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  • Writer's pictureRobert Tate

Hail, Prometheus!

Or: Editors Have Their Moments


Let me tell you a secret—poorly kept in a well-tuned edit and utterly misunderstood in such edits plagued with problems: In the world created by a movie, the Editor is God. 

Yes, ok,  the Director is god (Zeus), but the Editor must possess the talents of Prometheus to build the movie per the Director’s vision and the alchemy of Athena to breathe life into it. If you’re lucky, you may even be recognized for it. The script, performances, camera angles, and timings emerge from an editor’s hands as a whole greater—indeed than the sum of its parts. 

Moments are the atoms of story-telling that, when skillfully combined, become beats that, when ordered just right, become scenes.  Challenge your concept of what a moment is. You have sound—music (often), dialogue down to the syllable—and picture—performances down to a breath, pause, reaction, or look—even before “Action” and after “Cut.”  The deeper your understanding of the elements available to you, the better you’ll be able to problem-solve and make it look effortless.

There’s a reason we keep our edit rooms dark and that most onlookers lose interest after a few minutes of watching us ponder for hours what amounts to mere minutes of screentime:

the workspace of editing software with several icon and images conveying the many types of media used in film making.
From Nuestros Dolores, Shot and Edited by Rob Tate, Dancer: Javier Ninja.

It's because hour after hour, everything interesting is happening, not in the buttons we push but in the gears turning in our heads as we work, re-work, and re-work again each moment by moment until—magic!—the film is alive.

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