Crispin Green has edited some of the top TV shows in recent times. It was a pleasure to site down with him to talk about the craft of editing and his career.
Interview with Crispin Green:
Matthew Toffolo: Tell us about the “Game of Thrones” experience. How is editing such a unique show where there are 4-7 plots occurring in a single episode?
Crispin Green: It’s an experience quite unlike working on other shows in that the editors are there for the duration of the shoot (about 6 months) rather than blocks of two or three episodes. This can help in the editing process as you get more of a sense of the season as a whole story.
MT: Will you be back to editing the series “Game of Thrones”? How does the process work? Who do you report to and collaborate with? The showrunners? The novelists? The director of the episode?
Yes I’ll be back if the opportunity arises.
CG: When assembling the dailies I work closely with the director, showing him or her cut scenes as the shoot progresses. He or she will give me notes as we go along if needed as they only have limited time for fine cutting when the episodes are complete. Some VFX heavy scenes have to be fine cut early so that the VFX team has a chance to get their work done in time (dragons take a long time to animate!), in these cases the showrunners will get involved with the cutting process. Once the director has presented a fine cut to the producers, the showrunners take over and I will work with them until picture lock.
PHOTO: Game of Thrones Season 5:
MT: I have to ask you about editing “Doctor Who”. Another iconic series. Were you a fan of the show before you began editing it? How was your experience working on the show?
CG: Yes I was a fan, I grew up watching the show and couldn’t quite believe it when I got to actually work on it! It was great fun to work on, the showrunners were very open to unusual ideas.
PHOTO: Doctor Who Season 4:
MT: What’s the key difference between editing a feature film in comparison to editing a TV episode?
CG: I’ve only cut one feature (and co-editor on The Great Rock n Roll Swindle – which wasn’t normal!) so I can’t really comment but I would imagine that TV shows have less time available due to pre-booked transmission dates.
MT: Besides “Game of Thrones”, and “Doctor Who”, do you have a favorite experience and film/TV show that you’re most proud of?
CG: Series one of “Bodies” was a ground-breaking medical drama written by Jed Mercurio where we got to try out some interesting stuff and equally “Misfits” was a pretty cool show to cut the first episodes of.
MT: What are the key qualities to be a great editor?
CG: The ability to get the story across in the most interesting way, understanding the director’s vision and being ready to adapt to what the writer/showrunners want.
MT: What is an editor looking for in their director/show runner?
CG: Someone who is good to work alongside (we spend many weeks together in a small room!) and who has an interesting vision of the project.
MT: What is a director/show runner looking for in their editor?
CG: Same answer as above but also it helps if the editor can second guess what the director wants while assembling the scenes.
MT: What film, besides the ones you’ve work on, have you seen the most times in your life?
CG: It’s a three way tie between “The Blues Brothers”, “Some Like It Hot” and “The Italian Job”!
MT: What advice would you have for people who like to be an editor in the film/TV industry?
CG: I started as a runner and worked my way up and I would recommend this route to anyone, you get to meet lots of people on the way who, more often than not, will be happy to help you on your journey. Also, try and cut as many things as you can to develop your cutting instinct, and watch lots of TV shows/movies to try and understand how to (or how not to!) construct an understandable story.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.