Words matter. These are the best Thelma Schoonmaker Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
I knew nothing about editing when I met Mr. Scorsese… Through a series of weird events, I ended up at New York University, and there was Martin Scorsese, and he had some troubles with a film I was able to fix. That’s the only reason I became a filmmaker.
My job is so wonderful.
I particularly remember with ‘Casino,’ everyone was like, ‘It’s not ‘Goodfellas!” No, it’s not ‘Goodfellas.’ That’s right: it’s a different movie. Now, everyone thinks ‘Casino’ is a masterpiece.
Even though my parents are American, I spent my whole childhood and adolescence abroad.
Boxing is insane and, in my opinion, should be banned.
‘Raging Bull’ was badly received at first. It took 10 years for it to be recognised.
When you’re a film-maker, sometimes you have to be a slave to continuity.
I always thought that’s the wonderful thing about filmmaking: people see things differently.
Having been raised overseas, I wanted to become a diplomat. But the State Department thought I was too ‘liberal’ to be happy with that job.
I’m very lucky. Most of my friends wait long times for jobs and also don’t get the chance to work on 20 films, like I have, with someone like Scorsese. I love working for him. I just would never – I can’t imagine working for anybody else.
When we were cutting ‘Raging Bull,’ Martin Scorsese was watching ‘The Films of Hoffmann’ on a 16-mm print over and over and over again.
The studios are nervous on every movie. It never ends, because Marty’s movies are so unusual. He doesn’t repeat himself, so they don’t know what to expect. We have to fight hard to keep them from being ruined. Film students can’t believe that when I tell them, because they think, ‘Well, it’s Martin Scorsese.’
If I hadn’t met Scorsese, I would never have become a filmmaker. He has taught me everything I know about editing and has given me the best job in the world.
We don’t worry about continuity because when we’re doing so many improvs, it’s better to get the laugh. It’s better to get the great lines even if they’re in the wrong part of the room.
Film, if properly cared for, will last almost 100 years, but digital will not.
I hope films will be somehow preserved and seen by as many people as possible in the future. There are endless treasures for audiences to discover, if only we can keep them from disappearing.
I remember, at the Oscars in 1991, ‘Dances with Wolves’ won that year, and we were nominated for ‘Goodfellas.’ One of my peers said to me, ‘Why’d you make that bad jump cut?’ I said, ‘Which one? We had about 20 in the film!’ He was really upset about it.
In ‘Silence,’ there was no improvisation at all; really, you’re dealing with a script and a 17th century way of speaking.
The difference between a film that ends up three hours and a film that is envisioned as three hours is that it’s written that way.
In ‘Casino,’ there was this scene where Bob De Niro tape-records Sharon Stone’s phone call. Then he asks her about where she’s going, and he catches her in a lie. It was a great scene, especially for Bob’s work, but we found that, in light of the whole film, it wasn’t needed.
‘Raging Bull’ was staggering to work on. I was well aware of how lucky I was to be in this extraordinary situation. That film is very unique. It stands on its own. It’s just burned into the screen.
You have to have a great director to make a great movie.
I love being around great artists, and I’ve been around a few of them.
‘Raging Bull’ was just a dream to work on, but it took a lot of work to get all those fights to work right and incorporate them properly into the story.
I started in documentaries, and that was a great help to me with improvisation, because with documentaries, you’re handed a big lump of footage, and you have to shape it and make it into a story – which I love doing.
Editing is a lot about patience and discipline and just banging away at something, turning off the machine and going home at night because you’re frustrated and depressed, and then coming back in the morning to try again.
Cutting improvisation is really hard, because things don’t match, and you end up with some bad cuts sometimes. But we’d rather have the bad cuts and the great improv.
Even in ‘The Red Shoes,’ a film that nobody ever has complaints about, there are enormous continuity bumps, and it doesn’t matter. You know why? Because you’re being carried along by the power of the film.
As you can imagine, between Michael Powell and Martin Scorsese, I’ve had quite a rich life!
I think everyone loves ‘The Departed.’ That was a movie that had a lot of problems structurally. And we had to battle with it. Fight. Experiment. Try different things. And I think finally we hit it.
I don’t think enough directors know enough about editing.
It’s part of your job always as an editor: you always have to drop stuff.
I was just stunned when I came to America. I didn’t know anything about rock music or football, and I felt very out of it… America was like a foreign country to me at first.
There are more women editors than people realise. I think we’re more able to keep our eye on what the film needs. Between men, sometimes it’s a real ego battle, and that’s very bad for the film.
I love improvisation. I mean, it’s hard to edit, because things don’t necessarily fall together – you have to find ways to give it a dramatic scope, shape. But it’s so much fun.
In certain fight scenes in ‘Raging Bull’ – for example, the shorter ones – I literally just took the head and tail of the shot and put it together, and it all worked beautifully.
I know a lot of editors who are very bitter about the directors they work with. They feel they could have done a better job, and I say to them, ‘Oh really? Why don’t you go try – it’s not easy.’
One of our big tools is screening. We screen usually 12 times, which is much more than most filmmakers do, and we recut in between each one, because we really need to feel how the audience is reacting to the movie.
I have the best job in the world.
To receive footage that has been shot with editing in mind, it is a blessing.
My family goes way back in New York. So I am a New Yorker; I feel like a New Yorker. It’s in my bones.
I do think there’s not enough film history being taught and appreciated. Maybe it’s being taught, but I’ve heard from professors that young kids don’t want to look at black-and-white movies. And that’s 85 years of film history, with masterpiece after masterpiece.
An actor’s performance can be improved or shaped – or ruined – by what takes you use, how long you are on the actor’s face, what line you put on the other actor’s face, and when do you use close-ups or wide shots or two shots.
There’s a great deal of mystery in film editing, and that’s because you’re not supposed to see a lot of it. You’re supposed to feel that a film has pace and rhythm and drama, but you’re not necessarily supposed to be worried about how that was accomplished.
It’s hard for people to understand editing, I think. It’s absolutely like sculpture. You get a big lump of clay, and you have to form it – this raw, unedited, very long footage.
Doing 3D on ‘Hugo’ was a big learning curve for me, but fun!
All great directors or anyone who has a strong vision like Scorsese needs to have a lot of support around them. I think from the very beginning – when we met each other – he realised he could trust me to do what was right for his movies.
We do documentaries on the history of cinema in between our feature films.
One day, I read an extremely vague ad looking for someone interested in working in film. Seeing as I loved watching films, I replied, and I found myself working for this guy who did his own personal editing of scenes from Antonioni and Fellini films.
That’s the great thing about filmmaking: Things happen you don’t know are going to happen at the end.