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Motion Picture Editing Careers

Motion Picture Editing Careers Information

So you love the silver screen and have always pictured yourself making cuts on the editing room floor. Why not pursue your dreams of being a part of the motion picture filmmaking process and do what you do best in one of the motion picture editing careers?

Editors for motion pictures work largely in the post-production phase of film making. These activities take place either in editing rooms or recording studios, where the final touches are made.

Motion Picture Editing Careers & Degrees

After the film has completed the production phase, editors study the existing footage, making selections as to the most effective shots. They then compile the shots in the order specified by the directors and cinematographers, adding the appropriate transitions, and syncing them to the corresponding soundtracks.

Since the ultimate goal is to create dramatic continuity at the specified pace, a close working relationship with camera operators, directors, cinematographers, and sound technicians are expected throughout the post-production process.

Motion Picture Editing Careers Path

Most editors in the motion picture industry get their start through working as camera operators or editing-room assistants.

Competition for positions in the motion picture industry is to be expected, and those with the most working knowledge of the industry and experience on set are sure to be the most successful.

A strong foundation in digital media and computer skills are highly regarded, as the switch to digital technology is steady changing throughout the field.

While there are few industry-wide standards in existence for formal education and work experience, training is always a great asset. A bachelor’s degree in film with a concentration in editing is a good way to get the digital computer skills you’ll need.

If you’ve already received a degree in an unrelated field, a summer program at a film school would likely provide you with the skills needed to pursue an editing career

What’s even more important than having a degree is paying your dues in the industry. If you don’t have any relevant work experience to boost your resume, it’s time to get out there and start working.

Even if you’re working for free and even if you’re doing coffee runs, these hands-on experiences will inevitably provide future opportunities for work and are great as resume builders.

Motion Picture Editing Careers Compatible Personality Traits

Creative, diligent, attention to detail, computer-savvy, passionate

Motion Picture Editing Careers Salary Expectations

Salaries for those working in the motion picture industry vary widely depending on the amount of experience, education, specialty, union affiliation, and duration of employment. The average annual salary of a motion picture editor is $$50,930, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are just 6 major studios producing the majority of motion pictures released in the United States, and each employ fewer than 5 workers on a full-time basis. With that being said, it is more common for those working in the industry to be contracted on a freelance, or part-time basis.

Since most of the major sound stages and production houses are located in and around Los Angeles and New York, one actively pursuing a career in motion pictures is likely to do best once located in one of these metropolitan areas.

This isn’t to say that filming and editing doesn’t occur in other cities, but the bulk of work for motion pictures does occur in L.A. and New York.

Motion Picture Editing Careers Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wage and salary employment in the industry is expected to grow 5 percent over the 2010-2020 decade, which is fast than average for all industries.

This growth is expected to be the result of an increased demand for programming on the rising number of cable and satellite television channels both here, and abroad.

Luckily, growth will continue in movie theaters, and the internet will continue to provide endless opportunities for film in new media outlets. Additionally, those skilled in digital filming and editing are expected to have the best job opportunities.

Slightly off the Footpath

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators, on the Internet at (visited February 22, 2013).