An editor’s advice for on-camera actors

by Jordan Goldman, A.C.E.

Go inside the cutting room with Emmy-winning editor Jordan Goldman, A.C.E. (Homeland, 24: Live Another Day, Masters of Sex, The Shield) as he explains the key things professional actors should — and shouldn't do – to ensure their performance makes it to the screen. He’ll show you how and why directors, showrunners, and editors decide whether your performance stays in the show – or gets cut out.
Acting for the camera can be challenging. Arm yourself with the best tips and advice you can get, from an insider uniquely positioned to be your guide into a process that few actors ever see or understand.
142 pages, illustrated with photos.

The Reviews Are In...

Michael Chiklis, Emmy & Golden Globe winning actor

"Whether you are just starting to break into the film and television industry, or you're already working and want to refine your on-camera technique, "How to Avoid the Cutting Room Floor" is a must read! I wish I’d had a book early in my career that gave me a fraction of the insights and advice that Jordan provides here. Grab this invaluable book by one of the television industry's most talented and respected editors."

Tim Phillips, On-Camera Audition Coach

"I've been waiting for a no BS book like this for years, and it's finally here. There's no fat. It's like his editing, clean. It's the real/reel truth. I recommend it to all actors."

Judy Henderson, Judy Henderson Casting

"Jordan's book "How To Avoid the Cutting Room Floor" is a must-read for any actor who wants to work in television and film. It is filled with invaluable advice that, to my knowledge, has never been written about before. I have all of the actors I teach read it, and have suggested it to many actor friends."

Alex Gansa, showrunner, Homeland

"In the cutting room we see the same mistakes over and over. Jordan's book is full of useful tips to help you make the cut."

Patrick St. Esprit, actor

"Every acting teacher/ coach should make their students read this book! I wish it had been around when I was starting out. Even seasoned actors should read it, like a golfer brushing up on their swing. So insightful hearing from an editor’s perspective!"

Jen Krater, Owner, Krater Studios

"Jordan's book is a must-read for any actor pursuing a career in film or television. He meticulously takes the reader on the journey through post production, pointing out what the best in the business are looking for in an actor’s performance. "How to Avoid the Cutting Room Floor" is concise, to the point and easy to read."

Adrienne Weiss,

"Jordan's book is smart, funny, a joy to read and chock-full of fantastically practical tips to improve an actor's ability to work professionally and get hired again and again. I recommend this book to all the actors I work with - don't hesitate, you'll be so glad you did!"

Amir Talai, actor

"This is a very short, easy read, with a lot of straight-forward info packed into 130 pages. Definitely recommend it. I've got over 100 IMDB credits (i know, gross brag), so *some* of it was stuff I already know, but even then there was a lot I found useful. If you have less experience on camera, it will be invaluable. In short, no matter what your experience level, there is something for you in here."

CineMontage magazine

"Reading the book feels like sitting down for a cup of coffee and some serious advice with a professional who truly cares about you. Anyone starting out in a screen-acting career should buy this volume and memorize its rules."

What You'll Learn

What an editor does
An editor takes the countless hours of raw footage and chooses the best parts to craft a clear, compelling story. Although I have an eye out for the best images, I'm much more interested in what the actors are doing. A large part of my job is evaluating your performance, then elevating it as best I can. From the first day of shooting until picture is locked, I make decisions about which takes are used in the finished product. Find out what tricks I use to help your work shine even brighter.
How editors evaluate your work
When watching your footage in the cutting room, I'm looking for the same performance techniques your teacher drilled into you time after time in acting class. When the camera is rolling, are you doing what needs to be done? Learn what criteria I'm using to judge performances. What makes me want to keep you in? What makes me want to cut you out? Learn how to make it easier for me to keep you in the movie.
Why actors get cut
Real-life anecdotes from my years of insider experience will help you understand the common mistakes actors make that cause groans in the cutting room. I'll tell you what they are and how to avoid making them.
What you can control
Your performance, your technical skills, and your attitude on set can equal a successful acting career. If you follow the principles outlined here, you are much more likely to end up onscreen. They're all things that you have complete control over, if you use your instrument properly. I'll pay significant attention to the skills unique to film acting.
What you can't control
Actors think the biggest reason they wind up on the cutting room floor is because their performance was bad. But it’s actually very common for an actor’s scene or dialogue to be cut out due to running time considerations, or because the scene wasn’t needed for the story. I'll dive into the details of how and why these situations arise. When they do, it's not your fault.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - It's all about the setups

Chapter 2 - What does an editor do?

Chapter 3 - The process in television

Chapter 4 - What do directors, producers, writers, showrunners, executives, and editors really think of actors?

Chapter 5 - What you can control: Your performance

Chapter 6 - What you can control: Your technical skills

Chapter 7 - What you can control: Your attitude on set

Chapter 8 - What you can't control: Being cut out because of story or time

Chapter 9 - How to be a good background actor

Chapter 10 - How to behave after your big day

Chapter 11 - That's a wrap!

About the Author


Jordan Goldman, A.C.E.

From Homeland to 24: Live Another Day to The Shield, Jordan Goldman, A.C.E. has worked for 20 years in Hollywood, cutting nearly 100 episodes of television.  His keen eye for performance and strong sense of story have earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series, and an American Cinema Editors Eddie.

Click for Jordan’s IMDb entry

Jordan is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, the American Cinema Editors, the Television Academy, and the Directors Guild of America.

Follow Jordan on Twitter

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