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Q: How can one become a film editor? ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: How can one become a film editor?
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: augusta-ga
List Price: $8.50
Posted: 29 Jan 2005 07:50 PST
Expires: 28 Feb 2005 07:50 PST
Question ID: 465372
Please make a career/education plan for someone in his/her 30's with a
Bachelor of Arts degree who wants to become a film editor. What are
the rungs on the career ladder that lead to film editor status? What
qualifications are beneficial (technical knowledge, especially editing
software and equipment)? The plan should not involve returning to
university/college for a 3-4 year degree.
Subject: Re: How can one become a film editor?
Answered By: mwalcoff-ga on 29 Jan 2005 15:17 PST

According to the California Department of Employment Development, the
typical career path is from apprentice film editor to assistant editor
to full editor. In the major labor union in the field, you need at
least five years to go from apprentice to full editor.

According to the department:

"Film and Video Editors frequently use the following skills,
knowledge, and abilities:

"Synthesis/Reorganization - Reorganizing information to get a better
approach to problems or tasks.
"Monitoring - Assessing how well one is doing when learning or doing something. 
"Information Organization - Finding ways to structure or classify
multiple pieces of information.
"Product Inspection - Inspecting and evaluating the quality of products. 
Communication and Media - Knowledge of media production,
communication, and dissemination techniques and methods including
alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual


"Education and Training

"A bachelor's degree with courses in all phases of filmmaking is often
helpful for Apprentice Film Editors. Although film school is useful,
it is not a strict educational requirement for Editors. Work
experience in a university or college film department is also helpful.
Film and Video Editors should be creative, communicate effectively,
and have good judgment. Normal or corrected vision is essential.
Beginners receive on-the-job training in all basic editorial skills."

Source: CEDD, "Film and Video Editors," 2002,

As far as technical knowledge goes, the Virginia Career Education
Foundation says you should consider getting certified in Avid, Final
Cut Pro or other editing software.

Source: VECF, "Film Editors," 7 Jan. 2005,

For further information, I contacted my aunt, who has nearly 20 years'
experience as a film editor in the LA area. This is what she said:

"Generally, a film editor starts as an assistant editor, and often an
assistant editor starts as a production assistant, a driver (runner)
or on a feature film, sometimes as an apprentice. These apprentice
positions are like internships and are often unpaid positions at
first, though many do turn into paid employment. Regardless, it is
virtually impossible to become an editor without being an assistant
editor first. Commercial companies are a good training ground. It is
also invaluable for a person wanting to be an editor to take a class
in Final Cut Pro editing. These classes are offered by any Apple Store
and the knowledge is crucial in the business these days. It would help
any person to have that experience on their resume."

I hope this answer meets your needs. If not, please request clarification.

Search strategy:

apprentice film editor

film editor qualifications

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Request for Answer Clarification by augusta-ga on 31 Jan 2005 07:21 PST
Is this a fair distillation of your answer?

1a. Get work experience in a university or college film department.
1b. Start as a production assistant.
2. Become an apprentice film editor.
3. Become an assistant editor.
4. Become a full editor. 

- Take courses in all phases of filmmaking. 
- Get certified in Avid, Final Cut Pro or other editing software.

- Correct your vision if its not normal.

Clarification of Answer by mwalcoff-ga on 31 Jan 2005 10:30 PST
I suppose that is a good summary, although I don't think there's only
one way to do it. My guess is that option 1b -- starting with a
more-menial job in the film industry to make contacts -- is best for
you, since you don't want to go back to school.
There are no comments at this time.

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