SB AdvisoryMay 20, 2020 update: Keep up with the latest from Stony Brook about the coronavirus situation.  More information
Skip Navigation

Directing: A Word from Jordan Roberts

jordan robertsThe old cliche goes that a film is written 3 times ... in the writing room, during production and in the editing room. I LIVE for the editing room. Free of cameras, c-stands, traffic lock ups, cranky actors and frazzled crew! We are given the clay, and it is our job to mold it how we best see fit.

I tell directors that they can learn how to use editing software fairly easily and quickly, but what they do with the material ingested is where the talent and art really lies. Proper pacing and rhythm, nailing a beat, when to cut away and when to hold a shot ... these are all techniques that make films resonate with us. The dialogue and script and acting are a blueprint for us to build this final product. I like to think of the dialogue as music and the visuals as a dancer. They must work harmoniously together, but finding that right harmony is the true essence of editing.

My favored technique of teaching is to take a step back and let filmmakers work on their own. Let them make mistakes, let them help each other, let them be honest and critical of each others work. By making mistakes here will they learn what they should have done prior to this stage. Or hopefully work their way out of the limitations that they encounter by creatively manipulating what they captured to tell their story in a way not originally intended. My goal is to teach filmmakers that they are not limited to what is on the page or what they shot with their camera. There are an innumerable number of ways to edit a story, so you should never be discouraged when you end up with the wrong one. There's always another way.