Editor Jing Wang shows there’s no “Right Way” to come out

Renowned editor Jing Wang knows just what it takes to piece together a perfect film. An avid home cook, she sees her job as an editor similar to cooking. To prepare food, it must be washed, cut, seasoned, and cooked; it must be served to guests with thoughtful presentation; and the goal is that anyone that eats it enjoys it. Wang adopts this same process when it comes to editing, first going through all the footage and getting rid of the unnecessary parts, highlighting the important aspects of the story, and putting it all together. She then delivers the final cut to the director, which then is seen by audiences around the world. In both cooking and film making, the final goal is to deliver an exemplary product, and Wang is constantly delivering.

Wang is passionate about editing, and always makes films close to her heart, whether touching on political issues like in her upcoming film Fear Not or working on genres she has loved since childhood, like the horror Substitute. However, what is perhaps her most heartfelt film is The Right Way, which she connected with on a deep personal level.

“Being an LGBTQ, I totally understand how hard it is to come out to family. When I read the script, I really wanted to share the story with others, and let more people stand up for LGBTQ. We have the right to love and there is nothing to feel ashamed about,” said Wang.

The Right Way tells the story of 25-year old Daniel. With his grandmother suffering from dementia and close to death, Daniel must put a halt to his blossoming life and take his last chance to come out to her. After the encouragement of his mother and lover, he speaks out bravely. The film shows that there’s no perfect way to come out.

“Daniel’s bravery and his respect and love for his grandmother makes this a very emotional and important film. Even though his grandmother has dementia, Daniel still wants her to know his true self. The audience needs to understand his love for his family, then they can realize how difficult it is to come out to his grandmother,” said Wang.

Although being passionate about the story, Wang had her work cut out for her when editing the film. There were many challenges, but Wang made sure to have constant communication with Director Tiernan Bertrand-Essington to help with her understanding of the script. She wanted to showcase the slight expression changes of the actors in the scenes, using these subtleties to show the authenticity and emotion in each scene. Executing this idea, however, was difficult. In pivotal scenes, there were shots that could not be used because the eyelines of the actors were wrong or the dialogue did not flow properly; Wang had to use her skill as an editor to make it all seamless. She needed to decide whether to sacrifice the frame or the acting. For Wang, acting is often more important than the frame, so when she organized footage, she focused on the best acting and went from there.

“I loved working on this film because people respected my ideas and were willing to listen to my suggestions. The director and I respect each other, so we spent a lot of time communicating about this film. Because there were so many issues with the footage, he very much respected my decision to remove some of the cuts, which encouraged me to have more ideas during the editing process, in order to present the best side of the story,” she said.

The Right Way premiered late last year at the Top Shorts Film Festival, where it took home Best LGBTQ Film. Also in December 2019, it was an Honorable Mention LGBTQ Film at LAFA and an

Official Selection at the Independent Shorts Awards. Wang’s dedication to the story above all else allowed this film to see this outstanding success, but the awards and recognition are not what’s important to her. For Wang, sharing an important LGBTQ film with the world is the real reward.