[Podcast] Ep116: What Does It Take to Be An “ACE” Editor?

“What is ACE, how do I become a member, and what are the benefits?” are common questions I’m asked often by fellow film editors (that I’ve also asked myself).

Beyond simply breaking down the criteria for entry into the most prestigious organization in the post-production industry, in this episode I speak with Steve Rivkin, ACE President and editor of such films as Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ali, and many more, about what it really takes to be considered an elite editor, whether or not you belong to ACE. We break down how Stephen broke into the film industry without every having an assistant editor credit to his name, the secret to getting hired by any director or producer, how to transition from assisting to editing, and much more.

If you’ve ever been curious about the inner-workings of what it really means to work as an editor at the highest levels and the psychology necessary to succeed, this episode is for you.

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Topics of Conversation:

  • Steve’s big break into the industry and how he became the president of ACE
  • The evolution of the modern editing career trajectory
  • How to make contacts in post-production
  • Re-learning the lost art of cutting collaboratively
  • What you will need to get into ACE
  • Fostering good relationships within the film industry
  • How Steve became an editor without an assistant credit to his name
  • What it takes to transition from assisting to editing
  • The in’s and out’s of ACE as well as it’s educational initiatives
  • Raising awareness and perception of editing as a craft

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Guest Bio:

Stephen Rivkin, ACE, has been an editor in the motion picture industry for over thirty-five years. He is currently serves as President of the American Cinema Editors and is on the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture Editors Guild. He founded The Committee for Creative Recognition and EditorsPetition.com to petition film festivals and critics organizations, which honor Cinematography and/or Production Design, to add the category of Film Editing to their annual awards presentations.
He has worked for some of Hollywood’s top directors including: James Cameron, Gore Verbinski, Michael Mann, Norman Jewison, Ridley Scott, Mel Brooks, Rob Cohen, Wolfgang Peterson, Chris Columbus and Diane Keaton.
Rivkin was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award and an ACE Eddie Award for his work on James Cameron’s mega-blockbuster “Avatar” which he co-edited.
He also co-edited the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy for producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski. All three films were nominated for ACE Eddie Awards, with a win for the original summer hit “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, the show notes were prepared by Jakin Rintelman, and this show is executive produced by Kanen Flowers. We are a member of the THAT STUDIO podcast network.

The music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Dorian Cheah from his brilliant album ARA.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, and the creator of the Optimize Yourself program. Zack helps ambitious creative professionals and entrepreneurs overcome procrastination, depression, and creative burnout so they can get sh*t done and achieve the most meaningful goals in their lives...without sacrificing their sanity in the process. If you’re interested in learning how to better manage your time, your energy, and develop ninja-like focus, download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”

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