The National Film and Television School's Annabelle Pangborn adds that homework is key: 'If you want to cut drama, watch lots of it on TV. In particular, watch the larger one-off dramas such as ITV's Housewife 49or Channel 4's Scars, record and analyse them, make notes on who the production company, director and editors are and, if you like a certain piece of work, find out who made it and see more of their work. It's not easy - you will have to do a lot of cold-calling,' she says. Making a showreel, having several copies and keeping them to hand is crucial, as is networking as much as possible, ideally getting to know other good editors who are in demand.
It's also important to be proficient with editing packages. Avid is still the system of choice for many, but Lightworks and Final Cut Pro are also popular. 'Once you're up to speed on one system you should be able to edit on anything,' says Recht. Pangborn adds that in the process of finding your own style, it's also important to realise that 'Avid-style effects, where the image is speeded up or slowed down, can become fashionable. You need to know when those will and won't work. Never use effects to problem solve, as they can be too heavy-handed; if effects are used, the production needs to have been conceived with them in mind from the outset.'
Assistant editing is a tried and tested route to the position of editor. Once trainees have mastered the technical processes, Recht advises: 'You can begin to ask editors - without making a nuisance of yourself - why they cut the way they do and how they go about putting the scene together.' He adds: 'If you're working on a series, a good opportunity your editor might give you is cutting trailers and recaps. As well as hands-on experience, if there is a second series, you might be given more responsibility, moving to assembly editor. Above all, impress the producer with your skills and efficiency.'