John Kang ’23: Professional Editing Workshop

Summer 2022

About the Project

In the world of filmmaking, perhaps the role that has the greatest influence on the outcome of the film yet whose work is least visible is that of the editor. Often known as “the invisible art”, a master of the craft will create a cut that immerses the viewer in the story while simultaneously diminishing their fingerprints on the film. As an aspiring filmmaker, it’s not lost on me that a whole host of masters of the craft—such as the Coen brothers, Chloé Zhao, and Alfonso Cuarón—take to editing their own films because to pass off the film to an editor means passing up much of their vision as well.

This summer, I had the privilege of participating in Manhattan Editing Workshop’s Six Week Intensive Online Workshop, a deep-dive into the technique and art behind film post-production at an editing school based in New York. The six-week program curated and presented students with the resources and time to exhaustively cover Adobe Premiere Pro, an industry standard and Duke’s video editing software of choice, as well as Avid Media Composer—another widely-accepted industry standard. Covering aspects of the intricacies of color correction, sound design, and editing various genres (comedies, documentaries, commercials, etc.) were explored through exercises mimicking the work of an editor.

The workshop also presented opportunities to build community between the students, instructors, and working editors throughout the six weeks. By attending classes daily, screening and receiving feedback on personal works weekly, and having conversations with Myron Kerstein—editor of tick, tick… BOOM!, Crazy Rich Asians, and In the Heights—the community of editors that has blossomed through this experience has become an invaluable source of advice, inspiration, and collaborative spirit.

As I look ahead to the rest of my time at Duke and beyond, I have no doubts that this experience will inform how I approach sharing stories through the medium. In an industry that rewards stardom and profitability, I hope to be a proponent of the importance of the craft while continuing to expand my capabilities as a multi-hyphenate creator.