There’s a saying among novelists and screenwriters: “My character surprised me.” When you breathe as much truth and life as you can into the characters on the page, you find they take on a life of their own. At the very least, they might surprise you with things they say or decisions they make. At most, they might hijack your entire story and tell you that the wonderful outline you’d envisioned over the last two years is bunk, and their own problems and conflicts are more important than the contrived twists and turns you planned out for them.
Chris Franklin’s resume is extensive. He’s edited spots for American Express, Verizon, Nikon, Mastercard, and hundreds more. He’s received Cannes Lions Awards, Webby Awards, Emmy Awards, and an Oscar nomination. He’s on the board of AICP. He founded Big Sky Edit. It’s quite the list. But, what so many don’t recognize about someone at Chris’ level is that he didn’t just get here because he’s good. He got here because he loves it.
Richard Pearson’s body of work defies any easy categorization or niche. The features he has cut, beginning with the comedy Bowfinger, range from light fare like the Muppets from Space, and Blades of Glory to the drama of United 93, Safe House and The Accountant. Then there’s the bevy of franchise tentpoles he’s worked on, like The Bourne Supremacy, Quantum of Solace, Men in Black II, Iron Man 2 and the MonsterVerse entries Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island.
When we talked with Richard about his work, he acknowledged just how extensive his body of work is: “I’ve been fortunate to delve into childhood fantasies, from dealing with the space program to comic book adventures and the Bond movies, which I loved seeing as a kid. Going on the set of Bond for the first time was pretty cool and made me feel like, ‘I’m ten years old again!’”
At a foundational level, editors are specialists in what feels right. We’ve had countless conversations with post-production professionals who all say similar things like, “You have to go with your gut” or “It just needs to feel right.” Editors are trained in the art of operating at a subliminal level and drawing it up to the surface.
“We all watch TV. We’ve all watched tens of thousands of hours of footage and videos,” Editor Alex Morrison told us. “After a while, your mind starts to get used to what looks nice and feels good. Editing is more about understanding what feels good, knowing why, and then making it happen.”
And knowing why may be the biggest differentiator between an editor and a great editor. In his work with Stept Studios on an Oakley spot announcing their partnership with the NFL, Alex had to dive deeply into small moments that paid off big, moments that had to feel right to the viewer without them even noticing. It’s a tricky business, one that Alex has learned firsthand.
Steve Jobs has an astute quote about getting things right: “Details matter.” While it may not be the most radical thing he ever said, it’s surely one of the truest things he said. In filmmaking, it applies nicely. Whether it’s on-set or in post-production, attention to detail can take your project from good to great, letting the viewer know that they’re in not just capable hands, but caring hands.
For Directors Heidi Berg and Felix Soletic, attention to detail was everything when they started dreaming up the dream-like title sequence for Netflix’s The Politician. It’s an eery, fantastical, and entrancing sequence packed with little details the viewer may or may not understand. But, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.