Hello ProVideo Coalition! I’m looking forward to regularly contributing to this community. My name is Misha, I’m an assistant editor, and editor, who lives in LA. I’ve worked 4,700 hours of Editor’s Guild work over the last three years on films and television shows including American Horror Story on FX, and the recent film JOBS with Ashton Kutcher.
I’m also the founder of Editstock.com, which has been a dream of mine to build. EditStock is a website where people can download professional quality film footage to practice editing with, and then get creative feedback on their work.
I taught editing classes at Video Symphony and Moviola back in the days of Final Cut Pro 7. Like most instructors, the examples I used in class largely came from the official Apple training books. I’m sure many readers of this article are familiar with Sea World.
Footage from FCP 7 Apple Training Book
Since starting EditStock, I’ve conducted surveys with numerous students and teachers across the country who have one thing in common; they are all using the same practice footage. Gun Smoke, a black and white western film from the 1930’s is by far the most popular.
Gunsmoke, a popular film school editing scene
Don’t get me wrong, that scene is fun to cut, but this footage has been used for decades. What makes students feel enthusiastic about editing is practicing with something that they would want to watch at home, or perhaps something that they would be hired to cut.
EditStock’s material comes from a variety of experienced filmmakers who all set out to create the best end film they could when they shot. These are not films “designed” for a classroom, and that’s what makes them perfect. One student from Swampscott High School in Massachusetts described editing our sample scene as, “this is literally what I would do on a weekend.”
We provide material of different genres and difficulty levels too, so students always have something fresh (and challenging) to work with.
Here are two examples of scenes from EditStock.
Bull Spec commercial EditStock product example
Spoils of War – Building the Bomb EditStock product example
The best footage is always brought in by instructors from their own real world projects. I remember holding a roll of film from a major motion picture brought in by editor Mike Sale, one of my instructors at Video Symphony. Something as simple as holding a roll of film from a film that a person has actually seen makes them suddenly realize how close they are to their goal. The only problem is that footage which instructors bring in can’t be taken out of the classroom, and they most certainly can’t be posted on youtube.
EditStock is different. We encourage people to display the editing work that they’ve done using our footage in a wide variety of contexts. Students are further encouraged to use our material on their demo reels and in college applications.
There is another classic way to learn editing, and that is on the job. Numerous instructors advised me to do this and I have advised my students to do the same. Over the years I have realized that not everyone is ready to be thrown into the deep end right away. EditStock provides students with a way to gain valuable experience and confidence before starting their first professional editing job.
EditStock also provides creative feedback notes on your cut. Getting feedback is like having a voice nudging you to experiment a little more, to try something outside the box, and to give you some idea of how you are progressing.
There are a lot of great resources on film editing theory, but precious few online services that allow editing students to interact with professional editors. Our goal is not to replace in classroom instruction. Our goal is to expand it to those who don’t necessarily have an instructor available to them.
Everyone needs feedback, even professional editors. On the projects that I assistant on I’m called into the editor's room daily to give feedback. Having an outside, neutral opinion of your work is paramount to growing your objective analyzing skills.
Our feedback is encouraging but honest. Or if people would prefer they can also see how others have cut those same scenes on our feedback blog. The feedback blog is aimed at mimicking some of the benefits of classroom activities where students can see each other’s cuts.
EditStock isn’t only for film editors. We have scenes for sound editors, films for music composers, and our camera footage database is designed to help assistant editors learn new and existing NLE workflows. In addition, we are in the process of adding material for colorists and visual effects artists.
Overall, EditStock is a great tool designed to enhance your creative editing skills, and prepare you for a successful editing career. We hope you come visit and check out our free sample.
Make sure you vote for my latest work, THE AFTER created by Chris Carter, which is airing on Amazing Prime.
Misha Tenenbaum is an Assistant Editor living in Los Angeles, California. His recent work includes JOBS, American Horror Story, and Chris Carter's THE AFTER. He is the founder of EditStock.com, a place for people to download professionally shot film footage to practice editing with.