Screenshot from the Video Essay Gunsmoke Rhythms: An Epigraphic Exploration (Katie Bird, 2018)

Re-Editing Gunsmoke is a video essay project and digital archive on the history of the American Cinema Editor’s educational film Film Editing: Interpretations and Values (1958). The project has been developed by Dr. Katie Bird.

As part of a scholarly video essay on the history of the American Cinema Editor’s Gunsmoke assignment, I am looking for filmmakers, former and current film students, or anyone who worked with the ACE Gunsmoke dailies footage in a classroom setting who are interested in contributing to a video essay and digital archive.

Call for Submissions:

I am looking for participants willing to share a recording of their edited Gunsmoke student projects AND/OR a Voice Memo Memory of working on the project. These projects and recorded memories may be used and credited in a Fair Use/Non-Profit/Scholarly Video Essay on the creative practices and history of the ACE project. Additionally, with permission, the voice memos will be made available as a digital archive connected with the video essay, so that other filmmakers, students, and educators may continue to learn from the decades of students who’ve completed this project.

Context:

The Gunsmoke assignment, as it has been lovingly or derisively named since its first introduction into film editing classrooms in the late 1950s, has become a mainstay of film school and video education for over six decades. Still widely utilized as a practical training tool for beginning filmmakers, the Gunsmoke assignment asked students to edit a continuity sequence consisting of usable dailies from the popular mid-century US television western of the same name. This educational project evolved organically from university and college educators adapting the educational short Film Editing: Interpretations and Values (1958) produced by and distributed by the honorary craft organization The American Cinema Editors (ACE) for their own hands-on classroom needs. Later on the footage became widely available on digital editing platforms like AVID and available for purchase directly in DVD or .mp4 download from the ACE website. For more on the full history and evolution of the educational film and training assignment, please see Katie Bird, “The¬†Gunsmoke¬†Assignment: Training Creative Continuity in College Editing Classrooms,” Film History 33, no. 4 (Winter 2021): 29-54. [Please see scholarly works on this website for PDF access]

Gunsmoke Video Submission:

To submit your recording or video, click the link to this dropbox folder : https://www.dropbox.com/request/o3Aot6S2fe98p7OlTMDg

  1. Submit a downloadable link or an .MP4 file (under 500mb) of a copy or recording of your student edit/remix of the Gunsmoke footage
  2. Include the following in your upload description: Your full name, year project was made, institution, course name and instructor (if you remember), software/tool you edited on
  3. By submitting to this dropbox folder, you are giving your permission for your project to be used in part or whole in the video essay and digital archive for scholarly and nonprofit purposes.

Voice Memo Submission:

To submit your voice memo, click this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/tdfJLdhaFVOX62oiOoh4

Gunsmoke Voice Memo Instructions

  1. Record a voice memo of no longer than 2 minutes
  2. Include your first name and last name (these will be edited out), when and where you first encountered the Gunsmoke Assignment (Year, Institution, Class, Software or Tools)
  3. Include the following statement in your voice memo – I agree to have my anonymized voice or transcription of my voice memo used for the purposes of the Re-Editing Gunsmoke project and its digital archive.
  4. Your voice should be an informal, unscripted account of your memories, experiences about editing the Gunsmoke assignment in a classroom setting. Imagine you are telling a friend about this project for the first time. If you need ideas for what you might discuss, see prompt below.
  5. Label your voice memo. LastName_FirstName_GunsmokeVoiceMemo
  6. Upload as a .WAV audio file

Optional Voice Memo Discussion Prompt

Context
  • Where and When did you first experience the Gunsmoke assignment? I.e. What year, institution, class, instructor, software, tools?
  • Did you learn film editing by splicing dailies of Gunsmoke and viewing trims on a Moviola or flatbed machine? Describe the process.
  • Did you learn non-linear video editing through pre-loaded Gunsmoke footage on early 2000s versions of AVID or Final Cut Pro? Describe the process.
Assignment
  • What kind of assignment were you asked to edit? A continuity edit of the scene or a remix video?
Reflection
  • What do you remember about the experience of editing the footage? What did it feel like it? How long did it take? Overall, how pleasurable was the experience of making the project?
  • What are your memories of watching and editing your project?
Professional Skills
  • If you are a filmmaker, what did the assignment teach you about editing?