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The Editors Cut

Episode 062: EditCon 2021: In Conversation with Jinmo Yang, ACE

The Editors Cut - Episode 062 - In Conversation with Jinmo Yang, ACE

Episode 062 - EditCon 2021: In Conversation with Jinmo Yang, ACE

This episode is part four of a six part series covering EditCon 2021.

Action, comedy, drama, romance, horror and thriller ? Jinmo Yang?s outstanding body of work covers almost every genre in filmmaking. His mastery of pacing and tone is often on display as he rides the line between genres, from the action/comedy of LUCK-KEY to the thriller/comedy PARASITE. Whether working on or off set Mr. Yang is truly a master of his artform. Multitalented moderator Sook-Yin Lee sits with Oscar-nominated editor Jinmo Yang for an in-depth conversation about the craft of Picture Editing.

Jinmo Yang, ACE
Photo by Irina Logras.

Jinmo Yang, ACE

Jinmo Yang est un monteur de cinéma sud-coréen primé qui a monté plus d’une douzaine de longs métrages, incluant les succès planétaires PARASITE, OKJA, and TRAIN TO BUSAN. 

With PARASITE, directed by Bong Joonho, Mr. Yang gained international acclaim and recognition including an Academy Award nomination for Best Editing, and an American Cinema Editors Award for Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic), the first non-English-language film to win this top prize.

Sook-Yin Lee
Photo by Yuula Benivolski

Sook-Yin Lee

Sook-Yin Lee is a Canadian filmmaker, musician, actor, and multimedia artist. The award-winning radio and TV broadcaster starred in John Cameron Mitchell?s groundbreaking LGBTQ movie, SHORTBUS, which premiered at Cannes. Year of the Carnivore, Lee’s feature film debut as writer-director, premiered at TIFF. Sook-Yin won the 2014 Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance by a Lead Dramatic Actress for her role as ?Olivia Chow? in JACK. Her movie, OCTAVIO IS DEAD! won Best Director and Best Picture awards at the Downtown LA Film Festival 2018. Her feature movie DEATH AND SICKNESSDeath streams on CBC Gem in Canada.

This episode was generously sponsored Boris FX

Jinmo Yang’s short film BANG.

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The Editor?s Cut – Episode 062 – EditCon 2021: In Conversation with Jinmo Yang, ACE

Sarah Taylor:

This episode was generously sponsored by Boris FX.

Jinmo Yang:

[foreign language 00:00:10].

Jason Yu (Translator):

His style is having no style. He believes that editors having a signature editing style is not good for the movie itself. So he adapts his style to each film and the director’s intention for each film. So he naturally melts himself into what the film requires of him.

Sarah Taylor:

Hello and welcome to The Editor’s Cut. I’m your host, Sarah Taylor. We would like to point out that the lands on which we have created this podcast and that many of you may be listening to us from are part of ancestral territory. It is important for all of us to deeply acknowledge that we are on ancestral territory that has long served as a place where indigenous peoples have lived, met and interacted. We honor, respect and recognize these nations that have never relinquished their rights or sovereign authority over the lands and waters on which we stand today. We encourage you to reflect on the history of the land, the rich culture, the many contributions and the concerns that impact indigenous individuals and communities. Land acknowledgements are the start to a deeper action.

Today’s episode is part four of a six part series covering EditCon 2021 that took place virtually in February 2021 in conversation with Jinmo Yang, ACE. Action, comedy, drama, romance, horror and thriller. Jinmo Yang’s outstanding body of work covers almost every genre in filmmaking. His mastery of pacing and tone is often on display as he rides the line between genres. From the action-comedy of Luck Key to the thriller-comedy Parasite, whether working on or offset. Mr. Yang is truly a master of his art form. Multi-talented moderator Sook-Yin Lee sits with Oscar nominated Editor, Jinmo Yang, ACE for an in-depth conversation about the craft of picture editing. Enjoy.

Speaker 4:

And action.

Speaker 5:

This is The Editor’s Cut.

Speaker 6:

A CCE podcast.

Speaker 7:

Exploring, exploring, exploring the art.

Speaker 8:

Of picture editing.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Welcome to EditCon 2021. I’m Sook-Yin Lee here to interview and speak with Jinmo Yang, editor extraordinaire of Parasite, the Academy award-winning movie that took home a truckload of awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best International Film. Jinmo has edited Director Bong Joon-ho’s last three pictures, Snowpiercer, Okja and Parasite. He began as an onset editor, assembling footage from video feed and providing VFX. Now he is the head editor who works in the studio with Director Bong. And together they weave a seamless, captivating and punchy style that is also very spare. His movies lean toward genre filmmaking, they’re action-thrillers with zombies and giant genetically modified pigs and speeding trains with a very unpredictable and artful twist. I could choose to play clips from any of Jinmo’s 21 movies but today I’m going to be focusing mostly on Parasite, a movie that sees Jinmo’s editing powers come together in an incredible sort of, I guess it’s like editing awesomeness, absolute editing awesomeness. Jinmo Yang and his translator Jason Yu join me now from Seoul, Korea. Hello fellas.

Jinmo Yang:

Hi. My name is Jinmo Yang, editor of Parasite. And this is Jason Yu, my translator.

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes, thank you for having us today.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Great to see you. You are 15 hours ahead of me. I understand it’s midnight tomorrow where you are. How are things in Seoul,Korea?

Jason Yu (Translator):

It’s late into the night in Korea and regarding the pandemic, things have gotten a little bit worse than our previous situation.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Is that what’s on your mind mostly, the pandemic?

Jason Yu (Translator):

In the back of his mind, the pandemic is always very concerning but his first concern, his major, his core concern is the Netflix miniseries he is currently editing.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Yes, I imagine so. Okay, so where you are right now, are you in the studio, your studio where you’re editing for the Netflix series?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes, he is currently in his edit suite. In Korea, it’s usually the norm that each editor owns their own edit suite and this is where he does most of his editing work.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wow, that’s the brain central. So Jinmo, of all the things you could have done in your life, you chose filmmaking. Why?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Oh, to be completely honest my first dream was to draw and I also had a lot of other dreams, none filmmaking related. But throughout my life, I always had a love for films.

Sook-Yin Lee:

You began as a visual artist.

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes, that’s correct. Whether that be drawing or animation, he was always interested in visual media. And out of all visual media, he was always more interested and had more fun with filmmaking, with films.

Sook-Yin Lee:

How did you end up in the editing arena?

Jason Yu (Translator):

To be completely honest, as an undergrad I decided to become a filmmaker as an undergrad. So I majored in filmmaking. And at that time, my main aspiration, my main goal was to become a director. Never in my life have I ever aspired to be a famous editor but my goal shifted to becoming a famous editor in order to become a director of my own film. And of course, that film I would edit and then life happened and this is where he’s at now.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Yeah, you really excelled at the editing. So how would you describe your editing style?

Jason Yu (Translator):

His style is having no style. He believes that editors having a signature editing style is not always good for the movie itself. So that’s his style to each film and the director’s intention for each film. So he naturally melts himself into what the film requires of him.

Sook-Yin Lee:

That’s so nice. We’re going to take a look at a clip from Parasite. Now Parasite is a movie about the impoverished Kim family who infiltrate the home of the wealthy Park family, who unwittingly hire the entire Kim family to work for them. So it’s kind of like postmodern Goldilocks and the three bears with greed and class struggle. When another family hiding in the basement enter the picture, things really go off the rails. We’re going to look at a bit of the opening where a young man, Ki-woo gets his sister to forge a fake college diploma so that he can land an interview to tutor the wealthy Park family’s daughter. Let’s take a look.

[clip plays]

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wow, so the scene is set from one world to another. I love what you were talking about, Jinmo, in terms of your having no style, that you adapt every movie looking at the intention of the director. Here, we just saw a sequence of images, a very graceful entrance from his world, the cramped underground world of his family to the spacious luxury world of the Park family. Wondering when you were speaking with Director Bong about his intention, what was the intention that helped to guide this editing style of Parasite?

Jason Yu (Translator):

As you know, Parasite mixes a lot of genres. So one of the main goals was to make the transition of each genre seamless and not to be jarring. So that was one of the main goals. Another one is, towards the climax of Parasite it’s very turbulent, it’s very dynamic. And what he wanted to do was to exemplify this feeling of turbulence.

Sook-Yin Lee:

I understand that the movie was based upon, inspired by an event in Director Bong’s life. Is that true?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes, that is correct. Some of the screenplay, the stories of Parasite is based on Director Bong’s experience as a private tutor for rich pupils during his undergraduate years.

Sook-Yin Lee:

What’s your relationship like with Director Bong?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Director Bong to him is a coworker, a collaborator. And he feels Director Bong is his friendly older brother in some sense. And yes, Director Bong is incredibly rich but he never really shows it. He is never really extravagant in any sense and he just feels like a friendly older brother.

Sook-Yin Lee:

I saw a photograph of you winning an award for editing and there was Director Bong with his arm around you looking so happy. Do you guys hang out outside of work as well? Are you friends?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Director Bong is a person you cannot really meet frequently but when they are in collaboration together, for example when it’s editing season of a certain project, they also have a drink or two outside of editing as well. And Director Bong is also very famous for caring for the people around him.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Director Bong is known for meticulously tight storyboards that he maps out ahead of the movie production. He is able to see the movie from beginning to end, from shot to shot. And then by the time the two of you are working in the studio together, what is it that you focus on?

Jason Yu (Translator):

So during production, Director Bong relies and focuses on the storyboards. But during editing and inside the editing booth, everything is new. The goal is to perfect each scene and by perfecting each scene, what they focus on mainly is capturing the perfect rhythm of each scene.

Sook-Yin Lee:

What determines that rhythm?

Jason Yu (Translator):

So what we usually do is we have a rough assembly of the film, the whole film and we watch it and re-watch it constantly. And as we do this, there’s always this visceral, intuitive timing that we feel. And what we do is, we omit certain scenes or tweak certain scenes to discover new rhythms and perfect it each time we do this process. But, there is no set answer. There is no rule set that they adhere to, it’s very intuitive and visceral.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Very interesting. So it’s almost like the two of you have a mind-meld in the studio where you’re almost feeling like an internal musicality tied to the visuals that you’re sort of dramatizing through the edit and the sequence of images. You refer to dropping things, getting rid of things in order to serve that inner sense of rhythm. The remarkable thing about your work with Director Bong is how incredibly minimal it is. I mean, I was astounded to find out there are only 960 shots in total in this whole movie, which is incredible, because it doesn’t look minimal. It feels like I’m just going, you’re taking me, like expert filmmakers, you have me in the palm of your hand and you’re taking me on a roller coaster ride. And it’s almost as if it just sort of unfolds in this seamless and beautiful way. And I cannot believe that it’s done with so few shots. I understand that Director Bong does not include any coverage, he never includes a master. No master, no coverage. Why not?

Jason Yu (Translator):

He doesn’t rely on that traditional method of getting coverage, getting masters and whatnot because before production he always has a detailed plan of the camera work, which is tailoralized, which manifests in the storyboard. And also an important reason why he doesn’t need coverage per se is because there’s an onset editor on board who determines whether shot is enough or whether he needs more coverage, et cetera.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Yeah. So there’s key decisions being made on set. Is he just kind of like throwing away that master shot because it’s kind of old fashioned to actually have a shot of like a exterior space? Is he just more interested in getting into the action?

Jason Yu (Translator):

So that’s not really the case. In Korea and especially for Director Bong, it’s all about efficiency. So when shooting a certain scene, he believes that there’s no need to shoot the scene over and over again with different setups. There’s only one sort of setup that he needs for each part of the scene. For example, for this moment we need a close up and for this moment we need some other setup and that way he doesn’t need to be inefficient and have excess coverage. Nevertheless, there are overlapping shots. For example, when he does shoot a wide shot, he does make it a bit more lengthy compared to other shots and whatnot.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Okay. So efficiency effectiveness is very key to this process. We’re going to take a look at a key montage in the movie. It covers a lot of ground in very few shots. This segment in which the Kim family is plotting to overthrow the Parks? longtime housemaid so that Mrs. Kim can take her place. Jinmo, what were some of the challenges of this montage, this sequence for you?

Jason Yu (Translator):

This sequence was one of the most important sequences within the film. Director Bong stressed multiple times that it was one of the most important sequences. But nevertheless, it wasn’t necessarily challenging in the sense that it was difficult, but it was still a challenge in itself. And he’s very thankful for this sequence for having to have the opportunity to edit this sequence. And he’s very proud of it, of the finished product. For an editor, the hardest things to edit are not necessarily the most extravagant montage sequences, but rather the mundane eating by the dining table sort of scenes that are the hardest.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Why is that?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Because those sort of scenes are incredibly familiar, you’ve seen them a million times. So the goal is to express them in an interesting and a fresh way.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Let’s take a look first here it is.

[clip plays]

Sook-Yin Lee:

You were saying that’s the big showy montage. One of the key things that really impresses viewers, editors when they see the movie. And yet you’re saying it’s a small little minutia of like eating that are challenging to make interesting. But particularly with that montage, how is that different from what we just saw than what was originally planned?

Jason Yu (Translator):

So it’s pretty similar to what was initially planned but a lot of the details were tweaked. One of the main goals while editing this sequence was to only leave the essence of the sequence. So in order to achieve this, we have to perform a lot of tricks. For example, combine two takes of the same shot and make it look like one single shot. For example, if you see the father talking to the lady while traveling down the escalator, the background of that shot is a different take completely but we had to combine it to make it look… I’m sorry, let me correct what I said. So during the acting sequence, when the son teaches the father how to act. When we pan, that’s actually two shots sticked together to make it look like one single shot. And examples like this show that what we wanted to do was capture the essence of each shot. So editorially we tweak each frames, we combine shots like this, to capture the essence, to keep it as short as possible, but essential.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wow, okay. So efficiency and essence and rhythm, these are all qualities of your editing. Essence, what is essence? Is that as a kind of internal or intuitive as rhythm?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes, that’s absolutely correct. And to him the essence of each shot is, the correct timing of each shot and each scene. And when we connect these shots and scenes together, you get the rhythm that he strives towards, the perfect rhythm. So for example, in the montage just saw, we can see a shot where the son is shedding peach fuzz, collecting the peach fuzz to later use on the housekeeper. And when he sifted through all the takes, the timing of shedding the peach fuzz was off ever so slightly for every shot. So his job was to find the appropriate shot with the best timing that had the shedding of the peach fuzz. And that was one of the examples of capturing the essence of a shot.

And another example would be when the daughter fiddles with the peach, holding it up in the sky. His job was to figure out which of the shots had the best angle of the peach and so on. Those kind of minute details were him trying to find the essence of the shot. So those little details accumulate and in his opinion, it’s those details that make it more perfect.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wow. It sounds like a magnifying lens. You have a magnifying lens in your head when you’re watching all of these moments. It seems to me, hearing about your process, that there is a kind of relationship between control and chaos. On the one hand, your work with Director Bong, the camera, and the editing are a very tightly controlled dance. And yet when it comes to acting, I understand that Director Bong does not rehearse with the actors. Why is that? Why does he not rehearse with the actors?

Jason Yu (Translator):

That’s Director Bong’s MO and he is not really an authority as to say why he does that. But he overheard that doing so captures the freshness of the acting, he believes that constant rehearsals and practice of acting kind of fade away this freshness, the rawness of the performance. And that’s why for the first assembly what we usually do is, we assemble the first assembly using the cut, the takes that Director Bong okays, so the good takes. But when we sift through them later on, shot by shot, we realize the first couple of takes, although maybe technically faulty regarding camera moves and whatnot, but the performances, the best performances are usually in those first couple of takes. Oftentimes we switch the takes with the first couple of the takes where the performances were better.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wow. So when you’re watching all of the takes in the editing studio, the best takes have… What are the qualities of those first few takes that are much better than the later ones?

Jason Yu (Translator):

It’s usually as I mentioned before, the freshness in the performance, the rawness of the performance, that’s what makes it the best take. Adding to that, later on as the takes progress and the takes pile up, the rawness, the freshness of the performance fades.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Do you ever encounter surprises where an actor bumps into something accidentally or something’s thrown into a shot that gives it energy?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes. And surprisingly, there’s a lot of that in Director Bong’s films, maybe because he casts the actor Song Kang-ho who plays the father. For example, an example he can think of right now is during the rain, when the whole family is traveling down to their own neighborhood, Song Kang-ho twists his ankle unintentionally and that kind of gave the shot a more pitiful and a more appropriate feel than what was intended because twisting and spraining his ankle was never intended in the script. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wow, and thankfully it was captured. Well done. Your forte is VFX work. You discovered that when you were studying at Bard College, art college in New York State as a young person. And that is really one of your strengths, much of what you’re talking about in terms of marrying different takes together is based upon your VFX abilities. I’m going to be talking further about your VFX work, but we’re first of all going to take a look at a scene in which the tensions are mounting with the discovery that the former housekeeper’s husband has been hiding in the Parks? basement for four years, 3 months and 17 days. There is a struggle for power when suddenly the Park, the wealthy family returns home early from camping and the Kims have to shove the housekeeper and her husband into the basement. Let’s take a look at that. Viewers, please keep an eye in this scene, looking for potential areas where VFX is being done.

 

[clip plays]

 

Sook-Yin Lee:

So where was VFX there?

Jason Yu (Translator):

So there are a lot of VFX stitching work done in this sequence. For example, the overhead shot of the stove top, you see the hands entering the frame and whatnot, doing certain tasks. And these are all different movements from different takes that were stitched into one shot, because to perfect the timing. And another shot was, you see in the background the blurry figure of the father dragging the husband while the son is dragging the housekeeper, they’re following suit. These two figures are also two very different shots from two different takes which were combined into one to perfect the timing.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wow. So do your VFX work involve a lot of little digital tweaking or? Could you explain what that is? What is that VFX?

Jason Yu (Translator):

During editing Parasite, he used Final Cut Pro. And what he usually did, for example, for the overhead stove top shot, he just comped, used comp and comped two shots together. And sometimes for more intricate scenes or intricate shots, he would resort to After Effects and use pre-comp and then do the stitching there.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wow. We have an audience question from an editor. His name is Craig and he asks, and I’m going to just read what he said. “As an editor with a VFX background, I have a huge interest in your career and how you have used VFX as a tool in the edit room. In Canada at least I have observed a lot of pushback from VFX supervisors when high quality temp is created by editorial whereas the sound department really appreciates receiving a lush temp soundtrack to work from. This seems to be new territory here for VFX. I often receive requests from VFX supervisors to be in the edit room while they are creating our temps which is tricky to navigate when the director hasn’t had a chance to give feedback. Have you encountered this in South Korea? What advice might you have for navigating the collaboration between the editorial and the VFX supervisors.”

Jason Yu (Translator):

So this is really a case by case thing. Some, like he mentioned, some VFX supervisors don’t quite like it when editors use their own VFX work, but some do. But what’s important is, what is the best for the film and what’s best for the director, that’s what everybody should consider. Because directors in the editing booth prefer to see what it would look, the final product of the shot instead of green screens and blue screens and whatnot. So although the VFX supervisor and the VFX vendors perfect the CG, he thinks it’s good to have what it might look like, to have a general idea of what it would look like before it moves on to the vendors, the VFX vendors.

Sook-Yin Lee:

It’s interesting because you cover both avenues. You have abilities within both domains so you’re able to bridge those together. But what I really appreciate in what you’re saying is take a cue from the director, keep the director’s intention and priorities at the fore. So the idea of doing something without the editor or without the director knowing is not really that cool, you always sort of are guided by what the director wants, which is a good rule of thumb. Parasite is a movie that, as you were saying, part of your job, part of the intention was to seamlessly bring together many different kind of moods. There are many moods in this movie, very many tonal shifts. It goes from scary and funny and sad, dramatic. It’s very much a hybrid movie with very big unpredictable tonal shifts.

I’m wondering what is about the Korean outlook that is open to this kind of hybrid storytelling because in America there tends to be much more of a focus on single genre, kind of one kind of feeling, one mood. If suddenly you’re moving from funny to sad in a heartbeat, they’re like, ?What? I don’t get it.? But what is it about the Korean mindset? And I’ve noticed that the same similar quality in other pictures as well, that allows for this kind of mercurial shift of emotions.

Jason Yu (Translator):

It is a characteristic of Korean films that certain directors who are able to express their own individual colors more expressfully, for example, Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook. It’s a trait that they have mixing certain tones, mixing certain moods. But overall he does find it’s more prevalent in Korean films for some reason.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Yeah, it’s really great. It’s really, really great. And what I love about it is that your movies are such huge, big blockbusters. I mean, it’s not just Korean audiences but internationally. Parasite alone has made 246 million dollars at the box office worldwide. So even though it’s a very specifically kind of Korean aesthetic, I love that you’ve been able to demonstrate that you can have this hybrid movie and still have people resonate and love it. Why do you think audiences around the world are so endeared to this movie? They love this movie so much?

Jason Yu (Translator):

He believes that the audience worldwide are now getting a bit too familiar with the formulaic Hollywood films that are prevalent today. And they are more, relatively more open to watching new films, whether they’re mixed genres or not, and new experiences. And he believes that Parasite was one of those films that fit the bill.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Very good. I’m going to fast forward to talking about tech. What is interesting is that you use the Final Cut Pro 7, which is a very, very old editing software. Why is it that you… Why do you love Final Cut Pro 7?

Jason Yu (Translator):

There isn’t a deep answer to this, a reason to this. It is just that he used Final Cut Pro 7 since college and he says it’s the most familiar software for him. Ever since he was young and he believes that Final Cut Pro 7 has the least errors and it’s just the most familiar software for him. FYI he changed, he switched over to Avid now.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Oh, good, good. Because I was thinking that’s Yosemite operating system, that might become obsolete. So you have to figure out a new system. So do you like the Avid now?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes, he’s very happy with it. He met a couple of Avid’s department people while he was in the States and they asked whether he would like to make a switch and he was very happy to do it. Avid supported him a great deal in making the switch. And he’s very happy for the upgrade.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Excellent, you’re now in the future. How much does temp music influence the rhythm and pace of your edit?

Jason Yu (Translator):

So he believes that temp music for editing is incredibly important, especially for rhythm sensitive scenes such as the montages that you saw. Although he’s aware that the temp music is not the final score or the final music, but it does give him a guideline as to fathom the length of each shot. And this is an FYI to the editors who are listening to this talk, like the VFX supervisor previously, some composers hate the assembly having temp music in it. This is also a very case by case thing so VOA.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Yes. I understand that with Director Bong’s movies, you use the score from his previous movie as temp tracks when you’re editing. But then when you remove the temp tracks, does the new composer for the film have to write music to the same time signature and mood that you’ve been cutting to? And how much of communication do you have with the composer?

Jason Yu (Translator):

So Director Bong usually communicates with the composer, he doesn’t communicate with the composer directly himself. And the composer while composing the music, tries to fit the rhythm of the score to the rhythm of the edit. And there are times of course where the new score has certain rhythms that are not in sync with the initial rhythm of the edit. And those parts of the shots are always tweaked to better service to score.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Very good tip as well because I know sometimes editors talking to composers, there can be a clash. But with you, you just get Director Bong to talk to them.

Jason Yu (Translator):

This is just a small tip as an editor, always keep in mind that a film is a collaboration with various different professionals from the various different fields. So always, he feels that it’s important to be always respectful of other professionals’ fields and try to be a collaborator instead of being too precious about your own field.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Yes. So not only are you committed to making good work, but you’re committed to having a good process and good teamwork. I want to play our final clip, but it’s not from Parasite. We’re going to go back to the beginning, to your very first film credit on IMDb. It’s from 2010. You edited a short film that was part of an iPhone 4 film festival. It was called Bang directed by Kyung-pyo Hong. Here’s a clip of that very, very early editing job.

 

[clip plays]

Sook-Yin Lee:

Oh yeah. Yeah, rock on. Guns, babes and architecture. Jinmo, how much of you is that same editor as you were, so many years ago?

Jason Yu (Translator):

That was more of a student project than a legitimate editing project. And so what you can get out of this project is not really an editing parable but more about, you never know what you’d become, what you’d become in life. So that’s probably the message of that embarrassing film. An interesting trivia of that short film is that the DP of the short film, it was the same DP of Parasite. And at that time he wasn’t a legitimate editor, more of an errand boy who would fix computers of Hong Kyung-pyo, of the DP.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Oh my God, that is so great. You’ve come a long way baby. It’s interesting, you did study in America, you moved as a young guy, your family moved to the States and then you went to school, university, learned your chops there, a little bit of stuff there, but then you moved back to Korea and where you’re based now. And can you describe a little bit of your filmmaking community in Seoul, Korea.

Jason Yu (Translator):

In the States he usually worked on indie film projects. But then a famous Korean director, he met a famous Korean director in the States who persuaded him, or that’s the reason why he returned to Korea, because he had a gig working as an onset editor for his films. And during that time he met numerous filmmakers, not really famous at that time and made short films like the ones you just saw, and just kind of learning the chops, keep making things and collaborating. And as time passed, the same people begin to work on bigger projects and they have Jinmo on for these bigger projects. And one of those bigger projects was Snowpiercer and that’s how he met Director Bong who then connected him to other projects of Director Bong. So it’s kind of a link of people that he met that helped him get to where he is today.

Sook-Yin Lee:

And today is it quite a vibrant community where you all are kind of mix and sort of influence one another?

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes and no, because now everybody’s too much busy doing their own thing in their own field, so its it’s hard to meet up.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Can you tell me a little bit about where you currently are, what you’re working on and what’s next.

Jason Yu (Translator):

Currently he’s editing the Netflix mini series titled The Silent Sea. And he will also in the near future edit a couple of feature films, which are currently in production. And in the distant future he plans to edit the next project of Director Bong, but he doesn’t know the exact date or when exactly that would be, but that’s the plan.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Great. And in terms of being a filmmaker, an artist, an editor while we’re living in a pandemic, how is that affecting your work?

Jason Yu (Translator):

To be honest, yes because of the pandemic, the film industry in Korea has worsened. Nonetheless, the special circumstances do create new special opportunities. And one of those is OTT streaming services such as Netflix. And there are extra gigs that Netflix provides him. And previously, previous to the pandemic he was never really concerned about these projects by streaming services. But because of the pandemic, they have given him a lot more projects. And currently half of his editing work is the streaming services such as Netflix and half is the traditional feature films that are currently under production.

Sook-Yin Lee:

So are the streaming, Netflix, are those American films that you’re working on? Are you doing more English language movies?

Jason Yu (Translator):

No they’re all Korean, original Korean content.

Sook-Yin Lee:

You originally said that you started off in film wanting to be a director. Jinmo, do you ever see yourself as making that step towards directing a film?

Jason Yu (Translator):

There’s no plan for it right now as an editor. He witnessed how hard directing is, just by observing other directors. So currently the plan is just sticking to editing.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Well, I mean, I think a lot of the story has to do with the edit because you could give raw footage to 10 different editors and you’ll have 10 different stories, because everybody kind of picks something different. And so you really can affect and influence the outcome of a story through the sequence of images. And so it seems to me when I’m talking to you that you are kind of using a director’s mind in the editing. You had said so many times here that you served Director Bong in the case of Parasite. But at the same time, you’re moving to find essence and spirit and get to the heart of the film. And that is to me, a lot of the qualities that a director has as well. How important do you think that this editing discipline is to the final outcome of the movie?

Jason Yu (Translator):

So he can’t quantify a figure or a percentage of his influence as an editor on a film, but he does believe that the influence is significant. And regardless of how big the influence is, he feels it. And when he watches the film with an audience, that’s when he feels the most proud of his work, his influence on the film.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Seeing how audiences engage with the work. And I also really love the idea that it seems like you have almost like a sense of rational mathematics also within that attempt to capture the essence. You’re talking about rhythm and kind of like almost like there’s specific logical qualities that are part of your storytelling as well.

Jason Yu (Translator):

Yes, you’re correct. And just to add onto that, he believes that whatever field you’re in, experience provides the best outcome. So for example, in film, if you watch a lot of films, make a lot of films, you just get a better sense, a better handle on things and provide the best outcome for it.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Wonderful. Well, I’m looking forward to more stories in the future, more films. And it’s been such a pleasure to speak with you Jinmo and also thank you so much Jason for translating. Have a great day. Good luck with all of your projects and have a good night’s sleep.

Jason Yu (Translator):

Thank you, thank you so much.

Jinmo Yang:

Thank you. Thanks again.

Jason Yu (Translator):

Thank you so much for having us.

Sook-Yin Lee:

Okay, thank you. Bye-bye.

Sarah Taylor:

Thank you so much for joining us today. And a big thank you goes to Alison Dowler and Jane MacRae. This episode was edited by Danny Santa Anna. The main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall. Additional ADR recording by Andrea Rush. Original music created by Chad Blaine and Soundstripe. This episode was mixed and mastered by Tony Bao.

The CCE has been supporting Indspire – an organization that provides funding and scholarships to Indigenous post secondary students. We have a permanent portal on our website at cceditors.ca or you can donate directly at indspire.ca. The CCE is taking steps to build a more equitable ecosystem within our industry and we encourage our members to participate in anyway they can.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and tell your friends to tune in. ?Til next time I’m your host Sarah Taylor.

[Outro]

The CCE is a non-profit organization with the goal of bettering the art and science of picture editing. If you wish to become a CCE member please visit our website www.cceditors.ca. Join our great community of Canadian editors for more related info.

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Chen Sing Yap

Hosted and Produced by

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Editied by

Danny Santa Ana

Design sonore du générique d'ouverture

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixé et masterisé par

Tony Bao

Musique originale par

Chad Blain

Soundstripe

Sponsor Narration by

Paul Winestock

Commandité par

Boris FX

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