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Make the Cut: A Guide to Becoming a Successful Assistant Editor in Film and TV 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240813981
ISBN-10: 0240813987
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  • Make the Cut: A Guide to Becoming a Successful Assistant Editor in Film and TV
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A thorough guide to becoming an indispensable assistant editor."- Alan Heim, Vice President, A.C.E.; Professional film editor (Network, Grey Gardens, American History X, Alpha Dog)

"Make the Cut explains the postproduction editing workflow with utmost clarity and illustrates with abundant examples. Priceless! The book reflects a great depth of knowledge, that clearly has come from years of experience and accumulated wisdom. This book inspires excellence and will provide any aspiring editor with a huge leg up."
-- Howard E. Smith, A.C.E.; Professional film editor (Snakes on a Plane, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Abyss)

"This is terrific preparation for anyone who wants to be an assistant editor.  I teach editing at USC and I will certainly have this on my class' reading list.  I will also give it to anyone I hire as an assistant."
--Tina Hirsch, A.C.E.

"Where was Make the Cut when I started out. [T]his is a must-read.. My biggest frustration is that there wasn't a book like this when I started editing. If there was I wouldn't have made the same political missteps or fumbles, so if you're trying to get into the editing world this book should find a home on your bookshelf."--Guillotine website

From the Back Cover

"Make the Cut explains the postproduction editing workflow with utmost clarity and illustrates with abundant examples. Priceless! The book reflects a great depth of knowledge, that clearly has come from years of experience and accumulated wisdom. This book inspires excellence and will provide any aspiring editor with a huge leg up." -- Howard E. Smith, A.C.E.; Professional film editor (Snake on a Plane, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Abyss)

"A thorough guide to becoming an indispensable assistant editor."

-- Alan Heim, Vice President, A.C.E.; Professional film editor (Network, Grey Gardens, American History X, Alpha Dog)

The key to becoming a successful film, TV, or video editor starts with becoming a successful assistant editor. To do so, one must navigate the many unwritten laws and senses of propriety that are never discussed or taught in film schools or in other books.

Based on their own experiences, first as upcoming assistant editors, then as successful Hollywood-based film and TV editors, authors Lori Jane Coleman and Diana Friedberg share their sage wisdom on how to become a successful assistant editor.

Insight is included on an array of technical issues such as script breakdown, prepping for sound effects, organizing camera and sound reports, comparison timings, assembly footages and more. In addition, they also provide first-hand insight into industry protocol, providing tips on interviewing, etiquette, career planning and more, information you simply won't find in any other book. The book concludes with a chapter featuring Q+A sessions with various established Hollywood editors about what they expect from their assistant editors.

Lori Jane Coleman, A.C.E. began her career as an assistant editor working on films such as Fun with Dick and Jane (original), Up in Smoke, and Which Way Is Up?. She's spent the last 25+ years as an editor and/or producer on a range of feature films and shows including Dawson's Creek, The Practice, and The Shield.

Diana Friedberg, A.C.E. has over 4 decades of professional experience in the motion picture and television industry as an editor and producer. Her work includes a broad range of productions including "The Man Who Broke a Thousand Chains" for HBO, "Dog Whisperer" for National Geographic, and "A Simple Life:" starring Paris Hilton for MTV, plus over 200 documentaries.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (July 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240813987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240813981
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lori Jane Coleman and Diana Friedberg's book "Make The Cut" is an incredibly invaluable resource, packed with detailed and useful information about how to become an assistant editor, what to do when you are one, and how to move up and away from being one once you're ready to do so.

The first chapter covers briefly, yet effectively, how best to prepare for and obtain an assistant editing job. The remaining bulk of the book gets right down to business, going over the myriad duties and assignments typical of an assistant in TV or film. I think the best way to put it is that this book "demystifies" the role of an assistant editor by getting down to the nitty gritty details of what they actually do on a daily basis. It's something I've always wondered myself, even as a film school grad. Most film schools typically train students in the basic uses of NLE software, teaching them how to cut for themselves, which is fine... until the student heads to Hollywood and realizes that no one is going to hire him as an editor until he pays his dues as an apprentice or assistant. Knowing how to cut doesn't necessarily mean that you'll know how to assist. As our authors clearly illustrate, assistant editing is an entirely specialized role of its own.

After covering the basics, from handling dailies to prepping for the online cut, the book delves into potential differences among genres, such as documentaries and reality TV, using helpful screencaps from both Avid and Final Cut Pro systems. It also wisely ventures into some of the most common unwritten rules of the editing room, offering tips in ways to navigate tricky politics and personality conflicts. And lastly, it discusses the various ways in which a career can be molded in the post industry.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Late in life (a few years ago) i delved into amateur videography, meaning i do everything, write, direct, shoot, edit, audio, everything. Naturally, (well naturally to me), I made many, many a beginners mistakes. On my first project I had 6 one-hour mini DV tapes and had no idea how to assemble this into something resembling a coherent project, let alone find those two really good takes. I learned real fast (well, the hard way, at least) that it all boils down to the edit. The Scriptwriting experts tell you not to write a script with camera and directing notes in it. Well I needed those notes since I have to do everything. How do I create the shot list and the keep track of the good shots: that lead to Script Supervising. Both of the really good Script Supervisor books show you how to keep track of your shots and where to find them on your tapes/reels but stop short of the breakdown that I really needed. They said that was a First AD job, okay. I found the really good First AD book, learned a lot from that but it too pointed back to the Script Supervisor for a certain breakdown or referred to the breakdowns that each of the Department Head would make. As the sole crew member I was every Department Head I needed to know what those breakdowns look like. Then I found this Assistant Editor book! This one book brought it all together for me. As I said, it is all about the edit. All the department work, breakdowns, shot list, etc, all lead to the editing room. So, studying this book has helped me better plan my pre-production. Knowing what the end looks like has helped me frame the beginning.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a valuable and comprehensive look at the task of film editing. It covers all the technical issues and whys. It does not go too much into the artistic side of film editing because it is aimed at those looking for a more technical knowledge.

I recommend this book for:
- Film editing students.
- Independent Producers.
- Anyone who needs to know the basis of post-production.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Every once in a while there comes along a book that is short, sweet and profoundly gets to the things that you really need to know. "Make the Cut" is just that kind of a book. It doesn't waste the reader's time in how-to techniques of editing. The authors assume that you already have learned that part and are now trying to land in a good spot with those skills.

This book is great in it gives advice of how to organize your editing tasks from the first day on the job to day-to-day advice that SHOULD be common sense to anyone who wants to enter into the crazy-making business of film. Unfortunately, howwever, you very rarely have anyone teach you that in film school. Authors Lori Jane Coleman A.C.E. and Diana Friedberg A.C.E. do a very good job in giving tips to keep a would-be assistant editor organized and on task. I really liked the break down of oranizing and documenting what it is that you are editing with continuity schedules. The included tables, script supervisor production report templates and prep schedule, sound editor and other included templates were very helpful. This book has a great deal of film, television and media specific business advice as to the unwritten rules of the editing room, upward mobility, money management and planning your career in the film industry to take the next important and crucial steps. This is something that is not covered nearly enough and Coleman and Friedberg do a very good job of driving that point home. There are no crybabies in this business, and loyalty to your boss and the company and making them look good, even if you never get credit is key.

For those who do not want to necessarily be an assistant editor, "Make the Cut" is a really well grounded, experience backed book that can help film students, directors, producers or anyone who is truly interested in the business of film and/or television.
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