Hired toward the latter part of principal photography in most cases, the supervising editor is the first point of contact between the director, producers, and the larger editing staff. He or she may give input as to the hiring of the editor and subordinate crew, and will be held accountable for the completion of the final cut. Where a supervising editor is not employed, the function of this position would fall to the picture editor.
The supervising editor consults directly with the producers and director, and is responsible for the oversight of the entire post-production editing process, including supervision of the final sound mix as it relates to the picture. He or she sets forth and oversees the post-production budget in collaboration with the producer and supervising sound editor, and arranges for the rental or purchase of equipment and post-production facilities such as editing suites. The supervising editor has oversight of the editing staff throughout the duration of the post-production process, and communicates regularly with the director and producers concerning artistic choices and deadlines. This person will design a clear workflow for editing and completion of the final cut of the film or show and will work with the supervising sound editor to ensure a fluid interaction between picture and sound editing.
Skills & Education
A college degree in film and television production is most useful, as this senior-level manager must be a technically and artistically proficient editor and understand the post-production process. He or she should have a firm understanding of sound editing, visual effects, Foley, and narrative storytelling. Courses in entertainment business, literary criticism, finance, accounting, photography, and the narrative form are also highly recommended. The supervising editor must be a highly organized individual who is capable of leading a large crew and monitoring the staff’s technical and creative performance. This person is the financial and logistical hawk that must ensure the post-production budget is upheld and that work is delivered on time.
What to Expect
While the supervising editor will not be the person at the Avid or Final Cut station, he or she should still have the chops and several years of professional experience as a film and digital video editor. The first step on the ladder in the editorial department (for picture editors) is the second assistant editor. This is an entry-level position and may be full-time or freelance. From there, you will work to move your career forward to the role of assistant dialogue editor, dialogue editor, first assistant editor, and so forth. Full-time positions are available for qualified candidates at post-production houses, which are contracted to complete editing on television shows and movies. Freelance opportunities also exist, but are harder to find; you’ll need to rely on networking to get tips on upcoming gigs.
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