Brian Funck is a film and television editor based in Boston. His work has been seen in theaters and at film festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca, Full Frame, and AFI Docs. He's also edited for networks such as CBS, PBS, Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, and others.
Recent projects include the three-part documentary series, My Brother's Bomber, which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. He also edited and co-produced the documentary, Confronting ISIS, which won a George Foster Peabody Award.
Brian is regularly involved in the heavy lifting stages of post-production: finding the story, combing interviews and transcripts, helping to create a workable structure. He's worked with and without a script, and with all manner of post-production teams. An experienced musician, he also frequently collaborates with directors and producers to select and edit music that complements their films.
In my late twenties, I left a music career to pursue filmmaking. I quickly discovered that film editing is often described in musical terms: the editor sets a tempo, finds a rhythm, plays the “beats” of a scene. Carol Littleton, who cut E.T. and The Big Chill, wrote about editing that “it’s not enough to hit the notes. Playing a passage with feeling is the important thing.” I decided to try my hand at editing.
Eighteen years into it, I still feel like a musician when I edit – always practicing, playing it a different way, looping a cut and adjusting it to somehow feel right. But I try to remember one thing: the edits always serve the story and the characters. When watching a film that's well-edited, I give myself over completely to the story and hardly ever see the cuts. They become invisible. And that's gradually become my goal as an editor: that you don't really notice what I'm doing.
I often think of renowned editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now) who encourages editors to “do the most with the least.” He likens an overactive editor who constantly changes shots to a tour guide who can't stop pointing things out: “And up there we have the Sistine Ceiling, and over here we have the Mona Lisa, and, by the way, look at these floor tiles...” Frequently, Murch says, “it takes more work and discernment to decide where not to cut.”
In recent years, I've primarily been editing documentaries, which I've always found can be as surprising and affecting as the best kind of scripted feature – just a good story, told well. And I think the editor's job remains the same: find the pulse in the footage, anticipate what the audience needs just before they need it, and see if you can cover your tracks.