Editing an animated film through story

An animated film isn’t something we usually think of as needing to be heavily edited. Surely they are just put together in the order they are meant to be in, right? Nope.

Editing an animated film involves far more than what we would normally consider an editor’s job. Imagine being called by the director years before you even start filming; which is always a worry. They tell you that you are going to sit together with the writer and director and you’re going to be writing the movie with them. It’s only usually the last year of the entire three year production where you make an animated movie. An editor of an animated film is more like a writer than an editor.

The simple way of putting is that in live action you shoot first and edit later. In animation you edit first and then you shoot it later.

-Ken Schretzmann, Editor, Toy Story 3


Toy Story 3


In essence, anyone can throw out an idea for an animated film, the director, the writer, the editor…anyone. Those ideas are passed over to the animators, turned into storyboards and then you will start to form your film and begin to get an idea of what your story will be. When it all comes together, you have your story reel and then you it’s time to go again; re-writing, re-editing and re-animating.

The editor in an animation is an additional voice for the direction of the movie from the outset. Unlike traditional live action, where the editor works with the shots that have already been captured. As different as it may be, the core of the job is still the same. Regardless of whether the story is filmed or drawn it requires just as much experimentation. Creativity and emotion is key too because after all, that’s what editing is all about.

SOURCE: The Royal Ocean Film Society