Cutting tips from the top
Students from across the Post Production and Television Production degrees had the benefit of wise advice from top picture editors in a Zoom Q&A this week.
In a session hosted by Trish Morris (Course Leader, MA Post Production in Film and Television), film editor Aggela Despotidou gave students an insight into the role of a first assistant editor, drawing on her experience of working on The Crown Four Children and It and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
Aggela - joining the call from her home in Athens - explained how crucial the role is on any production and how good relationships in the post-production team are essential to success. With film editor Mick Audsley (Murder on the Orient Express, Allied) also joining the call, students had an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about what it takes to be a successful editor.
When asked what attributes editors look for in assistants, Aggela explained how productions can sometimes last many months and so a key trait was to “be nice, be polite and be smart … being a nice person to work with counts for a lot”. She added that it was important “to watch, to learn, and try to be helpful … be patient, be persistent and be on time!”
Assistants need to learn how to work with editors, she said, indicating that alongside the professional skills students develop on Solent’s courses (using software such as Avid, Resolve and After Effects), the inter-personal attributes are equally as important. “You need to be ready to learn, but also to give with your enthusiasm – be creative but understand the boundaries”.
“You also need to be very organised,” she added, stressing that if a director or the editor wanted to look at a shot, the assistant needed to be able to identify and locate that take quickly and efficiently.
Working during the Covid pandemic has also changed the way productions operate. Aggela explained how the latest series of The Crown, currently streaming on Netflix, had been cut remotely. She explained how working individually had been challenging, particularly missing the creative community that develops around a production.
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