Video editing fascinates and terrifies me. As a scriptwriter that usually starts his work in the development stage, editing is usually the farthest from my mind. But the skill of connecting one image to another to create a coherent story, and understanding the profound impact of colour on the human mind, is something that I've always admired. It's takes trained knowledge in numerous realms such as editing software, camera specifications, and how the human eye can trigger specific emotions at the drop of a cut.
These mysterious artists are known as Editors and Colourists
And it's why I was excited to sit down and talk to Eugene Seah, a good friend of mine and a working editor and colourist in Singapore for nearly a decade.
I've met many editors during my career. But Eugene sets the bar higher than most. We met in my secondary school's Media Club where he introduced me to Windows Movie Maker, Photoshop, and Walter Murch -- editor of Apocalypse Now, The Godfather films, The Conversation and Cold Mountain -- and his post-production bible 'In the Blink of an Eye'. Yes, he was only fourteen.
Over time, as we made short films together and developed a long-lasting friendship, Eugene helped me understand why editing is at the emotional core of every great film.
Because editing a film is a puzzle. And editors are the puzzle-masters.
Recently I interviewed Eugene on an episode of my podcast Write.Live.Talk. Eugene talked about why editing is such a powerful art form, as well as other experiences he's had during his career. His valuable insights include:
Why editors are the voice of Zen
Sometimes locked in a room filled with clients, directors and producers, part of an editor's job is to deal with insecurities, inflated egos, and even become a psychologist to create the best video possible. It's not easy. And as he calls it, sometimes you have to be the 'voice of Zen'.
Why some work will never be perfect
Building upon his working experiences for over a decade, Eugene's philosophy is to always do your best, but let go when things don't turn out the way you envisioned. This is a valuable lesson for anyone working in the media industry. Making films, TV and even storytelling itself is usually a collaborative process. There are multiple voices, multiple pots and multiple soups. But it can be incredibly rewarding when these elements come together to create something truly unique.
And why great directing and great editing is intrinsically linked
From lauded indie-films like The Florida Project, to the frenetic brilliance of Mad Max: Fury Road, and Oscar-nominated blockbusters like Dunkirk, Eugene shares how editing empowers all aspects of a film to engage audiences on a deeply emotional level.
All in all, Eugene really offers some hard-cutting insights (sorry...), so I recommend listening to the podcast if you're interested in editing, colour grading and the post-production process.
But to truly witness what Eugene can do with a mouse, a simple transition and well-timed cut, check out these notable projects that he edited and graded. Many have been nominated for prestigious editing awards and racked up hundreds of thousands of views online.
Red Bull City State Breakers - Nominated for Best Editing at the 2013 Asian Television Awards and the 2013 Apollo Awards.
Paper Roof - In Competition, 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Shorts Program; In Competition, 2018 Busan International Short Film Festival
YUME 夢 (short film) - **SGIFF 2017 Singapore Panorama: Short Film Programme 2
Once again, I'd like to thank Eugene Seah for taking the time out to be interviewed! If you'd like to contact him, you can do so at:
HP: +65 96887813
Eugene Seah is a Freelance Editor and Colourist based in Singapore. Since discovering the wonders of iMovie and Windows Movie Maker at age 13, Eugene strived to always put a smile on people’s faces by making emotional, surprising and fascinating videos through the power of editing.
Now, after more than ten years in the industry, Eugene has edited and coloured a wide range of content, ranging from short-form TVCs, music videos, corporate films, and narrative short films. This includes action-packed Red Bull Youtube videos, to long-form television documentaries, reality TV, and other non-fiction programming for local and regional channels.
Eugene's first longform documentary, City State Breakers, was nominated for Best Editing at the 2013 Asian Television Awards, amongst others. However, his greatest satisfaction lies not in winning awards but in witnessing the effect of his work on audiences. His current goal is to cut and/or colour a memorable local feature film that can both entertain and inspire joy in Singaporeans.