Hollywood came to campus on Thursday night, and it wasn’t someone that’s crying on cue or the guy yelling “action!”—but just as important in making every movie. Have you seen “The Hunger Games?” How about “Red Sparrow?” “The Spider-Man?” If yes, then you saw some of the work of movie editor Alan Edward Bell. Bell came to the Putnam theatre at KSC to talk to faculty and students about his journey to success and all the ins and outs of the filmmaking industry: And it’s not an easy one.
Bell isn’t like many of his colleagues. He didn’t go to USC or Yale, he actually never graduated High School. But just because he took the work path during the game called “life”, he still rose to the top. Bell said, “I decided that rock climbing wasn’t a very good career path so I became an editor. I started out by being an apprentice editor and then assistant editor and eventually feature compo editing. ” Bell wasn’t paid during the first job he took on and was working long nights for over a year. But it didn’t get easier. Once he got hired to partake in other films, the nights only got longer. Bell was explaining cutting scenes and picking the good ones out take an extraordinary amount of time. “You’re spending days on three minutes.” Making and putting together an entire film is a huge process, said Bell. “We’re talking a year or more and you’re working incredibly long hours during that entire duration. There’s so much money going into these that they want them done as soon as possible.” There was about 130 million dollars going into just “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” As he’s succeed in doing visual effects for Hollywood movies, he said that he likes to dip his toes in a little bit of everything and for that it makes him stand out of the crowd. “Just, if you look at my body of work. I’ve been very very careful not to pigeonhole myself into one genre so that I don’t end up just cutting action or just cutting comedies or drama.”
And having a large knowledge of different genres and experiences gave the audience a even wider fascination with his lecture. When he asked the audience who wanted to become a film editor, about 20 students threw their hands up. Bell then said he was surprised, because most of the time many believe that being a director or producer is a more desirable job, yet being able to edit movies can be just as gratifying.
He went on to lecture and talk to students individually about traveling, working for people, finding the best take and really using his power as the editor to transform each film into an emotional, connected experience for its viewers. The question and answer portion after the lecture was full of questions asked by both faculty and students, surpassing the estimated time for the event. Having someone so successful at KSC was inspiring for everyone who took the opportunity to listen and meet him.
Jiwon Anne, KSC professor of film studies, said that it was a wonderful experience for everyone to have. Anne said what “made her night” was when Bell was explaining film theory and how difficult it was for him to grasp since he had to figure it out by actually doing it rather than being taught it in a classroom. She wanted students to realize they have all the tools at the college and they’re very lucky for that and need to use it to their advantage. She was very impressed with the event and she said that students felt the same way she did. “Students were genuinely excited they wanted to meet this person and to hear what he had to say,” Anne said.
Bell’s comment about working with people, not for them, is such a great thing to look forward to said KSC junior and film major Cas Romero. All around, he said it was a very enjoyable night, “It’s very inspiring [and] articulate.”
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