I am film editor and Academy Governor Lynzee Klingman. I've edited "One Who Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” "River Runs Through It” and “War of the Roses.” Check out the projects I've worked on here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0459806. Have a question about editing or filmmaking? Post them below.

I'm doing this AMA as part of the Academy's ongoing Q&A series. Keep an eye out for more over at: http://www.oscars.org/

I had a great time. A big thank you to everyone who asked questions! Follow the Academy on Twitter @TheAcademy.

Comments: 88 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

Adjouv19 karma

Hey Mrs. Klingman, thanks for doing this AMA-

What tricks, thoughts or rules do you have for yourself when you edit? And how does that interact with your process?

Thanks again, big fan

LynzeeKlingman22 karma

The important thing is to remember that it is a process, and that I certainly don't feel satisfied until I feel it's the best film that could possibly be made from that footage. There's that famous quote about editing never being finished but merely interrupted, but the best feeling is to feel good about what you're letting go of. Maybe that's why we work such long hours.

The important thing is to remember that it is a process. Try everything, all the time!!!!! I certainly don't feel satisfied until I feel it's the best film that could possibly be made from that footage. There's that famous quote about editing never being finished but merely interrupted, but the best feeling is to feel good about what you're letting go of. Maybe that's why we work such long hours.

When you're looking for, say, an alternate line reading, make sure you really look at your dailies. Don't just look for that particular line. It's really important to go through the dailies again and again with open eyes because you discover new things. You will be seeing things with new eyes each time, and will discover new and wondrous moments you hadn't noticed before because you weren't looking for them.

Know why you're cutting when you're making a cut. They should never be arbitrary: to safeguard performance, to move the story along, because the camera wobbled, because there's a magic moment on the other actor, stuff like that; there should be a reason.

Never let the sound drop out.

FadingShadowz12 karma

Hi Lynzee,

I'm an Assistant Editor. What sort of things can AE's do to really stand out? What advice has helped you the most regarding editing?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

LynzeeKlingman24 karma

The assistants I've worked with have become part of my family. So I need them to be pleasant, have a sense of humor and be very good at their jobs.

I worked on film for so long, and I was lucky enough when learning digital that when asked questions about certain technical things they would say "you don't need to know that." So, you see why I love them. All I know how to do in Avid is edit, a few effects, sound, of course. But, I don't even know what they do.

Also, digital is so great for assistants to learn how to cut, because they aren't cutting a work picture. There aren't splices. You can have different versions on the computer and just leave them there until they're ready to be seen and they're not going to interrupt my cut. I really like it when they do it. I change it of course, but they learn why. It's easier to teach people digitally because it's not as permanent as film.

cicic11 karma

Do you miss the way things were edited back in the 70's compared to now?

LynzeeKlingman33 karma

No. Film lasted until the early '90s and truly digital is a lot more fun. For instance, if we were happy with a scene, but wondered how it would play if we put more of the close up of the actor in, and then cut wide, we risked destroying the whole thing. So we would have to send it to a lab for a dupe, and that would take a day. And the sound would have to go to a sound house so we had a record. Now, there's a magic "undo" button and you can save any version you want.

emb5311 karma

How did you get involved with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

LynzeeKlingman21 karma

At that time, I was only working on documentaries, commercials, industrials. I hadn't cut any fiction film but after "Hearts and Minds" I wanted to.

On "Hearts and Minds," the producer Bert Schneider insisted on hiring a sound editor - which scandalized me. I couldn't believe anyone would care about the film as much as I did. So I didn't trust him. I had always done my own sound.

So I cut my own sound for the mix and I went in with my 16 mm soundtracks and he had like 40-50 of 35mm magnetic sound that would combine and make the sound of B52s flying - while I had the real sound. Within 10 minutes I realized that he knew what he was doing. That was that. I surrendered. His next door neighbor was Michael Douglas (who was a producer on "Cuckoo's Nest"), who called and asked him for a good and cheap editor. I was so excited. Milos Forman was my favorite director. I loved the book. I loved everything about it. So, I worked cheap. BTW: I practically paid to work on the film!

chooter9 karma

MATILDA is one of my favorite movies, and one of the really rare book adaptations that's on a similar level to the book. What were the directions you had working on it?

LynzeeKlingman16 karma

Danny Devito is such a visual and imaginative director and he shoots a lot of film so there are tons of possibilities but certainly and clearly he does design certain shots so beautifully that you clearly have to use them. After the first cut, which was made while he was shooting, he was with us in the editing room as the film evolved. He is a joy to work with!!

rybovee8 karma

What is the one scene that was the hardest to edit in your career?

LynzeeKlingman18 karma

One thing that's hard to cut and, I would think, to direct, are meals with lots of people around the table or group therapies - very tricky for everyone - maybe, especially for the script supervisor. I would rather not think about the scenes that were hard to cut because sometimes they were very simple scenes and ultimately they all looked ok - so who cares?

0x706f687 karma

How did you get that big native american to lift that huge thing? and what is he doing today? Edit: I just read editor, not director or casting. Did you know the indian from one flew over the cuckoos nest?

LynzeeKlingman9 karma

Of course that huge thing was a prop and not heavy. I knew him a little bit and he was quite wonderful.

AHughes10787 karma

How is getting a gig being an editor different now than when you first started?

LynzeeKlingman11 karma

There are agents now and networking.

mondodig6 karma

How did you become an editor for Danny DeVito, and in particular, was it difficult getting the tone right for THE WAR OF THE ROSES?

LynzeeKlingman9 karma

I got "War of the Roses" because Michael Douglas mentioned that I was a great editor. That he thought a lot of me, but I had just had my second baby and he didn't know if I was wanted to work. So Danny was challenged and he charmed me and, anyway, I would have been thrilled to do it.

The tone was in the script and in the directing. The tone was throughout the production. Everyone connected with the film had a wicked sense of humor.

LynzeeKlingman7 karma


oscarvaca6 karma

Do you think editing has changed for the better ??

LynzeeKlingman19 karma

What's happened over the years is that more people have come to be involved in the editing of a film. There are daily more producers on a film, studio executives multiply geometrically, and they each want to be heard. And, sometimes battles begin and often the final cut becomes the product of whoever has the most power, often not the best version of the film.

Studio executives used to love making movies and knew how to do it and there weren't very many. We worked hard and often, of course, long hours, but that was usually from passion not from pressure. Everything changed when corporations took over and also when the interest rates went way up. I think that was in the early '80s. They figured that it would be more economical to pay overtime and get the film out sooner. And that's when the ridiculous schedules started happening. Also, a lot of MBAs became "Creative Vice Presidents" and suddenly became experts on aesthetics. I'm not saying everybody, of course.

RFarmer4 karma

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some of our questions. How do you best handle the relationship between Director and Editor when disagreements arise? I'm sure there have been times where a director feels one edit is best whilst you think a different option would be more appropriate. Love your work!

LynzeeKlingman8 karma

I can be very nudgey, but ultimately it is the director's choice.

ripitupandstartagain4 karma

Do you miss using Steenbecks etc? What would you say have been the major benefits and disadvantages with the move to NLEs such as Avid?

LynzeeKlingman12 karma

I don't miss film.

tootsie_rolex0 karma

Miss Klingman, Do you get any time to play PS4?

LynzeeKlingman17 karma

I don't even know what PS4 is.

MatthewDoomer-13 karma

Hello Lynzee,

Big fan of your stuff, I have just one question. Have you ever edited porn? If not, would you be willing to?

LynzeeKlingman11 karma

I've never edited porn.