Stephanie Ahn (Alum, March 2009)
Editor My Old Lady (TIFF 2014)
I graduated film school just as filmmaking was making significant headway into the digital world. Making movies on micro-budgets became the norm and so familiarizing myself with new technologies was a necessity. Non-linear editing was the first thing I felt I needed master in order to keep up with the game.
I’d always loved editing but even after installing an editing software into my laptop and spending hours upon hours using the program, I could tell my skills were limited and that my films were suffering as a result. It was then that I realized to be a better filmmaker, I had to be a better editor. The 6-week course at The Edit Center came to my attention through a colleague. I grappled with the idea for a while, loving the sound of the class, (where else would you get to edit real films fresh out of production?) but wondered if it would ultimately be superfluous to the film education I’d already received. I decided to give it a shot and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’d ever made.
I’ve rarely been in a more inspiring, supportive, and artistically stimulating environment. I can’t say enough good things about my instructors, who were not only talented editors in their own right but also amazing teachers. There were 3 key points that they focused on throughout the course – the technical aspects of the software, exposing us to different styles of editing, and encouraging each of us to develop our own style. What was so effective about the 6-week course was how it integrated these points seamlessly into each class. I was able to absorb the technical material quickly because it had an actual context – the creative challenge to construct real scenes. Within the first week, I was comfortable enough with the technical part of editing that I felt I could focus most of my attention on the creative, which made the class that much more rewarding and fun.
It was obvious that The Edit Center believed that being a good editor wasn’t simply about learning the software. Through the many informative guest speakers and the experience we got working with the directors of the films we were editing, we gained invaluable lessons on what it might be like to be a working editor in the ‘real world’. I got my first job through one of my instructors as an assistant on a project that premiered at Sundance and have been working steadily as an editor on features films ever since. I’m eternally grateful for my experience at The Edit Center; for the people I met, the education I got, and the whole new appreciation I have for films.