Editing trainee Sema on her placement and mentorship

Editing trainee Sema on her placement and mentorship
2021 Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing trainee, Sema Basharan.

Before being accepted on the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing training scheme I’d been trying everything I could to break into the world of documentary editing – a world that seemed very closed to anyone who doesn’t already have a TV background, especially if you’re over 30 and living outside of London.

Unlike many starting out on the road to editing, I don’t have a machine room background. I’d been making films independently, mostly editing in Premiere, so had very little Avid experience. Getting my technical knowledge up to scratch has been my biggest challenge, but with the support of The Grierson Trust in partnership with Netflix, and my incredible fellow trainees, I’ve been able to get to a place where I am confident working as an Assistant Editor and excited about the future editing opportunities available to me across the north of England.

I’m now coming to the end of my Netflix placement, where I’ve been working on a feature documentary for Story Films, alongside editor Andy Rushton and director Liza Wiliams. Andy and Liza have been incredible to work with. Every day I glean more and more from their storytelling expertise as the film is worked and reworked until it’s right. From the off they included me in every stage of the process, from watching the rushes together and discussing our thoughts, to welcoming my views on different stages of the edit. I’ve also had some short scenes to cut where they’ve given guidance and helped me refine the storytelling. On top of this, being privy to the daily discussions between director and editor, and being included in meetings with execs and commissioners, has helped me understand the entire edit process to help set me up for one day being in the editing seat myself.

Looking back on where I was just 12 months ago, I can’t quite believe how far I’ve come. I’m greatly indebted to The Grierson Trust for believing in me and my ability as a future documentary editor. Huge thanks also to the team at Netflix, to Story Films, and to Andy and Liza for all they have invested in me over this scheme.

Applications for 2022 Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing are now open. Find out more and apply by 8 July.

Published: 17 June 2022

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