How Do You Even Edit an Animation Movie?

The concept of editing a live action film is pretty easy to understand, right? There’s a whole bunch of footage that needs a whole lot of cutting to make the film work as a story. But how does editing work for an animated movie?


It’s not like there’s a bunch of extra animated scenes laying around to play with since only the scenes that are going to be used in the movie get animated. And yet, being an editor on an animated film is still one of the most important jobs in making the movie.

The editor of Toy Story 3, Ken Schretzmann, sums up an editor’s job by saying in live action films, scenes are shot first and then edited later while in animation movies, you edit first and then shoot (or in this case, animate) later. The editor is very involved in the whole process of making the movie. They work with the writer and director from the very beginning and help bring ideas to storyboards to rough drafts of the animation. They’re not just cutting down footage, they’re helping create it too.

Watch Andrew Saladino of The Royal Ocean Film Society explain just how important the role of an editor in an animated film is in the video below.



Given how consistently good animated films tend to be, I’d say there’s an important lesson to learn here, especially for all the folks who are currently churning out shitty movies (e.g. anything in the DC cinematic universe).

The lesson: Plan and storyboard until the story is perfect, and only then shoot the movie! It would make editing much easier, and no re-shoots!