“Editing is very unique art form of film. Even with the same script and same footages, the film will be entirely different by the way of editing. Cinematic storytelling are largely dependent on manipulation of time, and it is accomplished by editing.”
These words come from someone who truly appreciates and respects the art of film editing. That person is Takashi Uchida, an up-and-coming film editor.
Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Uchida has relocated to the United States and is building a successful career for himself. Not only is he extremely talented, Uchida posses a quality that will always bring him opportunities: passion.
“Even though I still love all the film making process, I found editing a very peculiar art form and started focusing on it,” he said. “A lot of great scenes in classic films were composed of creative editing decisions. The opening scene of Apocalypse Now is one of the most beautiful uses of overlapping images. The church scene in The Godfather is classic example of parallel editing, which allows audiences to experience two events happening simultaneously. This is one of the strong aspects of cinematic storytelling which is hard to accomplish in any other media.”
Uchida has had lots of opportunities to explore his craft. He recently finished working on James Franco’s film Actors Anonymous.
Uchida describes working on the film as a great learning experience.
“In post production we changed the storyline quite a lot and it was quite challenging to decide how to structure the film. We moved the order of scenes and changed dialogues in order to make characters' arches clearer, and more emotional. But that's the beauty of editing I believe,” he said. “One scene in particular was shot in a very rough way which does not follow typical filmmaking procedure. However, because of that we could find a lot of unrealistically real moments which are hard to capture in normal coverage style. It was such a unique editing process but the scene ended up being one of the most powerful scenes in the film.”
Uchida describes working with Franco as an amazing experience.
“He was not only an executive producer but also the author of the novel this film is based upon. His insights to the characters and story taught me a lot of great aspects of film making,” he said. “You would imagine that the author of the book being the executive producer of the film adaptation sounding very strange, but James was extremely open to our ideas and creative decisions and it was impressive. I always liked James' work and this film is based on his experience. It is intriguing to see how he would reconstruct his own story. I also always wanted to work on a film about Los Angeles, the city where people around the world come to chase their dream. There's no other place like this. I wanted to capture a beat of LA through this film.”
John Watson, the producer of Actors Anonymous, describes Uchida as an extraordinarily gifted editor.
“Takashi is as technically quick and proficient with the equipment as any editor I have worked with, and more important, he is equally quick at understanding the essential elements of a scene and finding smart solutions to editing challenges,” said Watson. “I frequently find myself saying: ‘Well, this is what I would like to see, but I’m afraid we don’t have it” and in a few lightning moves Takashi will deliver exactly what I am looking for. He is also a wizard with manipulating and adjusting sound and laying music.”
“The other remarkable feature about Takashi is his warm and patient personality,” Watson continued. “He is always a delight to share an editing room with, he has a wonderful sense of humor, and he is extremely tolerant of multiple voices in the room. This is especially true in the case of the two features we have worked on together, where there have been a lot of different directors and producers involved. He hears everyone out and always seems to find an effective way to a reasonable consensus. I am confident that Takashi has a magnificent career to look forward to.”
Uchida moved to New York after high school and studied anthropology at State University. He then went to USC School of Cinematic Arts to study film making as graduate student and learned all aspects of film making. He quickly started editing short films, and his career really began.
“Sometimes I have to work with the footages that were shot without editing plan and it is challenging. But at the same time that is when we prove that editing is the key of film making.” he said. “When I edited Harbin, December, we did not have any plan to edit, it was more like video essay when we shoot it. We basically created story in post production. But it is quite mesmerizing to find beautiful and realistic moments in those footages and put them together as one film.”
Unhid also worked on include Jessica Darling's It List, based on New York Time’s Best Seller teen novel, and an episode of the Netflix original animation series Kong: King of the Apes. Uchida is also working with Franco again for the feature film Rio, which is another film based on Franco's novel.
Actors Anonymous is set to release later this year at several prestigious film festivals.