Chapter 6Performance

As I mentioned in the Introduction, this book’s genesis was in the generous mention of an editor by an actress at the Oscars. In the acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress of the 86th Oscars in 2014, Lupita Nyong’o thanked “Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room.”

This was a moment of gratitude from an actress who realized that—while she supplied all of the source material for what movie audiences would see as her performance—much of the shaping and curating of her performance was part of an intimate, yet long-distance relationship with her editor.

“Intimate” may seem the wrong word for two people who may never meet and never work together side-by-side, but if you have ever edited an actor’s performance, ...

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