Anybody can edit. Yes, anybody can do it. It's not particularly hard to get your hands on the tools to stitch two images together these days (thanks Steve Jobs) and we have all grown up with TV, movies and now streaming media. So, we all know the rules, the basics of how to tell a story with images. We can't all verbalize it instantaneously but we all have that funny feeling that "this should go here and that should go there", as a famous scroundrel once screamed. Even better the rules of editing have become looser than ever. The 180 rule, jump cuts and music videos have accustomed us accept all forms of montage genres, even the ones that are clasically labelled as bad edits. The laundry list of what you need to do is pretty short, so that you can make some media ingestable these days (see YouTube). I realized this fact recently on 2 occassions.
The first one, my wife was shooting a small instructional videos to be integrated in a PowerPoint presentation. She isn't in film production at all. She works for an agency that aids kids with autism and helps them through workshops to teach parents how to care for the challenges of their child. So, she told me that she was going to shoot the footage with a co-worker themselves. My alarm went off and looked at her, then asked her, "who is editng it?". Pause, lookded at me and answered "you want to do it?" I gently explained that I rather not. Then she shrugged it off, "I figured as much" then she explained that it was okay, her manager liked to edit stuff together and she would do it. I'm curious now, I ask "what has she edited?", "oh, just her own home movies" she replies. I pause in a film snob way and then say, "Hmmm, okay". I think to myself cool they "got" this one and I give my wife a few tips aobut shooting and coverage, "(good luck)" the elitist in me thinks!
The second similar event that got me thinking about editing skill and ability was from an old film set friend of mine. He explained to me that his son was getting some internet jobs as an editor. His son bought himself a system and has been doing little jobs on those bidding freelancer websites. My first knee jerk reaction is the snobby filmmaking student in me from the 90's. I learned the rules! I went through some Full Metal Jacket style bootcamp to learn the ropes of crafting a story. I put hours of film study, practing my soon to be craft on short films, slugging away many years of learning processes, hardware and now software to eventually build a carreer as an editor. Inside my head I am screaming,"You want ME, on that wall!"
Then I take a moment to look down from the pedostole that I am on, to all the newcommers, expecting to be so high that they all just look like ants. But wait, they are actually just one step down from a olympic style podium. I am not as high up as I use to be (or my mind likes to think I was, anyway). I let the brew for a while and you know what, this is a good thing. The entry level to edtiting is very low, the roadblocks that I exprienced 15-20 years ago are gone. When I started, you couldn't even get your hands on an edit system even if you were lucky enough to get a production assistant job at a posthost. Their were many layers to surmount but now you can't use money even as an excuse. If you want to edit you can do it on your laptop and if your really cleaver on your smartphone. Everybody can edit and make a movie now.
The debate is still out on home many people get to the level of a craftsmen, some repeat the 10,000 hour rule and say to 20 hrs to get up and running with basic knowledge. But basically time is a factor and how much time you put into montage is based on your level of lazyness. Which brings me to another topic that I been noticing and that people aroud me always hear. Everybody is lazy.