Working With Directors

The relationship between directors and video editors are unique. Both roles share an equal part on how the final product is created. And in this post I’ll cover 3 areas on how to communicate and meet on creative differences to get to the end goal.

1. Aligned Vision

As a video editor working with many directors in the past, I’ve had my share of creative differences and challenges working on video projects with them. One of the biggest differences is logistics and vision.

A director is in charge of the whole creative vision of a project. And video editors act as the vehicle to get there. So image a director as the driver and the video editor as the car. The director is in charge of making sure the project ends up where they want it, but it is up to the video editor to make sure that it can get there. Bridging the technological gap in-between a dream and what can be done.

As a video editor it is important to listen and understand the intentions of the video project and what the director is trying to accomplish. Being unbias and open minded really helps. To be best of value to the director, a great way to fill this gap is to give the director options on how to accomplish what they are looking for and to be as straight forward as possible on what can be done and can’t be done.

Remember that all the director has is the script and the vision in their head. The video editor has the technical knowledge on how they can manipulate the footage. At the end of the day neither side will have all the answers, so it is important to work through options and to find common ground to align the vision of a video project.

2. Time Management & Goals

Another key difference between directors and video editors is the understanding of time and how long it takes to get to the different steps of post production.

Directors have a tendency to under estimate how much time it takes to make an edit. And usually they think what takes a long time takes no time at all, and what shouldn’t take long ends up taking a long time.

So how do we bridge this gap? I think every video project is going to be different and similar to #1, the director won’t have all of the technical knowledge on what goes into an edit. So it is up to the video editor to make sure that the director knows how long an edit will take. That there is open communication and clear expectations on how long an edit should take.

I think a similar comparison can be made to getting work done on a car. Imagine a car owner being like a director and a mechanic being like a video editor. If the mechanic doesn’t tell the car owner how long it’s going to take to get the work done on the car, the car owner may become disappointed as they think it should’ve been done sooner. But a good mechanic will tell the car owner up front how long it will take. By doing this first both sides will be able to hold each other accountable during the car repair process. (post production process)

3. Missing Creative Opprotunities

This is similar to the 1st one, but I think it deserves its own spot. Along with creative vision is the creative potential on a video project. It can be very easy for a video editor to become discouraged by video editing revisions. Being shot down with creative ideas. And sometimes video editors might leave something on the table that could have been a great editing idea.

The way to not miss out on creative video editing opportunities is to go all in and to always put all options on the table. Show the director all your ideas on how to edit the project. The gain is much greater than the risk of missing out. And the director saying “no, take it out” shouldn’t discourage you from trying new things.

I always admire the characteristics it take to become a video editor. Not only do they have a technical and creative brain, but they need to have a very thick skin and mental fortitude, otherwise they won’t last long in their career. Or they might go insane. Whichever one comes first. 🙂


So there you have it. Those are the top 3 ways to work with directors on video projects. I’m sure if you follow these, you’ll be able to smooth out the post production process. What it all comes down to in general is communication. Communicate the vision and creative ideas to create something great.

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Published by johnthevideoguy

I am a Cleveland based video editor and videographer. My mission is to push and share the innovation of video technology through my experiences and the ideas of others.

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