Film Editor

I spent a day with Jason, an editor with a film company that works with corporate and personal films. The film that he was working on the day I shadowed him is a movie about an ancient temple as well as an ancient artifact. Jason edited the movie to be 40 minutes long, and although that may seem like a very short amount of time it requires months of editing work.

The movie is mostly based around photos, and therefore required many transitions, lots of photoshop work, as well as the addition of a soundtrack to enhance the pictures. Every picture needs to be placed in a specific sequence outlined by the director/client, and as a result, some changes required him to spend a few days working on the project. One of the things that Jason said can be frustrating when working with amateur film makers is their lack of vision, which forces him to make decisions. These decisions are extremely difficult to make, and sometimes if the client does not approve of the change, he will need to spend days to redo the work. Thus, Jason explained to me that to be a successful film editor, you need to be patient and extract from the client a very clear vision of the film. 

Jason sent me a copy of the finished film this summer, and after this experience, I no longer see all careers within the film industry as glamorous and appealing as it may initially seem.

A Typical Day

An editor either works on one sequence all day or be presenting a new segment of a film to a client/director on a given day.

Top 3 Perks

1 )Taking client’s ideas and making them happy 

2) The pressure of completing a film can be exhilarating 

3) Working with cutting edge technology

Job Culture

Indoors, emailing, editing and working with clips, using complex computer programs, working with a director, presenting your work to the client


- No formal requirements 

- A bachelor degree in film is helpful 

- A master’s degree in film production and great samples would put you a step ahead of competition

Skills Needed

Creativity, computer skills, patience, communication skills, ability to visualize, artistic ability

The Field

- Very competitive industry 

- Technology is always advancing the work editors can do