These articles mix my own analysis of storytelling in the edit, plus interviews I have done with film professionals.
When a film is finished, the thousands of editing decisions that brought it to perfection are invisible. Here, I talk to editors, directors and producers about films I admire to uncover the creative decisions that brought them to our screens.
Story Rules By Susan Brand
Should Filmmakers Ignore Story Rules?
Finding Your Subject, Finding Your Story By Susan Brand
A filmmaker told me, 'I've been advised to make the next 'Imposter'.
Filmmakers get a lot of advice about how to shape their story. What is the best way to create a strong narrative for your feature documentary?
Getting Feedback on your Documentary
'I don't know a film in the universe which doesn't drag in spots.'
Susan Brand talks with Colin Vaines
Storytelling in the Edit with Colin Vaines
Colin Vaines talks through story problems at the edit stage in feature films he worked on: ‘Gangs of New York’, ‘The Young Victoria’ and ‘Coriolanus’.
Is My Documentary Film a Story or a Portrait? By Susan Brand
What is Three Act Structure? By Susan Brand
European filmmakers don't like being told what to do.
How To Choose An Editor By Susan Brand
People often say to me, it’s hard to choose an editor because you don’t know whose ideas formed the final film. My answer to this is quite simple: Ask them!
Susan Brand talks with Paul Watson
‘Editors are there to be bloody trouble in the nicest possible sense, but they have to believe in you.'
Paul Watson has been making documentary films for over 40 years. Susan Brand interviewed him about his film Rain in My Heart, where editing style is used to help express the desperate stories of three alcoholics.
Susan Brand talks with Srik Narayanan
'Your film can change completely from script to edit.'
Susan Brand interviews Srik Narayanan, director and producer of television documentaries. Susan edited a number of his films including The Man Who Ate His Lover and award winning series What We Still Don’t Know.
‘People have said that film resembles temporal arts like music and theatre more than it does literary arts. It’s good to write a script, it firms up the ideas that drive the film, it sets up a way for you to understand the film, but the edit is where the performance happens.’
Susan Brand talks with George Gittoes
'Most journalists are pussies!'
Susan Brand interviewed documentary film director George Gittoes about his film Miscreants of Taliwood. Miscreants is highly entertaining and funny, all the more surprising as it is about the Taliban.
Susan Brand talks with David Glover
'The manic depressive nature of editing is just thrilling!'
CEO 72 Films, London
David Glover has a particular interest in film editing and hired Werner Herzog’s editor, Joe Bini, to edit his documentaries when he was working as a director.
‘Editing is just fantastic. It’s by far the most interesting bit of documentary making. I just love the highs and lows of editing. Some days, the light’s all shining on you and other days its all dark and there’s no way out. That manic-depressive experience is just thrilling!’
Susan Brand talks with Anne V. Coates
'The job of the editor is very political.'
Anne V. Coates won an Oscar for her editing of Lawrence of Arabia in 1961. She’s now edited 51 features. Susan Brand talked to her about her career and got the inside story on one of Steven Soderbergh’s most famous scenes in Out of Sight.