Introduction

This book was inspired at a precise moment that I can easily identify. That moment was during the acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress of the 86th Oscars in 2014. The winner of the award was Lupita Nyong’o for her brilliant performance in Steve McQueen’s movie 12 Years a Slave. Of course she thanked the director and her co-stars, but what struck me came at the end of her acceptance speech: “Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you.”

It’s probably a bit clichéd to say that my opinion of editors is that we toil away in relative obscurity—the weight of the film balanced on our shoulders—and nobody really realizes our contribution to every moment of the story. So to hear a young actress with an appreciation ...

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