Spotlight: Paul Bernays – Editor

Who is Paul Bernays?

I am an experienced editor and a great collaborator. Passionate about compelling storytelling, visual flow and the odd, finely-tuned nuance.

How did your career path develop?

I spliced audio tape and cine film as a child – anything I could lay my hands on – then took a filmmaking degree at the London College of Printing (a few years later an exec asked me if I was Oxford or Cambridge, to which I replied: ‘Elephant and Castle actually’).

I’ve been lucky to work with and learn from some greats: my first job was with the fantastic filmmaker Molly Dineen and later I assisted Dai Vaughan, who cut Roger Graef’s original groundbreaking observational documentaries.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

Helping to make films and programmes that have been watched and enjoyed by thousands, sometimes millions of people. Right now I’m fascinated by how changing technologies give us amazing scope to explore new ways to tell and understand stories.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

I’m proud of all the work I’ve contributed fully and in the right way for that particular project to become the very best it can be. My favourite is a BBC film about Mose Allison, a blues singer I’m a huge fan of. I cut and honed the film until each edit felt exactly right.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Be open, friendly and hard-working. Editing is highly collaborative and it’s about taking on the director’s vision and aiming every decision toward that. Essentially, you choose shots and try agreed creative ideas.

You’ve got to take risks – but don’t take long about them, judge their success or move on quickly. With less skill and experience it’s like a long journey down a spiral staircase to get to the places the film needs to be but you learn to just jump and hit a lot of those points in single leaps!

View Paul’s portfolio.