“Everything everywhere at once” Diversity of editing

Editor Paul Rogers discusses how his collaborative editing process allowed the filmmakers to perfect each of the film’s universes.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is deliberately impressive on every level – visually, sonically and structurally. It combines stories as diverse as an IRS audit, a romance between women with hot dogs for fingers, a nihilistic supervillain’s quest to destroy the universe in response to parental abuse, and some rocks being rocks.

The bombast of different universes, the seriously silly relationships between them, and the stunning action sequences all help the film to create a mix of tones and elements that make Daniels’ film overwhelming without being exhausting. And thanks to editor Paul Rogers, who weaves together method and madness, the emotional journey and relationships that are central to Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) are never lost in the narrative cacophony.

More: ‘Everything Everywhere at Once’: How Son Lux’s Maximalist Score Fits Daniels’ Multiverse Adventure

“The visuals are flourishing, and the kind of aesthetic experimental thing we did was the candy we got to eat. Like, that was the fun thing we got to do,” Rogers told IndieWire. “We were banging our heads against the wall: ‘Are these characters cast?’ Who do you sympathize with? Can you follow Evelyn’s emotional journey as she tracks this crazy supervillain’s daughter across the multiverse? Then throw in Jamie Lee Curtis’s character and the love story in another universe between him and Evelyn – it’s going to be a lot. And they all held each other up. So if one didn’t work, the whole movie didn’t work. We put a lot of thought into this.”

Evelyn becomes the strongest, fastest, and best version of herself by embracing the strengths of the people she loves most, so perhaps it’s fitting that the editing philosophy behind Everything Everywhere All At Once was communal. Rogers describes his process as intensely, radically collaborative, using a workflow known as “swarm editing” with the postal company Parallax. This exercise allowed Rogers and directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert to work with the entire editing and post team to make the film the best it could be.

Stephanie Hsu as Joy and Tallie Mendel as Becky "Everything Everywhere At Once"

“Everything everywhere at once”

Allyson Riggs

“Here at Parallax, we tend to structure it so that there’s a kind of central editor who goes through everything,” Rogers said. “That person looks at the big picture and is able to say to the other people who are editing, ‘OK, take this idea and run with it,’ and not have the rest of the film weigh you down. or what comes before it and what comes after it.”

The central editor can also delegate tasks to the rest of the team that may detract from a brilliant move. “For example, search for all matches, regardless of context,” Rogers said. “So if there’s a great action in this scene, but they’re 20 pages apart in the script, it doesn’t matter. I just want to see you experiment visually. And you can give someone else a dialogue scene and tell them to cut it as a comedy, then cut it as a drama, then cut it as a thriller, then cut it as a horror film. Let’s see what comes out of this.”

This kind of approach fits very well with the Daniels’ ethos of giving every artist who touches their project a sense of playfulness and a kind of summer camp experience. Rogers stepped into the role of camp counselor to organize the editing, but he trusted his staff to look at the story in an unusual way to make the scenes really sing.

“I think sometimes part of our creative process is making a huge mess and then cleaning it up,” Scheinert told IndieWire. Neither Rogers nor the Daniels invented a shared editing workflow, but they embraced it wholeheartedly. “It allows you to bring in people of different experience levels who may not have the technical knowledge or experience with the overall narrative structure, but have (the right) sensitivity,” Rogers said. “I just like to work personally, and that carries over into more traditional workflows as a narrative feature.”

Stephanie Hsu "Everything Everywhere At Once"

“Everything everywhere at once”

Allyson Riggs/A24

Rogers and Daniels strived to let ideas come from wherever they come, beyond the traditional version of Adobe Premiere. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was edited using the beta version of Adobe Productions, a framework that aligns with Premiere and enables increased sharing of assets and management of complex workflows. “I just wanted a pipeline or a direct line for troubleshooting if we needed it. Then Adobe said, “Hey, it sounds like you guys might want to use this kind of secret thing we’re working on,” so we had to use the (Productions) app before it came out, and we had one type of each. technical support,” Rogers said. “This film could not have been made without such technology.”

The technology may be advanced, but Rogers and the Everything Everywhere All at Once team more or less recreated the feeling of a bunch of college students editing something together in a dorm. Through various experiments, editors in the swarm can find unexpected moments of connection and see what works, regardless of how it is used, and piece the story together into a bigger picture.

Read more: “Everything everywhere at once”: Joy in a dozen glances

In Everything Everywhere All at Once, Rogers found that experimenting with the remapping tool, which allows editors to use keyframes to set the clip’s speed (marking the start and end points), brought rhythm and emotion even also in everyday things. dialogue scenes. “(Danielle) shot most of the movie in overdrive, where you can jump into slow motion at any time,” Rogers said. “So we realized that there are times when even in a non-action scene or an action scene, you can prologue a reaction, a look, or speed up a hand gesture or something to add musicality.”

The sense of intent in the characters’ movements helps set the film’s many tones. Actions in slow motion or sped up dictate the rhythm of the film’s fight scenes, giving us the first indication of just how badass Alpha Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) is. He adds comedic moments, such as Harry Shum’s despair at the loss of his good friend Raccacoonie. In addition, it also takes the viewer through Evelyn’s emotional experience, the separation and finally mastering the multiverse. Evelyn walking up a flight of stairs has a time-dilating and oversized sound effect, and instead of distracting the viewer, it makes the film’s climax even more comprehensible.

Michelle Yeoh in Everywhere at once

“Everything everywhere at once”

Allyson Riggs/A24

It is the deliberate, heightened emphasis that gives the film’s high emotional beats the importance. The cut shows that amidst all the noise, chaos and fun, Evelyn and Joy’s confrontation isn’t just part of the visual language – it’s what makes the film look and feel the way it does.

An important part of the editing process was regular screenings of the film as he worked on it. “We screened it almost every two weeks. It was a wrap, so we were on Zoom, so we’re going to have six friends (watch a cut),” Rogers said. “It was good because it was an excuse to see our friends during a scary time, you know? And that came from Matthew Hannam, who cut “Swiss Army Man,” who is a really incredible editor. He instituted a policy of “We’ll screen this every two weeks, wherever we are.” And it’s a scary thing, you know, as an editor. Because you say, “It’s not ready yet. It’s not good yet. But it’s very useful and exciting and scary, and you already know what works and what doesn’t.”

The screenings even had an advantage over Zoom, where Rogers and Daniels had their friends keep their cameras on while they watched. “If we’ve done a screening in person, we’re all sitting facing the screen and then I can see people’s shoulders moving or if they’re looking at their phones. But I stared at people’s faces at a Zoom screening. I could see them getting distracted. I could see if they were laughing. I saw people get emotional.”

Rogers also credits the longer, open editing process with changing the way he thinks about his craft. Before Everything Everywhere At Once, “I’ve worked a lot in my career with a mindset like, ‘I’m the first one in last, and I’m the last one who works longer and harder than everyone else. . And the more exhausted I am, the prouder I am.” But working with The Daniels, assistant editors Zekun Mao and Aashish D’Mello, consulting editor Luke Lynch (he helped fine-tune many of the action scenes), and Rogers’ Parallax team, Rogers found that mindset is completely unrelated to successful editing.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE AT ONCE, from left: Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Yeoh, 2022. ph: Allyson Riggs /© A24 / Courtesy of Everett Collection

“Everything everywhere at once”

Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Giving each other the grace and space to take care of other aspects of their lives while locked up has allowed for even more inspired moments, with someone always pushing the editor forward. “The ethos like, ‘Let’s work long hours, not see our families, let’s go into the ground’? It doesn’t improve the work at all. It’s no use for work.”

What enhances Rogers’ work is the sense of play and enthusiasm that comes from the collaboration. “The great thing about swarm is if I’m sitting (editing with someone) and somebody’s cousin’s friend’s grandmother walks by and has a good idea, I get up out of my chair and give her the keyboard,” Rogers said. . “Only the ideas themselves should be embraced as valuable. And those ideas can come from anywhere.” And sometimes these ideas come from everywhere at once.

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