Behind the edit of the TV shows and stories we enjoyed in lockdown

Image source: Alamy

By Adobe Communications Team

Posted on 05-25-2021

From “Normal People” and “Quiz”, to “Putin: A Russian Spy Story” and “Once Upon a Time in Iraq”, this year’s nominated editors from the BAFTA TV Craft Awards’ Editing: Fiction and Editing: Factual categories, reveal their approach to editing to create the shows we loved and enjoyed.

Our support of the BAFTA TV Craft Awards is the next phase of our partnership with the brand this year, which seeks to inspire and empower the next generation of young talent to grow their careers in the film and video industry.

Over the past year, with more time at home and cinemas closed for a large portion of the time, we’ve all been glued to our TV screens, now more than ever before, and what fantastic year of TV it has been! We spoke to some of the leading practitioners from this year’s Editing: Fiction and Editing Factual categories so we could share with you some of their top highlights, top tips and skills advice, as well as work behind the camera that often goes unseen. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: You’re now nominated for a BAFTA which is special, but when do you know you’ve done your job right?

Adam Finch – ‘Putin: A Russian Spy Story’: “I edit to my own standard. Editing is a strange alchemy and when the components of sound, spoken word and image are composed in a particular way it elicits an emotional response. This is what I aim for. It’s not a process I understand or particularly try to control. I try to allow random and natural responses into the edit to help find new directions, then I follow my nose.”

Pia Di Ciaula – ‘Quiz’: “When I show a director my first cut and they laugh or cry at the appropriate times, it’s proof that I’ve done a decent job. It’s so rewarding to know that my instincts are correct. It means that my rhythm and choices of performances work for the narrative and emotion. It means that my sound design and temporary score is in the desired tone. It means that I’ve helped to realise their vision of the film and there’s no bigger reward!”

Image source: Alamy

Q: What is the best way to learn a new craft or skill when it comes to editing?

Nathan Nugent – ‘Normal People’: “Always be editing. Yes, you must be aware of overdoing it, but writers write every day, so the same should apply. Only then will you work out the different areas within editing that you feel earn more commitment. Some people feel like they need more time learning how to edit music, others on how to work on performance and timing within shots by using basic visual effects tools. The kind of projects that you work on will push you down a particular path.”

Anna Price – ‘Once Upon a Time in Iraq’: “These days I find it best to do initial research online. There are some great ‘how-to’ videos out there. And speak to peers and fellow students about what they find useful. If the craft is very specific and complex, find an expert (or at least someone proficient in it) and watch them at work/ get them to give you some tips.”

Will Grayburn – ‘Once Upon a Time in Iraq’: “Learn the software inside out first. It takes years to learn the politics of a cutting room and to find solutions that all films pose…but that’s what makes it still interesting to go to work every day. I have learnt a lot looking at how other editors do things and have shamelessly tried to copy them.”

Q: What advice would you give young people, looking to get started in the editing field?

John Dwelly – ‘I May Destroy You’: “My advice for young people looking to break into editing would be to make connections with people wherever you go. It can be quite daunting to be told “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” when you’re starting out because you don’t really know anything and you don’t really know anyone! However, the film & television industry is a community of really wonderful people and it’s very likely you’ll encounter the same faces again and again so make connections and make friends at every opportunity. Those connections and friendships will give you many more chances to be involved in a project than knowing a piece of software or a piece of kit inside-out ever will. Your craft skills and technical knowledge will naturally develop with experience but first you have to get those experiences so get yourself out there and don’t be afraid to ask to be involved. The worst someone can say is no. You haven’t lost anything by asking but you might just have made an important connection for the future.”

Anna Price – ‘Once Upon a Time in Iraq’: “Be reliable, friendly, have integrity and humility, as well as confidence in what you can do. Never get too comfortable; never get too complacent, challenge yourself. Have fun playing by yourself in the comfort of your own bedroom, or wherever you find space and privacy.”

Will Grayburn – ‘Once Upon a Time in Iraq’: “Don’t be afraid to get in touch with established editors to try to get some work experience. The factual world is very small and once you make an impression, people will want to work with you.”

Nathan Nugent – ‘Normal People’: “Edit anything and everything. Everything is a story, and learning about why stories work or don’t work, what engages people, how time works, how connections are made between shots and sounds are things that are relevant to every form, from commercials to feature films to documentaries.”

Pia Di Ciaula – ‘Quiz’: “Nurture whatever contacts and relationships you build. You must be willing to work hard and long hours if necessary. If you make mistakes, learn how to resolve them quickly and efficiently. How you bounce back will reveal a great deal about how serious you are about the business and how passionate you are about learning, growing, and building a career.”

Adam Finch – ‘Putin: A Russian Spy Story’: “First find a practicing editor you can talk to. All editors have worked their way up and generally feel the need to ‘give back’ and support ‘up and coming’ talent. The more they have achieved, the more they have to offer by way of advice.”

Image source: Alamy

Shaping the future of the industry

The Adobe and BAFTA partnership aims to support the next generation of creators by offering access to conversation and development opportunities, in the hope of a more inclusive industry.

As the nominees emphasised, encouraging and supporting new talent is the way the industry will continue to creatively evolve and bring to life the stories and characters that connect and entertain us.

Check out the winning moments for Editing: Factual here and Editing: Fiction here.

Topics: Media & Entertainment, News, Creativity, Creative Inspiration & Trends, Video & Audio, Diversity & Inclusion, Creative Cloud, UK,

Products: Creative Cloud, After Effects, Premiere Pro,