This summer I can recommend three must reads for every editor both new to the cutting game as well as the rest of us.

‘ A long time ago in a cutting room far, far away…’ by Paul Hirsh

“A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away is a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most influential films of the last 50 years by Paul Hirsch, the film editor who worked on Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and more than 40 other features. Starting with his work on Carrie, Hirsch gives insight into the production process, touching upon casting, directing, cutting and scoring. It’s a riveting look at the decisions that went into creating memorable and iconic scenes and offers fascinating portraits of filmmakers, stars and composers. Part film-school primer, part paean to legendary directors and professionals, the funny yet insightful writing will entertain and inform aficionados and casual moviegoers alike.” (Amazon description)

“Making the Cut at Pixar” by Bill Kinder and Bobbie O’Steen

“Join industry insiders Bill Kinder and Bobbie O’Steen as they guide readers on a journey through every stage of production on an animated film, from storyboards to virtual cameras and final animation.

With unprecedented access to the Pixar edit suite, this authoritative project highlights the central role film editors play in some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies of all time. Exclusive interviews with animation editors and other creative leads are supported by footage from deep inside Pixar’s vault. Nearly 90 minutes of video segments include never-before-seen works in progress, deleted scenes, and demonstrations to shed light on how these beloved stories are crafted. The challenges and essential contributions of editors in animation have never been examined in such depth and detail.

In addition to exploring method and craft, this book provides important context for the editor in film history, the evolution of technology, and Pixar’s uniquely collaborative studio culture. A must-read for students of digital filmmaking methods, filmmakers in all aspects of production, and fans of Pixar movies, this uniquely educational, historical, and entertaining book sheds light on how beloved stories are crafted from the perspective of crucial members of the filmmaking team. (Amazon description)

‘Art of the Cut’ by Steve Hullfish

“Art of the Cut provides an unprecedented look at the art and technique of contemporary film and television editing. It is a fascinating “virtual roundtable discussion” with more than 50 of the top editors from around the globe. Included in the discussion are the winners of more than a dozen Oscars for Best Editing and the nominees of more than forty, plus numerous Emmy winners and nominees. Together they have over a thousand years of editing experience and have edited more than a thousand movies and TV shows.

Hullfish carefully curated over a hundred hours of interviews, organizing them into topics critical to editors everywhere, generating an extended conversation among colleagues. The discussions provide a broad spectrum of opinions that illustrate both similarities and differences in techniques and artistic approaches. Topics include rhythm, pacing, structure, storytelling and collaboration.

Interviewees include Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road), Tom Cross (Whiplash, La La Land), Pietro Scalia (The Martian, JFK), Stephen Mirrione (The Revenant), Ann Coates (Lawrence of Arabia, Murder on the Orient Express), Joe Walker (12 Years a Slave, Sicario), Kelley Dixon (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), and many more.” (Amazon description)

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