips featuring editors and other filmmakers discussing their craft.
Here is a selection of some of the clips featuring women editors:
Editor Anne V. Coates, ACE discusses combining footage from different sources in “Aces High” (2:40)
Editor Carol Littleton, ACE Discusses how Classical Theater Inspired the Opening of “Grand Canyon” – YouTube (3:00)
Editor Cindy Mollo, ACE Discusses Editing an Extremely Intricate Scene from “House of Cards” – YouTube (3:12)
Editor Karen Schmeer, ACE Discusses the Use of Stylization in Documentaries as Seen in “Mr. Death” – YouTube (4:38)
Editor Mary Jo Markey ACE Discusses Editing the “Lost” Pilot While J.J. Abrams Was Still Shooting (3:13)
Editor Meg Reticker Discusses Editing the End of the First Season of “True Detective” – YouTube (3:33)
Editor Naomi Geraghty on Using Music to Create Tension on the Hit TV Show “Billions” (3:41)
Editor Susan Morse, ACE Talks About the Difficulty with Beginnings from the Film “Manhattan” – YouTube (3:53)
How Editor Mary Jo Markey, ACE Enhanced the Clarity of The Final Mission in “The Force Awakens” (2:47)
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Editor Mary Jo Markey, ACE on Cutting Rey’s First Lightsaber Duel (2:31)
Susan Morse, ACE Discusses the Difficulty of Endings, Using an Example from “Annie Hall” – YouTube (3:51)
The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing
Directed by Wendy Apple
Documentary film about editing featuring interviews with Dede Allen, Carol Littleton, Sally Menke, Thelma Schoonmaker, and others.
(Requires a subscription to Starz.)
The History of Film and Video Editing by Ashley Kennedy at Lynda.com
A video tutorial covering the history of film and video editing, including essential editing techniques.
(Requires a purchase or subscription to Lynda.)
The Science Behind Film Editing by Karen Pearlman & Sven Pape at This Guy Edits on YouTube.com
A video discussing “onscreen drafting” in which an inexpensive preliminary version of a film is shot so that the editor can respond and offer feedback to shape a rewrite of the final film.
The Top 10 Edited Sequences in Movie History at NewBlueFX
Clips of famous sequences from the history of editing.
Monter avec son intuition at Vimeo.com
Video excerpts from a 2016 discussion about editing with intuition, featuring editors Emmanuelle Jay and Dominique Villain, as well as scholar Nora Meziani (in French.)
NOTE: Some of the following links lead to Google Books entries. If you are interested in buying a hard copy, each Google entry includes a list of retailers on the left side of the page.
Art of the Cut: Conversations with Film and TV Editors by Steve Hullfish
A book that discusses the art and technique of contemporary film and television editing
Cutting Rhythms: Intuitive Film Editing by Karen Pearlman
Includes the principles of rhythm and tools editors use to shape rhythm
Fine Cuts: Interviews on the Practice of European Film Editing by Roger Crittenden
Series of interviews with European film editors including Pia Di Ciaula, Milenia Fielder, Agnès Guillemot, Sylvia Igemarsson (Ingemarsdotter), Julia Juaniz, Anna Kornis, Julianne Lorenz, Sabine Mamou, Simona Paggi, Éva Palotai, Mary Stephen, Agnès Varda, Lidia Zonn, and Lucia Zucchetti
PLEASE NOTE: There are PDFs of the interviews with Agnès Guillemot, Sylvia Igemarsson (Ingemarsdotter), Julianne Lorenz, Lidia Zonn, and Lucia Zucchetti (who each have a page on this website) in their entries in Appendix A
First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors by Gabriella Oldham
Collection of interviews with film editors including Anne V. Coates, Carol Littleton, and Emily Paine.
First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors by Gabriella Oldham
Collection of interviews with film editors including Kate Amend, Emma E. Hickox, Julie Monroe, and Lucia Zucchetti.
In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing by Walter Murch
Discusses the art and craft of editing.
Respirar con la imagen–A book of interviews with the Spanish editor Teresa Font. Free to access online. The book was edited by the research group TECMERIN with the collaboration of Filmoteca de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Screencraft: Editing and Postproduction by Declan McGrath
Covers how films are created in the cutting room.
Selected Takes: Film Editors on Editing by Vincent LoBrutto
Interviews with film editors including Dede Allen, Anne V. Coates, Tina Hirsch, Carol Littleton, and Susan E. Morse.
The Art of the Cut: Editing Concepts Every Filmmaker Should Know by Greg Keast
An introduction to many important concepts in film editing
The Technique of Film and Video Editing: History, Theory, and Practice by Ken Dancyger
Covers the theory and history of film and video editing.
Plus long le chat dans le brume by Emmanuelle Jay
A collection of writings about film editing, including histories, quotations, poetry, and drawings (in French.)
Academy Award for Best Film Editing at Wikipedia.org
A List of Oscar nominees and recipients since the award’s inception in 1934.
The Journal of the Motion Pictures Editors Guild.
Eddie Awards at the American Cinema Editors Wikipedia page
A list of winners of ACE’s annual editing awards.
Film Editors Forum at Cinemontage.com
Film editors answer, “What is film editing?Good film editing? Great film editing?”
Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship
Fellowship foundation’s website features blog with articles and interviews about editing.
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
Directed by Midge Costin
Documentary film about sound editors and others who create cinematic sound.
The Evolution of Film Editing at Adobe.com
Visual timeline of the history of film and video editing spanning 1890 to 2015
Many thanks to Michael Jorgensen, Charlotte Maher Levy and Lilli Dekker and for their work in compiling this appendix.