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Editor Shuo Wang creates new experimental film 'A Mistake'
Shuo Wang takes on her role as an editor in two different and distinct methods: she plays into both the internal and the external sides of a film. The internal aspect is focusing on her own ideas, showing the details of the emotion through her work, adding to the drama and heightening the story. The external aspect involves taking the ideas of her team and translating them into her work. She listens to the directors and producers, accurately interpreting their thoughts and ideas on adjustments and cuts.

"For story development, I like to make it a little more fast paced to tighten the story and make more dramatic changes if necessary. However, for some important moments, I like to slow down the pace to show more details. Cross cutting and reaction shots are my frequent style while editing conversation scenes," she said.

This unique style has allowed Wang to rise to the top of her industry in China, a prolific editor in her home country and abroad. Known for her work in acclaimed films like Outlander, Mire, Somewhere Between and 100 Days Under, Wang knows just how to tell a story through the use of editing. 

One of Wang's passion projects is her new film A Mistake. The story, which Wang created herself, tells the story of a thief who tries to steal a wallet from a student's backpack. He achieves his goal but ends up losing his keys that the student then finds. The two characters end up in a chase to find each other for these opposite purposes. 

As an editor, Wang enjoys trying different styles, genres, types of narratives, and documentaries. Different types of footage and elements in different stories give her comprehensive perspectives, so she was eager to take on a film like A Mistake, which shoots on 16mm film rather than digitally. 

"The story is interesting and could happen in real life. It has a clear structure from setup, climax to payoff. Fast cutting between each shot builds up the tensions of the story. The story itself is a coincidence. With the fast cutting, the story is more dramatic," said Wang.

Wang had an advantage when editing A Mistake compared to other projects, as she started working on the film during pre-production rather than post. This allowed her to prepare the shot list very clearly and even the continuity between each shot well before starting shooting. During shooting, she was able to get an idea of how exactly she would structure the film.

When it came time for editing, Wang focused on the story and continuity rather than artistic and complex cuts. At the first cut, she edited almost all the shots in order from setup, climax and payoff. Then she began to look back through all the footage and found some shots had similar function, but the motion was not exactly the same. She then tried to cut out some similar shots and keep each one of them. Continuity between shots by shots is a big concern before she starts editing, but as most of the shots can cut on motion, that is not a big issue for the second cut. After finishing the second cut, she was happy with the flow of the film.

"As the editor, I am like the hands and eyes for the director to help them express their ideas through the editing timeline. Working on this film allowed me to learn more about how to control the pacing exactly in every point. Now, I can apply all these theories and skills to other films, which is the goal when you work on any new project. I improved my ability on how to choose similar shots and decide which one is better," she said.

A Mistake premiered earlier this year in San Francisco and has already gone on to great success at many festivals. It was a Semi-Finalist at AltFF Alternative Film Festival and an Official Selection at the Independent Shorts Awards and Open Window International Film Challenge. Wang could not be prouder of her film, knowing she was a vital element in making it such a success.

"I am glad to receive so many affirmations and praises from film professionals. This is the first time I did editing work for an experimental film. Before the screening, I was not sure what kind of feedback I would receive or if the audience would understand the film's message. But after getting all the feedback and comments, I was relieved. The positive comments give me the courage to explore the diversity of editing techniques and theories in the future," she concluded.

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