Script editors write, edit, and appraise literary compositions for the entertainment industries like the television, films, stage, and radio. The main task of the editors is to make available critical appraisal of the process of screenwriting and act as a coordinator between the Development Executives or Producers and the script writer. They usually refrain from offering solutions, but make use of their skill to assist screenwriters to analyze and identify their individual problems, explain the consequences of the writer’s way of handling the work, and thereby bring about improvement in the writer and the screenplay on the anvil. All the aspects can be improvised, strengthened, and developed. Even though script editors are generally employed by production houses on a full-time basis, their services are often sought as freelancers.
The level of these professionals’ involvement in a project and the payment meted out to them are flexible. The most common way to fix the rate at which they are paid is done based on their experience, knowledge, formal qualification, and expertise. Editors have to establish strong bonding, trust, and good relationships between the screenplay writers and producers.
Script editors are required to stay focused in their mission, carry a concise insight of the structure of the screenplay, and be aware of how the different kinds of narratives are likely to affect the audience. It is important for the editors to be able to formulate an objective and clear opinion of the plot, synopsis, treatment of the screenplay and be able to offer sound reasoning for their opinion. The opinion that they uphold must be a valid one, within the context of the whole process of filmmaking. Script editors must assist screenplay writers to reach their potential, as well as help producers to depict the screenplay in the best possible manner. They are the mediators between the writer’s creativity and the fiscal side of the cinematic industry. The script editors’ scope of work is vast and varied; it gives them a deeper insight into the entire structure of the screenplay than the writers themselves have. Editors help writers to select the road-map they want to follow and remind them gently should they go astray. All people concerned must share a common vision, and script editors bear the burden to foster this.
The most important skills that script editors must possess are in-depth knowledge, understanding and passion for every aspect of screenplays such as style, tone, genre, structure, plot, character, dialogue, action, developmental stages, dramatist’s tools and how to make the most of them to tantalize the audience. They are the steering wheels of the screenplay and not to be considered as spare tires. They should have exceptional analytical prowess. It is preferable if they have formal education in the field or many years of experience in editing scripts. In order to function efficiently, the editors must lay out a development schedule and share it with the writer and the production executives through regular meetings and feedback. Editors must stay focused, so that they are able to produce crisp screenplays that meet the industry standards.