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Contributor Marjorie Galas offers this anecdote from Saturday's ACE Eddie Awards on Steven Spielberg's acceptance of the ACE Golden Eddie Filmaker of the Year honor:
Spielberg informed attendees at the ceremony that sitting with editors early in his career was his personal film school that taught him everything he needed to know as a director.
"When I was first starting out, the editors were the only ones who would let me hang out and watch their process," said Spielberg. "Everybody here, you are my heroes."
In addition to describing how he learned about the importance of coverage and b-roll, Spielberg shared a pivotal moment when he observed an editor salvage a poorly performed 2 1/2-minute courtroom monologue. Creating a vocal track from 40 segments of dialogue, the editor spliced together previously seen footage, creating a flashback sequence that supported the monologue.
"This was really innovative for that time period," said Spielberg. "The director hated it, but I realized I saw something that would lead to new possibilities. Editing was filmmaking."
Before leaving the stage, Spielberg acknowledged his editor of 37 years, Michael Kahn.
"I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for what you have done for my life," said Spielberg.
Kahn, adding an Eddie nomination for "Lincoln" to six previous noms, four wins and a lifetime achievement award in 2006, stood up, thanked the director and waived to the crowd.