An Interview With Academy Award Winning Editor: Paul Hirsch


Next guest is an Academy Award winning editor his book a long long time ago and cutting room far far away. My fifty years of editing in Hollywood hits Star Wars Kerry Buehler's Day off mission impossible so many more I can go on ray planes trains and we'll deals. Please welcome Paul Hurst. I Paul thanks for coming on the podcast today. Hope Your Day as well my pleasure so I mean there's the history you have. It's amazing. I mean I'm going through some of the people. Oh you've worked for John Hughes. Brian Depalma George Lucas. Is it fair to say that Brian Depalma is your mentor. I mean I've heard you say on occasion is is that a fair as a statement to make absolutely yes. Yeah and and there's so much here Chris I don't want to jump too far ahead of myself but you know just going through your filmography and you know there's tons that I've mentioned but there's also work that you've had I haven't heard it interviews but you've I think you've contributor on like World War Z.. The Great Gatsby life of Pi. How does that work? Paul you just have a little bit of an influence. You do some work in that film and you're not like the leading editor. Hugs that work. Why why aren't you credited for the same way you weren't some of your other works right? Well h film is an individual case so but usually it's. It's a picture that the studio for whatever reason has some concerns about and They they say would you mind either looking at it and giving US notes and would you mind coming in for a few weeks or it's phrased you know differently but there comes a point where frequently that's On a picture even working for many months at the director and the editor and maybe even the studio executives the producers sort of what I call snow. Snow blind no not sure what they're looking at anymore because it's been working on it so long. They don't have objected to take on. What's there and any light to bring it? Excuse me like bring in what they called fresh eyes and sometimes just watching picture giving notes and sometimes sometimes it's actually sitting down and doing a version So that's how you know And then I find that Not taking credit is a way to make my suggestions more tolerable eligible that. I'm not trying to hog credit from someone yet. It makes sense to me. Yeah you know so that. The suggestions go down uneasily could easily because they're often as genuine efforts to help. I have a question down the road that steps on this topic. But I'll ask you now because it's just it's it's appropriate at this point. Do you find that studio executives as time goes by our. I don't WanNa say the word meddling because that's has a negative connotation to it but you find that their involvement is more were. The work should probably be left to those in the creative process. Director writer editor is is it. Is it more intrusive as time goes by Paul Well I'll say this that the most successful films that I've worked on. I've been the product of my collaboration with the director. Essentially just the two of us Making decisions incisions about the cat. Now that's well said and and you know I wanNA talk a little bit about your early life so you grew up in Paris. How many years were you in Paris for Paul? I was in Paris as a child for about four years. Now are you do you still can you. Are you fluent in French. Can you still speak it as something. You influence fluence. My accent is very good. I'm fluid to the degree washing. Sam Fluent I. I always impress french-speakers but equality. My accent hurry I hasten to tell them that might calculator is very small and and I don't have a real facility. Use it sound them. But I'm sure if I went over there and spent two or three Munson Johnson total immersion. I'd I'd get back to where I had been. You know when I was eight years old so I have the vocabulary of an eight year old child but you know I think I think if I stayed there pick it up you know. Yeah that's certainly flew in my book and then you were at your dad's a painter and I have to believe you get some of his his eye for things in art history major. You're the second art history major I've had and I think what two weeks which ages which is telling because I feel history major. Paul she was. She's a costume designer urine editor. I feel like history majoring in history. GIVES YOU LA. This supreme I for details. Is that kind of going overboard or do you think there's something to that. I really don't know One way or the other. I'm an art. I was an art history. Major not major distinction there right as she the average she she was also an art history major so it was like yeah she go ahead. I'm sorry but in my case as an art history major you spend a lot of times looking and yet projected images in dark rooms and critiquing them so I was sort of being prepared for a lifetime of work. Doing just that although I wound up doing moving images instead of still ones but I think my background is was useful in terms of developing an aesthetic about the elements of life of a style in visual arts. And there are many qualities that you you know you you try to achieve whether it's you know Symmetry your balance or a brace or certain a set of qualities that he strived for that are not necessarily only in visual arts. To 'cause I majored in music in high school I went to High School of Music and art and so my work in film. I find that very closely tied to my feelings about music for for me. Music is an essential elements of my work in terms of making presentations whether it's to the director to the public or whatever music than essential ingredient in what I'm doing yes well said you know. People that are listening to this. podcast cast many see editors and they think they know what it editor's job is but many times it's a teen involvement many times. You're working claburn as you mentioned with a director. How would you? What's your cliff notes? Version of what editor is for those listening in probably aren't sure exactly what it is. How would you define an editor's job? Well I can read to you from the introduction to my book which is essentially a chapter devoted to answering exactly that question but No I I have to say I have ordered on Amazon and I did read an excerpt I think it was on entertainment magazine. Entertainment Weekly Weekly. It was a really beautiful excerpt they printed and people said some really nice things anymore. Campbell talkie movies are made in the editing room and so much of your book I want to get into. It's really an amazing. It's an amazing story. Your life is there's been so much to it you are our consensually. What the editor is doing is putting together? The experience that the audience is GonNa have and everything that's done on a film the writers the actors cinematographers the production designers. The costume designers the makeup people. Here people everything the all their work is Toward one end an s to provide the editor with raw materials. Everything they do do is in service of the cut and the editor takes everything that they have done and uses it to bill. It'll be experienced the audiences. Yeah and do you find as you because you've been so effective for so long. I mean that's a testament to your abilities. Do you find that much of your. Your work is is is with the directors. You find that a lot of it is I know George had faith in you clearly Brian has yes. I had faith you clearly. Do you find that typical or is it. Not Typical of of the job varies as much as human beings very Taylor. Is there ever a time. Where director says you know what I completely trust? You have at it and and do what you have to do or as a director always kind of in some way have to monitor the process like I said everyone's different Are Comfortable having having any drive in some of the likely take the real themselves you know so it varies from person to

Coming up next