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Fitness & Editing Hollywood Blockbusters with Alan Bell, ACE

COW Library : Fitness in Post : Alan E. Bell : Fitness & Editing Hollywood Blockbusters with Alan Bell, ACE
CreativeCOW presents Fitness & Editing Hollywood Blockbusters with Alan Bell, ACE -- Fitness in Post Feature


Alan E. Bell at IMDb.com
Los Angeles California USA
CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Alan E. Bell, ACE, first joined Creative COW in 2003, posting on forums including Avid, Apple Final Cut Pro, The Art of the Edit, Indie Film & Documentary, and more. He’s edited some of the most acclaimed and popular films in the intervening years since then, including fan favorite (500) Days of Summer, most recently, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and parts 1 and 2 of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

Alan also wrote a fantastic article for us about his work on The Amazing Spider-man (2012), Editor Alan Edward Bell, ACE on The Amazing Spider-Man.





In addition to his membership in the American Cinema Editors (ACE), Alan was invited to join the editing branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in 2014 as, yep, one of the guys who votes on the Oscars.

Not that we’ll take credit for Alan’s success, mind you. Before he started posting in Creative COW, Alan’s credits included A Few Good Men and The Green Mile. To see more of his credits, be sure to check out Alan's profile at IMDb.


Over the years in the COW, he passed along a whole lot of very practical advice for every kind of work, as well as some insights that are still very much applicable.


On Tools
In my experience I shy away from people who seem to be tool based. I'm an editor and I can cut on any system. The interviews I've had with those types and the jobs I've landed from folks like this have shown me that they tend to be looking for a pair of hands and not and editor.

I always approach my interviews as if I'm trying to figure out if these are people I want to work for. It's not just do they want to work with me. More importantly can I live with working with them? Frankly we work way too hard to mess around with folks whom we don't get along with, and who may not appreciate what we do.



On Editing Style
I think each and every film is different, and to hold yourself down with rules is a mistake. On some films, the editing should be invisible. On others, editing can act as another character in the movie. We can take the viewer from scene to scene smoothly or slap them across the face if we want.



On Watching Your Own Work
Here are some tricks I use to keep a fresh perspective on my sequences, especially when I've been working on them for a while and putting them through different versions.
  • I always take a deep breath before I sit back and look at something.
  • I remind myself not to anticipate the cuts I've made.
  • If I feel something isn't right but I'm not sure what it is, I pay deep attention to the feeling. For me it's often the cut BEFORE I noticed [that something isn’t right].
  • I pay attention to where my eye tracks from cut to cut. (This is something I usually think about while I'm choosing my cuts.)
  • I take a rest from it.

We have jobs that are not 100% objective. It's all a matter of taste when you think about it. What was slick 10 years ago may look old today. In my opinion, if your piece reaches the audience on an emotional level, then it has a better chance of standing the test of time.



Knowing When to Cut
I like to let the footage tell me when I need to cut away and why. A typical Dialogue scene is usually cut a certain why because of what the actors are saying. It's always more powerful to see someone say something than have it play on the person listening. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. In fact there are very few rules, because it’s ultimately a matter of tastes.

I think the most important part of my job as an editor is to tell the story by connecting the characters with my choice of takes and edit points. It's often knowing when not to cut away that makes the difference.



Alan recently sat down with Zack Arnold of Fitness in Post to discuss the current state of the post-production industry from a health & wellness perspective. He and Zack also discuss Alan’s background as an athlete before he got into editing, and his fitness regime in the edit suite. Alan even talks about the ways that his commitment to fitness has improved him as an editor, but also as a husband and father.

Their conversation also covers the kinds of financial decisions that can affect your health, while talking about whether the long hours we work are even worth it. Spoiler alert: Yes, but you’ll be interested to hear Alan’s thoughts on why.

So take a listen to Fitness in Post: Editing Hollywood Blockbusters with Alan Bell, ACE.



Our thanks, as always, to Zack Arnold at Fitness in Post. And be sure to check out the Fitness in Post forum here at Creative COW!




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