The Best Film Editing Schools: Not What You Think?


In your search for the best film editing schools, it’s important for you to realize that film school might not be all that you think it is. There are plenty of schools out there that teach film editing, along with film production, film directing and so on—and many of these schools do a good job teaching you the technical skills involved. But there’s more to launching a film editing career than just learning to edit film, and this is where many film schools fall short in helping their students get their careers off the ground.

Why is education alone not enough? The film industry is very relationship-based in its dealings, meaning that almost no one gets hired without knowing someone on the “inside.” The more connections you have within the film industry, and the more those connections know what you’re capable of—the better your chances of getting jobs. The problem is that most film schools only focus on the education part of things, and not the connection part. They train their students in isolated classrooms and on-campus studios, where they can’t meet or network with people in the film industry. Thus, many of these students graduate with a good education in film editing, but are unable to do anything with that education because they have no connection. And make no mistake: this happens in some of the best film editing schools.


Would you be surprised to learn that many film industry professionals never actually went to film school? Instead, they got where they are by getting into real film studios, learning the ropes, forming relationships, and gaining the necessary experience as they went. As a matter of fact, this is precisely how everyone learned the filmmaking arts before it was taught in schools, and there are many professionals today who still feel this is the best way to learn—because on-the-job training gives people both the experience and the connections they need in order to have a career.

This reality of the film industry has prompted some film schools (Film Connection, for example) to take an alternative approach to teaching film editing, film production and film directing. With this approach (called the “mentor-extern approach”), the film student never spends a day in a traditional classroom, but instead is placed as an extern inside a real film production company. While there, the student works through a curriculum with a seasoned film professional who teaches the student one-on-one. In this way, the student gets actual work experience on real film productions while making those all-important connections. Effectively, this means a film editing student learns to edit film by sitting with a real film editor.

There are many “good” film schools, but be aware that they aren’t what you think. The best film editing schools are the ones that help you make connections while you learn.

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