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10 Most Thankless Jobs in Film


5
Assistant Editor
Assistant editors do the organizing of the shots -- and if they're lucky, they may actually get to cut some film. Chris Schmidt/Getty Images
Assistant editors do the organizing of the shots -- and if they're lucky, they may actually get to cut some film. Chris Schmidt/Getty Images

Although they're usually not physically on set, assistant editors typically pull as many or more hours as the cast and crew. Once scenes are shot they must be digitized, organized and coordinated to the hilt, often before the head editor arrives for the day. Detailed logs are also kept to manage various tiny film details, like scene timing and sound and visual effect info. Some assistant editors will be given creative license to put together rough cuts and other creative jobs, but this really depends on their experience level and how much of a micromanager the lead editor is [source: Get in Media].

The true challenge of editing is taking the thousands of frames and turning the director's vision for the film into reality. Mike, an assistant editor himself, likens it to building a designer home, during which the metaphorical wood, flooring and other materials are dumped in editorial's lap and told to get 'er done. "We build the whole thing from scratch, and it has to be done a couple weeks after you finish shooting," he says, "It's a lot of work from start to finish, with incredibly long hours that span well into the night and most weekends." It's a lofty, demanding order, but assistant editors seem to enjoy the challenge, especially if it leads to actually becoming an editor.