Film and Publishing?

I am a very firm believer that the film and publishing industries are very closely aligned.

I’m not only saying this because I’m graduating with a film degree and want to work in publishing, I promise. I really do believe that if you major in film you’ll make a great editor (and vice-versa).

How can this be? you purists will ask, and I have received that response before. But let me just say, sometimes people who don’t major in English make the best writers.

For starters, Film is a collaborative art. Making a movie requires enormous amounts of employees, all doing different jobs, in order to produce this mammoth (or so they hope) final work. Not too surprisingly, in publishing, this is also the case. You’ve got editors critiquing manuscripts, production staff preparing the physical bits of the book, publicity marketing it, and plenty of other departments involved as well.

Then you’ve got the work itself. Film is a visual media based off of words. Scripts are the foundation for every film. They may be stripped bare of prose and flouncy language, but they’re the bones of a great work (sometimes). Books, obviously, are also based on the written word, and seek to evoke images in the heads of their readers. The people who attempt to make this happen are generally different from those who make it happen in film (cinematographers are not writers, but they perform a similar function).

The counterpart of a film editor is the book editor. The film editor takes the director’s beloved rushes and chops them up into bitty pieces (or, if they work digitally, chops them up into bitty clips) and strings them all up together to make a better film. Similar to what the book editor does with words.

And lastly, why do I say a non-English major is sometimes the publishing company’s best friend? Well, when you spend days and days writing analytical papers about fiction and then tearing that well-loved work to shreds in the often futile hope of getting an A, you often lose the point of literature, which is to enjoy reading. Not to mention you become over-analytical and start assuming every other phrase is a metaphor for some greater and deeper meaning.

Also, I am very annoyed by English majors that assume they will get a job immediately after college with MacMillian or Random House or HarperCollins just because they majored in English. Come on, it makes you no better than me. Especially if you can’t write well.

Finally, because everyone can use a bit of this in their day (as you can tell, today was an exceptionally bad one for me):

There you go. Film editing.


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