Top 5 Filmmaking Lessons I Learned From ‘Boyhood’ Editor Sandra Adair

By in The A-List, Video Editing

Boyhood is a groundbreaking and award-winning story about growing up and parenting, seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane). Shot over a 12-year period, the film stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha.

Director Richard Linklater‘s film set a new mark of creative ambition. The beauty and scope of the project earned widespread acclaim and six Academy Award® nominations, including a ‘Best Film Editing’ nomination for Editor Sandra Adair, ACE.

On the Avid main stage during NAB 2015, Matt Feury and Sandra Adair discussed what it took to cut this unique and epic project, and how she helped shape the film’s 12-year evolution.

As an editor myself, I picked up these five lessons from the exclusive interview.

#1 Think Ahead

Sandra Adair made sure she recorded the child actors’ ADR (Automated dialogue replacement) right after the yearly shooting sessions of the scenes. Their voices were bound to change and would make recording ADR after 12 years impossible.

#2 Bring Your Personal Experience to the Cutting Room

Your own personal experience is always a good starting point to find the right approach to telling stories. For Sandra it was obvious she could draw on her experience as a mother, sister and wife to edit Boyhood.

#3 Trust Between Editor and Director

Mutual trust between an editor and director forms the base of a healthy work relationship in the edit suite. This appreciation and respect for each other’s work helped Richard and Sandra create this beautiful masterpiece.

#4 Find the Right Perspective

Both Richard Linklater and Sandra Adair felt they weren’t ‘young enough’ to select the songs for the film, so they asked advice from kids that had the same age as the main characters, and let them pick the right music.

#5 Every Single Project is Unique

After experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime bond between cast and crew, Sandra doesn’t expect to work on another Boyhood again. This final ‘filmmaking lesson’ points out the importance of treating every single project as a unique and special experience, and just… enjoy the edit.

Watch the full version of this interview, and discover how the plot developed as the movie progressed, how they adapted to 12 years of constantly changing technology and how Sandra brought her own personal experience to the project.

Boyhood: A Timeline 12 Years in the Making

Catch a behind the scenes glimpse at the creation of the film Boyhood.

I'm Social Media Manager for Avid and editor-in-chief of Avid Blogs. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as @editorbelga.