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Q&A With ‘Kings’ Editor Dermot Diskin
20 Sep 2007 :
Dermot Diskin
Dermot Diskin has been working in film editing since 1989, starting as an assistant on films such as ‘The Commitments’ and ‘In the Name of the Father’. He cut his first feature ‘Sweety Barrett’ in 1997 and since then has cut many features and TV dramas including ‘Man About Dog’, ‘The Mighty Celt’, ‘Prosperity’ and the soon to be released ‘Shrooms’ and ‘Kings’. He has received three IFTA nominations for Best Editing, winning the IFTA award for ‘Dead Bodies’ in 2003.

1. What television programmes/ films did you enjoy growing up and did they motivate you to work in editing?
As a young adult I became very interested in foreign and independent cinema and this love of film drew me to becoming involved in filmmaking. I don’t think I really knew what editing was about until I got involved in practical filmmaking.

2. What was your first job in the industry, how did that lead to your current position?
My very first job was as an assistant on a documentary about the Irish soccer team qualifying for Italia ’90! Soon after that I got to work on ‘The Commitments’ as assistant to editor Gerry Hambling (Angela’s Ashes, In the Name of the Father), one of the best in the world, and I learnt a huge amount there about how a big budget film cutting room works.

3. Did training/education play a role in your break into editing?
I never did any formal course in film. I did a short film foundation course in Filmbase and moved through freebie shorts into working as a trainee in cutting rooms and worked my way up from there.

4. What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I love working on interesting projects which are well written or conceived. I also love working with directors and finding a level of collaboration which produces good work. I feel very lucky to have such an interesting job.

5. Can you describe your typical working day?
The hours can vary greatly, anything from eight or nine hours up to 16 or even more depending on the workload or deadline pressure. Broadly, the work involves viewing and then rough cutting the previous day’s rushes (which have been prepared and organised by the assistant) and possibly viewing that rough cut later with the director. Or, at the later stages of post, changing and reworking the cut, sometimes endlessly, often with the director, and screening and re-screening until we get it right.

6. Does your role require you to work quickly and to tight deadlines?
Yes, quite often. I like to pace a job so that there isn’t an insane rush to the end, in which mistakes can happen. However, while saying that, I know that deadlines often draw out the best in people’s productivity and creativity.

7. What advice would you give to anyone wishing to become an editor?
Try to get to work in a cutting room as an assistant and see if you like the world, because it’s not for everyone. If you do find you have a passion for it the rest will come easily enough.

8. What qualities, aside from formal training, do you feel are important in a successful editor?
Patience, diplomacy, and a dogged determination to find solutions to a problem.

9. What editor’s work do you most admire?
To name a few: Gerry Hambling (who cut all Alan Parker’s films and two for Jim Sheridan), Stephen Mirrione (21 Grams, Ocean’s 13), Jill Bilcock (Romeo and Juliet), Ann Coates (Out of Sight, Erin Brockovich) and lots more.

10. Do you see a healthy future for editors working in the Irish film and television industry?
The amount of TV drama being produced here at the moment is very healthy. Hopefully, features too will continue to be financed and produced. I think current technology makes good quality low or no budget films possible, which are good for new editors to cut their teeth on.

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