Making the Cut: Lynne Willingham, ACE—Crafting the Editor’s Vision

Lynne Willingham, ACE, is best known for editing Breaking Bad (2008/2009), for which she won two Primetime Emmys for “Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series,” two Eddie Awards from American Cinema Editors (ACE), and an HPA Award from the Hollywood Post Alliance.

Willingham was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy and an Eddie for outstanding editing on The X Files (1993). Her other credits include numerous episodes of over two dozen TV series and mini-series, including True Blood (2010-2012), Ray Donovan (2013-2017), Without a Trace (2005-2007), Body of Proof (2011-2013), Revenge (2013-2014), and Empire (2005.

In her experience, Willingham has found that the craft of editing requires both artistry and diplomacy to tell a story that reflects the creative visions of both the writer and director. If they’re not on the same page, as is often the case, the challenge becomes finding a way to make both people happy, while serving the needs of the story. In this way, she says, the editor becomes the third part of the storytelling triangle, and must often ease the director and writer into liking yet a third creative vision, the editor’s point of view.

“The glorious thing about [digital editing] is that you can make as many mistakes as you want practicing, and no one’s going to know it. For young editors… that want to move up, you have got to practice…editing hundreds of hours of film and making thousands of mistakes. That’s the beauty of digital editing.”

—Lynne Willingham, ACE, editor, Breaking Bad, True Blood, The X Files

Discover Media Composer

Accelerate storytelling with the tools embraced by top movie, television, and broadcast editors. And power through HD and high-res editing faster and easier than ever.