Sep 2014

What does an Editor do?

I stumbled onto the best explanation to answer the question, “What does an editor do?” This is a promotion for Inside the Edit, a one year course completely on creativity and skills that work on any platform. The first of it’s kind. But it’s explanation is rock solid.


When I first started dating my girlfriend in May of 2014, I did very little shooting of any kind. All I was working on was editing, social media marketing, and web-design. She was really interested in all the various projects I was working on, but for the most part wasn’t truly understanding of what I was doing. Then a couple months in I went to a camp and shot a highlight reel of their week. I pulled up my laptop on her mom’s kitchen counter to show them what I was doing all week, and they both were blown away. They didn’t know I could do that. For them, it was much easier to grasp what someone shot than what they did in editing.

Later, during my 31 day challenge in August, I created a quick video to showcase the difference editing makes using the same footage and music but choosing different cuts. This was helpful in many ways as it showcased specifically how decisions make a big influence on a final product.

The Younger Years

I spent many days in an editing suite watching other people cut documentary footage when I was younger. What was unique about these experiences compared to most editors I know, is that these first projects were cut by a group of individuals crammed into this tiny room, so small in fact that in the event that the person operating the Media 100 editing machine needed to go to the restroom, everyone else in the room had to leave as well. One way in, and one way out.

One of the greatest benefits of watching editing happen communally is that everyone had to explain why they believed in every decision that made it onto the timeline. A general consensus would be reached for almost every cut, trimmed, spliced, moved or repurposed clip. This was how I learned the philosophy and technique behind the mechanical skills. The emotion that was trying to be evoked from the audience… we hoped. That intentionality was ingrained for years before I personally ever touched a key.

Future Editors

I’m extremely grateful for something like this training course to come along that goes beyond the mechanical skills and into philosophy and creativity. This will be incredibly valuable (which they seem to understand based on the price point) for the next generation of upcoming editors.