‘Flawless’ Filmmaking: A talk with Editor Jing Wang

Growing up in Guangzhou, China, Jing Wang loved watching movies and television shows. She loved that they were a visual way to tell a story, and she loved storytelling. She often wrote her own tales of funny things that surrounded her, from fiction to horror, even as a child, and the more she was exposed to movies, the more she wanted to one day make them herself.

Now, Wang is living that childhood dream as a distinguished film editor. She has been instrumental in bringing many award-winning films to life, such as Burgeoning, Catch Me, Headphone, and more. She is incredibly versatile, spanning across all genres with ease, keeping the story at the forefront of her focus with each and every project.

One of Wang’s newest films is Flawless, a unique story that embodies elements of drag culture and horror. A cautionary tale about a drag queen who succumbs to the darkness inside her when faced with losing her relevance, the film tells the story of drag queen Holiday.With her performances becoming less popular, Holiday must do everything in her power to keep her spotlight alive, even if that means killing her competition.

“I found reading the script was very impressive because it affected the sadness of the new generation replacing the old one, and the dark side of humanity. Revealing the hidden side of people’s hearts has always been my favorite subject since this kind of story will test the editor in developing storytelling and extracting the high-light acting skills of the actors in the performance. I will never miss a project like this that I can really challenge myself with,” said Wang.

When Wang first began working on Flawless and was going through the footage, she realized the director used many long shots. This created a conflict between the director and the producer. The director wished to use all the long shots in order to pave the way for the character’s emotions, but the producer wanted to use shorter shots, because the use of long shots can bore the audience. This created some challenges for Wang, as they are two very differing opinions for her to make come together as an editor. She needed to find the balance, which meant cutting out any useless parts and keeping the emotional scenes. This challenge may have intimidated less skillful editors, but it excited Wang.

“My favorite part of this project was listening. To attend to the director’s opinions, and the effect he wanted to achieve, as well as the opinions of the producer, and her concerns, it was a fun challenge. I collected the opinions of both sides and then put their suggestions into the editing in a harmonious way. They also gave me a lot of creative space to let me freely play some footage to achieve the effect of the main character going crazy. The whole film has very few dialogues, most of which are Holiday alone with her inner emotional changes, so these are the places that allowed me to try some experimental editing,” said Wang.

Flawless premiered at Film Row Cinema on December 6th, 2019. It is expected to make its way to festivals later this year. Wang was very honored to once again see her name roll through the credits, hearing the applause of the audience. It was moments like that where she really understood the main character, Holiday, and her love of the stage. It is just how Wang feels about her love of editing. 

“I really admire the character of Holiday. She insists on the stage, refuses to lose, and wants to stand on the stage to perform forever. People only go crazy about things they love. It is very crucial to understand this kind of madness, which is why I used the slowest possible pace to show everything Holiday did for the stage, her love. Even if suffering from leg pains, she still wants to stand on the stage. It is a lesson for the editor to understand the inner activities of the character and the rhythm of the story,” she concluded.

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