Editors spend all their time trying to cut together footage shot by other people – and as a consequence they develop passionate opinions about what works in filmmaking.
Jonny Craigmile is no different. He’s a sought-after, full-time, freelance editor making a successful living in Aberdeen…and he’s got opinions on everything.
But like many editors (the hidden role in TV and film production) he takes a while to warm up and say what he really thinks: “…[in documentary] that’s where the ability to make sexy sequences matters not a sh*t if you can’t get a narrative to work.”
Storytelling is Jonny’s favourite topic – how to tell a story. Visually. In documentary. Especially observational documentary.
Listen to his interview and you’ll hear him describe how big a revelation it was to discover and then learn about narrative, the course of a story, in a TV project.
It’s a process of pulling the curtain aside, and usually that happens when you work in a team and someone more experienced shows you, or forces you, to question your own perception of narrative.
Editors, directors, writers, actors etc – they all need to understand what a story is, and recognise when it’s weak or strong. They also need to be able to describe the faults they see so that others can understand.
Jonny uses words like rhythm, tone, pace. He talks about contrasts, cross-cutting, testimony, scripted, observational, evolution, drama. It’s questioning and critiquing the essential elements of any visual project.
He gives a really fascinating interview, I think because he knows so much, but also because he’s been editing for decades (he’s in his late 30s) and he’s witnessed, and reflects upon, the profound changes in his craft from tape to 100% digital workflows.
So, check out the interview – you’ll learn about linear editing on U-matic tape, moving from beginner to pro, the decision to go freelance and shooting ratios of 120:1. Awesome.