The choice of an editor ideally should be made prior to filming so that they can be involved from the start of production. In our case, I didn’t choose anyone until after production was completed. The reason boiled down to two issues: money and the degree of control I’d have over the process.
Angel held out hope that somehow we would have enough money left over after production to afford an editor experienced in feature films produced by studios. The nearest of those that we knew about was in Austin and they cost more than five times the money we had allocated for the editor. Also, Angel wanted to turn over the film to someone with fresh eyes, whereas I wanted to edit the film to the vision of it that I had in my head.
We were in the final week of production when I had a sort of meltdown—a conniption fit with tears and gnashing of teeth. By phone one night, I told Angel I could no longer bear the indecision and I planned to move forward with choosing an editor myself and that I had decided upon Charles Willis. Charles was keen to fulfill my vision of the film, was local so that he could meet with me, and was willing to meet my price. If Charles could handle the editing software professionally, that was all I needed to know.
Angel agreed that he and Zubi would interview Charles in a conference call to make sure that he was up to the job technically. That was followed by an in-person interview which resulted in an “okay, but with reservations” verdict by Angel.
As it turned out, Charles had many good attributes, one of which was patience. I had a very slow, unsure start to the editing process. A key problem was my hesitation in cutting people’s roles and air time, and in deciding to omit scenes. Charles was always ready to try a different approach and never complained when I changed my mind, which was fairly frequently at the beginning.
Although we started the editing in late October, I didn’t feel that we hit our stride until December. By then, we had a routine down in which I would provide notes and Charles would upload edited scenes with which we’d work.