We went on the road with editor Mark Sanger while he visited different schools and held seminars in Dubai, Paris and Munich. The sessions were packed with an eager crowd that attended to hear him speak of his 22 years in the industry, how he started, what he learnt and his experience collaborating on an impressive body of work, with the likes of Alfonso Cuarón and Tim Burton. Some of his films include Children of Men, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Mummy, Troy,The World is Not Enough, and Tomorrow Never Dies. Here is an inside scoop into the life of Mark Sanger.
Mark has worked in the industry for 22 years and caught his big Oscar® win earlier this March for his work on Gravity, a project that took him 3 years in the making. Since the age of 8, he shared one dream with his brother and that was to make movies. They toyed around with that idea as kids and his determination led him up the ladder of success and landed him several opportunities on big Hollywood productions.
“I started as a film assistant in the mid-90s. I came into the industry just as there was a change from analogue to digital. I was very lucky that Tim Burton kept asking me back to be visual effects editor on his movies. I would chop and change from my filming background to effects editing. That was what Alfonso needed [for Gravity].”
He previously collaborated with Alfonso Cuarón as a visual effects editor on Children of Men and on the Tim Burton directed films Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Among other productions during his twenty-two year career, he was an assistant editor on The Mummy, Troy, The World is Not Enough and Tomorrow Never Dies.
Across the different sessions Mark held, as editors and students chopped away with their numerous questions, they all tried to dig deeper into understanding his daily workflow and why he’s chosen Avid.
“As an Editor, you always have to be one step ahead of the game with the technology and that is what I find exciting with the latest version of Media Composer.”
Many fans wanted to know the process behind choosing the next project after an Oscar win:
“It’s all about making the right decision on what is creatively the most interesting thing you can do, but also what is best for your family and paying the bills. I did have a wider range of choices following the win, but it’s still all about making the right choice; And having some sleep, which I don’t seem to have done since the Oscar.”
“There is no one answer. Take as much advice as you can from people who’ve done it, pool it and come up with your own way.”
And the obvious question on everyone’s mind was the Oscar moment and his work on Gravity. “We knew it was a unique film, but when you’re engaged in something so deeply for so long you have no way of knowing whether an audience will engage with it,” he says. “Plus we had finished it months before its release, so we’d all moved onto other things. When it finally came out the initial reaction at Venice was nice — we realized that people were engaging in the cinema experience we’d spent all that time working on, but we could never have predicted how much. Amazing.”