Paper Cuts – Twilight for the Gods

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2nd Qtr, 2019

The book with the lyrical title, Twilight for the Gods (meaning the unrecognized deities of the art of film editing), written by Jack Tucker, ACE, came out in 2015 and was very favorably reviewed by CinemaEditor.

Now almost four years later a new edition is available with added chapters about Tucker’s personal experiences with the new digital age of filmmaking.

He describes in amusing detail how he convinced a producer and director that he was a skilled Avid editor without actually having edited anything on the Media Composer at all.

But the Avid is just a tool for storytellers so he chartered his younger colleague, Heidi Scharfe, ACE, to give him a crash course in how to work on an Avid and with the basic knowledge to operate a Media Composer he started the job.

He called Scharfe’s editing room often when he got stuck but the calls became less frequent as he got more comfortable with ‘Emily,’ the term of endearment he gave his first Avid. ‘Joe’ was what he named his Moviola when he was still editing on film.

Tucker describes how editing has changed significantly with the disappearance of dailies when digital became the norm. It was the hallowed exercise that the crew went through before or after the daily shooting schedule, with the film of the day projected on a big screen.

The director, cinematographer, production designer and make-up department head could see their work in detail and make adjustments as they went along. Tucker was able to edit the shown material in his head so when he came out of the screening room he already knew how to start the day.

He states, “Viewing the dailies on the big screen – like God and DeMille intended – was never a waste of time.” If you did not get the first edition of Twilight for the Gods, this extended version is an absolute must. Tucker is a gifted writer who does not want to bore you with theoretical editing dogmas that show he knows how to edit film or whatever format is put in front of him.

He teaches at California State University, Long Beach and reading his book is almost like attending his class. –Edgar Burcksen, ACE