Mar 11, 2013

10 things an editor wants from their producer

320891716_d3b022a0a2_m1. The topline – tell them what the story/film/programme is about – the short snappy version, not the long-winded life story. It will help them to help you keep the edit on track.

2. What do you have – what are the elements we have or expect to have to tell this story. It’s no good announcing the arrival of the expensive CGI sequence on the penultimate day, they should know about this before.

3. Know the rushes – not necessarily inside out and back to front but which roll relates to which filming day/interview/location/sequence. You’re a producer and a glorified edit assistant.

4. What don’t you have – what’s missing or might not arrive is as important to know as what you do have. They can then help you with suggestions to overcome the ‘gap’.

5. Bring a plan for the edit – this doesn’t have to be a detailed paper-edit (see below) but an idea of the structure based on what you have and the relative strengths of the elements you shot. Also decide how would you like to work over the coming hours and days or weeks?

6. Get them involved – if you do bring a frame-by-frame paper edit you might as well do it yourself. Editing is, yet another, TV collaboration – your editor is a fresh pair of eyes and ears on your story so their opinion matters. They are not questioning your judgement, they want to make sure they are telling the right story and making it clear enough for the audience. They are also a creative bunch who will improve your work – if you give them the chance to do so.

7. Bring music and plenty of it – saves time and gives them options to try different things.

8. Bring voiceover or the ability to write it – a key skill in the edit is writing commentary to link your sync or sequences together. Pre-empt where it is needed so you have something prepared when your editor needs it. If you’re not the fastest writer, try and write some before the edit starts.

9. Take a break – it’s a marathon not a sprint. Screen breaks and a walk around the block will do your editor and you the world of good. If you achieve what you set out to do on a certain day, go home – you’ll get more out of the following day if you do.

10. The Producers/Editors pact. A bad viewing? Don’t blame the editor and don’t bad mouth them to your Exec or whoever. In that edit you are a team, a double-act, it’s up to you to get the best out of each other and make it work. Follow the above tips and you should be halfway there.

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Andrew Painten | 07931 353515

Andrew Painten

Hello. I'm Andrew Painten a freelance television Producer/Director.

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