How to Become a Movie Editor

Are you passionate about film, have great attention to detail, and plenty of creative vision? If so, then you might like to become a movie editor.

A movie editor puts together film footage, matches it with music, and decides what stays and what goes in a movie.

Good editing can make a bad film good, or a good film really great.

If you would like to become a movie editor, you may have quite a bit of work ahead of you.

This is a competitive industry and making it in the industry can take some time.

You will need to be prepared to work for free on occasion and invest in your own skills if you would like to become a movie editor.

This being said, it’s also important to note that editing can be a particularly rewarding career.

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You will have the opportunity to contribute to motion pictures, and also be a part of the movie industry.

You might even win an Oscar one day.

Education Requirements to Become a Movie Editor

If you would like to become a movie editor, your first step would be to learn the editing process.

There are a few ways you can do this.

The first way is to attend a film school and complete a course in editing.

This will teach you the basics, but it can be competitive to get a place in these schools.

You can also learn editing at community college.

If you are already working or unable to attend school, it is possible to attend night classes in film editing as well.

Even after completing a course you will need lots of practice as a movie editor.

While in the old days editing was done on film and involved hours of cutting and pasting, the use of computers and technology has made this much simpler.

To learn to become a movie editor you’ll need a computer editing program.

The most widely used program currently is Final Cut Pro.

You will also need a computer with a lot of memory.

To make your own short films, you could just get footage of your local area and mix it with songs or get one of your friends to make a commentary.

You might like to make your own music videos.

Whatever you are doing, whether it’s for fun or helping your mom edit holiday videos, you’ll be increasing your editing skills.

It’s likely you’ll need to get some experience as an editor before you can land your first paid job.

A good way to start is to look around you local area to find out what internship opportunities are available near you.

Movie Editor Job Description

A movie editor cuts and pastes footage for a film.

They will start by watching all of the footage taken for a film, along with the soundtrack.

They will work closely with the director to decide on what kind of direction the film is heading in.

A editor may delete scenes, or make them much shorter, or sometimes even longer.

They can change soundtracks or add additional music.

A movie editor often has to work to strict deadlines.

Here are some of the tasks of a movie editor:

  • Watching footage of a film
  • Communicating with a director
  • Deleting footage and scene from the final cut of a film
  • Working with computer editing
  • Adding special effects for a movie
  • Editing the soundtrack for a film

Movie Editor Salary and Career Path

When you first become a movie editor, you may have to work for little pay, or even complete some internships to gain experience.

If you’re successful, you’ll be able to move on to paid work.

You might start out working on small projects like commercials or music videos.

With time and experience you could move on to larger films and more high profile work.

Very few movie editors are employed full-time.

Many work on contracts, and may face periods of unemployment.

Most are paid and hourly rate.

According to recent data, the average hourly wage for a film editor is $27.00.

Some similar roles to that of movie editor that your might be interested in include:

  • Cinematographer
  • Movie director
  • Actor
  • Sound engineer
  • Movie Producer

Although the path to become a movie editor can be challenging at times, if you are interested in film and love what you do, then you could find a career as a movie editor very rewarding.

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