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Meet the Winner of the 2019 Trailer Editing Contest, Jérémy Pitard!

Meet Jérémy Pitard — the winner of our 2019 Trailer Editing Contest! We had a ton of great entries this year and the competition was fierce – in the end our editing community crowned Jérémy the victor.

Jérémy is located in Paris, France and has submitted a cut in our contest for the past three years. With his blessing, we thought it would be cool to see his V1 compared to his V3 for a little bit of editing inspiration.

Check out his first version of the trailer from 2017 👇👇👇

And now watch the final cut 👇👇👇

FEP:  First of all, congratulations on winning the contest this year! We had a lot of strong entries and it was tough to choose only 3 finalists. You’ve submitted a new cut for the past 3 years, so what inspired you to stay so dedicated and keep working on your cut?  

JP: Thank you so much. I’m really happy to have won. It was hard. The other finalists did a great job. Their trailers are awesome. Well done to them too. I decided to rework my cut because I was not totally satisfied. I was convinced it could be enhanced. I was sure I could do better and I think I was right.

FEP: Tell us about your history as an editor…how did you start? Have you had any formal education, self-taught, learned on the job? What kind of work are you doing now ?

JP: I did a one year adult training course at 27 (better late than never) and I started as an assistant editor on TV. After two years, I started to edit some TV shows but my passion has always been to edit fiction. So I worked as an assistant editor on short films and I edited about 20 short films for free over the last ten years. I learned a lot and it was worth it because I met directors and now I edit TV series. I continue to edit short films but not for free anymore 🙂

FEP: Have you ever edited a trailer before taking this course? Have you edited any others after (as a hobby or for business)?

JP: I edited some trailers before and after taking the course and I have to say they are much better after. It was for short films and TV series. But overall I haven’t edited a lot of trailers, I would say about ten in total.

A screen shot of Jeremy’s entire timeline for The Landing teaser (click to enlarge)

FEP: One of the defining characteristics of your trailer is the use of the past/present story line. It’s an extremely tricky element to introduce because you’re working with a short film and translating that into an even shorter format, so what made you choose to include it?

JP: I choose to use the past/present story line because I think it was a very important theme in the film. The title of the short, “The Landing” is not just talking about a landing. The mysterious arrival changes the relationship between Edward and his father forever. And that’s what I wanted the audience to feel.

FEP: In our opinion, one major reason it worked so well was the constant inter-cutting of Edward (past and present). We loved the fade between the present-day Edward walking through the field with the shovel at roughly :27 into the similar shot of the farm in that same location. How did you come up with that idea?

JP: The inter-cutting of Edward (past and present) was obvious. To tell the past/present story line linearly would have been boring. I wanted the audience to understand Edward (the present one) coming back to the location of his youth and highlight the importance of this location because he never forgot because of what happened there. And I thought the best way to illustrate that was to fade these two shots. Simple and efficient.

FEP: The shot sequence you created to compress time and increase intensity from around :51 – 1:02 was great. As a viewer, you get a sense of exactly what’s happening and how the characters feel. Since that didn’t change much from your original version, did you think it was a pretty solid sequence?

JP: Yes I think it’s a well structured sequence, I just made some rhythm adjustments.

A close up view of Jérémy’s video tracks for that section (click to enlarge)

FEP: So, we’ve seen a lot of musical variety in these cuts and you made some big changes since 2017. How did you choose to approach the process this time? Strictly tips from the The Art of Trailer Editing, your own intuition, a little of both?

JP: Both of them for sure. I can’t approach a cut without thinking about what I learned with FEP (and I’m not just talking about The Art of Trailer Editing but about all the other courses).

The first trailer I submitted in 2017 had too many different music cues and they were badly chosen. It wasn’t very consistent. I just kept the first and second one then recomposed them a little bit. These two music cues have the mood I wanted for the trailer – dark and full of tension.

FEP: You’ve definitely finessed your sound design work from the original cut in 2017. What have you learned about editing since then that contributed to these improvements?

JP: Since your training I’m much more attentive to the sound design work. So I was re-watching certain scenes and trailers with my eyes closed and it helped me learn a lot.

FEP: One of the things we encourage students to do is think outside the box with SFX. The shot combination of Edward’s father pointing the gun, Edward touching the object, then the title card with the shot sound underneath from 1:08 – 1:10 was great to tell a quick story with style. Can you tell us more about your thought process in putting this sequence together?

JP: I wanted to reunite the protagonists (past and present Edward and his father) together at the same location. When they all come closer and closer, I accelerated the tempo of the music to increase tension, then added hits on certain music notes and a long rise. I also added an other hit under the gun shot to sustain it just before the silence.

FEP: Another thing we noticed is your progression of shot transitions. In the 2017 version you had a lot of hard cuts, but in this version it’s much more polished – the fades to black are interspersed with hard cuts and everything feels a lot more natural. How did your style of cutting evolve in this way?

JP: Practice, learning, practice, learning, practice, learning and practice again. And FEP had a lot to do with it.

FEP: The button in this cut changed quite a bit from the first version we saw. A lot more drama and mystery. What did you have before and what made you decide to completely re-work that section?

JP: I reworked the entire button of the first version (from 2017) because it was terribly loooooooooong. You had the feeling the trailer never ends and you began to laugh about it. It was ridiculously funny.

I made the new one with the obsession to make it shorter and more effective without sacrificing emotion. And still I think the beginning of the button is juuuuust a little bit too long.

FEP: While we’re discussing the button, the push-in on the television and that last bit of sound design was great. Why did you decide to add those elements? Were you purposefully trying to make a bigger impact or simply felt like the ending was lacking something?

JP: The cut and the push-in on the television helped me to synchronize the voice over with the lips of the TV presenter. The sound effect I added was for style and rhythm. It’s the same sound I used at the beginning of the trailer for the push-in on the radio.

I also added the sound of a “beast” before the coming soon title card to make a bigger impact. I wanted to hear the sound of the creature we can’t show in the trailer, so I used the sound of the alien from District Nine. It’s a perfect sound.

A close up of Jérémy’s SFX work for the button at the end of his trailer (click to enlarge)

FEP: What do you aspire to do (short/long term goals)?

JP: I would love to edit feature films and I’m sure I can make it happen eventually!

FEP: Who or what (if anything) has inspired your style of editing?

JP: I don’t know if I really have a style but there are so many great editors whose work I love: Thelma Shoonmaker, Pietro Scalia, Anne Coates, Michael Kahn, Margaret Sixel, Lee Smith, Sally Menke, Joe Walker, William Goldenberg, Tom Cross… and all the editors who worked on Mad Men.

FEP: So, one big message we keep telling aspiring editors is “just keep cutting”! This certainly holds true with your recent win! Do you have any other advice you can give for editors looking to get started in the trailer/promo world? Or simply any advice from what you’ve learned over the years – whether it’s regarding workflow, time management, creative techniques, how to secure jobs, etc.?

JP: I’d just say don’t forget your editing goals, be persistent, and above all have fun.

FEP: Lastly – how can people get in touch with you for work or otherwise?

JP: Yes, you can check out my website, or find me on my IMDB page. I’m also on Twitter @editorsince2002 and Instagram @cuttingmoods.


Trailer Editing Mastery: How To Edit A Movie Trailer

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