Emily Clifton

editing | teaching

My name is Emily Gumpel Clifton and I have 20 years' experience in post-production. I have edited more than 25 feature films, shorts and television shows.

My first job in post was as an intern on Ernest Dickerson’s film “Surviving the Game” (starring Ice-T, Rutger Hauer and F. Murray Abraham). The fantastic editor, Sam Pollard, recognized my dedication and moved me into an apprentice position. Getting to stand behind him and watch as he worked, trying various takes, lengthening or shortening reaction shots, changing the order of lines, I began to understand the magic of editing. I knew right away that I wanted to do that. I wanted to learn how to tell stories.

After assisting on 35mm features, I began cutting during the emergence of the first-generation Avid. In 1996, as a first assistant and eventually an editor, I developed the workflow for one of the first multi-cam reality shows, Baseball, Minnesota (FX, then Fox Cable). I now work with today’s tapeless HD workflows in both Media Composer and Final Cut Pro.

Technology may have moved on, but the editor’s goal remains the same: to tell a compelling story, keep the audience engaged, and remember that the best cut is the one the audience doesn’t see. I see it as my job to help the director and producer achieve their vision, sometimes in a way that might even surprise them. I believe a good editor doesn’t impose a style, but develops an individual style for each project that best serves the story.

One of the things I love most about editing is the variety of challenges that comes with working on many different types of stories. I’ve edited dramas, mysteries, comedies. Scripted features, verité documentaries, and reality tv. One was a project directed by Russell Crowe on his band's tour of Italy (60 Odd Hours in Italy); a television drama for ABC set in a psychiatric hospital (Wonderland); a verité documentary on a troubled rapper in East New York (Black Picket Fence); and several entertainment shows for Fuse and Vh1.

Projects I’ve edited have won awards at several festivals including Sundance, Silverdocs, Brooklyn International, Urban World and Full Frame.

Click here for details of my teaching work at NYU.