What a Master Editor Expects From His Assistants

Jul 30, 2019



One of the best ways to become a film editor is the traditional route of working your way up through the assistant ranks. Roles as an assistant under the tutelage of a master editor are highly coveted, so what are the editors who have achieved success looking for in young assistants? Brian Kates, ACE, Emmy award-winning editor for Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, took a break from shooting his masters class with us to reveal what he expects from his assistants. 

Meticulous attention to detail

Attention to detail is critical. There are numerous tiny details assistants are going to need to keep track of and not ensuring the timecode didn't slip or the footage coming in is appropriately labeled will save hours of the editors time.

A love of technical wizardry

Assistant editors should see “technical challenges as growth opportunities and not disastrous.” You’re going to need to be ready to jump in and make the Avid or Premiere Pro sing. Understanding the systems will get you ahead faster than fighting it.

Emotional Intelligence

"The ability to read the room which is really emotional intelligence and knowing who is sometimes literally in the room, why they're in the room and when it's good to speak and when not." Knowing when you can speak up and offer help vs. when to keep quiet and fix it later.

Be the fly on the wall

"The ability to be a fly on the wall in a way that feels like they're adding value rather than taking up space. Although they should also take up space at times because they're an important member of the crew". (laughs). You "shouldn't shrink by any means but [you] should know the balance of when to be around, when to be vocal, and when to be silent.

Most Importantly

"A love of cinema."


If you're wanting to become an assistant but don't know where to start or where to learn about the process; check out our friends over at Master the Workflow's Assistant Editor Course.

 Learn Brian Kates' editing techniques and tricks from his editing course here!

TAGS: ace assistant brian kates editing editing room editor

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