Works in Progress: Sandra Adair’s Twenty-Two Year Collaboration with Richard Linklater

Oscar Nominee and 'Boyhood' Editor Sandra Adair to Speak at 2015 NAB Show. (Image provided by: National Association of Broadcasters).

Oscar Nominee and ‘Boyhood’ Editor Sandra Adair to Speak at 2015 NAB Show.
(Image provided by: National Association of Broadcasters).

Reflect upon your life for a moment. What is the longest working relationship you ever had? 1 year? 5 years? Maybe 10 years? For many of us, working with a singular person or company for even 10 years is practically unfathomable. Interests evolve, people move on to different opportunities, life changes.

For 22 years now, Sandra Adair, A.C.E., has had a creative working relationship with Golden Globe winning, Oscar-nominated screenwriter-director Richard Linklater, of recent Boyhood acclaim. During this time, Adair edited numerous memorable films for Linklater: Dazed and Confused, the ambitious “Before” trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and most notably, Golden Globe Best Picture, Drama winner Boyhood.

Boyhood is about a young boy, Mason, as we follow him through the difficult and rewarding moments of his adolescence. Instead of casting an older version of Mason, like most other films would have done, Linklater broke the mold by taking on the challenge of filming over a span of 12 years with not just the same boy playing Mason but the entire cast as well.

Watching the film, I was fascinated with how one goes about editing down 12 years worth of material into a three-hour feature film. Keep in mind that in film, what you see on screen is just a small snippet of multiple takes done by the actors. Not only are there multiple takes, but also different angled shots and various distance shots. With all these options to choose from, how did Adair go about making her decisions in the editing room? What was her approach? Did she focus on the normal moments which, for some reason, people vividly remember in their lives? Or is it the monumental moments that are difficult to forget?

At the upcoming NAB Show held in Las Vegas, NV from April 11-April 16, 2015, Adair will speak with USC professor, editor, and writer, Norm Hollyn about working with Linklater for 22 years, and discussing their work on Boyhood that led her to an Academy Award Nomination for Best Achievement in Film Editing.

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