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First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors Hardcover – 26 Oct 1992


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 428 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (26 Oct. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520075862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520075863
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,883,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"This superb collection of interviews illuminates the art of film editing with a level of detail and insight that few previous books have possessed. . . . Through descriptions of the cutting of key sequences in films directed by Coppola, De Palma, Forman, Pollack, Lumet, and others, Oldham's interviewees reveal not just the mechanics of cutting shots together but also how an editor is guided intuitively by the 'inner rhythm' of a sequence. . . . This book is indispensable for all those who wish to deepen their understanding of the editor's contribution to film structure."--Stephen Prince, "Film Quarterly

About the Author

Gabriella Oldham is a freelance writer. Her books include "First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors" (UC Press), and "Keaton's Silent Shorts."

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
From his early days of racing through the TV newsroom with "top story" under his arm, to pioneering the KEM flatbed editing system with colleague Donn Cambern, to branching out into producing, Sheldon Kahn never shies from challenges: "As long as I can continually try new and different things, it's fresh every time I come to work." Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kennedy on 12 May 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a great book about the creative process in film post production, for both fiction and documentary, you have found it.

When I first read Final Cut, it amazed me - I was expecting discussions about directors' visions, the personality stuff that constitutes much writing about the creative process. Instead I discovered a series of interviews which revealed how films are actually put together. Not the technical business, but the process of discovering how to tell the story for each particular film.

The interviewees in this book, which include Paul Hirsch (Star Wars, Taxi Driver), Dede Allen (Dog Day Afternoon) and Sheldon Kahn (Ghostbusters), describe in direct, unpretentious terms how these movies were put together, and what creative decisions were taken to "get it right".

If you're interested in how films are made, this part of the process is essential to come to grips with. However, it is almost universally left out of DVD extras and directors' commentaries, and with good reason - as a spectator sport it's a dead duck; it involves a lot of talk about intangibles; and editors themselves are generally not forthcoming. Mainly, it's a mystery.

Indeed almost all of the editors here find it very difficult to articulate what is essentially a non-technical art. What they offer though is the insight that it is in the editing room that the most film-specific part of filmmaking happens. It's where the film takes its proper form in time.

Whether you're a film buff hunting for anecdotes (the book has them in spades) or are interested in post production as a career, this is about as good a book as I've yet discovered.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Insightful book on editing 8 Feb. 2000
By Faisal A. Qureshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gabriella Oldham has collected a wide variety of editors from a wide variety of backgrounds to ask about editing.
A really useful book on the various approaches people have on editing and what their working methods are. Comphrehensive interviews from people who have worked on films such as Ben Hur to documentaries. Those who enjoyed this book should also have a look at Vincent LaBrutto's 'Film Editing'.
Timeless Advice from Editing Professionals 7 Nov. 2012
By Brandon H Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first thing you'll notice about this book is how dated the conversations about film editing appear. The frequent references to physically cutting film and reviewing shots on a Movieola will - at first glace - make you think this book is not at all applicable to a modern-day discussion of film editing. However, give the book just a few pages and you'll quickly realize that there is a lot more taking place here... there are real discussions about editing, style, decision-making and the craft of editing a film. The conversations with film editors span the breadth of the profession, from drama and comedy to documentary and musical. There are some very valuable lessons to be learned about the history of the editing profession, the dedication it takes to become an editor, and the process true professionals have used to refine their craft.
A Book for Serious Editing Geeks 23 May 2012
By Grim Talbot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been editing documentaries coming up on a decade now, and I always complain that there are no books written about the editor. So I'm glad I finally found one that is enjoyable to read. It's of the style where you can pick it up and put it down between readings. I keep my copy beside the toilet. And every post house should probably get a copy for their staffers to read during their "breaks."

I hope they come out with a second edition. Us editors, at least those worthy of a inclusion in a book, really do have some interesting things to say.

I'm kind of bummed at how expensive it is. 25 bucks is ludicrous for a trade paperback.

Unless you're a diehard cinephile or a professional editor, this might not be the book for you.

But still definitely recommend.
0 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Received 16 Sept. 2007
By Denny F. Pelto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Got the book for my Step Son, your guess is as good as mine, as how good it is.
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