‘Film editor’s job starts in pre-production phase’

Chennai, May 25 (IANS) A film editor is no longer part of just the post-production team. In fact, the work begins from a movie’s pre-production phase itself, says southern editor T.S Suresh.

“Today, editing has become a very important facet of filmmaking. Filmmakers require an editor’s assistance even before going on floors – right from the pre-production phase. Filmmakers and editors have begun working in collaboration to save time on a project,” Suresh told IANS.

“Typically, films are completely shot and handed over to an editor, but most filmmakers today utilise editors right from the scripting stage. Sometimes, even on the spot to edit a scene to avoid unwanted patch work. Editors have started travelling with the crew to locations where the director sits with an editor after every scene and discusses,” he added.

Known for his work in films such as “Theeratha Vilayattu Pillai” and “Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi”, Suresh, a visual communication graduate who is in his 20s, started his career as an intern and then took up film editing full-time.

“I interned for five years with Anthony sir. I also aspired to be a filmmaker and wanted to assist director Agathiyan, but he asked me to learn editing instead as he believed it helps one to hone his or her filmmaking skills.

“I took interest in editing and eventually started enjoying it,” said Suresh, who debuted as an editor with the 2010 Tamil spoof “Thamizh Padam”.

Suresh, who has also worked for Hindi films such as “Tezz”, “Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal” and “Rangrezz”, feels editors are gradually getting recognised for their work.

“Editing is the next important craft in filmmaking after direction and photography. However, not all editors have been given the due credit for their work over the years. But, thanks to social media and editing legends such as B. Lenin and A. Sreekar Prasad, we are slowly being noticed for our contribution,” he said.

However, he says, it’s not a lucrative profession for every editor.

“It is lucrative provided all editors get recognised for their work. People need to understand that editing is not only about assembling of scenes but a very important facet of filmmaking. My priority is not money, but being part of good projects and interesting scripts as much as possible,” said Suresh.

He believes the lack of understanding of the director’s vision is the biggest challenge.

“It’s very important to understand what exactly the director wants and how an editor could provide what is required within limited sources. Failing to do that only results in a very bad output,” he said.

It’s important, he said, to maintain a good relationship with the cinematographer.

“In collaboration, a cinematographer can save an editor a lot of time on editing unwanted scenes and also get used to his or her working style. This helps to avoid random capturing of images, and it also allows a cinematographer to give the editor multiple shots to choose from.”

Suresh has worked on different genres of films such as “Love Failure” and “Thoonga Nagaram”, but feels emotional films are most difficult to edit.

“You need a lot of maturity and scale to edit emotionally uplifting films. You need to know where to cut a scene. For instance, a long crying scene may bore the audience, but a short one may not leave the desired effect on the viewers,” he said.

“Taare Zameen Par” is one high-on-emotion film he would have liked to work on.

With a dozen films such as “Sonnaa Puriyadhu”, “Rendavathu Padam”, “Ceylon”, “Thagaraaru”, “Vaalu”, “Vanakkam Chennai”, “Ya Ya”, “Saraswathi Sabatham”, “Naradhan”, “Adhigaram 79” and an untitled Tamil/Telugu bilingual film in his kitty, the young editor would like to wield the megaphone at a later stage in his career.

“I’m happy with the way my career is shaping up. I like to take things as they come. I feel it’s too early to think about turning director because I still have a lot to learn,” he said.

(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at [email protected])

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