Cutting it with an editor

Matt TatemMatt Tatem has eight years experience as an editor, working across a wide range of projects including broadcast entertainment and commercials.

Here he tells us what types of shows frazzle his brain, and warns that if you want to succeed as an editor – it’s advisable not to be an asshole.

How did you become an editor?

I have a degree in Zoology and Psychology but didn't want to enter those fields, so I retrained in post-production and moved to New Zealand and to work in film. Then I got my break with a production company and was editing prime-time TV within a year. After this I moved back to the UK and went on from there.

What are the main challenges of your role?

There are physical challenges and mental challenges. I think being able to cope with stress, tiredness and deadlines while still being professional and creative is the main one.

What’s the most challenging job you’ve ever worked on?

For working hours, it’s Piers Morgan’s Life Stories and night shifts on The Only Way Is Essex. For using my brain, it was the Discovery Channel’s Superhuman Showdown [a science based series testing unique human talents].

What’s the most enjoyable job you’ve worked on?

Dragons’ Den in New Zealand - it was the first time I’d taken ownership of complete shows and I remember being nervous watching it going out.

How is your job changing?

Budgets is a big thing. We are getting worse footage and tighter deadlines, so post-production being the end of the line, there is pressure for us to fix all these corner cutting problems in post.

What key skills do you need to become an editor?

People skills, patience, creativity and time management.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to become an editor?

If it’s what you want to do and you’re willing to learn and you enjoy it, you’ll make it.

If you could meet a version of yourself right at the start of your career, what’s the one piece of advice you would give yourself?

Never underestimate the influence people skills play in the job. You can be the best editor in the world but if you’re an asshole then you might as well be the worst.

To find out more about Matt and his work, please visit his profile on The Knowledge.