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Thelma Schoonmaker on the Qualities an Editor Needs

Thelma Schoonmaker on the Qualities an Editor Needs

After winning a Golden Lion for The Departed (2014), iconic film editor Thelma Schoonmaker talked to MovieZine about the qualities an editor must have to enjoy the process and thrive.

Here is what she says:

“I think an editor has to have tremendous patience and discipline. A musical sense is very important and I was lucky my parents brought me up playing the piano and then I learned several instruments and I’m very glad I had that experience because a musical sense is very important.

Rhythm, pace, and drama are something that an editor has to know how to pull out of a movie. And you have to have a good sense of acting which is why Scorsese has been such a great teacher for me because he’s a brilliant director of actors, he has a very high standard for what he will accept from an actor’s performance and I have learned that from him, it’s very important.”

Also asked what tips she would give a new filmmaker, Schoonmaker added:

  1. Search for the trust always
  2. Avoid cliché and sentimentality at all costs, there are too many films that are filled with cliches and sentimentality
  3. try and lay down humanity in the film and true emotion (but not sentimentality)