A film editor’s salary covers the costs of filming a film (including props, costumes, transportation, film equipment, and other related items), as well as studio time (including the costs of film production, post-production, post-production editing, audio edit, sound mix, and sound mastering).
Film editors are paid on a base pay basis. In the absence of compensation, film editors generally accept assignments that provide them with a fixed salary based on the number of days worked.
Most film editor pay is fixed on a monthly basis and is paid on a three month advance. The first, third and tenth month’s payments generally are fixed, but if a deadline is set the next payment cycle could be delayed until the film is in post-production. When a film reaches production, the next installment of wages is determined by whether the film is completed.
As of January 2016, the minimum for a motion picture editor’s annual stipend was $54,400.00, according to the Motion Picture Editors Guild of America’s Compensation Section. This amount falls in line with comparable film editing jobs elsewhere in the US, and is a lot more than what many film students may pay their dream job, as low as $17,000 per year or less.
In recent years the wages of motion picture editors in the US have remained stagnant, with the US median wage for film editors in 2014 being $47,000.00. That is the same wage level that I earned a decade ago.
I currently earn about $40,000 per year, and have been lucky to maintain a good relationship with a wonderful editor, but, to be honest, it has been challenging to find a position with a substantial pay rise.
I’m considering a position for full-time editing on the same budget as this page.
About film editors
Film editing can take many forms, such as:
Script editing (for television and feature filmmaking)
Pre-production editorial (for feature films with television or feature television deals, or for productions with limited budgets)
Production post-production editing
Sound mix and mastering
Post-edit and final post-production post-production visual effects
In a typical film edit, the director or production company, among others, have many editors working on a movie script. The work of an editor is critical to each chapter of a film — from character designs down through dialogue and direction, to music and sound effects, to post-
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