The first time I worked with a professional Editor is was a disaster. The guy had failed to connect with the tone and energy I’d designed for the film, and I basically had to recut it. The second time I received notes from a professional Editor, it was another miserable experience.
Once, however, I worked with an awesome and great Editor to help me with my film THE CASSEROLE CLUB – Stephen Eckelberry, husband of the late great actress Karen Black. Working with Stephen was a total joy. He taught me some very valuable aspects of Editing, and those lessons have made a dramatic impact on how I edit.
So what was the difference in working with Stephen and the previous experiences with the other people? I think it was about how the information was conveyed. In the first two cases, the people I was working with looked down at me, and asserted themselves as superior in knowledge. That perspective probably brought an air of tension I picked up on subconsciously, which resulted in my dissatisfaction while working with them. Whereas, with Stephen, he never took on an air of self-importance and instead, even when he was teaching me something new, always went about it as if he was sharing information with a friend. That kind of interaction is lovely, and always leaves a nice feeling when it’s over.
I hope to always carry on an experience of sharing with the people I work with. And I encourage others to as well.
I think the answer is: Editors are useful when they are helpful and want to explore different possibilities with the same thing; and Editors are totally useless when they are stuck in a “my way is the only way” mentality.
When it’s time for you to hire an Editor or be an Editor for someone else, remember to create an environment so the experience can be shared in a helpful way.