From Wolf of Wall Street to Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s films would not have been as enthralling if not for his editor – Thelma Schoonmaker. She has been his partner – in – crime since Scorsese’s first short film – What’s A Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This? - back when they were still students at NYU.
When asked how it was that such a nice lady could edit Scorsese’s violent gangster pictures, Thelma replied with a smile, “Ah, but they aren’t violent until I’ve edited them.”
Schoomaker received a lot of flak for her recent Scorsese collaboration – The Wolf Of Wall Street for being excessively long. But Schoonmaker defended the film was meant to test the patience of the audience. According to her, Scorsese’s never had an intended target runtime for the film and while editing, she tried to accommodate Scorsese’s narrative style as well as the looser improvised scenes. The film had as many as 12 preview screenings where they paid close attention to body language.
“When you’re in a movie with an audience, you can feel where a film is dragging,” she said. “People start to move. They fidget. You need that perspective. To give it a cold eye.”
Well, whatever she is upto, she’s got the winning formula. Thelma Schoonmaker is 2nd most nominated editor in Academy Awards history (7 times) and has won 3 times in the category of Best Film editing for The Departed, The Aviator and Raging Bull.
Here is a breakdown of the editing styles and techniques of Raging Bull from her Masterclass at the Tribeca Film Festival.
And what does she use to edit? You would be right if you said Lightworks.