It was a pleasure having editor Sarah Lucky answer some questions on the editing process and the art of being a great editor.
Matthew Toffolo: Tell us about the GRACE AND FRANKIE experience? How is editing the show?
Sarah Lucky: I can’t say enough good things about my experience on Grace and Frankie. The crew is one of the best I’ve worked with, especially the 3 female producers at “Okay Goodnight” Marta, Robbie and Hannah. The cast is a dream come true for me. Obviously their careers speak for themselves.
You’ve been an Assistant Editor on many high profile films. What is the typical day for an Assistant Editor on a big budget film?
A typical day for an assistant, during shooting, is getting the footage ready for the editor to cut. We ingest all of the footage and arrange it into scene bins. tTen we usually script each scene so the editor can look at a digital copy of the script, where each line is linked to a take in the footage. This way an editor can easily find all of the readings of each line. This is especially helpful while working with directors and producers. Assistant Editors also work on sound effects and temp VFS. I have spent many days agonizing over after effects. We also turn over the movie to sound and music so they may work their magic.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned doing this job to help you grow as an editor?
I have to say one of the major things I’ve learned is trusting my instinct. When I started season 1, I constantly second guessed myself. Now I trust myself a bit more. It’s a constant learning process. I have always tried to learn from the editor’s I have assisted to gain their knowledge and advice, and I still do.
What makes a great editor? What skills does he/she need?
I feel that most great editors are in touch with the emotions of each character and each scene. They have an attention to detail and a good sense of rhythm. they know how to work well with others and collaborate with directors and producers. I also feel that a great editor loves what they do, no matter what the project is. I have always gotten attached to all of the projects I have worked on, even as an assistant.
What is an editor looking for in their director? What is a director looking for in their editor?
I love working with a director that is willing to listen to the editor. It is great when they are willing to work as a team to get the best possible cut. Directors that are mindful of exits and entrances and transitions are also a big plus. Getting enough coverage that’s interesting and has good continuity. Continuity! Options!
Is there a type of film that you would love to edit that you haven’t edited yet?
I would love to edit a feature. I’m a movie fan and have always liked being part of the movie making process. I would cut any genre because each one is a different experience.
What film, besides the ones you’ve worked on, have you seen the most times in your life?
Casino and When Harry Met Sally. I am not sure how many times I have seen Casino, but it’s up there. I am a huge Scorsese fan. Thelma Schoonmaker (Scorsese’s long time editor) is one of the reasons I wanted to be an editor. I have watched many of his movies over and over. As for When Harry Met Sally, well that’s just a great film.
What suggestions would you have for people in high school and university who would like to get into the industry as an editor?
My advice is to PA in editorial on a feature. Getting experience in a cutting room is priceless. I have learned so much from watching and learning editors like Michael Tronick, Roger Barton, Mark Livolsi and Tom Costain. Each one has shaped me as the editor I am today. Ask questions and pay attention on each show you work on. There is nothing like hands on experience.
Where did you grow up? Was working in the Film Industry something you always wanted to do?
I grew up in Los Angeles. My dad was in the film business, so I have been around it my whole life. Honestly I started out wanting to be a veterinarian, but my allergies made that career a bit of an issue. I fell in love with editing in high school/college. I really love the creative part of editing. It’s like putting together a puzzle. It is amazing how you can give the exact same footage to two different people and you will get completely different results. One may not be better than the other. Just different POVs. That is very cool to me.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.