“Guardians of the Galaxy” film editor Fred Raskin spoke during a Q&A session yesterday in the Pollock Theater as a part of a three week series by the Carsey-Wolf Center called “Focus On: The Editor.”
Film and Media Studies professor Joshua Moss, who is also Raskin’s friend, interviewed the film editor about his work, which includes “Boogie Nights,” “All the Pretty Horses” and “Kill Bill 1 and 2.” Raskin also transitioned into editing for Justin Lin on “Better Luck Tomorrow,” “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” “Fast Five,” “Django Unchained” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” His next project will be Quentin Tarantino’s next film “The Hateful Eight,” a film about bounty hunters in post-Civil War Wyoming.
Raskin said he began working on films right after graduating from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and worked with James Gunn on one of his first jobs, a 1997 comedy called “Tromeo & Juliet.” Raskin said he and Gunn had kept in touch since their work on that project, and that it was he who invited him to work on “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
According to Raskin, he was more involved with “Guardians of the Galaxy” than any other movie he has worked on in the past, mostly because meeting with the Marvel executives about the project took an extensive amount of time. According to Raskin, meetings would take about three hours every day.
“We would all sit in a room and we would talk about everything from how we are going to tackle one particular scene that might be problematic, to how we were going to restructure the first third of the movie for what we’re going to shoot when it comes to the additional photography phase of the movie,” Raskin said.
Raskin said a particularly difficult aspect of his work on the film involved the challenges posed by fleshing out the character of Ronan, the film’s villain.
“Probably the biggest problem the story had was the villain storyline,” Raskin said. “That Ronan’s motives weren’t entirely clear and he just wasn’t so well-developed so a lot of the recent material was there to make his goals more focused.”
According to Moss, the strong point of “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the way the characters interact with one another while dealing with the orb, as the character interaction among “these five misfits” succeeds in conveying each character arc.
“When I first saw it, what was interesting to me was the slapstick comedy bit where they’re all grabbing the orb early on in the film,” Moss said. “Is important because it sets up the idea that the orb gets to be something everybody else wants. The orb is the way we get to see characters but it’s not what the movie is really about.”
Raskin said another challenging aspect of “Guardians of the Galaxy” was working with the comedic elements of the film.
“In terms of comedy, we determined what jokes worked and what jokes didn’t and that’s the kind of thing that you feel when you watch the movie with an audience,” Raskin said.
According to film and media studies undergraduate advisor Joe Palladino, the “Focus On: The Editor” series includes people with various positions in the film industry.
“We’ve had a ‘Focus on: Directors,’ we had a ‘Focus on: Music Videos,’ we had a ‘Focus on: Sound,’ so we wanted to do a ‘Focus on Editing,’” Palladino said. “We do a lot of screen writing stuff, the script to screen stuff, so we wanted to look at different people who maybe understand. They appreciate and try to bring someone in and give that person a little bit of a spotlight.”
Palladino said the goal with Raskin’s presentation was to highlight the importance of the work of editors and other positions in the industry do that typically do not receive as much attention from audiences.
“The editors are often people that are ignored and so we are looking at editors now for the series,” Palladino said. “There are a lot of students who say ‘I want to be a director,’ but there are so many other creative things, so we start presenting them with other creative fields. The idea of the Pollock programming is to give everyone a wide spectrum of film.”