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!

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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.

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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


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