The Assistant Editor

This Week's Film Crew 101 Guest:

Our guest today is the awesome Kale Whorton. He is a first assistant editor whose AE credits include the TV series The United States of Tara, Weeds, and Orange is the New Black as well as films such as Bumblebee, Black Panther, and most recently I'm Your Woman. 

Listen To The Episode Here:




The First Assistant Editor

The First Assistant Editor deals with everything that comes in or goes out of the editing room. Anything that goes to the editor must pass through the AE first. They receive dailies and process them. They making sure that files are in a format that is familiar to the editor. Additionally, they ensure that all metadata is correct so it can be traced back to the higher resolution material online.

First Assistant Editors often work in a managerial capacity as they are responsible for any other assistant editors working on the project. This means delegating work to other members of the editorial department. The First Assistant Editor also works with the director to help find suitable stock footage and music for the project.

Their main role is to have an editing room that runs smoothly and efficiently so that the editor has everything they need to make the best movie possible.


What’s a First Assistant Editor good at?

Organization:  AE's need to be good organizers since they are often required to go through hundreds of footage files each day. They need to label and sort them so they are easily accessed by the editor. 

People-Skills: The AE must have good people skills and be someone that the editor enjoys being around since they are often together in close quarters for long periods. Additionally, the AE is often a liaison between the set and the editorial team. They regularly speak to people from different departments who all have their own specific needs and requests. 

Research: AE's must be able to find appropriate temp footage and music. Here, a good eye for research is necessary as they are going through large databases to find suitable material for the film. 


Who does a First Assistant Editor work with?

The First Assistant Editor primarily works with the film's editor. They can also work frequently with the director, the DIT, and the script supervisor.


How do I become a First Assistant Editor? 

Many First Assistant Editors begin as a set or office PA then move across to a post-production PA position. From there, through hard work, tenacity, and a willingness to learn, they can move up to the AE position. 


What is the salary range?

First Assistant Editors can often make between $39,000 to $87,000 a year. Overall salaries can vary heavily based on if their shows are union or non-union.


Learn more about our guest and host: 

Learn More About Kale Wharton:

Learn More About Amy Janes:


Thank you to our sponsors at the OKMPA!

Learn more about filming in Oklahoma:



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If you have ever dreamt about working in film and television but don’t know where to start, we invite you to get certified with Film Crew 101.


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