You’ll seldom see them at shooting locations or award ceremonies. You’ll seldom hear their names being sang in the halls of fame or see them receiving presidential handshakes. You may never hear their names but you dare not release a movie without them. They are the finishers. The video and sound editors. They put the finishing touch on all recorded works and if you do no pay real attention to them you are finished. They are you last bus stop before the censors board and your salvation should the censors board crucify you. But with these amazing roles of theirs how much recognition has been paid to their work and art?
Finishers (video and sound editors) are very much like continuity managers. In fact they complement each other. High level of competency is required of an editor of such. The quality of editing of a movie goes a long way to reveal the sort of budget the movie had and the clarity of the producer’s vision. Editors (finishers) don’t just stop at seeing the director’s vision for the production, they also take on the producer’s mission and swim in the screenplay writer’s imagination. This singular fact means that they deserve the same amount (if not more) of recognition we give to actors and movie makers in general. I fact I am of the opinion that the dictionary should edit the meaning of movie makers to mean movie editors (sound and video). They are the ones who turn rushes and cuts into a movie that you and I can consume.
After all that is said about the quality of movies in Nigeria, nothing has been done about the quality of editors in Nigeria. Better editors breed better quality of movies. It is simple. Where the DOP and the Director fail, the ever watching eyes of the editor would observe and adjust the errors. Amazingly however the editors suffer the same amount obscurity that the continuity managers suffer from.
Sometimes awards are given for best sound mixing/editing or best video, but more often than not, in the case off the best video, the credit goes to the director or the director of photography, while these people know too well the essential contributions of the video editor to the production. The obscurity experienced by editors is so elaborate that I sense there is a conspiracy theory lurking somewhere that explains it all.
Recently a friend of mine was complaining about some effects in a certain Award-winning movie. I recognised his points and agreed with him. But where we disagreed was when he went on blaming the director for the mucky work done in the concerned scenes. I naturally raised the observation that it is not the director that would do the effects but rather the finisher. My friend however reminded me that in the world of the viewer the editor doesn’t exist. Then I realised is sad but true. No one cares about the man who edited the score and placed it excellently well in the scenes where it’s needed. No one wants to know about the woman who sat slouched over a computer cleaning up the video and putting in all the necessary visual modifications needed. No one bothers to know about them and hence they do not exist outside the circle of filmmakers. I had agreed with my friend when he chunked the errors in the movie down to producer’s incompetency because he is the one responsible for the sync between the on-set crew members and the post production crew members.
So next time you are seated watching a Nollywood movie, take out time to pay attention to the work done by the finishers and how this complements the whole production. If you are satisfied by the work and you are in awe of what you are seeing, wait till the credits play across the screen, look for where the editors’ name is and head over to Facebook or any social media you prefer and search for the editor in order to express your gratitude towards the work done on the movie.
A little appreciation hurts nobody.