The Editors Cut

Episode 053: In Conversation with Terilyn Shropshire, ACE

The Editors Cut - Episode 053 - In Conversation with Terilyn Shropshire, ACE

Episode 53: In Conversation with Terilyn Shropshire, ACE

Today’s episode is the online master series with Terilyn Shropshire, ACE that took place on October 13th, 2020.

This episode was Sponsored by Finalé Post: A Picture Company, Annex Pro/ Avid, Vancouver Post Alliance , IATSE 891 & Integral Artists

The Editors Cut - Episode 053 - In Conversation with Terilyn Shropshire, ACE

Terilyn Shropshire, ACE provides an in-depth look at her stellar career and her collaborations, which include a 20-year working relationship with director Gina Prince-Bythewood, as well as with notable directors Kasi Lemmon, Catherine Hardwicke, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Ava DuVernay.

From feature films (THE OLD GAURD, MISS BALA, THE SECRER LIFE OF BEES, LOVE & BASKETBALL, EVE’S BAYOU) to network television (WHEN THEY SEE US, Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER, SHOTS FIRED, and QUANTICO) Terilyn has had a hand in crafting some of the most revered stories on screen.


This talk was moderated by filmmaker V.T. Nayani.

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The Editor’s Cut – Episode 053 – Terilyn Shropshire, ACE

Terilyn Shropshire:

When you think about it, we all edit everyday in our lives. We’re making decisions constantly in our lives,

whether how we move, or how we dress. I know for me, when I was in high school and English was one

of my favorite classes, and writing. And writing is rewriting, and writing is editing. And so I think in some

ways once I really understood how it applied to film, it made me realize that in some ways, I’ve been

preparing for this career.

Sarah Taylor:

This episode was sponsored by Finale Post a Picture Company, Annex Pro Avid, Vancouver Postal Lines,

IATSE 891, and Integral Artist. 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 acknowledgments are the start to a deeper action.

Today’s episode is the online Master Series that took place on October 13th 2020, in conversation with

Terilyn Shropshire, ACE. She provides an in depth look at her stellar career, and her collaborations which

include a 20 year working relationship with director Gina Prince-Bythewood, as well as with notable

directors Kasi Lemmons, Catherine Hardwicke, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Ava DuVernay. From feature films,

The Old Guard, Miss Bala, The Secret Life of Bees, Love & Basketball, and Eve’s Bayou, to network

television. When They See Us, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, Shots Fired, and Quantico, Terilyn has had a

hand in crafting some of the most revered stories on screen. This talk was moderated by filmmaker, V.T.


[show open]

V.T. Nayani:

I’m V.T. Nayani, I go by Nayani, and so grateful to be here tonight for this conversation, this necessary

conversation with Teri. I’m so glad to everyone for joining us from home, from wherever you are, and

choosing to be with us tonight. We’re so grateful to have you here in this conversation. I think as Teri said

just before we started, which you guys weren’t privy to, but obviously it’s still important to gather and

celebrate each other, and to continue to dream forward and move forward. I think this is part of a larger

practice. It’s a difficult time for all, we acknowledge that, and honor that. But it is wonderful that we can

still find ways to gather. I’m thankful to be gathering with you, and to be in this conversation, and to

have people at home join that conversation a little bit later. I’ll start with asking you how you doing

tonight? I love to do a little check in before we start. I guess for you it’s 5:00 PM in LA, right?

Terilyn Shropshire:

It is, yes. And the sun is just setting. So you’ll probably see it start to go that way.

V.T. Nayani:

You have a good glow right now, we’ll see it’s set with you. I wanted to get right into it if that’s cool with

you. Last night, we had a lovely conversation. And I’m so grateful to be moderating this, or having this

conversation with you. Really, it’s a conversation. I don’t want to look at it as a moderating a panel of one

person, but really just two artists, two people who are working in film sharing and talking. I’ve watched

your film, I mentioned it the first time we talked but I’ve spent my years watching your films growing up.

Some of them having a really deep impact on my early childhood girlhood. And still going back to them,

but also seeing your more recent work which we will speak to and have a chance to watch.

Something that stuck was me last night… And for those at home, we’re going to go more into the

storytelling aspect, we can get into the technical, and we will, but as a director, I often see the editor as

an integral part of the storytelling unit, you have the writers or the writer, the director or the directors,

and then you have your editor and without any one of them, we can’t get our job done. And it’s actually

my favorite part. I’m going to interview you or ask you questions from the perspective of a director who’s

really interested in your process, but also who you are as a storyteller.

Again, last night we spoke and the conversation still sitting with me because you spoke tenderly

about women’s empowerment, and agency, and giving characters agency through your work. And I

wanted to start there tonight. In this conversation between two of us who are two women working in

film in different capacities. What does that mean to you when you approach your work, and you’re

thinking about women’s empowerment and agency and in the editing process specifically?

Terilyn Shropshire:

Yeah. I’m really fortunate that the writer directors that I’ve worked with are people who are interested in

telling, obviously, a wide spectrum of stories and bring to the world a large spectrum of characters. I

think that part of their responsibility or choice as artists is to do that and to choose projects where they

see themselves reflected back. And in part, so do I. And so it is one of those things where when I’m on

those journeys, and I can be part of creating that reflection, and through the director’s lens, it’s always a

privilege, and it’s always appreciated. I think that as movie goers, we love to just immerse ourselves in

other worlds in other people’s worlds and cultures, lives, and in many ways our way of expanding our

world is through education, and travel, and meeting other people and experiencing other stories. I feel

really fortunate when I can be part of that.

V.T. Nayani:

I want to thank you for sharing. I wanted to ask you a question. I’m not going to get into all the reasons

why you got into editing, because we’re going to focus on your work. But I did want to start with having

this one question for you, which is, for me, I know I’m a director, but I didn’t necessarily know I was going

to be a director. I loved films and TV growing up which I think all of us who work in this industry love. We

have a love for the craft, and the stories that had a lasting impression on us as we were growing up. But

there were so many different pathways to get me to this point. And I’m wondering with you, how did

editing become an interest? How did it become something that you thought, “Oh, man, I could really go

for it, I could really explore that. That’s a thing I can do.” Do you remember that that moment, or that

inception? Or if there were multiple moments that led to you becoming that storyteller in post?

Terilyn Shropshire:

No, it’s a really good question because I didn’t grow up going… I mean, I would love to meet someone

who grows up thinking, “Oh, I want to be an editor when I grow up.” I want to be that person.

V.T. Nayani:

I know.

Terilyn Shropshire:

I really didn’t think about that while I was growing up. I was a movie watcher. Spent a lot of time in dark

theaters watching films. I also had a dad who seemed to always have a camera in his hand, or have a

Super 8mm in his hand, but as far as realizing the editing aspect of it, it wasn’t something that I focused

on. I don’t think that I really, really understood what it was about until I was in college. And I was literally

editing my first film that I shot, which was part of the requirement, that you had to both… I was a double

major, I majored both in journalism and film. So we have something in common.

And even in the journalism classes, and when you switch over to broadcast journalism, you had

to do everything. You had to write, you had to shoot and get on the studio and do all of that. And I think

it was really when I started to have to bring the material back into my personal space and figure it out,

did I really appreciate and truly understand what that meant. And yet, I have been watching it all my life,

but I’ve been watching the result of effortless storytelling in a sense. And I think that when you think

about it, we all edit everyday in our lives. We’re making decisions constantly in our lives. Whether how

we move or how we dress, or how we do. And I think even when we were… I know for me when I was in

high school and English was one of my favorite classes. And writing and writing is rewriting, and writing

is editing.

And so I think in some ways, once I really understood how it applied to film, it made me realize

that in some ways, I’ve been preparing for this career, because I love to write, and I also was a person

that when I was in school, my friends would bring me their papers and say, “Read this, and tell me what

you think.” And I would read it and I would give them suggestions, “Maybe if you move this sentence

here.” And I never thought about it as how it would relate to the career that I’m doing now. But I really

started feeling an appreciation for it when I actually had to become the problem solver, and try to figure

out how to fix the things that I had not maybe done right when I was out shooting.

And then when you’re in school, you also are working with other people. So then you start to

edit their material. And I just found that was the most organic and instinctive to me. And I could spend

hours doing it, and still want to get up the next morning and do it again. And I didn’t necessarily feel that

about directing.

V.T. Nayani:

I’ve tried my hand at editing and I definitely don’t… I feel that way about directing, but I think editing is…

I started from the roots. I’m always talking about the editors I work with, because it’s so fun to work with

the editor, I think you get… everyone says it, but when you’re in the edit, when you’re in that room with

someone you know what it feels like. You get a chance to retell the story, to reimagine it really, because

you have it on the page, and it’s one thing, and whether you wrote it or not is one thing as a director.

And then you shoot it and there’s all these questions and feelings that come up, and you don’t really

know where it’s going to go, you’re tired. You’ve got long days. You know there’s footage but you don’t

know what’s going to happen with it.

And then you get to the edit room, and there’s so much trust that you put in the editor that you

collaborate with. We’ll speak to some of the relationships that you’ve had with the directors you work

with. But I almost want to shout it from the rooftop every time that people don’t ever see the editor. It’s

not somebody you necessarily see all the time. But without them we have nothing. We actually don’t

have… and it’s like with any other role, and we can say that about an ACU for the focus, we can say that

about costume, but everybody’s integral, but the editor is a storyteller.

And when you mentioned being… I think there’s something at some point, obviously, we don’t

have to do it tonight, but to say about people who end up in film who really love writing or English. They

love their creative storytelling classes in high school, or growing up, they loved reading or writing. And I

think you’re speaking to… you doing those rewrites for friends, which I was also that person, speaks

directly to the fact that you are a storyteller in this process. So, thank you for sharing that. “When They

See Us” directed by Ava DuVernay, all of us know on Netflix, and we know the story and we’ve read the

news, and we’ve heard the stories for years, and then the weight of rewatching it on set is one thing.

There was so much content, and they filmed for quite a bit of time, a couple of months and it’s a

huge cast. I can’t imagine actually how much footage there was, especially for episode one. And I think a

lot of people that I’ve spoken to have shared that they struggled getting past episode one, because it’s

the inciting moment, is when everything happens. The journey that these men have been on. My

question for you is, being on set and seeing how it was being filmed, and then you getting all that

footage, what was your first reaction? I mean one, what brought you onto this project, I can imagine

from what you’ve already shared why you decided to come on board, that as well. But what was your

first reaction when you received this footage? How much footage did you receive? And how did you not

only start to process and move through it all as an editor, but also as a person to sit with that content?

Terilyn Shropshire:

As you know, it all starts with the script. I remember when Ava called me to ask me to be a part of this.

And then she sent me all four scripts, and I read them back to back. And I just remember being… by the

time I got to the last one, I was just completely devastated. And it’s always a privilege when you can take

a journey where you’re also learning about things. I knew the story, obviously, but to the depth that the

writers have really gotten into it, it was quite extraordinary. And so when the dailies started coming in

and the way that Ava was shooting, she was shooting multiple scenes for different parts at the same


I was responsible for part one, Spencer Averick, did part two and four, and Michelle Tesoro did

three. We came on a gradual even though Spencer was starting to receive his dailies for two, he wasn’t

quite official, he was actually working from home. And so I was looking at all the dailies and then getting

back to production and Ava just tried to send a message every day to let her know what I was seeing. I

feel that the first time you watch dailies is the most important, it should be the purest and hopefully, you

can allow yourself to take it in for the first time as the audience would take it in for the first time.

I really don’t like to take a lot of notes the first time I watch dailies, I like to just… If I have the

time to do so, I like to just be able to experience it because I will never have that experience again. And

all editors know that. And so I just remember first of all, being incredibly impressed by the young men

who were playing the characters and because I had the five men as boys, I have the actors that were

playing the younger version. And every day I just became more and more just stricken by how beautifully

they were portraying these characters. And yet I had to focus on the characters because that’s ultimately

the stories I have to tell. So, It was never an easy day on dailies. The dailies were pretty tough, and you

had to be able to take those in and then, again, I go back and then make notes about the things that

were particularly effective to me.

I started in a very broad sense, and then you narrow things down. And then the script itself, at

least part one, there’s a tremendous responsibility because in one, you have to set the stakes, you have

to set the conflict. As an audience, they have to get to know who these young men were, as well as their

parents, and what everybody was going through so that you’re invested in them enough to want to

continue on the story. And so the script itself for part one was a bit more on the linear side than what

the ultimate version of the cut ended up being. It was shot in such a way, and conceived in such a way

where you went into each voice story. At the beginning, you get a sense of them going back and forth

and getting to know them before they go into the park.

But once you’re in the interrogations, there was a lot of going into each young man’s room, and

hearing the detectives question them, and then you go back to the detectives room, and you hear them

talk. And as we started to build it, it became very apparent that even though these boys were going

through some incredibly horrific experiences in their individual rooms, collectively, they were sharing the

same thing. They were basically being pitted against each other. They were trying to get one to, to

implicate the other. And they were in those rooms for a very, very long time. And it became very

apparent in working with the material and working with Ava, that we needed to give everybody a sense

of how even though these young men did not really know each other, ultimately Yusef, and Korey knew

each other, but it was one of those things where they were all experiencing the same hell, so to speak.

How to build that, and how to make you feel as an audience that the viewer is trapped in that

sense, as they were, and also to be able to really show what the detectives were doing in order to build

their case. And that’s very much the scene that you watch, this happens towards the end of part one,

after the boys have been interrogated for hours, and most of them without their parents, and now they

finally let their parents in. And you’re seeing the weight and the gravity of what’s happening.

V.T. Nayani:

Thank you for sharing. Yeah, I know you had mentioned that it was very linear. And in the edit it becomes

what it does. And I just wanted to understand a bit more of that process. And I guess my other question

was, how long did you guys work on that particular episode? And you got your dailies they came in,

you’re determining how you’re going to tell the story. What did that process look like as it got to the end,

because I’m interested also how it is working with the different… you’ve worked with incredible

directors, what is like working with Ava to really lock that and decide, “Okay, this is what we’re going to

do.” What did that process look like near the end, having it come together?

And half of that, the men were on set a lot of the time you saw Korey, and Yusef, many of them

stopped by, did they get to see a cut before it ended? And it’s going to go into my next question as well

with the next clip, but it is their story, were they involved at any point, or was it just you and Ava, for the

most part?

Terilyn Shropshire:

Those are good questions. While Ava was shooting, I was cutting simultaneously. And again,

communicating with her. I don’t remember really sending a lot of things forward. I think I sent her a few

scenes forward, but because she was… the schedule is pretty, non-stop. But there was also the benefit of

having the other editors around, because we could work off each other. As far as the part one process,

part one was the first and I think part one was probably one of the last ones to finish. And I think part of

it was, it was again, the weight of what it had to do for the rest of the other parts. Because one is

introduction to the young characters, and you do see them, you do see them in two.

But again, you have to be able to understand what’s going on in one. We spent a lot of time in

one, and we spent a lot of time editing and re-editing and also getting a lot of feedback from the other

editors in terms of… because the other thing too, is it was really important for me to be able to

communicate to them because we were handing off the character batons to them, and so it was

important for them to see what we were doing in one, and then ultimately we ended up finding

ourselves swapping footage. Footage that maybe was intended for one, but it seemed as if it was going

to work better and two, or a flashback, or something.

There were there were images that I had fallen in love with, with just… you know when you…

you know stock footage of New York and that time of the movie where suddenly I have this great image

and Ava would be like, “Oh, no, let’s leave that for two.” And you’re like, “Okay.” There was a lot of that.

But Ava is just… she is so clear with her vision, and very, very specific. So what’s great about Ava is just

that… and she had to move around a lot. And so in some ways you had her for a certain amount of time,

but that time that you were with her, she was so laser focused. So you could have been working on

something for hours, and then Ava would come in and go, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And you’re like,

“Oh, of course. Yes. Okay, we could do that.”

That part of it was great. And figuring it out. I love the problem solving part of what I do. And

with something like this, it wasn’t as if we were running into a problem. But we were running into that

realization of as you go into each room, and you keep hearing the same young man… or a different

young man say the same thing. “I didn’t do it. Who are you talking about? I don’t know who that is.” And

so in a sense, there was a rhythm to each scene that allowed you to say, “Okay, look, if we keep going

through each room, and they keep saying the same thing, at a certain point, the audience is going to be

ahead of us.” They know that these boys are going to… they’re going to deny what’s going on, and the

police are going to press them about that. So, why not create an environment where we’re moving

where one person starting a sentence, and the other person’s answering it.

Or where we disorient you in a way that you don’t know where we’re going to take you next.

And you also needed to understand and be clear that these guys did not know each other. They lived in

the same neighborhood. And like I said, two of them, and they might’ve passed each other on the street,

but you really need to understand that they were being categorized a certain way. And this wilding, and

this mentality that they all went out together. It took time to find the right rhythms and whose room

were you going to go into next? And how to how do you build that story where you understand that even

from the standpoint of someone like Raymond, who was completely just… he was with his grandmother,

and they took her out.

And he was in that room alone with those guys. And ultimately they were forcing them to

implicate the other. To answer your question, I think one took the longest, which made complete sense

that it would, and I think that with… as far as how Ava decided to show it, at a certain point towards the

end of our process, she did screen it for the actors, the young actors to see it. And then she made a

decision to screen it for the actual men. I think she flew them in actually, to watch it because she knew it

was going to be really important for them to be able to see it a certain way, and see it privately, frankly.

She was very, very respectful because as hard as it was, for us to make it and be a part of it. We were

trying to honor what they lived and what they went through. And it was always very sensitive and strong

about the story, and protecting their right to experience it.

V.T. Nayani:

Thank you for sharing. I’m going to go to the next film, “Talk To Me” the MLK clip, I’m thinking about

both pieces, both pieces of storytelling, and they are about real people and real lives lived based on real

men’s lives and what they’ve been doing, their story and their journey, but also within the larger social

political context within bigger movements. One of the questions I had was how does that factor into

your process of preparing and editing, but I think you spoke to that earlier. And so, I would love to

discuss what we had a conversation about briefly, which is the pacing. We’re going on this journey of

emotion, feelings, and there’s so many beats in there. Was that something that was on the page, and

even if it was or it wasn’t, how did you build that? What goes into crafting something that takes us

through so much as an editor?

Terilyn Shropshire:

Thank you. Well, the thing about that clip is, it speaks to tone. And when you’re working on a particular

film, where you’re going between moments of lightness and brevity and also dealing with serious topics

within the story of somebody’s life. This was a movie about a real person, Petey Greene, who was a radio

personality at WOL at the time, and this was based on his life. And he was a character. And he was

known as such. Dewey Hughes is also a real… was a real life character, this movie is about the

relationship between these two men who actually came from the same background. And ultimately,

their lives went in different directions, and yet their lives came back together. And they became very

dear friends.

The reason why I like this clip, in a sense is it speaks to, as editors, how we have to sometimes

navigate between something that is purely slapstick, or comedy, and then be able to make that shift. And

how do you do that? How can you do it in such a way that hopefully it feels organic, and feels natural to

what really happens in life, because in one minute we can be laughing, and something tragic can happen.

And life shifts on a dime, it shifts quickly. And so within that scene, it’s not even so much, really, again,

the cutting part of it, because really, the first shot is one shot. We take you all the way in until the fight

starts to happen. But it’s really about being able to bring something so crazy happening into a place

where these people are suddenly hearing one of the most devastating pieces of news that black people

heard in their history.

And so I felt like I was helped a great deal by the music and Terence Blanchard’s score, and

Tainted Love, which is the original artist, and Gloria Jones. Yeah, actually made a note on that. And being

able to go from something like that to then have Terence be able to help bring us in to what’s really going

on, because I think even when… I remember when people first started to see this scene, when you start

to see the station manager come in played by Martin Sheen, people are still laughing in the theater. It

was one of those things where even in seeing him come in, they were still in the head space of, “What is

happening with this fight?”

And just to even feel that shift happened in the audience was palpable, really. And then

ultimately, to then go into something that’s a lot more watching these people have to work, to continue

to do their jobs amidst this horrific information. The clip is shorter because it goes into a whole… even

more of the riots and more of ultimately… it then shifts into a whole musical section. So yeah, I think

that it’s one of those things where when you’re first starting out and trying to figure out your way in

terms of storytelling, part of that muscle you try to hone in on is how to be able to make those shifts in

storytelling. And how, as an editor, can you hopefully facilitate that, the way that you juxtapose the

images and emotions and that type of thing.

V.T. Nayani:

We also have two questions that are about “The Old Guard”, usually with fight scenes, or I feel like I

especially in the pandemic where I had the opportunity to pull everything back and rewatch things

multiple times. I always feel like I’m anxious and I’m caught up, and I’m missing things. Involved action

happening so fast, the tendency to cut it that way. I’ve seen in a lot of work, and what I felt about this

was I felt I was a part of everything, I saw every part of that fight. I didn’t feel like it was rushed. I didn’t

feel like I missed anything. It’s almost like I was a pilot, I was there and playing with them. And so yeah,

what was the process of editing that? Was that intentional that way? How did you approach this

particular fight scene?

Terilyn Shropshire:

It was extremely intentional from the standpoint of how Gina, how she and the DP Tami Reiker

envisioned the fight. Her conversations with the fight coordinators and stunt coordinators, and obviously

the choreography ultimately, and the training that both actors did Kiki Layne, and Charlize Theron, did to

be able to have the scene work the way it did. Gina has always… her mantra was always that she wanted

everything to feel real, to feel authentic. And she wanted to feel these two warriors taking each other on

without a lot of bells and whistles. And they purposely even within the plane, they built the plane in such

a way that they there were no walls that you could move out. They were in the fuselage working on the


And so from my standpoint, it was just really important that I honored that. Fortunately, you had

two very committed actors who really trained hard, and worked the choreography, and really made my

ability to let them do their thing much easier. It was structured in such a way that each part of the fight…

there were different stages of the fight. And so in a sense, as they were actually shooting it, and Gina

directing the fight scenes, they were done in such a way that, “Okay, we’re going to go from here to

here.” And then ultimately work on that part until they got that particular part of the fight done. It was

very much like a dance and choreography.

And then moved on to a different part of the fight. And so it was created in such a way that at

least the actors, if you can imagine, it’s a lot for them to take on, if you were to try to do the whole thing.

It was definitely divided into sections. And then it was really about them continuing to do a particular

move. And until they felt like they had the right look of the punch being thrown or being received, or any

number of those movements. And so within a take, I would actually have a lot of resets. Ultimately was

about going through and really looking at what was working, and just picking the best of the work that

they did. But it was a fun scene to work on. And it was great because there were things that ultimately,

you get a pre-stunt piece, that’s done by two of the stunt people that shows you what the choreography

of the fight is going to be.

But it takes on a completely different life when you have two actors taking on that, because they

bring their performances and their personalities, and the characters, and what the characters are going

through. And being able to capture that. And that’s part of it too, is that the whole idea of being able to

have a fight scene is it’s got to have a purpose. There’s a reason why we’re moving through it. And when

you say yeah, it’s not just about these two women punching each other out, they both have a goal,

they’re both trying to achieve something in this fight, and not just take you down the other.

This is the beginning of this master-student relationship. Nile is a warrior, she’s a Marine. She’s

going to have a certain education, a fighting styles based on how she was trained. Andy’s lived for

millennia. She’s learned every possible fighting style, she could have taken Nile down at any point. But

that wasn’t really the point of a fight, was it? For her, she’s about to bring somebody into her family and

to her team. And she’s got to see what this person’s made of. That was a fun part, was being able to let

them both have… where you get a little bit more of a window into each person’s personality within the

scope of the fight.

V.T. Nayani:

Thank you. One of the questions that they had was how did you land that job? I know you have a

relationship with Gina, so maybe that’s… how did you get that job, how did you sign up for that job? And

what was the best, and the most negative and positive, or the best and most challenging, maybe,

takeaways from working on “The Old Guard”?

Terilyn Shropshire:

I landed the job because I’ve know I’ve worked with this director for 20 years. And as artists we have

done, I think this is our sixth project together. As artists, we’ve grown together. I’ve been fortunate

enough to have earned her trust. And so when she was going to take on this project, she asked me if I

would be her editor. And of course, it was something that I ultimately, of course wanted to be a part of.

As artists, we always love to keep moving and navigating ourselves through different stories. As people,

we love living different stories and experiencing different stories and it’s no different when you’re an

editor. I was very fortunate that Gina asked me to be a part of it. I would say that as far as, I guess, what

was it the best part of it, the journey itself and the people that I got to work with-

V.T. Nayani:

And the most challenging.

Terilyn Shropshire:

Most challenging. The most challenging was… and this is not unique to “The Old Guard”, but there was a

lot of footage. And so there was a lot of footage to get through. And for me, I watch everything. So it was

a lot of time spent in a room with a lot of footage. But I think the other thing that I would have to say,

and I’m sure there are a lot of people that can relate to this right now, was having to finish a film of this

caliber at the level that Gina and I work, and everybody else works in a pandemic. And that I found to be

the biggest gauntlet that was… we have other gauntlets, but the one that really said, “Okay, how are we

going to navigate through this and be able to continue to work and make collaborative art?” Which is

what filmmaking is, “In a place where we have… a space where we have to isolate from one another.”

And I had the most amazing crew. And my crew just rose to the occasion, every single time. Even

though we were apart, we were a connected unit, obviously, Zoom, and Evercast, and Source-Connect,

and TeamViewer all of these things that kept us moving forward. And I think the thing that was also… the

thing that was hard, just at the point when I feel like sometimes as an editor, you’re still working, but

you’re starting to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You’ve gone through the production, and all that’s… the

drama that happens with that. And then you finally you’re close to locking. And now it’s time to work

with the sound people which I love. I love working with sound, and music, and scoring and all those

things where you get to move into other people’s rooms, instead of them coming into your room.

You get to go park to the scoring session, all of that went… we had to find a way to do all of

those things in a different way. And we did it, and I’m really proud that we got through, but that part was

hard. I love scoring, I love being part of hearing the score actually being recorded. And we did, we were

on Source-Connect. They were literally scoring in Iceland, and I was getting up at… I find myself like

falling asleep and waking up at three or four o’clock in the morning just to listen to the score being done.

But that part was challenging. And then not being able to see… I got to see it in Gina, and I got to see it

on the big screen, which was amazing just before, as we were doing our final checks. But when you saw

it finally at theater, it was extraordinary. And I keep hoping that we’ll do “The Old Guard” drive-in

because I really would love more people to have seen it on the big screen.

V.T. Nayani:

Yeah, I was watching it on my laptop, but I just don’t feel like it’s the same as being on the big screen so I

hope we all get to see that sooner than later. People that watched “Eve’s Bayou” before this, then you all

know that there’s a long history of her being in stories that explores supernatural and the mystical

forces, I guess, so to say. On your approaching… we talk about things that are about real people. And

then you have a film like this that explores family secrets, the rituals, and spirituality and other kinds of

practices. I’m always interested in that kind of stuff within my own culture. And so as an editor, as an

artist, as a storyteller, coming on board, documenting and putting together something that reflects

things that are so sacred for real communities. What’s your approach in that to edit something that does

mean something and does have a history, and indigeneity, and a sacredness to so many communities?

How was that?

Terilyn Shropshire:

It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because “Eve’s Bayou” was set in a world where it’s its own ecosystem in a sense

within the film. It’s this Southern Gothic world where there’s a lot of tradition, and one of the things I

loved about the script, again, all starts with the script. And Kasi’s approach to it was the idea that if you

think about it, “Eve’s Bayou” was made, and I’m going to age myself and I look at Young Journey and I’m

watching Lovecraft now I continue to be blown away by this young lady. I was blown away the first time I

worked with her, and she carries… not carries the film, but it is her… this movie is about… it’s her story,

it’s her point of view. It’s like we journey through journey.

And so what was amazing about this was… part of this too, was just based on Kasi’s life, and

how she grew up and the people that she grew up around. And be able to reflect that back in film is

something that we’re not always able to do. And certainly was much more difficult to do it back then.

And that’s what it was so refreshing about “Eve’s Bayou”. Was that you were able to take these traditions

that our culture have grown up with, and many other cultures have grown up in different ways, but share

the same type of traditions and having parents who live at home, with grandparents who live at home

with us. And kids who were basically disciplined a certain way, and beautiful women who… and black

men who were professional doctors.

This is the way that I grew up. And these are the type of people that when I read the script, and

ultimately started to work with this movie with Kasi, we were just reflecting a part of our lives that we

were familiar with. But yet it was considered different to people who maybe had not seen this type of

family. And so the mysticism part was, what was really great about this story was is that there were

these traditions, but if you can imagine it through the eyes of a young girl who, for her, it’s all both

exciting and scary, and she doesn’t clearly quite understand what’s going on. And then ultimately, she

realizes that she has this something special that’s been passed on to her from her family.

And so it was always fun to respect the magical part of the story, and to make it feel… because it

was real to these people, it was a real thing. And to be able to do that in a non-campy way and yet to

find both humor in it, but also within Eve’s mind, it was something very serious, she feels that she killed

her father with Voodoo. Like, “How do I kill my father with Voodoo?” But yet to actually have that loss, I

don’t know what kind of therapy she went through for the rest of your life. But yeah.

V.T. Nayani:

We do have a question from someone who says “Love & Basketball” is one of their favorite film. I find

that, and I mentioned this, we always focus on the love story, which is at the height of this film, and

watching those journeys unfold together and apart. And it’s one of my favorite films growing up. And it’s

so nostalgic, it takes you back to particular moments, particular time in your life. But I often find, and I

think this also comes from Sanaa, talking about her experience, prepping for and being in this film, we

forget about the process of her getting ready for it and becoming Monica, and the journey of becoming

Monica. And her story on its own, and her journey in its own.

I picked this clip, because it focuses on her, and is not necessarily we woven together with the

story of him and them together. And he talks about giving back agency in your work, and I see it here

with this scene… even if it’s one woman in the film, it’s about her journey. It’s about her story from her

perspective. What was it like working on this scene? And how did you cut that together? It’s such a

emotional moment, there are these beats there for her, and it leads to so much. What was that like, and

how did you carve space to tell the story of the individual characters, but also focus on the lightest story

of Love & Basketball?

Terilyn Shropshire:

I know, it all starts with Monica, doesn’t it? And I think that we all have a little bit of Monica in us. It’s not

the athletic part. But it’s the part of someone who’s struggling to find her place, to prove herself, to not

be limited in a world that wants to put you in a certain box, or tell you what you can’t do. And I think

that’s why we all relate to Monica, and I think that’s why we root for her because at any given point you

can be identified if you’re strong, or if you’re overly athletic, or you move a certain way… you’re basically

pigeon-holed, or people decide who you are, when sometimes you’re still trying to figure out who you


I think that that’s why people really connect, aside from the fact that it’s a love story. And

because you’re in a situation where, again, this is centered around a young person, and it’s important

that… and Sanaa, again trained so hard for this, and she wasn’t a ball player, and she encompasses

Monica. And so I think that to Gina’s credit, it was also about trying to allow us as an audience to not

necessarily have each basketball game… yeah, each basketball game had to have a purpose. It wasn’t

just about showing that Monica could play, but also showing that Monica was vulnerable, and that she

didn’t always make the right decisions. And so what I loved about creating this game and building this

game, and Gina deciding to create it as a POV was what could I do to try to balance the time that you’re

with Monica in her head, basically going through what she was going through?

Initially, I didn’t have the voice, that was something that was recorded while that ultimately it

was… So it was trying to figure out building the actual POV part of the game, and when I was going to

take you in and out of that. At what point do you choose to step out of Monica in a way that he or she

would react. She would react to a buzzer, she’d react to a whistle. You go out in those moments, and yet,

even her stepping onto the court, it’s like… I was a swimmer in high school, and I remember when you

would come out to get ready to go off the blocks, and you’re walking to the blocks. And yet, you’re

somewhat aware of who’s in the stands, if your parents are in the stands.

And so I think that we all can connect to those feelings of what is it like. The boy that she has a

crush on is in the stands. All of that, that part of it was… it was kind of it’s always like putting yourself in

the position of where do I want to be as an audience? I think that the best thing sometimes you can do

as a technician, as an editor, is to remember go back to your roots, go back to what made you want to be

part of film. What it felt like to experience things, and try to approach your work that way. It’s hard

sometimes because you have to step in, and you have to be technical, and you have to figure it out. But

you have to sometimes get out of your own head space and become a viewer again, and re-experience.

That’s why I say forget what you know and try to allow yourself to have some degree of perspective as an

audience to what you’re working on whenever you can.

V.T. Nayani:

Thank you. There’s two audience questions. Speaking of audience, there’s two audience questions, and I

want to make sure we get to them. Again, Jennifer, I’m just going to read it word for word, “Love &

Basketball is one of my favorite films, what was the process of editing that final one-on-one screen

between Monica and Quincy? There’s so many quick little moments that were captured so perfectly.

How did you bring it all together?

Terilyn Shropshire:

That’s so funny that Jennifer asks that, because that’s usually the clip I show, actually.

V.T. Nayani:


Terilyn Shropshire:

But I felt like I should maybe show something different to this evening. Look, that game was… it was,

gosh. There was so much riding on it. I remember reading it, and I remember literally holding the script

like, “Oh, my God, what’s going to happen…” And so you want to honor that. You want to honor the first

time you experience it. That was a scene that was scheduled to be shot over two nights. And I think it fell

somewhere. I don’t know, it was somewhere… I don’t think it was toward the end of the shoot. But I do

remember… I don’t tend to always go to set. I have feelings about that, and there are some films where

I’ve been on set more than others. And it’s usually because there’s some choreography or something

going on, or playback, or something where I feel like it’s helpful for me to be there. But usually, I like to

keep a certain degree of filter, between what’s happening on set and what’s coming in to me as an


And so this was a scene where I remember seeing the early rushes of the stuff that was coming

in. And I could definitely feel that the game between Quincy and Monica. Originally, it was supposed to

be a much longer game. And then I think in the course of them choreographing that, they realized that it

was going to need to be a short… plus they were shooting this at night, and anybody who has shot at

night knows that you only have a certain amount of hours. Anyway, it came in, and I felt like both of

them by this point they both have the physicality of the game. And clearly, it had nothing to do with the

game. It was really about what was at stake at the game.

And I did feel as I was starting to put it together that I was wanting a little bit more of what the

game meant physically from an emotional standpoint, if that makes any sense. Yes, Monica would miss a

shot here, and Quincy would get a shot here. But I really wanted to feel what they were both going

through in the game. And I think that we had about 85% of it, but there was a 15% that I was missing. I

remember talking to Gina about it and saying that… because they were going to have to go back and

finish the game. It was one of those things where I did ask her, I showed her an early cut of it. That’s the

other thing. It’s like, when you suddenly have to cut something very quickly for a director, and you may…

and it may not have been a scene that I really wanted to cut right away, but I felt like I had to because,

again, there was an instinct where there was certain things I wanted to see.

I wanted to get more of the fight, get into the game of… And so what was great was is that we

looked at it together, and we found certain areas that we felt like she could go in and pick up some

things. And so when you watch it, it’s like some of this stuff is like just when they’re grabbing each other,

or he’s pushing her hand away, or a couple… I think we have like just a couple more close ups of them in

terms of relating to one another that really had nothing to do with the actual game itself. But the

internal fight that they were both going through.

And so then we put it together, and then the challenge becomes how do you take a scene like

this, and underscore it? Do you use score? Do you use source? What do you use as far as… what is going

to be the musical language of a scene like this, because so much of it’s at stake. And I remember,

because a lot of times when I’m editing, I will start to… Gina usually has a playlist when she’s writing, she

usually passes on the playlist to me, and I start listening to what she is listening to. And then I’m always

listening to a lot of different types of music. And it happened around the time that we were cutting the

scene, Meshell Ndegeocello’s album Bitter came out.

And I remember listening to it on my way in to work one day, and the song came up, Fool of Me.

And I was like, wow, this is our movie in a sense. This is what’s going on right now. And so when I got to

the cutting room, I talked to Gina about it, and we put it in. We had a cut of the scene, and I literally

dropped it in. And it was amazing. It just fell. Those happy accidents are rare. Often you have to

maneuver the music to… but it just, it was so emotional. We got so excited. I think we were running

around that editing room. It’s like we found the voice, the vocal voice of what we wanted the scene to

be. And so that was really exciting.

And yeah, it’s the scene that where you do have the cutting style of yes, the game. But then

there are times when you want to slow it down, and you want to feel what these characters are feeling.

And I think that that’s the balance of trying to have a certain momentum. But don’t lose the emotion in

the momentum. There’s a reason why this game is going on. And if they were just playing basketball, and

you were focused on the action of the game, the scene would have never worked.

V.T. Nayani:

Yeah, I saw the story of how the track was taped because that track is… I think when anyone thinks

about that movie, they think about that particular song, I think anytime they hear that song, it takes

them back to that movie, if you watch that film. Good to know the story behind you listening to the

album and suggesting it. It’s going to be my little bit of fact history that I can share with like, “Did you

know that actually, this is where the song came from?” We have two more questions, and one of them,

I’m going to… there’s one from your cousin. Your cousin Patricia. Patricia asks, “The Old Guard was so

very different…” I’m going to read her whole message. “The Old Guard was so very different it seems

from your other movies and work. Did it feel this way to you? Are there any common threads in the

movies, do you have edited you feel?” And then it says, “This silly question is from your cousin, I am so

very proud of you.”

Terilyn Shropshire:

Thank you. Oh, my goodness. Look, “The Old Guard”, what I loved about doing “The Old Guard” was it

was a perfect example of being an editor and wanting to be considered that you’re capable if you’re

really working on your craft, and you’re working on your skill, as an editor. You have lots of tools in your

toolbox, just as a director does. There’s a lot of muscles that you want to try to just stretch when you’re

an artist. And I think that sometimes when you’re working in commercial art, people want to tend to

limit you or pigeon-hole you into, again, saying what you can’t… not that they’re not saying that you

can’t do it, but they tend to want to go with what is tried and true, or the person that’s tried and true in

a particular area.

And they may be tried and true because they’ve been given the opportunity. Ultimately, us being

able to be our best selves is when people don’t try to limit us and try don’t try to tell us what we can’t

do, or don’t allow us to showcase our work. What was great about “The Old Guard” is that everything

that I’ve done before has prepared me for The Old Guard, it’s a different type of storytelling, but it’s still

storytelling, there was no reason for me to think I couldn’t do “The Old Guard”. Whereas at the same

time, I still had to go into meetings with the studio and educate them as to why wouldn’t I be able to do

“The Old Guard”. But I had to be able to do that in a way to assure them that I was the right person, even

though this was a choice of Gina’s, but there was still the necessity for them to meet me, which happens

on most films where, of course, the people that are giving you the money to make the film, are going to

want to know who have you chosen to take this journey with?

But what I would say about in terms of things that are similar, what I love about all of these films

is that they’re either telling you… they’re bringing you into a world that maybe you’ve been aware of,

maybe you haven’t certainly when you look at something like “When They See Us”, and you look at “Talk

to Me”, these were based on true stories of people you… I mean there are a fair amount of people that

knew about Central Park Five, but there are people that didn’t really know the story. With movies like

“Love & Basketball”, and “The Old Guard”, and other films that I’ve done with directors, especially the

female directors, and not to say that male directors don’t empower women, of course they do.

But being able to tell a particular story, or show a particular character through a specific lens, the

people that I’ve been fortunate to work with, really are trying to empower and show the strength of

their characters, whether they’re male or female, and vulnerability. And that especially in terms of

working with Gina, where you have women that have agency, and they’re trying to find their place in the

world. I’m just fortunate that the directors that I’ve worked with Ava, Gina, Kasi, Bob, if I start

mentioning I’m going to miss somebody. They really have a strong voice, and they want to reflect the

world that they want to see. And it’s not necessarily the world that we always are living, But I feel like

they’re trying to give us a different perspective and a different lens, and allow us to think and feel and

maybe see the world in a different way.

V.T. Nayani:

Patricia said, “Well, you knocked it out of the park.”

Terilyn Shropshire:

Thank you.

V.T. Nayani:

One last question for tonight. I know it’s getting late on the East Coast… late depending on who you are.

I tend to stay up late, I think that’s a lot of artists. And this is about “Eve’s Bayou”, we’ll wrap with this. “Is

there a part you would have cut that remained in Eve’s Bayou because the director wanted it? I read the

book a long time ago, but it was my favorite for many years. So is there anything left in that, that you

would have cut but it stayed in the film?”

Terilyn Shropshire:

That’s funny that they asked me about that “Eve’s Bayou” and none of other movies. But no, seriously,

with “Eve’s Bayou”, there was actually something that we didn’t want to cut that we had to take out. And

so it was actually the opposite happened, because in the original “Eve’s Bayou”, which you can still find

because ultimately there was a director’s cut that was released on “Eve’s Bayou”. But the original “Eve’s

Bayou” was there was a character named uncle Tommy, who lived in the house with Eve and her brother,

her family. And he was actually based on a character and a memory from Kasi’s childhood, again where

often in cultures in the past, families lived together in the same house.

Uncle Tommy was a character who had… I don’t remember whether it was cerebral palsy or

whether he had had a stroke. He was someone who was not able to speak, and he was in a wheelchair,

and they cared for him. Kasi’s memory as a young girl was having to go upstairs. Her parents say go

upstairs and say goodnight to Uncle Tommy. And for her, that that character, the idea of young kids

having to go up and say goodnight to “something” that they didn’t necessarily understand. Was a little

bit daunting to them. But yet, within Kasi’s writing and making a film, Uncle Tommy was actually a very

integral character because he ended up being the mute witness to what had happened that night that

Cisely and her dad there was a fateful evening where something happened and it changed the course of

their lives.

And that’s part of what the movie about. And yet, in the original, what you discover is, is that

you have two versions of what happened. And as we all know, again, memory is a selection of images.

That’s how we begin the movie. And our memories are different, like you and I could have an argument

and our memory of that argument is going to skew towards… But yet, within this particular movie, there

was somebody who saw what happened. But he doesn’t have the ability to say what happened. And so it

was a very layered character. And ultimately, when we… we had finished the film, and I don’t want to go

too far into it because we don’t have a lot of time. But we finished the film, and then we were told that

we had to remove that character.

And it was a big deal for Kasi, as you can imagine, as a director, to cross the finish line, and then

somebody pulls you back from the finish line and says, “No, you’re not done.” And it was the studio

decision to remove this character. And then it became my responsibility, or our responsibility together to

remove this character, and yet deliver a story and a film where you never knew the character was there.

Yeah, it wasn’t something… I don’t remember anything where I said, “Oh, this has got to go.” But I do

remember someone telling us that some character got to go.

V.T. Nayani:

Yeah, I remember Kasi being in Toronto at a screening of “Eve’s Bayou”, I guess, was last year sometime,

but I don’t know what time is anymore. But I remember her sharing that story. And I remember being an

audience. Do you remember what that feels like to be in an audience? And we were all like, “What?” And

it was a collective… especially not a filmmaking audience, in my mind that sometimes some of the

decisions it’s hard. It’s hard because we’re artists and, especially, I think for a story that’s so personal,

and comes out of your experience in some way. Yeah, I remember the collective gasp, so thank you for

sharing that story.

Thank you for tonight, thank you for making time to chat with us. Again, I was so excited to

speak with you. And I’m so glad that I know you a little bit. And I hope we can continue the conversation.

Just for making your time and being open and willing to share because this is how we learn. And this is

how we grow. We’re a community, for those who are filmmakers here and those who aren’t, and who

are just film lovers. Film never gets done. And you said it earlier, film never gets done on our own. And

we’re all integral to the process. I’m excited to see what you work on next. But it’s been a beautiful

career to watch. And I know there’s so much more to come, so thank you again.

Terilyn Shropshire:

Well, thank you. And I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next as well. And I really want to thank

you for taking the time to get my work, and ask such great questions and steer us through this. I want to

also thank the Canadian Cinema Editors for this honor of being able to talk with your group, and we’re all

in this together. So I really do appreciate it.

V.T. Nayani:

Thank you, Teri. Have a good night everyone, take good care, and I’m just wishing health and wellness for


Sarah Taylor:

Thanks so much for joining us today, and a big thanks goes to Terilyn, and V.T. for taking the time to sit

with us. Our special thanks goes to Jane MacRae and Nagham Osman. This episode was edited by Alex

Schead. The main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall, additional ADR recording by Andrea

Rusch. Original music provided by Chad Blain 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 or you

can donate directly at The CCE is taking steps to build a more equitable ecosystem within our

industry and we encourage our members to participate in any way 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.


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A special thanks goes to

Jane MacRae

Nagham Osman

Hosted and Produced by

Sarah Taylor

Edited by

Alex Schead

Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixed and Mastered by

Tony Bao

Original Music by

Chad Blain

Sound Stripe

Sponsor Narration by

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The Editors Cut

Episode 052 – Interview with Elisabet Ronaldsdóttir

The Editors Cut - Episode 0052 - Interview with Elisabet Ronaldsdóttir

Episode 52: Interview with Elisabet Ronaldsdóttir

In this episode Sarah Taylor sits down with Elisabet Ronaldsdóttir.

Elisabet has a killer film resume and has cut many much loved action films – Atomic Blond, John Wick and Deadpool 2 to name a few.

This month she has two new films coming out – Marvel’s latest SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS and the Netflix film KATE. Elisabet shares her career journey and so much wisdom!

Listen Here

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I have women or people of color, for example, in the cast. I try to remember that I am not raised

in a just society. So, I might have ideas that go against what these people are bringing to the

table, and I have to be aware of it. I ask myself, again, “Should I cut that dialogue out? Why am I

cutting it?” Just so I have a fighting chance to work against my possible prejudices.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

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.

Before we get into today’s episode, the CCE is excited to be involved with the Calgary

International Film Festival’s Industry Week, from Thursday September 23rd to Sunday

September 26th. No matter where you are in your career, they are inviting those in the film, TV,

and adjacent industries, to mix, mingle, celebrate, and learn. Industry Week will feature inspiring

and engaging programming, tailor-made for industry professionals. Expand your knowledge, find

your inspirational fuel, and grow your connections. Your seat is waiting at the Calgary

International Film Festival’s first ever Industry Week. And, I’ll be there, moderating a panel with

the editors from Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Join us on September 26th, online or in person. I hope

to see you there.

Today, I bring to you the lovely Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir. Elísabet has a killer film résumé.

She’s cut many much loved action films, Atomic Blonde, John Wick, and Deadpool 2, just to

name a few. This month, she has two new films coming out, Marvel’s latest, Shang-Chi and the

Legend of the Ten Rings, and the Netflix film, Kate. Elísabet shares with us her journey and so

much wisdom. I want to be like her when I grow up. Please enjoy Elísabet.

Speaker 3:

And, action.

Speaker 5:

This is The Editor’s Cut.

Speaker 4:

A CCE podcast.

Speaker 5:

Exploring, exploring, exploring, the art…

Speaker 4:

Of picture editing.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Welcome, Elísabet, to The Editor’s Cut, thank you so much for joining me today.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Thank you for having me, Sarah.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

My first question is, where are you from? And, what led you into the world of editing?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

It’s a long story. I’m born and raised in Iceland, in Reykjavík. I’ve always been fascinated my

movies. When I was young, every week we would get to go to the movie house, because we

would go with the newspapers. And, [inaudible 00:03:07], we would get a movie every week. I

would go, and I was fascinated by this world. And, obviously never ever had an idea that I would

become a part of it. But, I was fascinated by that world, and the movies, and that form of

storytelling. And, when I’m, I think I’m 19 or 20, I decided to go to a film school. So, I went to

London International Film School, in Soho, in London.

Sarah Taylor (Host):


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

It was a lovely experience. But, you don’t learn how to make movies. You learn to use some

equipment or get accustomed to some of the equipment. And, you get really good connections

with people who have the same interest as you. And then, it’s a lifetime of practice and doing

things over and over again. I’m still learning. I don’t think this is a form you can learn. I guess any

art form, you can’t learn it, you just have to live it, and fail, and try again.

Sarah Taylor (Host):


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

So, that’s how I started films. But, in London Film School, I was set on becoming a

cinematographer. That was my passion and fascination, and then, I learnt through the years, I

learnt about editing and got more and more fascinated by editing. I also ended there because I

was getting pregnant all the time, I have four children, and it looked just easier to control my

time when I’m in the editing room. It’s difficult if you have 100 people on-set waiting for you and

you have to manage children, it’s easier with the post.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

What was your first job in the industry? Was it in London, or was it in Iceland, where were you?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

My first job in the industry was in Iceland. I was hired to answer telephones in a production

company that produced mainly interviews for TV and commercials. I think I stayed on the phone

for like two days and then I just dived head-first into production. Mainly as a set decorator for

the longest time, on commercials, and just assisting here and there. That’s how I started in this


Sarah Taylor (Host):

How did you make your move into editing? You had some babies and you thought, “I need to go

into the edit room,” or did you do editing prior to that?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I got pregnant and no one knew. I think I was six or seven months pregnant, and I was working

as a focus puller on a small Icelandic movie, and the DP realized suddenly I was pregnant and

they got so scared. It had to do with insurance and all kinds of stuff. But, they didn’t want to

throw me out, so they just invited me into the editing room. So, that’s how I started. I [inaudible

00:06:27] realize I’m very privileged in that way, that I just walked into an editing job. I didn’t

assist. I assisted myself, obviously, it’s small production in Iceland, so you kind of have to assist

yourself. But, I was editing from day one that I stepped into an editing room. That is a privilege.

Sarah Taylor (Host):


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I think it’s also just the time. Now, it’s probably more difficult because more people have learnt

about the magic of editing and want to do it. So, it’s a more difficult task to get in there. But, I

was there at the right time.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah, at the right time and then also in a smaller market. Because, even for me in Alberta, I’m

based in Edmonton, and it’s a very small market, and so I do my assisting, I do my editing.

Sometimes I get an assistant and then it feels wonderful, but then you learn so much and you

get to do so many different genres, which I think is really fun too.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):


Sarah Taylor (Host):

So, you came from an Icelandic market, you started editing, I’m assuming you did lots of

Icelandic films?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Yeah, I did some. But, I moved to Denmark. I was going to Denmark to work on this movie for

Nordisk Film, but my parents at that point lived in Sweden. So, I actually moved to Sweden and

then I took a boat between Sweden and Denmark every day, because I needed my parents to

help me with the kids and my siblings, who all lived in Sweden. So, I moved to Sweden and took

the boat, and was working on Nordisk Film. I also did a year at a TV station in Denmark. That’s

probably the best school I’ve been to, where you have to work really fast and get to the heart of

the story in as a precise way as possible. I think that was very good training. I did a lot of Danish

movies, and documentaries, and TV, and then I moved back home to Iceland and kept doing

Icelandic movies.

I did a movie called Reykjavik-Rotterdam, an Icelandic movie directed by Óskar

Jónasson, and it was remade in the State as Contraband.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Oh, yeah.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I was asked to edit Contraband as well.

Sarah Taylor (Host):


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Baltasar Kormákur directed that movie, and it was co-production between Working Title in

London, in England, and Universal. It was a big step into the American market.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

No kidding.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

There was no [inaudible 00:09:04]. It was straight into a big production with Universal and

Working Title. That was such an amazing experience. It was actually through Contraband that I

met an Editor, Dody Dorn, who is an American editor. Amazing editor. She just did the recut of

The Snyder Cut for [inaudible 00:09:33], and she had done Memento. She’s a big editing star. I

met her in LA when I was doing Contraband, we had dinner together. We are very good friends

today. We just hit it. And, she contacted her agent and asked them to talk to me and sign me on.

Sarah Taylor (Host):


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

And it happened, they signed me on.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

That’s amazing. So then, from that going forward you were now up for doing American films?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):


Sarah Taylor (Host):

That’s amazing. You are in the world of action films now. Your latest movie that’s coming out

soon is the new Marvel movie, which I was very excited to find out that you’re cutting it,

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. You did John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2.

High action, high Hollywood films. Was this a genre that you were always interested in? Tell me

about this action film journey.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I think it’s just interesting and fascinating how life guides you to a certain place. There are two

things. One is, I did a lot of dance movies in Iceland with an artist Helena Jonsdottir, who works

very much in Europe with dance movies. So, I was extremely accustom to editing choreography.

Action is choregraphy. It is a dance. No one gets hurt. It doesn’t look bloody and disgusting until

they put all the visual effects on it. It’s a dance. So, I had this massive dance choreography

editing training from doing small indie art dance films with my friend Helena. Another thing, I

worked on this TV show for a year, called LazyTown, but I learnt so much about working with

blue screen and imagining how things are happening in the background, and just the workflow

of it. So, I had a massive training from there through this children’s show.

So, when I did my first big action, which was John Wick, I had all those elements already.

I wasn’t learning anything… Of course, I learnt a lot doing that movie, but I had the basis coming

in. And then, you do get pigeonholed, people decide that. But, it’s not only that you get

pigeonholed, but also I now have a great experience working with big budget movies. The

workflow of them is a bit different and it’s sometimes extremely hectic. It’s difficult with visual

effects… Not difficult, but it’s just different. Especially with really heavy visual effects movies,

you have to work so tightly with visual effects and make all the dates. It’s a lot of work.

Especially in Deadpool, where we had animated characters, and again in Shang-Chi. It takes a lot

of time to do this stuff.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

What do you feel you bring that’s unique to these films?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I always try to bring a big heart. I think it’s a part of my job to be extremely critical of some stuff.

With action movies, are not just for 17 year old boys, and even if they were, there is no need to

degrade women in any way. So, I terrorized my directors talking about the male gaze [inaudible


Sarah Taylor (Host):

I love it.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

By pushing it through, trying to make a change that way. But, every movie I work on, I look at my

work… I am kind of interpreting the work of so many people. If you imagine that you have a

script, it might be based on a book, so the script is an interpretation of a book that’s written, or

it’s an original script. But then, the whole crew, it’s the director, it’s the actors, the set designer,

everyone interprets that story into their art. For me, I gather all of it and then I try to interpret the

best version of the movie from what I have. I have such a respect for what everyone else brings

to the table. But, we also live in a world that’s extremely unjust, and racist, and misogynist, etc.

So, I try to remind myself of it every time I start working on a movie. I just go through the whole

cast, I go through the whole crew, the key positions in the crew, and I just think about that.

Especially if I have women or people of color, for example, in the cast. I try to remember

that I am not raised in a just society. So, I might have ideas that go against what these people

are bringing to the table, and I have to be aware of it. I ask my self, again, “Should I cut that

dialogue out? Why am I cutting it out?” Just so I have a fighting chance to work against my

possible prejudices.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

It’s such an important thing to hear, as an editor, and I think it’s an important thing for everybody

to hear, as filmmakers. That, those little things, we have control to help shape and hopefully

change our world. Hearing you be like, “I am going to be conscious and think,”…

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Sometimes it might be better for the movie and for them that I cut this dialogue. I just need to

be aware, “Why am I cutting it? Am I cutting it because it’s best for the movie? Or, am I cutting it

because I have some hidden prejudices about, ‘A woman would never say it like that’?” Then, I

have to question myself again, now I have to take a step back, “Why would I cut if it works for

the movie?” I’m a big believer in cutting dialogue left and right, I’m like, “[inaudible 00:16:09].” A

dialogue massacre. But, that’s because a dialogue in a script can be beautiful and it works

perfectly, but then you have the actors interpret that dialogue, and sometimes a whole speech

just comes with one look, and that speech becomes redundant. You don’t need it anymore

because the actor brought that look.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah, for sure.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I’m a big believer in cutting dialogue. I want to be aware why I’m doing it.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

What brought you to think like that?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I think that’s just how I’ve lived all my life, actually. I grew up through the feminist movement, I

was a very active young woman in the feminist second wave in Iceland. I just learnt a lot about

this stuff going through that. Just turning up in meetings, listening to talks. So, I think it came

early, this being aware that you are not living in a perfect society. It is a racist, misogynist

community we live in. Not the people, necessarily, it’s just we have built this society through

such a long time and it’s difficult to get rid of all the bad ideas we might have as a society. I’m

not talking about the individuals within it, they come in all sizes and shapes. You might grow up

just knowing that women’s voices are more annoying because they’re higher. As an editor, I have

to be aware that I might have that prejudice when I’m listening to dialogue, trying to deem which

take is best. You have to be aware that you might be… But, at the same time, you have to be

aware that the whole audience has the same prejudices. You just have to find the balance and

try not to…

What I absolutely do not want to do is step on women’s and minorities’ glory. I don’t want

to be the person that’s done that. I want people to flourish. Not that that’s in my power, I’m just

saying in my small bubble I try to do what I can.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Every small step is a good thing. You talked about how you like to cut dialogue, I liked the line, “A

dialogue massacre,” that’s great. Tell us more about your process. How do you start a film,

what’s your process of watching the dailies, when do you start cutting scenes? Just do a little

rundown of what you’re editing process is.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Usually, you turn up the day or the day before they start shooting, but you’ve read the script. I’ve

usually read it several times. Then, the shooting starts and you just get dailies every single day,

and you go through them. I watch them and try to remember what affected me watching it first

time, and I make some notes, then I start throwing the scene together. I do it very roughly. I don’t

necessarily do it with selects, I just throw the scene together like, “I want to be here, I want to go

there.” And then, I go through all the takes and see, “Do I have what it takes to fit into this form

that I’ve made?” Sometimes, it has to change a bit because of performances and how shots

were done [inaudible 00:19:55]. That’s how you eat this elephant, it’s one bite at a time. You

almost have a scene a day. And then, it strings up to a movie. That’s when it gets difficult for me

to hold back.

You have to edit this new scene that was shot today but, “Ooh, I want to dive into this.”

But, I try to stay focused and do my scenes every single day. Also, if anything is missing you can

notify the producers and the director. You might feel something’s missing or not covered well

enough. Even if you notify them, it doesn’t mean it’s shot, but at least you’ve notified them. And

then, at some point, you’ve got all the scenes and everything’s there, and then you just start.

Sometimes I work in sections. Sometimes, in the beginning especially, it’s good to work

in sections, get this section right, get that section right. I have a tendency, I just have to watch

the film again, and again, and again. I find it so important that what’s happening in scene 10 is

extremely important for what’s happening in 112, and you have to keep those connections going

the whole time. It’s one movie, it’s not 130 scenes, it’s one movie. That’s what you’re working


Which, brings me also to why I dislike working with multiple editors. That has nothing to

do with most of the beautiful people I work with, but I do dislike the lack of understanding for

the art of editing, that it’s a singular vision. When you suddenly have three visions, or four

visions, it gets really difficult, for me. Also, because I’m a control freak.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

How has it worked for you, because you’ve worked on a few films where you’ve been in a team?

What do you get and how does it work?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

It hasn’t worked like that on the movies I’ve worked with, it floats around, goes back and forth.

For me, it’s not about editing a scene, it’s about editing a movie. It’s very difficult for me to step

out of that mode and just start thinking, “This is my scene, this is my part.” But, it’s not like that,

because then we talk about stuff, and we sit down, and we watch the movie, and we talk. But, I

wish they would fix schedules and allow the art of editing to flourish as a singular vision. Always

based on the director’s vision, it’s not [inaudible 00:22:49], it’s a singular vision in connection

with the director’s vision. I think the art of it and the flow of it, I just feel it all has to come


Sarah Taylor (Host):

The films where you’ve had to work with a team, is it because of schedules, that the film needs

to get done so quickly that you need more hands-on-deck?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Some studios demand it, mainly because of schedule. It’s a lot of material for a very short time.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

But on Deadpool, for example, I just got sick. I ended up in the hospital.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Oh no.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I think I’m a method editor, because I got in such good forms when I was doing Atomic Blonde, I

was in the gym every day. That was really good. But then, I did Deadpool 2 and ended up with

stage 4 cancer, [inaudible 00:23:48].

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Oh no.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

But, I got cured. All is good.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Good, but whoa.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I had the best doctors, I was so lucky. Now, I’m working on a movie that has to do with faith and

luck, and I just lost my wallet yesterday and I’m thinking, “There’s something there,” maybe I’m a

method editor.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Other than the cancer thing, which I’m very sorry that happened, but… I find, because I do a lot of

documentary stuff, I will definitely get into… I did one about a boxer and then I was like, “I want

to take boxing.” And then, I did one for the tap dancing and I’m like, “I’m going to take tap


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Exactly. [inaudible 00:24:23].

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah, you just get into it. It’s their passion and you feel the passion.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

When I did John Wick, I got suited up.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Oh yeah?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):


Sarah Taylor (Host):

That’s amazing.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I had to have a good suit, that’s really, really helpful.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Do you still have that suit and do you still wear it?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Oh yeah, I do.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

I love it. I want to see the suit. That’s so fun. You said that you like to cut the film, but of the film,

what are your favorite types of scenes to edit?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I’m so fascinated by every single scene I have to tackle. Every scene brings you different

challenges and I’m just fascinated by all of them. I think they’re all just as fun. I think the easiest

scenes I edit are action scenes, actually. [inaudible 00:25:16] first, because I’ve been blessed

with amazing choreographers. Because, I don’t choreograph those fight scenes, someone else

does. I’ve just been lucky working with the best, both producers and directors that know action,

know what it takes to make action, and the choreographers and stunt people that know what

they’re doing. The best of the best. So, for me, editing action is just pure fun.

Dialogue is always more difficult because most people, I know there are exceptions, but

most people do not know how it is to end up in a shootout. Never been in a shootout. So, you

can kind of do whatever you like because who’s going to care? Who’s going to stand up and say,

“No, that’s wrong.” But, with dialogue, every single audience has had dialogue with someone, has

had discussions or arguments. Those are the trickiest scenes. I can spend hours because I

really want it to ring true, but it doesn’t take you out of the film, that this was a really [inaudible

00:26:25] dialogue scene. So, those are the trickiest scenes, but I do have fun doing all of them.

All of it is fun.

My favorite thing, is just watching it again, and again, and again. Both because you get

such a good understanding, I think I get a good understanding of the pace of it. But also, there

are just connections that you start understanding better, and then you can tighten it and make it

work so other people will notice them without watching something 400 times.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah. When you’re going through and you’re watching it again, and again, and again, are you

stepping back from the edit suite, watching it on a screen, just watching it? Or, are you still

sitting at your suite, making those adjustments as you go?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Both. I think it’s very healthy to do… My father is a painter, and when I was young and he was

painting, and sometimes he would take a mirror and look at his painting through the mirror. I

think this is what happens when you take your movie and you watch it in different settings. If it’s

in a screening room, or take it home, watch it on your computer. Which, is probably the way most

people are going to see it in the end anyway. Because, it gives you a different perspective.

Because, the painter uses the mirror to get a different perspective of the work he’s doing, and I

think for me, as an editor, getting a different perspective is… Changing scenario, changing the

format I’m looking at it.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

What do you do when you find that there is a challenging scene, as in you’re stumped, or it’s just

not flowing right, or the dialogue isn’t going right, is there anything that you do to make it


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Yeah, I just go away. I just go have dinner with friends. Go watch a movie, go see art somewhere,

just do everything else. Because, that problem is still going to be there when you get back, but

you’re going to have more energy. You know how it is, sometimes just doing the dishes will give

you the best ideas. You just have to disconnect from the problem. It’s not going to go away. It’s

still in the back of your mind. And suddenly, you might get a solution.

I dream my movies. I dream edits, sometimes something cooler than I can actually do

myself, but I still have dreams about my projects. Actually, solutions have come when I’m

sleeping and I wake up and I have to write it down straight away because I realize, “Yes, that’s

how we’re going to do it.”

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah. I find, for myself, it’s in the shower or if I go for a run or something. Like, “I got to get back

to the edit suite, I found the thing.”

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):


Sarah Taylor (Host):

That’s awesome.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

And, I think it’s very important because, for me, editing… I can imagine writers being a bit in the

same position, because we’re a bit alone, but we have to take care of ourselves. Because, the

problem is, I could sit 20 hours without standing up. I’m just completely engulfed in what I’m

doing, and that’s not okay. I learnt it the hard way. It’s not okay. You have to set time for yourself.

Take lunch, take dinner, take a break. It’s very important because when you edit a movie, for me I

believe… I’m sure this is not true, because I have heard of a lot of blockbusters that were very

successful where people didn’t have much fun, but I do believe if you have fun… I think it’s

important. If you don’t have fun working on this movie, how do you expect the audience to have

fun? I think it’s so important because I think it shows. I think it shows on the film how people felt,

and you want people to enjoy what they’re watching. You don’t want them to feel like, “Oh, that

was weird.” You just want to ooze some heart into that movie. Enjoy. I think it’s important.

That’s why I think everyone in the production is just as important. Someone just bringing

coffee to set can bring such joy to the people working there that they actually really affect the

production, and [inaudible 00:31:06]. So, I think it’s extremely important to have a good crew and

a closely-knitted crew.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Do you have directors that you’ve with multiple times? That director-editor relationship I feel like

is really important. And, what you’re just mentioning now, having a connection with a director

and working on it as a team, that brings a heart to a film, if you have that good connection, that

good relationship.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Yeah, it does. I think it’s important. I’ve done so many movies with David Leitch, and I’m working

with him now on a new movie. I love getting to know new people, but yes, working with

someone, we know each other’s language, we know what we’re thinking. Of course it’s

important. It saves a lot of work and heartache. He knows I’m not going to go and piss off and

do something horrible. He can trust that I’m going to put the work in. We have kind of a

shorthand in dialogue as well. And, I really enjoy working with him as a director. He’s so open to

suggestions, even though he has a very clear vision of what he wants. He has the confidence to

be open to other ideas, even though he has a very strong vision of what he wants.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

I think that’s interesting to say that, because I feel like when somebody’s really, really rigid,

maybe it is this lack of confidence, or they’re not sure, or, “Maybe it won’t work, I don’t know.”

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

That’s how I feel about it.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

For yourself, throughout the years, you’ve been doing this for a while, have you found that you

have your own internal confidence now? When you were younger, getting feedback from

directors or producers, was it harder? How did you handle that and how do you handle it now?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I don’t think it was harder getting feedback from others, in connection with the movie. But, in the

old days, I could not screen anything I did, I was in the bathroom throwing up. Physically

throwing up because I was so stressed. That has gone.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Oh good.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I don’t feel that stressed anymore. I think that’s just you do it so many times you stop throwing

up at some point, thankfully. I think it’s extremely important to get notes. I don’t think anything

that has to do with the film can be ego filled in any way. You have to just try to take in the notes

and realize… But, you are the professional, so when you get notes from screenings and stuff,

you have to take a step back and look at them. You’re trying to figure out what people’s

problems are with the movie. You are the professional. They might not know, they might say, “We

hated the middle,” but the problem is actually in the beginning. You know what I mean?

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah, totally.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Because, if the beginning is too long, you’re going to be too tired in the middle. But, the audience

might say, “There’s a problem with the middle,” so you have to learn to take the notes and use

your own professionalism and experience to realize where is the problem. It takes a community

to make a film. I think that’s the biggest joy for me, is just the journey with that village to make

this movie, and that is the most inspiring thing about movie making, for me.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah. Being the editor, you’re often not with the crew, do you get to get to know the crew? Is that

something that you try to make an effort doing?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Sometimes, and sometimes not. It depends on so many things, like COVID. Usually you would be

in connection with the crew on set and visit regularly and stuff, but that changed this year.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

How has it been for you during COVID? Were you working on Shang-Chi during COVID?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Yeah, we were stuck in Australia, we were there for a year.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

What? Tell us.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I never knew I would live in Australia, but we ended up being there a year because of COVID.

Because, we had to stall production. We still kept working in post, and when we finished it had

been a year.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Wow. Originally, before COVID, you planned to go to Australia to cut the film while they were

shooting and then come back to Iceland?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

[inaudible 00:36:06] and finish. We were supposed to premier it February 3rd, was the first

premiere day on it.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Of 2021?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

2021, yeah. Last February.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Wow. At least Australia wasn’t as bad as America.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

No, that was not bad. It was just a surprise to be so far from your loved ones…

Sarah Taylor (Host):

No kidding.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

… And your routines.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah, especially during a pandemic.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Australians are very pleasant people. We were in Sydney the whole time, and just some precious

people I met there.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

And, you were working with a team of editors for that film as well?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):


Sarah Taylor (Host):

So, were you all staying together and you’re able to really work on the process of stuff actually


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

[inaudible 00:36:54], we [inaudible 00:36:57] in and did some great work in Australia.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

I look forward to seeing that one. Now, you’re working on another film, are you working at it from

home, in Iceland?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I am working from home. We were supposed to be working in Vancouver, and COVID, so in the

end they said, “We’ll be working from home in LA.” But, I pointed out, “Home for me is Iceland,”

but they accepted and said, “Okay, take it.”

Sarah Taylor (Host):


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

So, I’ve been working from home since February.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Typically, non-COVID days, would you just be going back from Iceland to LA or wherever the film

might be shooting, and you’re just always on the go?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):


Sarah Taylor (Host):

That must have been an adjustment.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I’m getting old, I’m getting tired by it. But also, I got the taste of it now, just to be home and work

from home. I like the idea. We’ll see what the future brings.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah. In the meantime, working from home, how has that been going for you, working remotely?

Has it been an easy transition?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

It’s been going really well. The biggest surprise, when COVID hit, is that all those pipelines to

work from home were already in place. They’re all in place. You just have to plug in and press

play. It was all there. So, that was probably the biggest surprise. Maybe independent movies

used it more, but the studios are very protective of their material, so usually everything is locked

inside the studios, so it was a bit of a surprise. But, a good surprise. It’s been easy, I like it.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

What are some things that you need to have in your edit suite that help you do your best work?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I love to make it a bit cozy. I need to have the photos of my babies, or my children. I plaster my

wall with them, just so I can have a conversation sometimes with them. For me, it’s extremely

important that the editing is a sacred land. You cannot fight. If producers and directors want to

fight about something, let’s step outside, because it’s not a fight zone. This is a creative zone

where we talk about ideas. We can argue about ideas, but there is no fighting. That has to

happen outside the editing room. I just find it very important. It’s like the [inaudible 00:39:35] and

it has to be peaceful. I like to bring in some smells and candles and stuff.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Do you have a certain routine every day, that you get up in the morning, and you get to work at a

certain time, and you have coffee, anything like that that keeps your day going?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Yeah, always coffee and sit down. But again, it’s so different because of COVID, everything has

been different, we’re in different places, different timezones. It’s not the same. But, I do like

having our morning meetings, sit down and talk over what happened, what do we need to do. I

miss that. I miss my film community. But, I still keep the coffee routine going strong.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

It’s very important.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Very important.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Do you find that there’s a certain part of the day that you do certain activities or certain tasks at

certain times of day? Or, you just go with whatever the edit tells you to do?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Whatever the edit tell me to do. For me, I wouldn’t be able to be that organized. I just follow. But,

I do love early mornings, because usually that’s the most quiet time. So, I like that. I like early

mornings, with my coffee, few people around, if any, and just me time. I like that.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

But, it tends to be very long days anyway.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Yeah, for sure. How does it feel when you’ve finished a film? It’s locked, what are your feelings

and your thoughts when that happens?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I don’t think anyone that I’ve worked with would send anything out if we weren’t proud of the

product. It can be different genres and different movies, but this is the best version we could

come up with, and we are proud of the work we put in it, we can put it out. So, it feels good, but

you’re also nervous because you never know how anything is going to be received. Even though

you think, “This is going to be big,” and then it doesn’t become… You never know.

Sarah Taylor (Host):


Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

So, you’re kind of sending it out without knowing what’s going to happen to it. But, it always feels

good because it’s work well done. Everyone has put their best foot down. Again, it’s a group

effort, and you’re just there with a group of people that have been spending so much time on it,

and sending it off, and then it’s gone. But, that’s not how it is for the director and some of the

actors, because then they follow it to the film festivals, to whatever. But, we have to say


Sarah Taylor (Host):

Do you have one film that you’re most proud of? Can you pick one?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I’m so proud of so many movies. I am obsessive as well. Very obsessive. I do have an obsessive

character. The film I’m working on now, it has all my energy. It’s the only thing I can think about.

Favorite movie would always be the movie I’m working on.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

That’s great. Do you have any tips for young editors or editors that are trying to make a career

transition into doing film? Scripted, as opposed to documentary? Anything like that.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

First thing, I think it’s important that there shouldn’t be a hierarchy here. Especially when it

comes to documentary, it’s such an amazing art form for me, I do love it. I’ve done some

documentaries. I wish I could do more. I think the most important thing is to always put all your

best out there, whatever you’re doing. The size of the budget doesn’t matter. You have to do your

best. I think if you always put your best foot down… Don’t write something off as bullshit,

because some things can just flourish and become something that comes back to you in the

form of a job opportunity, or something else. So, always put your best foot forward.

But again, I just find it so important that all of us understand this is work. It might be

ideal work, amazing work, so much fun work, but it’s work. We have to remember to take care of

ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves we won’t be able to make those movies. So, just

take care of yourself, be brave, and always, always, always take the dialogue. I think it’s

extremely important to be brave. I know it’s so hard right now, because there are so many people

and few opportunities. I’m sure so many people are getting, “No,” that shouldn’t be getting noes.

But, you have to remember that this is what you’re fighting against, so few opportunities. So, just

don’t give up. Or, give up. But, if you decide to not to give up, don’t give up. Just keep going with

that smile. But, it’s also okay to give up and to go to something else. That’s the beauty of life. It

just leads you to something else. Just don’t ever, ever, ever give up. Change direction if you feel

you need to, but just don’t give up.

And, I think it’s important to remember that there are so many editors out there, and

probably most of them better than I am. I’m also blessed with opportunities, but that’s one part

of being anything. You have to be able to grab the opportunity when they present themselves.

So, be open to opportunities. And again, that can be in a very small budget short film

somewhere, so do not cut corners because it’s a low budget short film. Give it all, because that

might come back to you as an opportunity. It’s tough out there, I know.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

That’s good advice. Do you have any films coming up? We’ve talked about the Shang-Chi and the

Legend of the Ten Rings, but anything else coming up that you want to tell us about?

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Yeah, I’m very proud of Kate, who’s going to be in September as well on Netflix. It’s a small

movie, but I had so much fun working it. And then, I’m working on Bullet Train. That’s probably

not going to come out until Christmas. Maybe it’s going to be a Christmas movie.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. You had such great insight

and lots of good one-liners that I’m going to try to take and put them in my pocket. Eating the

elephant one scene at a time, I love it.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I didn’t know this, but maybe I’m the queen of one-liners.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

I think so.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

I’m happy you enjoyed it. I enjoyed it.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Thank you so much. Take care, bye.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir (Guest):

Take care, bye.

Sarah Taylor (Host):

Thank you so much for joining us today, and a big thank you goes out to Jane MacRae. The

main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall, additional ADR recording by Andrea

Rusch. Original music provided by Chad Blain. This episode was mixed and mastered by Tony


The CCE has been supporting Indspire, an organization that provides funding and

scholarships for indigenous post-secondary students. We have a permanent portal on our

website at, or you can donate directly to The CCE is

taking steps to build a more equitable ecosystem within our industry, and we encourage our

members to participate in any way they can. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please rate and

review us on Apple Podcasts and tell your friends to tune in. Till next time, I’m your host, Sarah


Speaker 4:

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 Join

our great community of Canadian editors for more related info.

Subscribe Wherever You Get Your Podcasts

What do you want to hear on The Editors Cut?

Please send along any topics you would like us to cover or editors you would love to hear from:


A special thanks goes to

Jane MacRae

Hosted and Produced by

Sarah Taylor

Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixed and Mastered by

Tony Bao

Original Music by

Chad Blain

Sponsor Narration by

Paul Winestock

The Editors Cut

Episode 051: Interview with Kim French

The Editors Cut - Episode 051 - Interview with Kim French

Episode 51: Interview with Kim French

In this episode Sarah Taylor sits down with Kim French the creator of Edit Girls.

Kim French

Edit Girls is a collection of career stories from women working in Post-Production. It began life as an Instagram page, which was founded by Kim French, and kept going with the support of Mathew White and now has a home on it’s webpage

Edit Girls was born out of frustration at a lack of seeing these stories being told when Kim knew they were out there. She started her career as an editor back in 2006 and would have loved to have had this kind of insight into how other women started their journeys as editors, VFX artists, colourists and sound engineers.

Kim started by reaching out to editors that she knew to share their stories but it didn’t take long for women to start approaching her wanting to share how they started their careers and give insight into their working life. It quickly became clear that this was a much-needed space and the response has been so heartwarming.

Kim and Sarah discuss her career journey and how platforms like edit girls are much needed in our society and industry!


This episode was generously sponsored by IASTE 891 


Listen Here

The Editor’s Cut – Episode 051 – Interview with Kim French

Kim French:

It was a very similar type of person that was applying to the roles. And then to be told that oh, we’ll just hire the best person for the job was really frustrating because I was always like, well, we don’t even have a starting point that is diverse enough. The likelihood is that we’re going to hire a white guy because that’s who’s applying. And I thought, hang on a minute.

Sarah Taylor:

This episode was generously sponsored by IATSE 891.

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.

Sarah Taylor:

Today I sit down with Kim French, the creator of Edit Girls. Edit Girls is a collection of career stories from women working in post-production. It began its life as an Instagram page, @EditGirlsInsta, which was founded by Kim French and kept going through the support of Mathew White, and now has a home on its webpage, Edit Girls was born out of the frustration at a lack of seeing these stories being told, when Kim knew they were out there. She started her career as an editor back in 2006, and would have loved to have had this kind of insight into how other women started their journeys as editors, visual effects artist, colorists, and sound engineers. Kim started reaching out to editors she knew to share their stories, but it didn’t take long for women to start approaching her, wanting to share how they started their careers and give insight into their working life. It quickly became clear that this was a much-needed space, and the response has been so heartwarming. 


Kim and I discuss her career journey, and how platforms like Edit Girls are much needed in our society and industry.


[show open]


Sarah Taylor:

Well, Kim, thank you so much for joining us on The Editor’s Cut.

Kim French:

You’re welcome. I’m very excited to be here. 

Sarah Taylor:

As you all know, Kim French is the person behind Edit Girls, which is originally an Instagram account, and a website profiling women in editing and post-production. You do some colorists, and-

Kim French:

Yeah, that’s right. Colorists are featured, visual effects artists and post-producers as well. Majority, editors.

Sarah Taylor:

Before we dive into the Edit Girls and the process of how that started, I want to know a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, and I’m assuming that you were an editor at some point in your life. Give us a little Coles Notes of how you got to where you are now.

Kim French:

I’m from the UK, as you can probably guess. But I do have a connection to Canada, which is quite nice. When you asked me to be part of this, I was like, yeah, Canada. My career in editing started in Toronto in 2006. I’d moved over there. Basically, I’ll go back a tiny bit more. I studied television production, and within that you end up doing lots of different roles, like you direct something, you produce something, you do camera and you do editing. Kind of had a broad view of all the different aspects of TV, but I didn’t really hone in on editing there. But when I moved to Canada, which was to, at the time, follow a boyfriend, although I ended up staying and he ended up moving to New York. And that’s a whole other story. But I was always very kind of … Yeah. Just grateful, I guess, for that introduction to Canada because Toronto is like a second home. 

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, great. 

Kim French:

So, I did one of those … You know the five-day documentary challenges? Or they do 48-hour film challenges.

Sarah Taylor:


Kim French:

I ended up getting involved in one of those because at the time, I was doing lots of sound recording. I was booming on set, and I’d had documentary experience. I was doing student films. I’ve got a ton of friends who went to Ryerson. Ended up meeting lots of people through that. 

Anyway, I did the five-day documentary challenge. I was booming. It was me and two other filmmakers, Alex and Eric. And I was able to edit that. I said oh, I’d really love to edit this five-minute doc. I learnt loads from the director, Alex. And it was, I didn’t realize at the time, but my key, pivotal moment into editing.

Sarah Taylor:


Kim French:

Yeah. It was really like, special. I look back on it and the film. I would say, you know considering it is, gosh, 17 years old … umm, no, 15. It just still really holds up, and I’m really proud of it as a piece of work. It was about a female boxer. It was following her story. We found her within the five days, we created and filmed it within the five days. Yeah. Yeah. 

Sarah Taylor:

And you cut it within the five days?

Kim French:

Yeah. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:


Kim French:

And then obviously, loads of Red Bull and coffee, and you know doing that last stint of the last night. But we did it. You had to film at the end the newspaper, so that they knew that you’d sort of filmed it and done it within the time. So, I had this film. I had, I guess, the beginnings of my portfolio from that. And I ended up doing an interview which at the time, I thought was for a … Like a job interview. I thought was for more production side of things. Very random, how it came about. But it was actually an assistant editor position. And because I had this film, I was able to show that, and they could see from that that I had that sort of raw, I guess, talent for being able to edit.

And going back, actually, the film won an award for best editing at Hot Docs. At the time, it was I think a particular part of Hot Docs that was more about this particular festival. It’s not like headliners, or anything. But yeah, it was like a special little moment in time. And I got my first assisting job from it.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s amazing. 

Kim French:

Yeah. Yeah. And then from there, the rest is history. I was an editor for, well, an assistant to an incredible editor. If I name drop people. A guy called Dave DiCarlo, who I learnt, yeah, a huge amount from. I’ve worked with lots of amazing directors. There was all the commercial world, so not like TV and film which … Again, obviously there’s lots of overlap, but they’re very different worlds, really, aren’t they? 

Sarah Taylor:

Totally, yeah. 

Kim French:

It was the commercial world that I started in and was most familiar with. And then I got very, very homesick. I was editing there and I was part of a few different post houses, and after about four years I was extremely homesick. And you know it all came to a bit of a crunch, and I just decided to go back. That was 2010. And then I got a job editing at the company I still work at now, but I’m no longer an editor. I started editing there, and then I grew as the company grew. Like as in, grew into a different role. Because I think I was more drawn to, certainly at the time, the producing side of things. And then ultimately where I am is actually in the marketing and sales side of things. So, yeah. I haven’t really cut anything for a long time. But I’ve done a few things in my spare time, but yeah. In terms of making a living out of doing it, it’s been a while. 

Sarah Taylor:

Being a commercial editor probably really did impact … Well, obviously got you the job in the company you’re at now. And that experience really led to where you are now. And obviously, that was a big interest for you, which is exciting. And I’m assuming because you are an editor, when you’re working with different teams you know how to speak the language. I’m sure it makes things so much easier for everybody in the process of creating something. That must be an added value.

Kim French:

Yeah, completely. I mean, I think when you ask someone to do something of any sort of aspect of filmmaking, having even just the slightest experience in it is so important because you just know what you’re asking. You know how much time it’s going to take. You don’t take advantage of people. I’m working on stuff at the moment where I need to make showreels and bits of marketing content, and I’m asking a lot from an editor. But I’m able to quickly get the flex, help them with the music, all of those kinds of things. Yeah. It helps, definitely. 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s fantastic. And what’s the company that you’re working for right now?

Kim French:

We’re called Preen. That’s P-R-E-E-N, for November. It’s one of those ones that kind of sounds like an M sometimes, but yeah. Preen. We were originally called Cherryduck, which is a really funny name. But for years, nearly a decade, it was Cherryduck, and then we rebranded at the end of last year for a bunch of reasons. But we’re a very different company now. You kind of grew from shooting behind-the-scenes videos, to be honest, and stuff for publishers, and then brands wanted to get in on it. And now we predominantly work direct with brands, or larger agencies.

Sarah Taylor:

Was there one job you got that made you be like, I am a real editor.

Kim French:

Yeah, so…I mean like I said, I was assisting. And I was given the opportunity through a series of events to work with … I think it was 11 or 12 animators on a music video for R.E.M. They would create individual … It was like a minefield, but it was so much fun. It was a song called Man-Sized Wreath, which is from one of their more … I guess, yeah, 2006 sort of album. And each animator had a little section of the track, and then they would create something in their own style, so it wasn’t just one style all the way through. And it was quite like trippy, in many ways. But that was the time where I was like, okay. Yeah. I’m really doing this, in that sort of sense. Because obviously, it’s a big name. But also because it was about working out what the story was with all these different parts.

And I ended up doing, from that point, more commercial work that had a lot of green screen and visual effects and cutting things for animation, which meant I was just given sketches of a storyboard and I had to cut things out and paste things. And it was very, I ended up having to be really, really tactile with editing not just from shot to shot, but within the shot itself. And I remember a piece of advice about, you’re not just cutting from shot to shot. You’re cutting within the shot. What can you manipulate and chain? And I was like, oh wow. So, yeah. So, yeah. I guess that was the moment that my career really took off within that particular time, and I was able to work on some great music videos, and some great commercials with some brilliant directors. 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. It’s really interesting that you mentioned the cutting within the shot, because I don’t know how long ago it was, but I remember watching something … I think it was Mindhunter. There was a behind the scenes of Mindhunter, and it’s very common where they deliberately shoot this way but where they will take the actor that … Take three, that was on the left side of the screen, and then put it with take five of the other actor. And I remember watching, like, oh my God. I could totally do that. It just expanded all the things that you can do and where your creativity can go in making it the best thing it can be.

Kim French:

Yeah, completely. And it’s funny, I think again within EditCon they were talking about it, and I’m trying to remember who said it. But there was a scene … There’s a series called Black-ish. Is it Black-ish? Or Black as fuck. BlackAF.

Sarah Taylor:

You can say that, yeah. 

Kim French:

We’ll just say BlackAF. Yeah. One of the editors of BlackAF was talking about how she was cutting these scene with the mobile phones, and reactions on a FaceTime, you know a FaceTime call. And how they all did that individually, but then she could manipulate the timing between them all. And I was just like, that is a perfect example of editing within the screen, and the power you have as an editor to be able to manipulate, yeah, the pacing and ultimately what the audience feels about it. And I love that. 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. And the comedy in that case. What she chose to do with the reaction. It makes the laugh, right? Yeah. We have so much … Editors have so much power.

Kim French:

Yeah. They really do.

Sarah Taylor:

Did you notice a huge difference when you were coming from Canada with your beginning career as an editor in Canada, then moving back home? Did you see….Was it an easy transition to have the skills that you learnt in Canada and how Canada operates in that world as it is in the UK?

Kim French:

It’s a really good question. I remember when I was assisting, I was also helping directors pull together new films and helping them with their creative treatment. And they were always like, oh, bring some of the English. They were just obsessed with British advertising. And well, the reality was I hadn’t really worked in British advertising. Toronto was my first experience. I was like, okay. I’ll help you make it feel a bit more British. That was the golden, the gold standard for them, anyway, at the time. Although to be honest with you, Canadian advertising and the incredible talent that comes out of Canada you know is something that I think globally the commercial world can really learn a lot from. But I was also on the cusp of film to digital, so I only had a few times where I was running film from you know the grade to the sound, and like obviously all of these buildings were really close together, so all of that was possible. And then instantly was like, okay. Well, we’re final cut now and we’re going to be doing like digitally, and the footage isn’t going to be shot on film any more. It was this cusp of time. 

And then when I came to England, four years later, I moved into a really different world. And I found that I was able to apply a lot of the skills that I’d learnt in Canada from this pretty high standard of commercial world that I was in to what we now know as content, and at the time was just online video in its infancy. Yeah. I was able to transition a lot of the skills, but I couldn’t give it a direct analysis of how it’s different because it was just a really transitional time, I think, in the whole branded content, commercial world that no two companies were the same, in that sense. And everything was quite new.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. You’re just growing with it. You’re learning. You’re creating that world, really. 

Kim French:

Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s really cool. And I love that you had a Canadian connection. When you told me like that, I was like that’s so awesome. And Hot Docs, that’s great, that’s amazing. Now, Edit Girls. When I discovered Edit Girls, I was like, whoa, yes. This is what we need. I’ve missed this. And every time I’d see a post come up, I’d be like, like it, like it. And yeah, it made my heart happy, my little edit heart happy. First off, thank you for doing that. But I want to know what made you want to start Edit Girls. 

Kim French:

It’s so nice to hear you say that. Yeah. I think the reason I’ve kept it going, to be honest, is because of such amazing feedback and how I knew it was, in terms of why I started it, something that had it been around at the beginning of my career, who knows? Maybe I would have stuck it out longer in terms of editing and sound. The reality is it is very male dominated. It can be quite lonely, as a woman. There was just definitely this sense of, oh, okay … Certainly at the time. Oh, there’s one, maybe two women are part of the commercial post house of 10, 12 editors. And even though I had huge amount of support, I don’t know. The way that women are able to come together now is different. It’s just different to how it used to be. 

So, I mean the real trigger, to be honest, was the lack of women applying for roles at my company. Because we have a team of editors, a real great post department. Whenever we would try and expand the freelance pool or look for new assistants, it was really hard to be honest, to kind of make sure that the initial pool of talent was diverse enough. And that’s not just women, obviously. It’s Black women, Black men, people with different backgrounds, different socioeconomic backgrounds. It was all a very similar type of person that was applying to the role. And then to be told that oh, we’ll just hire the best person for the job was really frustrating because I was always like, well, we don’t even have a starting point that is diverse enough. The likelihood is that we’re going to hire a white guy because that’s who’s applying.

And I thought, hang on a minute. I was an editor. I know these women are out there. Where are they? And it turns out, they’re on Instagram. In many respects, I was able to connect. I put a few posts up, I think, saying yeah, I’m looking for female editors to share their stories. And I got … I think one of the first was actually a colorist, a woman called Jen. And she was amazing. And oh God, somewhere in the States. And I was like, wow. She’s found this, and she’s resonated with it, and she wants to share her story. So, she was one of the first stories that I put up. And that was four years ago now. And I think that … I counted it earlier. There’s been 91 career stories that have been shared.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s amazing.

Kim French:

Yeah. The reality is, because it’s a side project you know, I go through periods of doing loads, and then I have to stop for a bit because I have a four year old daughter and I have a full-time job. Yeah. It’s a lot to keep up. Even though I do have help. I have got a guy, an amazing guy. If anyone wants an assistant, he’s looking for a job. Called Matthew, who’s been amazing and like helps me with making the posts. But yeah, it’s a lot of work to keep it going.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s amazing, you being able to profile 91 women doing this work. It’s so great. Something you said earlier where you were like oh, there’s usually only one … Back in the day. Or maybe still today. One or two women in a post house. And I remember in my beginning of my career, I was always the only female editor. And I held onto that. I’m like no, there can only be me. There’s only room for one. And then obviously as I grew and I learnt stuff, I was like no. I need to be bringing more women into the fold. And it’s just interesting how just in our society and in the patriarchy where it’s like oh, there’s room for an editor that’s a woman, but just the one of you. Yeah. But no, it’s like all of us need to be. Now I want to work in a house with all women. Anyway. 

Kim French:

No, I really resonate with that. You know, I think that you’re, you’re right. It kind of felt like there was only space for one, so therefore it was harder to then understand that you should, and could bring up other women and promote other women without it being a bad thing for your career. Yeah. I mean, it’s a whole, deep conversation, isn’t it? 

Sarah Taylor:

Totally, yeah.

Kim French:

To work out these things.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. It’s a bit of a mind fuck, where you’re like wait a minute, I don’t need to think this way. But yeah, it was something that I actually had to unpack and be like, whoa. And I was, like, 22. Back in the day, I was young and didn’t… I’m like, oh, I’m one of the guys. And now obviously we’re all learning a lot more, and especially as of late. Which is why I feel like initiatives like this and stuff like this is so important so that young girls can see all these women in this role. And I know for myself, I’m a big … I hire female assistants, I’ll always talk to grad people in school or who are about to graduate, and try to talk up editing as the best thing. Well, I think it’s the best thing. Like, yeah, be an editor. It’s awesome. So, do you find women approaching you now that you’ve done this? And maybe not even just women in editing, but women in general approaching you to talk to you about women in the industries? Especially in ad industry, because I feel like that’s not as male dominated as well. 

Kim French:

I mean, I guess in terms of the response, like you said, it was just really refreshing to see it. I’d had lots of lovely messages from women saying that they’ve been able to connect with other women that have then allowed them to … I’ve literally had messages like; “Oh, by meeting this person that you profiled I was able to contact with them, and now they’re my cheerleader and it’s kept me going.” And I’m just like, that’s amazing. I should probably keep doing this. 

Sarah Taylor:

Yes. Please keep doing it.

Kim French:

Yeah, exactly. And I have to be honest, I have a few stories that I still need to share, right now. And it is very much I get a wind of energy with it where it’s like, right. I remember a period of last year and to be honest, whenever anyone listens to this, last year was 2020. So, it was the hardest year. And it was this little bit of light for me, and I really was posting a lot. And it was something that … I started the website in that time. Turns out there’s a whole set of other work. 

Basically, I’ve got these stories across Instagram. The way that it works is I share the story and it’s like a carousel of the text, but then if it’s on the website I then need to copy all of that text within a website. It takes time to get the stories together. Takes time to get people to answer them. Some people are amazing and do it straight away. Sometimes life gets in the way. I totally get it as well. I’ll have people that I’m like, please share your story. Because I know people are going to love it, and it’s like oh, I’m so busy. And that’s fair enough. I think the reason that it works is because I’ve kept the questions the same. 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, that’s good. 

Kim French:

So, it’s just formulaic. I mean, I think with Wendy, actually, I got cheeky and I was like, I’m going to ask her a couple more questions specifically, especially as the editor of…

Sarah Taylor:

A legend.

Kim French:

Handmaid’s Tale, and Queer As Folk. So, I snuck a few more questions in for Wendy. But mostly, they’re five or six standard questions. Like I said, last year it gave me so much light and hope and it was just every woman. And the reality is I share, I’m a bit undecided about how to move forward with this. But I really share any woman working in post in terms of, even if she’s been doing it for a year. I’m interested in all the different stages, and all the different stories. I don’t want to stop that, but I think on the website you can see I’ve kind of tried to section it in terms of years of experience. So, it’s one plus years, five plus years, 10 plus years. So, you can search for women with more experience, or maybe if you’re mid-level, someone of your experience if you’re searching for stuff. I have not even got a third of the stories up from Instagram on the website yet, because I’m chipping off-

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. It’s a lot. Yeah. But it’s out there, so that’s great. How do you find these women? I know you said you found some on Instagram at the beginning, and now people are coming to you, which is awesome. 

Kim French:

I need to, I think, move away from just finding them on Instagram. What’s been great about Edit Con … And I went to EditFest, which was the American cinema editors last year. Also, the amazing thing of 2020 if we’re going to look at silver linings is the fact that these events became virtual. It was like, oh, wow. S normally, I don’t know where they would be hosted, but I wouldn’t be able to go to them. So, that’s been pretty cool. And then I plugged them, basically. I’ve been plugging it at Girls in the chat, and then people have approached me with stories. People have nominated people, which has been really nice. I’ve got a ton of like messages that I need to still send questions to. But then there are specific people that I will go out and say, okay. Like Wendy, for example, and an amazing editor called Sabrina Plisco, who edited Doctor Strange. I just like going to get those special stories with women that have cut some incredible, like really well-known stuff. It’s super inspiring.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, totally. It’s very similar to how I like to look for people to interview for the podcast. What are they cutting?

Kim French:

Yeah, exactly. Yes. 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. And how did they get there? Yeah. There’s some really fantastic people out there. You’ve touched on this a little bit, but it gave you a lot of hope during 2020 to be able to profile these women. But how do you feel personally, creating this Instagram account/website, almost like a platform for women to feel inspired? How do you personally feel, knowing that you’ve done that?

Kim French:

I think, I mean, I’m super proud of it. Really, it’s like a pillar in things that I’ve done that I think yeah, I’m really proud of that. I’d like to do more. Like I feel as though yes, the Instagram can connect people, but … And it’s not just women, right? I mean, it is for men in the industry to be working with more women, to know that they have a space that they can read their stories, and then hire them. I feel like there’s way more to do, and it’s connecting with people like you, and thinking about how do we profile more women in the industry to make it so that … The reality is, it’s the whole you can’t be it if you don’t see it, sort of thing. For younger women to know that there is absolutely a space and a career for them in this world, which I don’t think in the past has necessarily been that obvious. It’s been seen as something like … Not that women can’t be technical, but it’s like oh, it’s a tech-y, guy thing. And it’s just really guys do it. And it’s like, first of all, it’s not about tech, right?

Sarah Taylor:

No. No.

Kim French:

It’s about the storytelling, and we all know this. But do you know what, what really excites me is the fact that content bloggers … If you want to call them influencers, whatever. There’s crazy talented editors out there. I mean, you just have to look at TikTok.

Sarah Taylor:

I know. It blows my mind. 

Kim French:

I know. It’s like, oh my God. 16 year old me would have been all over that. At the moment, I’m kind of like, okay. I need to know about it because of my job. And I do, and TikToks great. But you see a lot of women and girls, younger women, producing phenomenal, like amazing edits. Rhythm and pace and really smart transitions, and I love it. And I think that now’s the time for them to, I guess, realize that yes, TikTok’s amazing, but there’s so many other ways to express that talent and to make a career out of it.


Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. That’s totally … Because, yeah. Even maybe parents of kids who are really into TikTok would be like oh, stop doing TikTok. But yeah, you’re learning a skill that you could actually translate into a career. And how cool is that? You mentioned you have a daughter. I have a five year old, and of course she sees me at it. And then there’s moments where she’s like, we went to this winter festival. It’s an outdoor festival. And one of the films I cut was playing, which I didn’t know. And I was like, oh my … And she was like, “Mommy. Your movie on.” Which is so cool. But she will take her iPad … I have to set it to the camera. And she’ll record her Barbie dolls doing whatever they’re doing.

Kim French:

I love it.

Sarah Taylor:

And I think it’s amazing. And I push her to do that. And so…Yeah, I think if young girls are able to see you can be creative and you can take that thing that you’re doing for fun, or whatever and make it into something really … Make it into your life, your career. And for myself, I’m all about sharing stories. That’s the biggest part of editing for me, is like sharing stories that aren’t heard and stuff. Anyway, I think these young girls, especially now, who grew up with phones, and the technology, they could take over the world. 

Kim French:

100%. I mean, I could kind of hear it in your voice as well, and I think I feel the same with my four year old. It’s like, a fine line between … I remember growing up, my parents were like, “How can you watch that movie more than once?” I’m like, are you kidding? I just have movies on repeat. And then I analyze them. And it is like my daughter is the same. And it’s kind of like no, I love that. But I get it. Sometimes, it’s like oh, should they have so much screen time? Or should they be hearing this? And should they be … Actually, okay. Of course, there is a balance. But she wants to do videos on your iPad and make things and become really natively familiar with creating things that way, like it’s an art form.

And when I was 15, I was bought a video camera, which obviously at the time was like a massive brick. And I think people’s phones now, and the quality of that at the time, my God. But I filmed everything. And I’ve got all that footage, still. I’ve got in cupboards here, with all these old, skiddy tapes and stuff. Yeah. Of house parties, and I would edit videos for my friends for their birthday. I would do really fun little moments with them. And that’s what I see girls and women doing now with TikTok and with social. And I guess the frustrating and difficult thing is when it goes into this realm of comparison, and it’s no longer a creative outlet. It’s actually a really dark place, right? Well, if we can keep it creative and keep individuality, and individual stories, what it’s all about, then yeah.

That whole ability now to have, in your pocket, a camera with amazing quality that you can just … You could see something in a movie and go, oh, I want to try a horror movie, for example. And just be like, oh, let’s just see a few shots and make our own, little film. And you can do it.

Sarah Taylor:

Totally, yeah. The possibilities are amazing and endless. But you’re right to touch on the dark side of it, because yeah. But I guess that’s what hopefully, as parents, and as people in this industry, we can shed light on that.


Kim French:

I mean, our kids will be the ones telling us you know … I mean, it’s when your four year old says oh, get off your phone, or get off your computer, mummy. You’re like, okay. 

Sarah Taylor:

No, I get that all the time. 

Kim French:

They know more than we do, really. 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s it. Oh, it’s terrible. No, but I had the same conversation with my husband, because I work in TV and my husband works in entertainment. And we were like, oh, this screen time thing. I’m like, but that’s my life. I watch TV too. That’s part of my life. And I’m happy with how it … Yeah. It’s a very fine balance I suppose, yeah.

Kim French:

It’s a balancing act. But I mean at the moment, for us it’s … I don’t know if she’s too young, but I realized the other day that actually, apparently it is a U, but we’ve been watching the Labyrinth. And it’s like, she’s totally obsessed with it. We’ll watch it two times a day at the weekend. And just like, oh my God. But she loves it. And then she brings it into her play.

Sarah Taylor:

Exactly, yeah. I think it’s an interesting thing I’ve observed with my daughter, because we’ve always been like, you know movies and TV, as I said, it’s part of my life. It’s ingrained in who I am. We’re always watching shows. And yesterday, we went for a little cake date, and then we reenacted a scene from some Pokemon movie or whatever. And then she’s asking questions, like, well, why does the dad … What does that mean? And really dissecting and analyzing the film. And I’m like, I like this. Let’s keep this going.

Kim French:

That’s definitely your daughter. I love that. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Well, you touched on this earlier when you were initially thinking about how you were trying to hire more women, and you couldn’t find them. And then also people of color. And so in light of all of what’s going on in the world … Which, I think it’s even more important that we talk about this and we make space so that we can have an industry that’s equitable and diverse, and we’re hearing voices from everyone. Have you thought about that in Edit Girls, and how you can push forward even more diversity and inclusion?

Kim French:

Yeah. I mean, on this I’m very aware that I am a white woman with a huge amount of privilege in terms of how I’ve been brought up, and the opportunities that I’ve been given. I think that fundamentally, it is about unpacking a lot of personal bias. You know, I’m not going to pretend I don’t have experience in the past that maybe I would look at something in a certain way and think oh, I understand. You know, make an assumption about people, right? And think that you understand who they are and where they’re coming from. But actually, until you truly get to know them, you don’t. And I think that what I love is seeing so many more platforms now. It’s not … 

Yes, I think Edit Girls in many respects is obviously niche because it’s post-production, rather like filmmaking as a whole. But certainly in the UK, there’s lots of platforms now where it’s like, Black creatives, and different talent that no longer is the excuse; “Oh, I can’t find the talent.” People have to … And when I say people, I mean senior people who are responsible for the hiring, who are responsible for making the structures of employees in these companies, whether it is commercial, advertising, which is obviously the world that I’m familiar with, or TV, you know and film. To not make the excuse that they can’t find the people, because the reality is, that’s really the worst excuse, you know. The talent is there. There’s no question. You just have to try and open up all the other doors that are being closed for so long and let them in.

And it is not just about beings at the very beginning of people’s careers. It’s about giving the opportunities higher up, like truly just encouraging progression in people that have been systemically oppressed within the system. And I think that until we look at it like truly, and like I said, it’s a personal bias thing, and you have to be willing to make mistakes. And you know I’ve made mistakes. You have to be willing to learn from them, and yeah. Just appreciate that it’s going to take work. But the talent is there, I guess is what I’m getting at. 

And I’m very conscious of making sure that who I profile within Edit Girls, that they don’t all look the same. And it will come to a point where I think, yeah, I’ve featured a lot of a particular type of woman. Even if it’s actually within the niche of what they’re working in. I want the stories to be different. I guess that’s a bit of an editing role from my perspective, the order in which I share things and where they appear on the site in making sure that it feels really accessible for every type of woman looking their way through it. 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, totally. Yeah. That’s really great. If you had all the time in the world and resources, what would you want Edit Girls to become?

Kim French:

So, I had this conversation with my husband, actually. And I hadn’t realized … Because again, I’ve been doing this myself in the evenings. We’ll have dinner, and then I’ll sit and do an hour with Edit Girls stuff and chip away at it. And all of a sudden yesterday, he became very … He’s always been interested and supportive, but he was throwing these ideas around of what we could do with it. I was like, okay. That’s a huge amount of work, but okay. I like the vision. I like the vision. But I guess the space that I’m really comfortable is putting together teams of people. So, if I was able to do it full time, like you said, I would love to be in a position where I can really … I guess an agency, of sorts. Where it’s like really understanding the individual talents of the women, and then putting them when a project comes along and someone says oh, I’m looking for talent for this … Whatever it may be. For me to be able to go, I know the perfect person for that. So, I guess, an agency. 

But then other things that could … I guess I’m very aware of my own … Not even limitations, but boundaries. I’ve had-

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. It’s huge.

Kim French:

Yeah, it’s huge. And it’s really hard. And I’m 36, and it’s like, okay. It’s taken me this long to get it. And as passionate as I am about it, I almost don’t want to take on the world because of my own life. I don’t know. We’re talking nitty gritty here, right? But I’m just very aware of all the things that I sometimes say yes to. But if, for example … And I actually have been approached you know5569

 by people who run courses, asking for help in sourcing people that are more diverse. So, I know there’s a space for training as well. There’s something where we could use it as a platform for younger women wanting to get into the industry. Maybe it’s about mentorship and pairing them up. I mean, I’d love that. Yeah. 

And then there’s the whole line around brands. I mean, I’m a brand person in marketing and I’m thinking, okay. Could there be a sponsorship level where Avid, or Final Cut, or Adobe want to get involved and say they sponsor this particular series of these stories, and then put the money back into it so that we could do more, like on the platform? Yeah. Those are some thoughts.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Oh, there’s so much that could be done. I’m in Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada. And we have a group that I’ve been mentoring called GIFT. It’s Girls In Film and Television. And they focus on young women, 13 to 20, in some cases. We did a pilot where it was a week crash course in filmmaking, with high school students. And that went really well, and then they got funding to do a summer where it was like a week in different, smaller cities in Alberta. So, I got to fly to Lethbridge, which is very exciting. And then this summer, they did a feature film. And it was obviously very tricky because of COVID. So, they had a very, very small crew. It was all women. And they made this feature film that had mostly women in the film. There’s a couple of male roles. And I’m cutting that film.

But to see that there’s been a few of the girls who started at the very beginning in the pilot and they’re already working in camera crews on actual shows. So, like these things work. And it’s so cool. And those women are now in the industry, and then they could see things like Edit Girls, or they could see whatever other things are out there and be like, yeah. I can see it. And we see ourselves, and here’s an example of it. And it’s just by … You know there’s two women producers in Alberta that took that initiative to start this program. Seeing Edit Girls really did make me feel a lot like how GIFT is, and how if we’re just showing young women at the age where they have to … What are you going to be when you grow up? You have to decide. In high school, all of a sudden you’ve got to pick everything. But that that’s an option, this creative role. You don’t have to just be a teacher. You don’t just have to be a nurse, like the typical things that women are often shown. There’s way more. Anyway. That was a little tangent.

Kim French:

No, I love that. And I love the acronym as well. Is acronym the right word? 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, I think so. 

Kim French:

GIFT. Perfect. 

Sarah Taylor:

GIFT, yeah.

Kim French:

But I really believe in mentorship, and the stuff that you’re doing sounds like yeah, perfect. You could already see from the glimmer of these young women being interested in something to then be like, yeah, given the opportunity to get that foot in the door. So often, this whole industry is built on nepotism and that feeling of oh, my friend’s niece would love, nephew or … Yeah. Would love a job. And that’s good to a degree. I get it. But it puts such a big wall up against a whole section of society that do not know someone who works in TV. Those are the ones we need to give the opportunities to, because from a selfish perspective, there’s so much wasted talent, you know if you don’t make it accessible to other people. 

Sarah Taylor:

Totally, yeah. Yeah. Is there anything else that you’re working on right now, or doing right now that you want to share?

Kim French:

Lots of going on with my company. With Preen, we’ve recently got a new MD, and a new business director. And bearing in mind this is a company that I’ve been a part of for over a decade, in its many different forms, it’s actually given me, certainly, a new sort of lease of life within it. And I’m excited about the future of what we can do, and incorporating the things that I’ve learnt through Edit Girls in terms of how we put teams together, in terms of the kinds of … Because we’re working with brands to make branded content. And okay, it is not brain surgery and we’re not saving people’s lives, but there is an opportunity to put a stake in the ground in terms of like what we produce, and how that can be a positive influence on society, basically. We can do that with the people that we show on screen or behind the camera. Yeah. I guess, check Preen out. It’s early days in terms of we’re going for lots of social changes, but yeah. 

But with Edit Girls, I guess you asked me to do this. It’s also just given me that kind of focus again to go, okay. How can I do this so that I make it as consistent as possible? Because that’s how you build it, right? I mean, we’ve got 3,400 followers now. And over the last month and a half where I’ve not been able to give it much attention, it still ticked over and got another 100 followers. Amazing. And really relevant people, I can see from the people that are following it that if I was able to give it that other 10% again and share even more stories, that who knows where I could go? I’m open for being open to doing things and to spreading the message and getting people’s input on what they think it could be, you know.

Sarah Taylor:

Awesome. Well, if anybody wants to reach you, obviously you need to set your boundaries. But if someone wants to nominate an editor, or they’re like, “Hey, I have a great story, can they reach you on Instagram?”

Kim French:

Yeah. The handle is, if I remember correctly, EditGirlsInsta. You can message me there. Obviously, sometimes when I’m not following people back I don’t see it straight away, but the best thing to do is actually email my personal email, which is … I don’t know if I give it here. It’s Kim, K-I-M, and then Laoni, L-A-O-N, for November, I-, French, But then maybe you can, I don’t know, share it somewhere. But that’s the best way to get me straight away. And I will be able to send the questions to people or to you if there’s someone that wants to share their story. But yeah, definitely get in touch.

Sarah Taylor:

Awesome. Well, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. I could talk about this kind of stuff forever. 

Kim French:

Yeah, well, you’re next. You’re going to share your career story and we’ll get you on the website ASAP. 

Sarah Taylor:

Thank you so much. Yeah, thanks again for sharing. And thank you so much for doing this. I understand, I run this podcast as a volunteer. I understand you have a passion for something but you only have so much time in your life and your days, especially having a young child. So, thank you for taking the time, for doing this work. It’s so, so important. And you are impacting many, many lives, so thank you so much. 

Kim French:

Oh, that’s great. And thank you. 

Sarah Taylor:

Thanks so much for joining me today. And a big thank you goes out to Kim for taking the time to sit with me, and for creating Edit Girls. Be sure to follow Edit Girls on Instagram, @EditGirlsInsta. And check them out online, And special thanks goes to Jane MacRae and Nagham Osman. The main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall. Additional ADR recording, by Andrea Rusch. Original music provided by Chad Blain 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 or you can donate directly at The CCE is taking steps to build a more equitable ecosystem within our industry and we encourage our members to participate in any way 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.



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 Join our great community of Canadian editors for more related info.

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Andrea Regan

Hosted, Produced and Edited by

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Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixed and Mastered by

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Original Music by

Chad Blain

Sponsor Narration by

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