Written by Malin Evita
Last week’s guest on Making It: Women in Film is actress and editor Summer Spiro. She sat down to talk about editing as music, the way it shapes and maintains the narrative for the audience, and what she learned from having to edit a web series she was the lead actress in. Listen to all that and more on Spotify – or wherever you get your podcasts: “#38 | The Music of Editing with Summer Spiro.”
Summer wasn’t originally supposed to star in the web series “PLATONIC”—an LGBTQ+ miniseries about modern relationships. Solely editing. But when the creator, Erin C. Buckley, told her that her actress had to drop out, Summer got reading and learned all her lines one week before filming. “I love a challenge, so I did it!” she says. But the most challenging was yet to come, waiting for her in the editing room.
You have heard of the actors who never watch their movies or shows; actors who hide in the bathroom when the film is screening at the premiere. Or musicians who haven’t listened to their releases. And at first, it might seem odd – we love what they do, why wouldn’t they want to see that themselves too? But have you ever listened to your own recorded voice? Realised that it wasn’t like you had always heard it, and then immediately started to wish you never spoke to another person again? Almost every single person I know feels this way. They hate the voice they hear from their phone, but not their head. And yet, I never find their ‘real’ voice annoying; I probably haven’t even thought anything of it before.
When you have an idea, a perception, of how you look, how you sound, how you smile, how you look when you laugh or scream or cry… Confronting that it isn’t so can be incredibly challenging. We are hypercritical of ourselves in ways we would never think of another person. What we love about them might be their worst insecurity. I faced this when I first started editing the Making It: Women in Film podcast. I had to listen to hours of myself talk, and I was in agony. As I spoke with my guests, I had no fears and no worries. But having to listen back to it? Again and again and again? And then publish it for the world to hear? Dreadful.
After filming, Summer had hours of footage to sort through, put together, replay, cut, replay, and cut again. Different lights, different angles, different expressions. She saw herself in a way she never had before. “That was one of the hardest things I have ever, ever done,” she says, “I would just sit in front of the computer for hours and, like, barely make any progress.”
It was a challenge, no doubt about it. And she doesn’t imagine she will do it again either, but she can’t deny how much she has learned from the experience. “Yeah, I just learned a ton on that project; about myself and performance…” she says, “you have to kind of just get over yourself and just do the damn thing!”
There is this threshold most people who put themselves ‘out there’ face. At some point after pushing through that threshold and hearing and seeing your work again and again and again—you come to accept it. You come to realise that what you do is meaningful to so many and that they’ve probably never even thought twice about what keeps you up at night.
“I have to remind myself that other people’s humanism is what I love.”Summer Spiro
It’s tough. And it is not for everyone. Most creative people have this, near overprotective, quality for their work. Whether it be writing they want people to read but they don’t want feedback on—or an actor who doesn’t want to watch their finished film because they will overanalyse what they should or shouldn’t have done. Your creativity is profoundly connected to you with an intimacy some people might never understand. Confronting it won’t make you love the ‘faults’ you see, but it will give you a chance to come to peace with it and let it go. Let it be.
“It really is just about accepting yourself,” Summer says, “as an artist, there is no such thing as perfection, there is no such thing as doing it right, getting it right. You try to tell the truth and then you try to do it your best and you have to just let it go.”
Summer spoke with me about much more than just this—if you want to hear and learn more about the craft of editing, her experience moving to L.A., and her best advice for the aspiring, jump into our full conversation now available on Spotify—or wherever you get your podcasts.
Making It: Women in Film is a weekly podcast featuring in depth conversation with women working across all fields in the film and TV industry. From editing, writing, directing, casting, costume designing, and so much more. Have a look at our guests and read some of their profiles!
Written by Malin Evita
Evita is the host and producer of the podcast, Instagram curator, and a writer focused on script, cultural commentary, and film analysis. She is a Vocal grand prize winner and currently studies Professional Writing at college. Through storytelling, she aims to amplify empathy and human connectivity.