Life After LFA: A Journey into Film Editing with Alumni Philip Brereton

02 April 2024

We're diving into the inspiring journey of former LFA student Philip Brereton. Now, an accomplished Assistant Editor, with notable works including All of Us Strangers, The Ant Farm, Big Boys and Brave New World. Philip is sharing his experiences, challenges, and valuable insights for those also looking to pursue a career in Editing

For Philip, the journey began with a love for films. Since his teenage years, he has found solace and fascination with all things cinema, spending countless hours watching and appreciating films.  

However, like many, he initially hesitated to turn this love into an occupation, with fears and uncertainties that it might not be a viable one. 

I always thought it was quite a daunting and risky passion to turn it into a career.

Philip Brereton

What inspired you to take that leap and pursue a career in filmmaking with LFA? 

The LFA course seemed to be better than most and when I looked around the school, I got a good feeling.

Philip Brereton

It wasn't until later in life that Philip decided to explore his love of filmmaking and attend LFA. It became a pivotal moment in his newfound filmmaking career and the comprehensive curriculum offered at LFA allowed him to explore various aspects of filmmaking, ultimately leading him to discover his true passion for Editing. 

Through practical hands-on experience and exposure to different facets of filmmaking, Philip found his niche and honed his skills. 

How did you find the transition from education into the industry? 

We covered all aspects of filmmaking at LFA, including cinematography, directing, writing and editing, which made the transition easier.

Philip Brereton

While going from the structured environment of a film school to the dynamic and ever-changing world of filmmaking posed its own set of challenges for Philip, he felt well-equipped with the technical skills acquired at LFA.  

Having a holistic approach, like the one LFA encourages, makes you a better craftsperson because you know more about each department and how they contribute on set.

Philip Brereton

This grounding and desire to always be learning fostered during his time at LFA, meant Philip could embrace each opportunity and see it as a chance to grow and adapt in a constantly changing industry.

How have you continued to find Editing opportunities and roles? 

I'll work on a project, and I'll meet someone. Maybe they're a runner or a camera operator, and then they'll remember me six months later and we'll work on something else. I get a lot of work experience through this collaboration and networking.

Philip Brereton

Philip's journey into the industry has been an example of the importance of collaborative efforts. Networking and seeking opportunities have both been paramount in finding new and exciting Editing roles.  

Whether it's assisting on feature films or connecting with seasoned editors through cold emails, Philip's proactive approach has opened doors to new experiences and invaluable connections. 

Philip used this method of reaching out to his favourite editors for guidance, becoming a new way to connect with inspirational industry experts. Little did Philip know that one of them, Jonathan Alberts, would respond and offer invaluable advice and editing opportunities. This initial contact led to a remarkable opportunity to work as a second assistant editor on All of Us Strangers

Reflecting on his experience, Philip realised the power of networking and the importance of overcoming fear to make connections in the industry. He learned that cold emails, Facebook groups, and job forums can be effective tools for finding opportunities, but above all, he discovered the impact of simple kindness in forging meaningful professional relationships.  

How do you embrace technological changes within the Editing world? 

I have to constantly teach myself new things because when editing software changes you need to be able to adapt. The more varied your skill set the more useful you'll be.

Philip Brereton

In an ever-evolving industry, adaptability is key. Philip emphasises the importance of staying updated with new technologies and being open to acquiring new skills on the job.  

I taught myself new skills like special effects work in my evenings and weekends. It's important to practice these skills and to be open to roles that might require you to learn a bit on the job.

Philip Brereton

Whether it's mastering editing software or delving into special effects, embracing change is essential for growth in the Editing field. 

What advice would you give to aspiring Editors? 

Seize every opportunity, don't be afraid to reach out to industry professionals, and never stop honing your craft.

Philip Brereton

Philip's journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and passion. His advice to aspiring editors is simple yet profound. Whether it's editing short films in your spare time or sending cold emails to your idols, every step counts towards your journey as an Editor. 

What's next? 

As Philip continues his filmmaking journey, his aspirations remain focused on editing bigger projects and making a mark in the film and television industry.  

You can check out One French Summer, a recent short film Philip edited, and stay tuned for Vanilla, a feature currently in the film festival submission process. 

It’s clear that with determination and an Editing passion, Philip's journey is a testament to the endless possibilities that await aspiring editors, reminding us that with passion, perseverance, and a willingness to embrace change, anything is possible in the world of filmmaking.  

To all the budding editors out there let Philip's journey inspire you as you embark on your own path to success.