Job Description: President of the American Cinema Editors (ACE), Eddie-award winning editor
Breakthrough: Vet film editor is the first woman to be elected ACE president in its 51-year history.
In the works: Being the visible advocate for the “invisible art.”
A member of the American Cinema Editors member for more than a decade, Tina Hirsch made a name for herself working for Roger Corman during the ’70s. She has since worked with such filmmakers as Joe Dante and Steven Spielberg and has received an ACE Eddie award and an Emmy nom for her work on NBC’s “The West Wing.” However, as ACE prexy, she has turned her attention to educating both filmmakers and the public about the increasingly significant creative contribution made by editors in the filmmaking process.
“The amount of dailies is just tremendous these days, and the schedule is diminished to a point that very often, what you cut the first time is what goes up there,” she explains.
Yet the work of an editor remains a largely egoless endeavor, due to perceptions that date back to the days of silent film, when editors were directors’ secretaries, which incidentally made most early editors women. Even in this modern epoch, when both genders occupy the role, Hirsch still describes editing as a “wife job.”
“You have to be the kind of person who can stand behind the director. The ego goes away and it’s all about creating his vision for him,” she says, noting that women tend to be more emotionally suited for the job for this reason.
Indeed, many of the editorial greats have been women: Dede Allen, Verna Fields, Thelma Schoonmaker, Anne V. Coates and Dorothy Spencer. In that respect, Hirsch’s educational outreach programs, such as last year’s pre-Oscar “Invisible Art, Visible Artists” seminar at the Egyptian Theater, have dual import in that they bring both the editorial process and the editors themselves out of the cutting room and into the consciousness of the creative community.