All about conversation

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Biographies describe him simply as an editor but, looking into his background, you find all sorts of exploration in screen work. He has a Masters degree in scriptwriting, and a diploma in documentary production. He has a feature now in post-production that he has written and directed and has won prizes over the years across different film-making crafts. So when – and why – did he choose to focus on editing?

“I’ve always enjoyed the puzzle of putting together the pieces. The technical skills in editing followed my abilities. It was the magic in editing that inspired me the most. I also hate shooting. I find it tiring, and I hate all the standing around. The amount of effort required, it seems absurd. So I really like when it’s all down, and you can start playing.”

Antarctica: A Year On Ice

Antarctica: A Year On Ice

In 1998 he went to the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, to do the diploma in documentary production. There he learnt to use an Avid. “That was when I got really excited about editing. It was also how I made money after that, as well.”

It is trendy in some quarters nowadays to rubbish film schools. When Price went to Australia, there were no film schools in New Zealand. He’s saddened that it’s becoming harder to go to a film school now – certainly more expensive – and is also concerned that, partly as a result of cost-cutting exercises, film schools seem to be focusing more on theory than on craft.

He’s not the only industry member to observe that most film school graduates are not “industry ready”. But for him, film school worked, both in acquiring craft and also finding a pool of people to collaborate with.

His email signature is Simon Price, film and story editor.

He works both as a post-production editor and also in pre-production as a story editor. Price likes the ambiguity of the job description as story is, or should be, the central focus of a post-production editor’s job. He likes that this job description reminds people that editing is about “story, story, story, story and the story”.

Yamin Tun's Wait

Yamin Tun’s Wait

“It always comes back to story for me,” he says. “How best to tell the story, at all levels, at all times.”

Renowned editor Walter Murch talks of breaking down the proportions of editing decisions into 51% emotion, 27 % story. Since Simon considers emotion to be part of story, that makes nearly 80% of editing decisions coming down to story. And thus keeping the audience engaged…

“All the technical considerations, like crossing the 180 line, continuity, are all secondary to story. You learn all the technical rules, then have to kind of put them in your back pocket and forget about them, and concentrate on the story.

“Story’s the hardest part – but the most fun.”

 
 
 

BlueBar1000

Written by Tony Forster

Tony has worked in theatre and screen production for some decades. He recently made his first feature documentary, An Accidental Berliner

BlueBar1000

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