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Editing Everything Everywhere All At Once

4 minute read

Top ten quotes from Paul Rogers, Oscar-winning editor, and friend of the Daniels.

The way Paul Rogers met writer/director Daniel Scheinert is plucked straight out of a movie. In 2013, Rogers moved from Alabama to Los Angeles. Over the course of a year, he challenged himself to say yes to any invitation that came his way…which is how he ended up roller skating at Daniel Scheinert’s birthday party. He didn’t know him. A friend had invited him. He also met writer/director Daniel Kwan (collectively known as the Daniels) that night. By the end of the night, he knew he had met his people.

Cut to March 2023…He’s now an Academy Award, BAFTA, and ACE Award winner for his editing on awards season juggernaut Everything Everywhere All At Once. We’ve rounded up our favorite quotes from Steve Hullfish’s interview with Rogers. You can listen to the full podcast episode here.

Top 10 Quotes

Early on, they (the Daniels) brought me into Dan Kwan’s office and they went through it for two hours. I remember just having this kind of counter on my hand every time I cried during the pitch. It was so emotional when they pitched it to me. I was a pretty new dad. The first year or so after you have a kid, you're just an emotional wreck and just so vulnerable and open. The film is also an emotional story, but they pitched it to me as “we want to make a film, and then we want to break that film, and then we want it to rebuild itself.”

15618_e04LnD_5pngEvelyn (Michelle Yeoh) starts to see beyond the laundromat she runs. Image © A24

You can narratively layout that these two people (mother-daughter, played by Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu) aren't on the same page or emotionally connected to each other, and people will accept that, but whether or not you make them care about that is a whole different story. Just laying that out by itself doesn't make people invest in it.

15618_bDcoJp_7pngThe award for Best Dressed Antagonist goes to Joy (Stephanie Hsu). Image © A24

I think, in a big way, the role of an editor is to be a kind of barometer of truth. Empathy was something that we discussed a lot on this film. One of the goals of the film was if people come out of this with a greater sense of empathy, that would be a huge success.

15618_3zz17r_8pngWaymond Wang (Ke Huay Kwan) gets a papercut. Image © A24

We learned pretty quickly that Michelle's superpower as an actress is her incredible ability to listen when someone is delivering a line around her. I could just be on Michelle listening and reacting and internalizing. You can see the words seeping into her through her face. It's incredible.

I like to watch dailies as if I'm just a fan of the story: to find those moments when you're leaning in, and when you don't want it to stop.

15618_OM9XQl_6pngThe Daniels’ “playpen” mentality has never been more on show than in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Image © A24

I think you've got to be able to give yourself a break and say, “I'm going to go work on the thing that I'm excited about.” Maybe it's not as important to the film in general, but at this point, it’s important for me to be excited again, and that can happen by skimming through footage.

I feel like I've learned this little magic recipe for myself; a little dose of technical knowledge, a little dose of confidence in my ability, a little self-doubt, and a need to prove myself. It’s all a balance and if one of them gets out of whack, then I'm in bad shape.

15618_J2AXfi_3pngWe’re gonna need a montage. Image © A24

Sometimes I find it necessary to remind ourselves that we're making a movie, it’s fun and it's silly that we're getting to do that. We are like kids who were never told to stop playing, and then we're rewarded for it and given money to do it. We should embrace that and not get so serious about it all the time so sometimes I'll take a dramatic scene and I’ll recut it, I’ll change everything and cut it as a comedy scene or an action scene or a horror scene, just to surprise the directors and show it to them as a joke or put a funny sound effect just for the next screening to make them laugh.

A lot of this movie relied on us being able to show what the heck was going to be there eventually. So we would mock together so much in Premiere without having to go to After Effects. It's really powerful in that way. Not having to get a bunch of temp VFX and get a temp mix or some temp sound designed from anywhere except for ourselves. We'd be working up until the hour before the screening and that was really valuable to be able to do that. I think that in Premiere, that's the only way that I imagined that could have happened.

You think this is a fun, silly movie, and then by the end of it, you're questioning your ideas of masculinity, parenthood, and empathy. That's why we work well together because these are things that we think about a lot as people.

Want more? Learn how the visual effects team used Boris FX Mocha Pro and Continuum on the film.

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