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Podcast Episode 159: Women Editors Discuss The Art, Craft Of Editing

Prep for the Oscars by listening to Thelma Schoonmaker’s insights into film editing

Photo credit: A.M.P.A.S.

Thelma Schoonmaker (flanked by presenters Richard Pryor and Jane Seymour) won an Oscar for Best Editing in 1980 for Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull."

Episode 159: Women Editors On The Art And Craft Of Editing

To get you prepared for the Oscar nominations coming out on Jan. 22, here is an archive podcast to enlighten you on the art and craft of film editing. I interview two of the top women editors in the industry, including Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Find out how an editor can craft an actor's performance — or ruin it.

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How many times have you come out of a movie and said, "That film was too long. It should have been better cut?" or walked away from an action film saying, "Wow, that was well edited?"

If that’s the case, then maybe you’d be surprised to know that the editor is also the person who can help craft an actor’s performance, the person who will go through hours of footage or improvisation to find the minutes or seconds where an actor shines.

Editing is also a profession where women were able to make inroads from early on. Back in the silent days, Dorothy Arzner proved her worth and her business savvy by using stock footage to embellish Valentino’s bullfighting picture "Blood and Sand." By repeatedly displaying such skill and smarts, she eventually moved into directing.

Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker and Emmy-winning editor Janet Ashikaga received Career Achievement Honors at the American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie Awards in 2017. On this archive edition podcast, they talk about the art of editing.

The ACE Board of Directors noted in a statement regarding their honorees that “Janet Ashikaga and Thelma Schoonmaker have helped create some of the most iconic films and television programs in entertainment, and while their resumes alone are deserving of recognition and celebration, their commitment to the film editing community and shining a light on the craft of film editing is also noteworthy.”

Schoonmaker is a seven-time Academy Award nominee and a three-time Academy Award winner for "Raging Bull," "The Aviator" and "The Departed," all directed by Martin Scorsese. She began her editing career working with him in 1967 editing "Who’s That Knocking on My Door?" and then "Woodstock." Last year she edited Scorsese’s 28 years-in-the-making passion project "Silence."

Ashikaga is a 10-time Emmy Award nominee and four-time Emmy Award-winning editor who has worked on such TV shows as "Seinfeld" and "The West Wing."

Schoonmaker, along with women editors such as Margaret Booth, Dede Allen and Verna Fields, inspired me as a teenage girl to see editing as a profession I could succeed in. To this day, I edit all my TV packages, podcasts and radio stories. It's something I love, so it was a genuine honor and thrill to speak with Schoonmaker.


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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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