Good filmmakers are easy to pick-out among the crowd. They all share one attribute: they have a passion for their work. Most moviegoers may not take notice to what an editor does or how their work impacts a film, but anyone that is a fan of the Oscars knows: the best picture winner almost always goes to the film that is honored for best editing. Jim Flynn, one of the editors of "The Other Woman," speaks excitedly in this exclusive interview about his craft, the love for his work and gives an insider's look on what an editor does, how an editor shapes a film and the creative process that goes unnoticed most of the time.
Film editor Jim Flynn was born in Boston, Mass., grew-up all around the New England area and spent most of his youth in Narragansett, R.I. Flynn attended Emerson College in Boston after completion of high school. He was actually a performing arts major, intent on a career in acting. He stumbled upon the film department and a professor named Pete Chvany and he starting making little eight millimeter movies. But Flynn's interest in film didn't truly get sparked until he started to edit his small films. "It wasn't until I was in the cutting room by myself with the footage I shot that I was really enjoying myself. I liked editing almost out of the gate. I always wanted to get the shooting out of the way so I could get in that room and start cutting it into little pieces."
The filmmaker Flynn was most inspired by in his youth was director Terry Gilliam ("Monty Python", "The Life of Brian"), "I haven't worked with him, but I would really love to. Peter Weir's movies I thought were really great as well, and legendary editors like Dede Allen ("Reds" and "Dog Day Afternoon") and Alan Heim ("All That Jazz", "Network")."
Flynn graduated from Emerson College with a bachelor's degree in Communications with a concentration in film. He moved to Los Angeles and got a job in the development department at Warner Bros. and he started working on movies. During the film "Terminal Velocity," starring Charlie Sheen, Flynn got a chance to poke around the cutting room and the realization hit him, "This is where I really want to be."
Flynn had friends working in visual effects and he starting his work in the visual effects department. His first films were "Water World" in 1995 and "Space Jam" in 1996. His job was to take the film from the effects department and bring them to the editors to cut them into the film. "I was really pie-eyed when I went into the cutting room. I just saw what they were doing, taking the materials and building the story and the moments and I become fascinated with it."
"I made some money working in the effects department. And I learned a lot of great information about effects and I think that the effects background has done me quite a service. I can take a look at some material and say: visual effects can do this, this is what the possibilities are with this material and we can affect this material this way - just because I do have that effects background. I find it helpful in every movie I do."
Flynn started making movies before the transition to digital. "It was all film then, there were like ten assistants or maybe more, everybody had film and they were winding it through rewinds and running it through chemicals, projectors and it was really very exciting."
In 2002, Flynn was able to work with Editor Alan Heim in the film "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," and he credits Heim for taking him under his wing and being a mentor, "There is a community in editorial. The great editors will bring you into the room, show you their material and teach you their methodology, sensibilities and why they made the decisions that they made."
Speaking more about the editors that have mentored Flynn and brought him inspiration towards his craft, he reflected "I have the pleasure to work some really great editors, Paul Hirsch ("Star Wars"), Mary Jo Markey ("Star Trek Into Darkness") and Ray Lovejoy ("2001: A Space Odyssey")."
Flynn has continued to work with Heim in films including "The Alamo" (2004), "The Last Mimzy" (2007), and in three film's directed by Nick Cassavetes - "Alpha Dog," "My Sister's Keeper" and "The Other Woman."
Flynn only has positive things to say about Cassavetes, "I met Nick on 'Alpha Dog.' I came in as an associate editor. We just became fast friends. He and I have similar sensibilities about movies and what we like. I just think we clicked. I think the world of Nick and I think he is one of the best living filmmakers. His eye, his memory, his knowledge, he just knows everything about his movie and you can't tell him otherwise."
With some directors, the editor is given notes as to what the director wants and then it is the sole task of the editor to make the magic happen. Flynn credits Nick Cassavetes as a director with more of a hands on approach, "Nick is just a guy that works in the cutting room. He comes in the morning, he works me all day and he goes home at night and so do I. And the great benefit to Nick's process is there are no surprises."
As far as his new film "The Other Woman," Flynn reflects, "I am really proud of it and barring anything else it's really funny. And I am proud to put it up against 'My Sister's Keeper,' which is not funny at all. It was great at the premiere to hear people laugh. It makes you really proud of your work."
Flynn's goals for the future were discussed briefly, "I would very much like to do action stuff, action stuff is really fun to cut. I would really like to do a period work. I love period pieces."
Jim Flynn is a gracious and humorous editor that is humbly expressive of his love for his profession. And if you want to see an incredible sample of his work, I suggest that after seeing "The Other Woman" to see "My Sister's Keeper" and toward the end of the film take special note to the beach scene towards the end of the film. After seeing this scene, then ask yourself these questions: What is missing? What is added? What is slowed down? What moments are accentuated? It is a beautiful piece of filmmaking - one that I specifically noted long before this interview. And I have a feeling that this one incredible scene will be just be one example of many special moments that will be worked out by a an editor that after all is done, that just loves what he does - and we are all better for it.