James Page – Editor

Who is James Page?

I’m an editor, originally from deep, dark Warwickshire, now living in London. I cut features, documentaries and the occasional promo.

How did your career path develop?

Whilst at university I helped start an in-house video production company, which meant I was producing, directing, shooting and editing small corporate and live events instead of having to work at McDonald’s. One summer holiday, along with other students I made a feature length drama, which won a Royal Television Society award, and that helped me get an assistant role at the BBC in Birmingham for a short while. I then bit the bullet and moved to London, living in horrible depressing flats with nightmare landlords. I edited anything and everything – mostly terrible stuff – but picked up scraps of money and experience along the way.

At the same time I was constantly working for free on short films until one of the directors, who helmed factual TV by day, got me on board to edit a taster for a documentary. That led to the eventual producer hiring me to cut the film, so my first proper TV job was cutting a feature length documentary! It was a baptism of fire but I learned a huge amount and it gave me just enough credibility to get work on other TV projects. From there on it’s been word of mouth and just pushing and pushing for more opportunities, continuing to knock on doors.

What’s your greatest achievement/s so far?

No matter how corny it may sound, being self-sustaining and doing something I really enjoy in order to make a living, even if often difficult and frustrating. Also, making my parents proud of my efforts is the thing I take most solace from.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

Ironically, the thing I’m most proud of is something that has been lost forever! I did a little found-footage news report assembled from existing TV shows, films and news bulletins, which postulated a fictional epidemic of fat people that was destroying the world, a global catastrophe in the style of War of the Worlds. It was the most pure example of how powerful editing can be that I’ve ever done, and something I was so proud of. But sadly, it got lost in a hard drive crash! Now I keep multiple backups of everything – lesson learnt!

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

I think what I’ve learned is that actually it’s more important to be a nice person that people want to be around than it is to be super brilliant, yet arrogant or unkind. “Attitude beats Aptitude”, especially when you’re starting out in your career. So often you’ll see students or new starters straining to let you know what they already know, to prove that they belong, when in truth it’s counterproductive. Nobody expects you to know much, they just want you to be nice, helpful and proactive.

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