Editing a film, for Mengchao Lin, is a delicate craft. It involves many approaches, from executing a director’s vision and helping them find their voice, to helping shape an impactful and captivating story that resonates with a wide audience. It is a true art form, deciding how to best craft endless hours of footage into a cinematic masterpiece, and Lin is a dynamic artist.
Throughout her esteemed career, Lin has shown the world why she is such a celebrated editor in her home country of China and abroad. Her work on films like American Dream, Gummi Bear, Our Home Here, and many more exemplify that she is both a talented filmmaker and dedicated storyteller, and audiences and critics alike are continuously impressed with her abilities.
“Editors should never have a distinctive style, in my opinion. The cut is always to serve the story, and what is needed varies on every project. Every cut should be motivated by emotions, not controlled by the editor’s style. If you don’t notice the editing, then that is the sign of a great editor,” said Lin.
Last year, Lin saw great success once again with her comedy Free Ride. The film tells the story of a van driver who is transporting three mental patients to another state but loses one of the patients on the way. While he is looking for the missing patient, the driver picks up a hitchhiker along the way, who turns out to be a bank robber on the run from the police. Lin, who does not often work on comedies, was excited to experiment within one of her favorite genres.
“I’ve always enjoyed dark comedy. It tells a funny story in a ridiculous way. You can always feel the irony in a dark comedy, and that is my type of humor. This film will make you laugh and then spawn moments of deep thought and self-reflection,” said Lin.
Lin was asked to be a part of Free Ride by Producer Stella Li, who was looking for the best editor possible to turn the film into a hit. In a comedy, editing is extremely important to emphasize the jokes in a natural way and finding the right person for the task is even more vital. Lin was more than up for the job.
While working in post-production, Lin found the editing experience extremely enjoyable. She was constantly entertained by the actor’s funny performances. With every cut, Lin would count the laughter from the test audiences, making notes on what needed to be changed to maximize on the humor in the script and performances. To improve upon this, she changed the editing pace during key scenes in the movie by using a lot of jump cuts, therefore building up a sense of absurdity and restlessness. Once she achieved that, she was proud to show the film to audiences all over the world.
“The whole team is really fun and easygoing. Working on this project just felt like the right vibe that comedy should have, and this project really sparked my interest in the exploration of comedy,” she said.
Lin’s instincts were fruitful. Free Ride premiered at the Los Angeles Film Awards on April 2nd, 2019. It won Best Indie Short in Los Angeles Film Awards, Best comedy at the Transparent Film Festival, and Best Short in CineCina Film Festival. It was also a finalist at the Humboldt International Film Festival, and a Semi-Finalist at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. Lin is so proud to have played such a large role in the film’s success.
“Hearing the laughter of the audience was the greatest award, making all of my hard work worth it. I really appreciated having this special experience of comedy making. After making this successful comedy, I really want to explore more with the genre,” she said.
With an impressive skill set, Lin’s potent combination of strong visual style, ingenuity, technical skill and keen emotional tone has established her a talent of significant range and ability. However, it’s her aesthetic loyalty, unwavering commitment to collaboration, and upholding the integrity of the filmmaker’s original vision that has really qualified her as an in-demand asset in the film world.