Must Watch: In The Editing Room With Martin Scorsese & Thelma Schoonmaker!

By Aditi Patwardhan. Posted on April 18, 2016

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best, and I just don’t want to work for anybody else. I just hope we can go on until we drop,” says Thelma Schoonmaker in an interview, when asked about her collaboration with Martin Scorsese.

The collaboration between the legendary filmmaker and his film editor has been an evergreen bond! Schoonmaker has edited all of Scorsese's films since they first worked together on Raging Bull (1980) and has received seven Academy Award nominations for Best Film Editing, bagging three Oscars for Raging Bull (1980), The Aviator (2004), and The Departed (2006). We have adored & admired their cinematic work for years and when we found this video, where we can actually see them at work in the editing room, we had to share it here!

In this video, we see Scorsese and Schoonmaker editing Life Lessons, a short film in the 1989 anthology film New York Stories, directed by Scorsese, Woody Allen & Francis Ford Coppola. We also see a little bit of Michael Powell, an accomplished filmmaker of yesteryears & Schoonmaker's late husband.

We see them hanging around, chatting as it happens to be Scorsese's birthday and working alongside of all the fun that is going on! Later in the video, Scorsese explains why they now eat lunch in the editing room. "If you have to go out somewhere for lunch, you need to go out, get to the restaurant, make reservation", says Scorsese, "Meet somebody", adds Schoonmaker. "Yes, meet somebody," he continues, "then there's about 5-6 minutes of congenial discussion. 'how are you doing', how's the weather', 'what do you need' - that's about an hour. Then you get back, the elevator in the building is really slow, so another 15 minutes gone. Then you feel like going up to the office to check if there have been any important phone calls. You lose two and a half hours! So we just work through the lunch!" Now, isn't that an incredibly efficient solution to the time management problems?

Scorsese keeps shifting from addressing the camera to going back to Schoonmaker and discussing the cuts with her as if the camera weren't there. This 13-minute video gives us an insight into the world behind the scenes. It lets us peep into the relationship that a director and an editor share, the relentless hours at work and also a glimpse of the thought gone into the editing.

So, watch, learn & apply!


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