Today we’re talking with Kristan Sprague. Kristan edited Judas and the Black Messiah which was just nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture.
Kristan also edited Shaka King’s previous film, Newlyweeds, and on Terrence Nance’s Random Acts of Flyness web series which had an episode directed by Shaka King. Other features edited by Kristan include Manos Sucias – which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing – and Cuban Food Stories and Nigerian Prince.
HULLFISH: One of the things I’m always interested in is the differences between the script and what happens in the editing room — which is often substantial.
One of the things that struck me is this idea of Judas — Wild Bill — getting kind of co-opted by the FBI. His recruitment isn’t really completely detailed. They show him in the interrogation room and that’s all you really know. He doesn’t say, “Yeah, I’ll do it.” They don’t ask him. There’s nothing. Was that scripted and shot or was that something that was never even shot?
SPRAGUE: That wasn’t shot. That first meeting between the FBI and the Jesse Clemens character, Roy Mitchell and Bill O’Neal — It was a longer scene. We had more in there where there was a little more back and forth between them, but we never really went into exactly what he’s supposed to do.
We always wanted to reveal Bill O’Neal in the classroom. That was planned. That was in the script. What was also in the script was another fake interview — our version of Keith Stanfield doing the interview, then we end with the actual interview — we had another piece in there that filled in a little bit of the gap.
Our issue was that everyone’s going to know that going in. That’s the story of the movie. Also, Shaka, the director also likes to stay ahead of the audience. We find it’s more interesting to just take you there and show it instead of forecasting it or explain it. Just show what it is — show what’s happening.
The first act there’s a lot that was scripted that we ended up cutting. We restructured the whole first act. When we first meet Fred Hampton, originally that was in that classroom. That used to be the first scene after you see Bill O’Neal get arrested, but then we switched that up. We lost some stuff. We felt like we didn’t need to show every step of the way. We just need to show the key moments and then let the audience fill in the gaps.
HULLFISH: That’s the old film editing saw about “never let the audience get ahead of you,” right?
SPRAGUE: You always want to stay one step ahead of the audience. You don’t want people to know exactly where we’re going next. You also don’t want them to be totally lost. You don’t want to get too far out of the audience. You want them to be able to figure stuff out instead of telling them where we’re going.
HULLFISH: One of the interesting intercutting things that I was wondering if it was structured a little differently — you just mentioned restructuring the first act. There is a scene — I call it the “War and Politics” scene — where Fred’s in the classroom talking about the difference between those two things, and it cuts outside of that classroom to him teaching a bunch of little kids and it cuts back.
I love intercutting and talking about intercutting, so tell me what the purpose was or what the thought was of intercutting between teaching the adults and teaching the kids.
SPRAGUE: That was something we found in the edit. As it was scripted it was supposed to be like you meet Fred and get the education first, and then you see him speaking at the college. But we ended up flipping that around. That sequence became a montage.
Originally it was scenes one right after the other. We liked the scenes. The scene in the classroom is great and we felt it was very important, but everything together was dragging a little bit. And that came later — when we started to intercut it. That change happened after one of our last preview screenings.
There were things that Shaka and I wanted to try. And then there were other things that the producers wanted us to try and we didn’t have time to do both.
Some of the things were just different versions of similar sections and scenes. So we ended up bringing in an additional editor for one pass to try some other stuff: Jennifer Lane, who had just cut Tenet.
That was one of the things they were going to try. We had tried to cut that into more of a montage, but it just wasn’t working for us for some reason. We weren’t able to crack it. There are also other scenes that were in there that we ended up cutting so we were worried about cutting it down but we weren’t able to figure out exactly how to do it.
Then Jennifer Lame took a pass and it was interesting watching how she did it because it was just not how we had thought. We’d never thought about that. Watching the way she did it, we thought, “We can do this.”
That one kind of evolved. That montage was one of the last things I think we did.
HULLFISH: I’m sure the “War and Politics” scene was a great scene by itself and the kid classroom scene was a great scene by itself, but seen in context you start feeling like something’s wrong.
SPRAGUE: It’s always like that. I think our first full cut that we were happy with was two hours and thirty-something minutes and it was just too long. But each scene individually we really liked. “We don’t need to cut this this is great.” But then when you watch them all together you see that some of this needs to go because it adds up. Two and a half hours is a long time.
HULLFISH: Process wise. Tell me a little bit about how you approach a scene. Were you’re cutting in Avid?
SPRAGUE: Yes we’re cutting in Avid.
HULLFISH: What do you do when you walk in in the morning?
SPRAGUE: I like to do string-outs of everything — very detailed line-by-line string-outs. It’s a pretty tedious process. It’s rough on the assistant editors. And it’s rough on me because I like to do it too, sometimes. I like to do that for a couple of reasons. If it’s a really important scene I like to sometimes do it myself because you really learn the scene in the rhythm.
HULLFISH: Oh yeah.
SPRAGUE: Performances and everything when you’re doing that. I’m literally taking each line, every take, every angle, all in a row.
Basically, when I’m making editorial choices. I don’t want to be looking for stuff because it kind of takes you out. So I want to have everything very organized up top. So what I’ll do is have the line string-outs and then I may also have it strung-out with the full takes.
In this case, I made an assembly while they were shooting, but it’s the same process usually because if I’m by myself or with a director, we’ll watch all the dailies for that scene — just straight through, one after the other. Then we’ll talk about it and sometimes if there are really key moments or really good things we’ll grab those to kind of use as signposts.
But then we start from the beginning and go through the string-outs line-by-line and build it that way. But usually, I’ll be building towards some moment or take that was really good or you might have two or three things like that and you decide to use those and then it’s figuring out which takes to use between them and how to get between them.
HULLFISH: I use the same methodology essentially. I go with a little bit bigger blocks. I don’t do line-by-line. I do three or four lines. I’ll break up a scene into five pieces instead of individual lines.
What do you do to keep it from getting choppy? Because if you break it line-by-line, there’s that tendency to say, “This is the perfect line, then this is the perfect line, and then when you put them all together it doesn’t work.”.
SPRAGUE: With bigger scenes — like the first scene in the abandoned church where they meet The Crowns — or the other tricky scene with Fred giving the speech — big scenes like that — those I’ll do both.
Usually, what I’ll do is ask the assistant editors to break it down by beats, like you said, because with the speeches especially we didn’t want line-by-line. Or with very big scenes with a lot of coverage sometimes you want to be able to see more, so I’ll have the assistant editors do a bigger string-out by beats, and then I’ll go through and make a more fine-tuned one.
But then — in terms of when you’re actually cutting — one of the reasons I love Avid is it’s very easy for me to matchframe. A lot of times I use the string-outs to just find the pieces and then matchframe to the original piece so I can watch a little bit more than just one line and then the string-outs just make it so I can quickly go right there.
I feel like the first cut is always cutty. They kept calling it an editor’s cut and I kept saying, “Please. This is the assembly. It’s a very rough assembly.” When they were shooting, I was cutting. But without the director there, there were decisions that I wanted to talk about. So I would just throw everything in. Any kind of moment that could work or anything that was in the script — anything extra — I would try and make it work or just see if it works. So the first one is usually very cutty.
The second pass is going through and saying, OK, these are all great individual lines, but which is really the one I need and watching the takes around that.
HULLFISH: What does that assembly even do for you?
SPRAGUE: It just shows you what you shot. It shows you everything you shot. It shows you what you have. It shows you what you’re going to be working with basically. That’s how I see it. You know, assemblies are always bad. There’s no way around it. You’re getting to know the footage. You’re finding the rhythm within scenes and between scenes. You’re just figuring it out in the assembly. And I feel like as the assembly goes, they get better towards the end because you are figuring it out.
It’s things like: you’re figuring out the actor’s performances. You’re figuring out: “What can we do with this performance?” Is it exactly what we thought it was? It lets you know what CAN work and what you’re really going to have to work on. Or “we missed that” or “that could be stronger.” Things like that. It’s more informational than an actual cut.
HULLFISH: There is some debate with the people that I’ve interviewed about whether you do the cut exactly as the script has it, or do you edit the way you think it should be edited?
SPRAGUE: Especially if I’m not with the director, then I try and do it to the script. Sometimes — if it’s simple enough — I’ll do a quick alternate version, but I try to show what the script looks like.
If I’m working with the director then we can go off-script all we want. I want them to at least see what it is and make those choices with them. Sure, there’s stuff as your cutting the assembly where you know, “We don’t need this. We’re gonna cut this.” But you never know, because you might think, “We’re gonna cut this” and then you do cut it and then months later you realize you can use a shot from that somewhere else. We can use this for something else that we never thought of, that actually works really well.
HULLFISH: Let’s talk about that process of getting you out of the assembly edit and to the final version that’s working. What is that process? Obviously, the director finally gets out of shooting and gets into the cutting room with you and that is a huge help, but what are you discussing and how are things changing once you can see things in context?
SPRAGUE: It was obvious early we had to figure out the balance between our two leads. We have almost two different movies going on. We have this genre crime movie about an informant and then we have this biopic about Fred Hampton. They feel different. A lot of this movie was finding the balance between those. Finding the balance between whose story it was, whose point-of-view we’re in.
In earlier cuts, we tried where we would only see Fred more through William O’Neal’s character’s perspective. We saw less of Fred outside of that to make it more like a thriller — like a crime thriller.
At one point we had cut out the stuff with Fred in jail. Let’s see how it feels if he just goes away. Maybe the audience will miss him like the actual Panthers missed him in real life. We tried that. Didn’t work. We miss him too much in a bad way. So then we started bringing back more of Fred’s outside life.
With this film, it was a lot of figuring out “Whose story are we in right now and where do we need to be?”.
HULLFISH: You empathize with both men.
SPRAGUE: People know about Fred Hampton. He’s on the historical record. There’s a lot of footage of him — documentaries — and he’s a public figure. There’s much less known about Bill O’Neal. That one interview we use is the only interview he’s ever done, so a lot of that character was created.
Shaka made a choice. We didn’t want to dehumanize him. We didn’t want a sociopath or an evil person with no conscience, because we didn’t want people to be able to distance themselves too easily from him.
Our two leads are two young men. They’re both very young. William O’Neal was younger than Fred. He was like 19 or 20 when all of this happened. It’s two young men who had very different reactions to being in the same situation. On one hand, you have Fred who knows what he’s doing — knows who he is. He has a code or something to live by. He has his beliefs. He has socialism. He has the people. He knows what he wants.
Then you have O’Neal who doesn’t really have any code to live by other than getting money. That’s one thing we do know about him. He was a hustler. He was robbing cars with an FBI badge at 19. That wasn’t dramatized. He was a brave kid.
We wanted to show that these are two men having two different reactions. If you don’t really have anything beyond where you’re gonna get the next dollar, it’s very easy to get caught up. If the only thing you have is this predatory capitalism to scam people — if that’s all you’re really thinking about, it’s very easy to get led astray. So we didn’t want to make him into a monster where people couldn’t identify with him.
Most people are not going to want to see themselves in him, but we wanted people to see that this wasn’t just an evil person or he didn’t have a conscience. We’re all somewhere in between Fred and Bill and most of us are probably — myself included — probably closer to Bill than Fred.
HULLFISH: Some of your cuts between scenes are hard cuts. You’re in one place and boom the audio changes, the music changes, everything on a cut. And then other ones, like the first time he goes to the FBI agent’s house, that’s a pre-lap. There are a couple of other ones. What’s the value of that pre-lap? Why do you do that? Is it just variety? Does it get you anything?
SPRAGUE: The reason we did it into agent Mitchell’s house was we were really trying to contrast their living situations.
HULLFISH: Because the previous scene was a dark shot in Bill’s bedroom in his apartment.
SPRAGUE: Right. And that’s his whole house. That’s not his bedroom. That’s his house. We were trying to show how Bill comes in happy because he’s finally had a good interaction with Fred and he feels like he’s finally getting in, but as he sits in his crappy apartment, his energy drops because his living situation is not great.
Then we wanted to contrast that with the suburban house with a yard. Originally, we were going to shoot the yard, but it snowed really bad.
HULLFISH: (I laugh) I’m sitting in Chicago right now, so I can kind of relate.
SPRAGUE: We wanted to kind of contrast that. So having this weird voice start to invade his apartment and bring him into this nice place, that’s why we did it there.
Other times we wanted to be more jarring. We did that with the scene where the FBI is writing the fake “Panther” letter. We had different versions of that. We shot them writing the whole letter but it was just too much. It was slowing things down. We tried post-lapping that to see if that worked — but it worked better just hard cutting out of it into the meeting.
Then when they start reading the letter we let the audience put it together.
HULLFISH: As an audience member myself, I thought, “Where’s this letter coming from?” And then as soon as you get that little clue about the guy saying, “Diggin’” you understand both scenes.
SPRAGUE: And then we need to hear them say it again. And then we saw his performance and we thought, “No. That should be enough.” And that was one where it was a hard cut where we just want to cut the letter off and get into the next scene and let the audience put the pieces together.
HULLFISH: Did you edit in Chicago?
SPRAGUE: No. They actually shot in Cleveland. We edited in New York. Every day when we got in in the morning we had the previous day’s footage downloaded and the assistant editors would start going through it and processing it.
HULLFISH: Let’s talk about sound design because I loved some of that stuff that gives you a sense of where you are and the environment. If you’re not from Chicago, the West Side and the South Side of Chicago can sound a little different. Talk to me about using that sound design and how much of that you did in the picture cut.
SPRAGUE: In terms of during the picture cut, I don’t do too much sound design. In terms of sound design for picture I just want to make sure nothing is distracting and that you understand it’s supposed to be urban or city outside and you hear city sounds.
Going back to that scene between O’Neal’s apartment and Mitchell’s house: the sound designers obviously did a much better job, but the sound design was always there. We definitely want to hear the city outside and then cut and hear a lawnmower and birds — very suburban. I think we put in a lawnmower but that’s it.
And then I’ll let the sound team do their job. We had an amazing sound team. We had Skip Lievsay and Rich Bologna. Rich was Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer and Skip Lievsay was sound mixer. He’s won multiple Oscars. He knows what he’s doing.
It was weird because the pandemic happened in the middle of our post process. We had to go home and then we came back. But luckily, by the end, we were in the nice theater with them when we were mixing. I try and give it a direction and make sure it’s not distracting. I don’t want you to be pulled out by sound but I don’t spend too much time on it.
At the beginning of the film, when they showed me the credentials of the guys who were going to do sound, I didn’t worry about it.
HULLFISH: It sounded like it was mostly needle drop. There was definitely score. Talk to me a little about the combination of those two things.
SPRAGUE: Again, the pandemic changed how we approached that. Technically, we had four composers on this. We had the two original composers were Craig Harris, who’s a jazz musician who had never done a movie before, and Mark Isham who’s done over 200 movies and TV shows.
They were working together. We did a spotting session and we talked about what we thought we needed. We had already had some temporary stuff put in, but not temp score. Mostly jazz music. We wanted to kind of make a jazz score. We were going to write some themes for different things or different sections and then have some jazz musicians take those skeletons and improvise.
We also had Marvin Morris as our music editor. He’s a great music editor. We started wanting more classic score, and so what ended up happening was — during the pandemic — we were all in separate places and so Mark and Craig would make stuff for different scenes and we would go back and forth with them using that stuff and then two others were added: Quelle Chris and Chris Keys who are actually musicians. Quelle is a rapper and Chris Keys is a producer and they were actually helping us with some music stuff as well.
A good example of how that worked was with the shoot-out in the middle of the film at the headquarters where the police come. Originally, we cut that scene and there was no music. We weren’t sure if we’re going to put music or not.
Then Quelle asked if he could try something. He made a percussive track. It was just drums and it really worked, but it didn’t sound like anything else we had in the film. We cut it in and then basically we gave it to Mark and Craig and they started adding things on top of it that were more in the vein of the other stuff. So what you see now is a combination. I think all four of our composers had a hand in that one piece.
The percussion stuff came first. Then we added a lot of strings and other things on top — pulled out some of the percussion and adjusted it from there.
This was an interesting process — the music, but we always knew it was going to be a combination of score and needle drops. The music in the very beginning — that’s from a song called The Inflated Tear https://www.tunefind.com/movie/judas-and-the-black-messiah-2021. (Skip down to “The Inflated Tear” — Opening about half-way down the page to hear more of the score-like material.)
That was a song that Shaka used when he was pitching. He would come with music for time and character and he’d always like that song. For whatever reason, that song sounded like Bill O’Neal to him.
We cut the first scene and put it in to see if it would work, and it worked great. Then as things progressed and we realized we weren’t going to be able to do exactly what we wanted to do — the composers took the notes themselves and they reconfigured it for other instruments and other parts of the movie. So Inflated Tears became something of a jumping-off-point for a lot of our other music.
And then other things were just needle drops that really worked. Between the Fred Hampton and Deborah Johnson character we use the same Bill Simmons song. That was one of the ones we found as a needle drop that kind of sounded like score. That’s when we started kind of going more and like oh can we do want some more score stuff. We were going to use that for when he gets out of prison. We put it in and all the beats we needed to hit it hit.
Then a month later we were working on the scene where Fred and Deborah first meet — which also didn’t have music at first — then Shaka wanted me to use if for that scene too and I tried it and it fell right in. That kind of became their theme.
Originally we were thinking of replacing it but with the craziness of COVID — plus it worked so well — we decided to just keep it. It works and it fit with the rest of our music anyway.
HULLFISH: There’s a great track I liked when Fred and his group meet with The Crowns and Bill almost gets outed. It’s just a single acoustic bass track. It’s almost film noir. It’s got a jazzy feel to it but it’s definitely tense.
SPRAGUE: That was Craig Harris because he comes with the jazz background. We tried a bunch of different things on that. First, we had temporary music to kind of just set tone. I never liked that temp track we were using and then we tried a couple of different ways. We tried more aggressive, more score-y things.
Craig Harris knew a really good bassist. We wanted to do more like that. That was what Shaka was originally hearing in his head, but even if the pandemic hadn’t happened I think we probably would have gone the way we went — more score — more of a combination than just straight jazz.
HULLFISH: What do you do to prepare for a movie, musically? What kind of stuff do you pull in? Obviously, it sounds like Shaka had a whole bunch of cues that he already knew that he was pitching with. So I’m assuming you imported all those. What else do you do to prepare?
SPRAGUE: Shaka had a playlist. When he would send people the script, he would send them a playlist of all the songs from the era. So we had that and then our edit room assistant had good taste in music. I know him from other projects and I trust him. So we had him pull. What were they listening to? What was popular? Not just what was popular but what was coming out in Chicago around then. We didn’t want to do just Top 40 of the time.
We did want the stuff to be period-appropriate, but we didn’t want it to just be pop music. We were definitely looking for a lot of the jazz stuff — free jazz especially, which is more loose.
HULLFISH: Talk to me a little bit about your collaboration with Shaka and how did the two of you work together?
SPRAGUE: We’ve known each other since college. Technically, we met in high school and started filmmaking together so it’s the same process essentially. We’ve kind of figured it out together. It’s really easy for us to work together. Shaka likes to be in the room a lot.
Aside from actually working the Avid, he could edit a movie himself. Some directors want to give notes and leave and let you play around with it. Shaka likes to be in the room for most of it, but if we can’t figure it out together, he’ll leave and I’ll sit on it for a day or two and when I have time, I’ll come back by myself. But a lot of it is us working together, just going through line-by-line, scene-by-scene.
HULLFISH: That’s one of those places where having a selects reel really helps — when you’re in with a director.
SPRAGUE: Yeah. the way we like is to watch all the footage and while we’re watching it, talk about it. That’s how we get on the same page. “Oh that worked” or “that didn’t work” or “we have to use that” or “flag that, that’s great.”
It’s tough when you’re making a movie about a real person. There were some takes when Fred went to meet the Young Patriots where Fred Hampton’s character ended up lower than Vesperman, the leader of the Young Patriots, and the family didn’t like the power dynamic.
We watch everything and kind of talk it through and then jump in and see you know what works. We have those touchstones (moments) where it really worked, so we know we want that in, but how do we get there?
He can’t always be there because directors have a lot of shit to do, so sometimes they have to leave. If he can’t be there, we’ll pull more specific selects while we’re talking. He’ll say, “Try this. Maybe one of these — or these three work. See which we can use” and then I’ll cut it together by myself. But usually, Shaka likes to be there. He likes to be very hands-on.
HULLFISH: It must be nice to have that long relationship with him. When you fail or when something doesn’t quite work he knows you’re going to come through.
SPRAGUE: With us, because we know each other well and we work together well, sometimes it takes longer if you have two people working on the same thing but I think in our case it’s kind of faster because when you’re working by yourself there’s always gonna be times where you have questions.
It might be as simple as, “We have three takes that really work. I can make any of these work and they’re all pretty good. Which one do you like?” If they’re not in the room I can make a choice but I still want to get their input on it, whereas if he’s in the room we can have the conversation right there.
Being that we’ve worked together for so long, I understand what he’s doing. That’s a big part: figuring out what the director means and how they want to do it. Usually when you work with a new director you have to kind of figure each other out. We don’t have to figure each other out. We can just get right into it.
HULLFISH: One of the things that I liked at the beginning of the movie — it almost threw me a little bit, but it was because it was so smooth that it threw me — was you’re in this documentary section and then without even knowing it you go from documentary to narrative. So that was an interesting transition. Was that always planned to be that way? That you just go straight from documentary into the narrative?
SPRAGUE: We tried many different ways to start this film, really. We tried to see if we could do without any of the newsreel footage. Originally, we wanted to see if we could start on the shot of Bill O’Neal walking up to the car because we thought, that’s just a great way to start a movie and set the tone, but we realized people are bringing different understanding to this. So we decided we have to at least establish some sort of baseline so people can understand what the Panthers are doing and why they’re doing it.
In the script, there was also a version where it started with newsreel but it was less newsreel and it was more like a scene. We weren’t selling it as much as a separate little thing. We wanted more archival up top just to explain everything and set a tone and a baseline of understanding: So this is the world. This is what was happening with the Panthers as well with the FBI. So we can understand what’s going on.
We tried to incorporate the credits into it. That didn’t really work. We had more graphical credits that didn’t work and then we finally figured out this newsreel, but it’s a stylized newsreel so it’s kind of this mini-doc.
It was more towards the end where we figured out that transition of Hoover stopping the newsreel. So it was kind of in the script but not exactly how it turned out. It evolved.
HULLFISH: And how did all that newsreel footage come to you? It’s different than just a dailies situation where they shot it, it’s slated and it goes in a bin. Was it almost like cutting a documentary?
SPRAGUE: Originally, it was going to be one piece of newsreel that they actually used that they shot. We had that one piece of newsreel and it was like 30 seconds or 20 seconds or something small.
Then we decided that we need to expand this. It was my assistant editors. Shaka and I sat down and figured out what we wanted and needed. “What are the possible things we can talk about in this?” So we came up with a list of like topics, people, images, and then we gave that list to the assistant editors. We had two assistant editors and our edit room assistant. The three of them divided it up and looked for stuff.
This also happened right when we went home. So they would find stuff and put it on the system and then they would send it to me and it was this whole convoluted thing we figured out. Also, luckily, our post supervisor also has experience with documentary stuff so he knew places. We used a lot of stuff from Chicago Film Archives and he actually knew someone who worked at Chicago Film Archives.
And then we would get all this footage in and we’d watch through it and we would pull selects. Then I would try and cut something together out of these selects. We would talk about ideas but we wouldn’t have anything really concrete but we would have general ideas.
Usually when I would do that it was like that first assembly — I’m putting EVERYTHING in and it’s way longer than it has to be, but it was all of the things that kind of worked, and then we would take that and usually just pare it down and move stuff around.
It was a mini-documentary. It really was. That took a while to evolve. We had a lot of different versions of that. We had some versions where we tried to use the real Fred Hampton and the real Hoover instead of our versions, but we thought that might be confusing.
The Hoover scene was very different from how it was supposed to go. It wasn’t supposed to have Fred Hampton saying the line he says there, but as it evolved we realized that it was actually a really good way to do this because we can transition from our little documentary into our thing.
Now you’re introduced to our Fred. It was also very important that we hear that quote. That’s a quote where he says, “We’re not gonna fight capitalism with black capitalism, we’re gonna fight capitalism with socialism.”
It was important for us to not soften what Fred really believed. He was a staunch socialist. He believes in socialism and we didn’t want to soften it or make it more applicable to today — even though it turned out it was very applicable to today — with the way things are going.
Originally it went straight from the documentary stuff right into Bill O’Neal still stealing the car. At one point we had a title card: “Chicago 1968.” We figured out what you were saying: how to transition almost seamlessly into our movie from this world.
HULLFISH: Thank you so much for chatting with us. And it was really an informative discussion. Thank you.
SPRAGUE: Thanks for having me. I enjoyed it.
The first 50 interviews in the series provided the material for the book, “Art of the Cut: Conversations with Film and TV Editors.” This is a unique book that breaks down interviews with many of the world’s best editors and organizes it into a virtual roundtable discussion centering on the topics editors care about. It is a powerful tool for experienced and aspiring editors alike. Cinemontage and CinemaEditor magazine both gave it rave reviews. No other book provides the breadth of opinion and experience. Combined, the editors featured in the book have edited for over 1,000 years on many of the most iconic, critically acclaimed, and biggest box office hits in the history of cinema.