A script editor is an affiliate of the production panel who is responsible for managing and editing screenplays for the theater, television, films, and radio. The editor of scripts bears several clearly defined responsibilities for which he is required to have a certain amount of knowledge, skill, and experience. The editor should preferably possess some personal attributes to assist his efficient performance. The purpose of having a script editor on board is to ensure that the scripts that have been commissioned meet the required standard, conform to the norms, and are available for use at the right time. The script editor advises the concerned people working for the development and production of the screenplay right through the stages of initializing the concept, amending, and shooting. They also take care of maintaining cordial relationships among the different members of the production department. Editors help in keeping up a steady flow of communication among all the personnel. This generates a greater sense of responsibility and closer cohesiveness.
The essential characteristics of a script editor job – his degree of authority, role he plays, and the tasks he carries out – are not confined within a water-tight compartment. Working in close conjunction with writers and production in-charge, editors have to be excellent writers themselves, with a keen, discerning eye for flaws or loopholes. The process of production involves unpredictable work hours, stress, adhering to tight schedules and could be riddled with unforeseen snags. All such eventualities have to be managed and overcome by script editors. They have to produce creative ideas consistently and encourage others to do the same. They must have extensive script editing experience, thorough knowledge of copyright laws, agreements of Writers Guild, contracts, and legal implications of the production procedures. A script editor should be aware of financial constraints affecting editorial decisions. His enthusiasm and passion for the field he is working in has to be unsurpassed, in order to generate his best work and maximize output.
There are a few personal traits that will further enhance the work of a script editor. These could include (1) good interpersonal and communication skills, (2) ability to empathize with writers, (3) tact and sensitivity, (4) ability to work in collaboration with others, (5) capability to stay abreast of latest changes in professional technologies, (6) decision making skills, (7) have good power of judgment (8) cooperative, (9) possess knack for planning, coordinating, and organizing, (10) diplomatic as well as level-headed and (11) flexible. A script editor is required to proofread screenplays and improve their readability. It is important for him to keep the audience’s preferences uppermost in mind. While reshaping the script, the editor should not alter the ethos of the original writer’s tone. The editor synchronizes the ideas of the writer with those of the director by revising or re-writing a script. Late nights and nontraditional working hours are not unknown in the film and television industry. Script editors have to prioritize the work so that the rhythmic flow of production is not disturbed.