Archive for February, 2010

Pre Oscar Panel

February 26th, 2010

PanelLast night I enjoyed being on an Oscar panel at the Writer’s Store (a terrific store with wonderful film folks) in LA with three other writers of film books: Chris Riley The Hollywood Standard – 2nd edition, Marcie Begleiter From Word to Image 2nd edition, and Michael Hauge Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds, and moderator-writer Chris Vogler The Writer’s Journey 3rd edition.

Marcie got the discussion off to a stimulating start by talking about reading the screenplay of The Hurt Locker. The scriptwriter describes the landscape as “brown on brown.” She counted the colors mentioned in the script: white and brown dominate and green is entirely missing. I had never thought much about the color palette of a movie and what is says about the character and now will be more aware.

During my introductory remarks I talked about how the editor is the last storyteller on a movie. Chris Riley followed this up by instructing screenwriters to put character, place, and plot on the page so that producers can visualize the film and that dialogue is less important in a script or movie, though it should be well-written.

Panel with Audience
Here are the discussions that most intrigued me:

Themes of this year’s Oscar nominees

I deciphered two themes and the panel agreed:
1) Cultural diversity whether on another planet as in Avatar and Up, in another country The Hurt Locker, in the U.S. Precious, The Blind Side, and Up in the Air or in the future, District 9.

2) The fettered 1960s and how people dealt with them: An Education, A Single Man, and A Serious Man.

Themes of the future

In the face of our stuttering at home with economic woes and reform attempts and abroad as a leader, I foresaw four types of movies:

1)    Certainty: Good, old American values about winning, overcoming adversity and kicking ass like in The Blind Side, and Precious.

2)    History: Reflecting on, taking comfort in, or re-writing history a la Inglourious Basterds.

3)    Fantasy/escape – there will always be thrillers and action movies.

4)    Exploratory: Probing our world like Up in the Air. I thought this movie took an incisive look at what our modern devices, air travel, and motivational speakers can produce. Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) has a cell phone yet isn’t connecting with anyone, is a fanatical frequent flyer who’s going nowhere fast, and asks “What’s in your backpack?” as he’s becoming increasingly lost in his own life. And a computer is threatening to take over his high flying job of laying people off for “rightsizing” corporations.

U.S. vs. European films

Chris Volger talked about how U.S. films demand an upbeat ending and eschew tragedies. European films, on the other hand, accept tragedy and often have ambiguous endings. Michael Hauge brought statistics on box office grosses and pointed out that this year’s cinematic crop trended toward a European or international style by not yielding to simple happy endings.


Rhythm and pacing trends in movies

Also, the question of rhythm and pacing in films came up. I’ll delve into this and talk about an interesting new article from APS (Association for Psychological Science) after concluding my series on comedy editing – unless something cuts in the meantime!

Awards, Editor’s role, Joy goes to the movies

Comedy Series Kickoff

February 23rd, 2010

By a reader’s request, I am launching a series of posts on comedy editing starting next week. To begin, here is a trio of comic videos on editing that both teach and entertain. And the editing? Well, you be the judge.

1)    Reader Jeff Underwood of Mission Media in San Diego crosses an exercise video with a rundown of FCP best practices.

2)    A valley girl/editor/dreamgirl tells you how to de-saturate and re-saturate the color on your FCO video and makes you want to see her video.

3)    This is a terrific, contemporary take on as the frustrated editor Albert Brooks played in Modern Romance. (See Joy post on December 15.) It proves that editing – like any profession – is not joyful when you have a non-appreciative boob for a boss.

Whoosh! – watch more funny videos

Editor’s role, Fun & games, Sound & music editing, Technical & process

‘Tis the Season: MPSE (Motion Picture Sound Editors) Nominations

February 19th, 2010

Annually, MPSE presents the Golden Reel awards to honor the year’s best work in all areas of sound editing: ADR, dialogue, effects, Foley, and music. MPSE has a large swath of categories including features, TV, computer entertainment, and student films. They also bestow a Filmmaker Award which will go to Steven Spielberg this year.

Here are MPSE’s Best Sound Editing live action feature film nominations (nominees too numerous to list) for Sound Effects and Foley:

Golden Reel Statue

The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Star Trek
Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen

Click the Golden reel statue to see all nominees and nominations.

Awards, Sound & music editing

‘Tis the Season: A.C.E. (American Cinema Editors) Nominations

February 16th, 2010

Every year A.C.E. nominates editors in a variety of categories, from three types of features to reality TV series for their prestigious Eddie award. Here are the nominees for best dramatic feature:


Stephen Rivkin, A.C.E., John Refoua, A.C.E. & James Cameron, A.C.E.

District 9
Julian Clarke

The Hurt Locker
Bob Murawski & Chris Innis

Star Trek
Mary Jo Markey, A.C.E & Maryann Brandon, A.C.E.

Up in the Air
Dana Glauberman, A.C.E.

Eddie statue
Click on the Eddie statue to see all of this year’s Eddie nominees and winners.

And while we’re speaking of A.C.E., you can put the letters after your name only if you are an active member. How do you become a member? Apply, be accepted and pay dues. There are four categories of membership. To learn more, go here:


Preview to a Marriage, or not your usual Wedding Invitation

February 9th, 2010

This couple clearly has an epic love affair with movies and some sharp editing skills. I couldn’t resist their funny ode to filmmaking genres. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Fun & games

Editing Avatar

February 9th, 2010

“…while it’s great to talk about how revolutionary Avatar is, we were still making a movie…when you come down to it, all this technology is just there to make the images more compelling and to tell the story better.  Ultimately, we’re asking the same questions editors always ask: Does this shot work?  Does this scene serve the story?  It’s all about performance and story.

Things just take a little longer to get done when you’re on the moon Pandora…”

Editor John Refoua, A.C.E.

To accommodate the breakthrough filmmaking techniques used to create Avatar, a unique editing process and work flow were developed. In this article, the editors lay it all out. Read the full details in the current issue of the Editors Guild mag:

Editor's Guild Magazine“You don’t cut a 3-D movie just like you don’t write a 3-D movie or compose shots in 3-D,” he says.  “There are some small accommodations to the stereo that need to be made, but they should always be downstream of the dramatic edit.  I don’t think we shifted one cut because of it.  More people are going to see Avatar in 2-D anyway, so the edit is the edit; it has to stand on its own.”

James Cameron

Director James Cameron was one of the three main editors on the movie. In this extensive interview he talks in depth about the filming and cutting of the movie.

Editing practices, Editor’s role, Technical & process, Visual FX editing

Follow-up: Avatar and the Creator of the Na’vi language

February 8th, 2010

As I wrote in last month, a long time friend of mine, Paul Frommer, created the Na’vi language for Avatar. I finally got to spend an evening with him – the first time I’ve seen him since the movie opened on planet earth. Five of us plied him with questions so here’s some more information:
Paul Frommer as Na'vi

  • He’s received over 500 emails, many of them written in excellent Na’vi, asking sophisticated questions about the language.
  • There was more Na’vi in the movie. Many lines were cut.
  • If there’s a sequel to Avatar, (duh!) contractually Paul will be asked first to write the Na’vi. Who else? He loves this highly complex language and it’s his baby.
  • Students’ desire to learn languages in general has spiked.

Paul Frommer by Bryce Homick

There’s a website devoted to learning the language:

Oel ngati kameie (“I see you”)

Paul has been amazed and delighted by the response to Na’vi. People from around the world have signed a petition entreating him, Karyu Pawl (Father Paul) to teach them the language. The number is over 3500 and growing daily.

You can sign the petition and/or hear his response – spoken and written in Na’vi with English subtitles – at
Na'vi Banner

Joy goes to the movies, Sound & music editing

The Everlovin’ Oscars Nominations are in once again

February 4th, 2010

OscarFor the first time since 1943, there are 10 nominations for best picture. Everything else gets five nominations. Let Joy know your thoughts on the nominees and all things Oscar, especially the editing nominees.

Best picture Best editing (picture) Best editing (sound)
Avatar Avatar Avatar
The Blind Side District 9 District 9
District 9 The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker
An Education Inglourious Basterds Star Trek
The Hurt Locker Precious Up
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air


I will be on an Oscar panel with other film authors, so if you’re in the LA area come on over! I’d love to see you. Here’s the official announcement:

The Writer’s Store Pre-Oscar Bash and Discussion with the Authors of Michael Wiese Productions
Date: Thursday, February 25th, 6-8PM
Location: Writer’s Store, 2040 Westwood Boulevard,  Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone:  (310) 441-5151

Join Screenwriters, Directors, Editors, and Indie Filmmakers for a lively discussion about the picks and pans for 2009!
Hear from Industry Insiders about their favorite movies for 2009 and learn new skills about writing, screenwriting, editing, storyboarding and more.


Moderated by Christopher Vogler, author of The Writer’s Journey 3rd edition

Marcie Begleiter, author of From Word to Image – 2nd edition

Gael Chandler, author of Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video and
Film Editing: Great Cuts Every Filmmaker and Movie Love Must Know

Michael Hauge, author of Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds

Christopher Riley, author of The Hollywood Standard – 2nd edition

Awards, Joy goes to the movies, Sound & music editing

Blog Talk Radio Podcast on Editing – Update

February 2nd, 2010

My interview didn’t make it into Sunday’s broadcast. As a result, they gave me my own show at

Talk Radio

After Wednesday, the podcast will be archived and available on the Blog Radio siteBlog Radio or its main site: Movie Geeks United!

Announcements, Editing practices, Editor’s role, Fun & games, History/research, Sound & music editing, Television

Blogging on Blogging

February 1st, 2010

A few days ago MovieMaker Magazine, the world’s best-selling independent movie mag, named this blog one of the “50 Best Blogs for Moviemakers.” Click here to read the announcement: Moviemaker Magazine

The mag’s editor, Jennifer Wood, emailed me, “We reviewed a lot of blogs and I can tell you that the competition was fierce this year!” The full article is in on newsstands now and will show up online soon. But Jennifer pdf’d me what it says about Joy’s blog: “Gael Chandler’s blog concentrates on – surprise – film editing, reminding

readers that editing is a lot more than pushing buttons on a computer.”

Well, we all knew that but it sure is, well, joyful, to be acknowledged. Especially since this blog is not even five months old! I have put a lot of time into it so it’s good to be acknowledged. But I would like even more to hear from you who read it. Please comment, ask questions, make suggestions or requests at any time. I want to know what you’re thinking and where we can go next.

A blog is born

When I first considered blogging I recoiled, thinking, “What a narcissistic, self-promoting endeavor!” Then I realized that I could write to inform and connect people. I also admitted that I have a lot that I think about and yes, want to say.

Growing up I was admonished not to “toot my own horn” or crow like Peter Pan. I’ve learned along the way that you have to promote your work and creations for them to have their intended homes and to make a living.

So I dropped these perceptions and committed to blogging.

Blog’s journey so far

At first I wasn’t sure if anyone was reading the blog. I didn’t want to feel like Father McKenzie, writing the blogs that nobody.

Webmeister Sherry Green tracked the number of hits, which slowly crept up. And continue to creep. Long may the numbers creep!

Despite the solo nature of my life’s work – writing, editing, projecting films – I am also a teacher by nature and work and a gregarious extrovert. This blog has connected me to new people. And I continue to connect people to each other as I have been connected by others over the years. Sounds biblical but it’s true.

Final note

This blog would not exist without webmeister-designer Sherry Green, who posts it and serves as copy editor and sounding board.

Thank you Sherry and thank you readers.