Meet Linh Nguyen — a recent graduate of The Art of Trailer Editing. Linh is a talented editor and was one of the three finalists in our June 2017 Trailer Editing Contest. Today she’s going to share a bit about her editing process and some thoughts about the world of trailer editing.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch her trailer cut, you can check it out below:
FEP: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from? What do you do for a living? What got you into editing?
LN: My name is Linh Nguyen. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and worked as a reporter, news anchor, editor and producer for 12 years at HTV (Ho Chi Minh Television in Vietnam).
My mother was one of the very first TV reporters in Vietnam, so I got the chance to shoot video when I was only 10 years old. Even though the editing techniques at the time were a little behind the rest of the world, I learned how to manage footage and tell stories. I’ve spent most of my life living in a television station, involved with studios, cameras, video, and more.
In 2015 I moved to Edmonton in Alberta, Canada to live with my husband and our 2 wonderful daughters. The new country and working environment has made it difficult to get back into the type of positions I used to have in Vietnam but it hasn’t stopped my love of media. Since I moved to Canada, I started learning more about photography and concentrating on editing. I’ve worked for Da Silva International as videographer and editor and now as a freelance editor.
I’ve spent most of my life living in a television station, involved with studios, cameras, video, and more.
FEP: You did a great job editing your trailer for this contest. Let’s talk about your cut a bit. After watching the film, what primary message and emotion did you want to convey in your trailer? How did you want to position the movie?
After watching the film, a feeling that stuck with me is the father’s obsession. He’s obsessed with being a soldier, fighting for his country. His passion was so intense it made him do the wrong thing and that affected his son’s life till his last breath. It’s a very intense plot! I wanted to use those emotions throughout my trailer, keeping in mind that the landing and the mystery surrounding it is still the main moment.
At first I thought keeping the old Edward out of the picture would make the story clear. After the dialogue breakdown, I decided to bring him back in. I liked the part where he tried to dig underground to find the buried object and called 911 but they didn’t believe him. In my opinion, it was a good opening for grabbing viewers attention.
FEP: About halfway through your cut (:49) when the meteor lands, you did a good job of building the tension into that moment and then turning the piece to a darker, more ominous tone. Most of that was accomplished with audio. Can you discuss some of the music & sound design tools/techniques you used to achieve that?
The meteor landing was a big moment used as an ending for act 1. I knew that in order to make it effective, audio would be key. I combined the ending of the main music cue in act 1 with last notes from the piano and underneath it all laid in a washer sound effect and a building rise.
Because my story relies on the radio voice, I used radio static sounds a lot along the timeline. At the moment of impact, the high tone radio static and rise combined with the static image of Edward and his father looking toward the falling object worked really well to increase the intensity. Finally, I led to the landing with an impact sound and kept the echo after the impact to extend that moment a bit.
FEP: How long did it take you to cut your trailer? Did you have to try many versions before arriving at one that you liked?
I started to edit 1 week before the deadline. I was in a rush so I skipped all the initial steps and jumped into the timeline. I finished half of my first version in 2 days and didn’t like it, so I started all over again. I followed all the steps in the course, broke down the dialogue more carefully, picked up footage and big moments, managed my music bins, built up the music timeline and started to connect the pieces, all in 5 days.
FEP: Which part of the editing process did you enjoy the most? And the least?
Music and sound effects are the most interesting part of the editing process but also the hardest. My weak point is that I’m new to the trailer industry but not with editing footage to music. To pick up the right cue among thousands of choices or breakdown a song to little pieces and put it back together the way that is most effective with the footage is not easy.
Music and sound effects are the most interesting part of the editing process but also the hardest.
I spent most of my time going through the music library and sound effects to find things that might fit with the trailer. Then I sorted them into to specific bins and started trying to connect everything. It was interesting to hit a difficult part, then finally put the right pieces together and get a lot of emotion and inspiration for the next part.
FEP: Had you ever edited a trailer before this? What are some of the new things you learned?
LN: I always wanted to edit movies but working in the news industry didn’t give me many opportunities. After I moved to Canada I had to stay home and wait for my permanent residency. During that time I found Film Editing Pro on Facebook. I fell in love with the classes immediately but didn’t have a chance to enroll till last May. I watched your 3 free videos on The Art of Trailer Editing and decided that I couldn’t wait any longer!
Short story telling wasn’t new for me since I’ve made a lot of short documentaries in the past. I even won some competitions, but trailer story telling is a new world. I was amazed by all the techniques that can be used to create impact, especially the power of music and sound.
I used to think trailer editing must be easy, just connect all the pieces in the film into a shorter version and make it look cool. Now I know it’s not that simple. Trailer editors not only edit the footage with music and sound effects, they also have to be marketing experts, getting the attention of an audience and bringing them into the theater. It’s not always easy being artistic and realistic at the same time.
Trailer editors not only edit the footage with music and sound effects, they also have to be marketing experts, getting the attention of an audience and bringing them into the theater. It’s not always easy being artistic and realistic at the same time.
FEP: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your editing process? Any tips or suggestions for other editors?
LN: You’ll get all the best tips and advice from the course. I’m just a beginner but I can share my experience working on this trailer. It’s always tough when you start but don’t give up or get frustrated. When you feel stuck, keep going. When you come back to it again you might find the light! Honestly, I feel lucky to be taking this course. The mistakes are already pointed out so all you need to do is learn from them and practice a lot to find your own style.
FEP: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us, Linh! Do you have a website or contact method you’d like to leave for people who want to get in touch with you for work or otherwise?
If you’re interested in learning more about The Art of Trailer Editing and possibly even entering our next contest, sign up below. We’ll send you 3 sample videos from the course with details on how to join.