In the first episode of our new editors series, In the Cut, we’re delighted to be sitting down with an editor who’s done some pretty amazing Hollywood blockbusters. From Elf to the upcoming “Thor: The Dark World”, Dan Lebental is an amazing gem of a guy some great tips and stories to share.
We couldn’t pack it all into one episode, so we’re kicking off In the Cut with a two parter with Dan. In this episodes he shares some pretty cool insights with us. Elf was the project that made Dan the editor of hit blockbuster movies, here’s how he describes it:
On getting to edit hit films:
That was the first all out hit film [“Elf”] that I worked on. And the interesting thing about a hit film is that if it smells like hit they [the studio] won’t give it you. So it’s a catch 22. The only way to get on a hit film is to have made a hit film. But if they think it can be a hit film forget it. So what you have to do is get in a film that’s supposed be a little thing and have it go big.
Interestingly, however, he talks about the transition from a script to the editing room on one of his earlier films Very Bad Things and the first directing gig for Peter Berg.
On Translating Script Material:
They’re not [a script] written that way. They don’t say, “we’re gonna do this, then we’re gonna cut here”; they just generally say this is happening and this is happening. And it’s the editors job to fold them in.
And then there’s From Hell, which Dan describes as being one of the best films he’s ever been associated with on a visual level.
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