Dody Dorn

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Dody Dorn
Dody Jane Dorn

(1955-04-20) April 20, 1955 (age 65)
OccupationFilm and sound editor
AwardsGolden Reel (1989)

Dody Jane Dorn (born April 20, 1955) is an American film and sound editor. She is best known for working with director Christopher Nolan on several films including Memento (2000), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.[1]

Dorn has worked multiple times with director Ridley Scott as well as having edited SICK: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist, a documentary film which chronicles the life of a sadomasochistic man who struggles with cystic fibrosis.

Life and career[edit]

Dorn was born into a film industry family, her father having worked as a set designer and film producer.[2] Dorn attended Hollywood High School and it was there that she decided to pursue a career as a math teacher.[3] A fateful job working behind the scenes at a movie sound stage led her towards working in the film industry. Dorn appeared in two films as an actress (including a nude "Archbishop" in the 1976 satire TunnelVision) before moving behind the camera. She worked her way up the food chain (working as a production assistant, script supervisor, assistant location manager, and several other freelance jobs) eventually attaining the position of assistant film editor which she held until 1982.[2][3] Finding it unusually difficult to move up to picture editing, Dorn made a lateral move to sound editing. Her work as a sound editor on James Cameron's The Abyss (1989) won the Golden Reel Award and was nominated for a best sound Academy Award.[2][3]

In 1986, she started her own sound company, Sonic Kitchen, but with time, got more and more disenchanted and distracted with the daily business grind. Dorn had begun to lose interest and was compelled to get back to her passion—feature film picture editing.[2] It was the editing of the unusual documentary cult film SICK: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist and Memento which brought Dody Dorn's picture editing to the attention of the rest of the world. She has since continued to work with director Christopher Nolan on several films and has repeatedly worked with noted film director, Ridley Scott. In addition to her credited editing on Scott's films, Dorn worked on the 2003 DVD releases of Alien (the "Director's Cut").[4] Dorn was selected for membership in the American Cinema Editors.[5]


  • "It is still a commonly accepted notion that the editor just "cuts out all the bad bits." I liken editing more to sculpture. I don’t claim to be Michelangelo, but I like to think that when I am watching the dailies projected for the first time, I am seeing the pure essence of the film and that I work toward preserving and presenting that essence in a form that is accessible while still being artful." [3]
  • "There is also a lot of trial and error in the editing room. Even if a director has a clear vision of what he wants, until the images are actually juxtaposed and the rhythm is defined by the editing, you never really know how it will work." [2]
  • "I appreciate invisible editing, but it’s fun when editing can be conspicuous, provided it is adding to the narrative and not done for its own sake."[3]
  • "Editing is making choices. During post-production, I work with the director to mine the best film out of the material that was shot. Leaving no stone unturned and going with my gut instincts, two seemingly diametrically opposed concepts, are techniques that I put to use on every film. That strange combination of hard work and divine inspiration probably means, inevitably, that I have left my stamp on the films I’ve edited."[3]
  • "I see a finished film as a total product and I cannot separate (nor do I want to) the various aspects of the film. The images work in conjunction with the sound and the music and they need to be considered together, in just the same way that the rhythm and juxtaposition of the images need to be considered. I do use my experience in sound all the time. I work with temp sound and music in the AVID from day one. I may sometimes edit without sound for technical reasons, but putting sound in follows very close behind and will definitely affect how I evaluate what I have edited and will often stimulate changes."[2]

Selected filmography[edit]

As film editor[edit]

Year Film Director Other notes
1994 Floundering Peter McCarthy
1996 A Small Domain Britta Sjogren Short
1997 SICK: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist Kirby Dick
1998 I Woke Up Early the Day I Died Aris Illiopulos
1999 Guinevere (film) Audrey Wells
Sleeping Beauties Jamie Babbit Short
2000 Memento Christopher Nolan Nominated—Academy Award for Best Film Editing
Nominated—ACE Eddie
2001 Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows Robert Ackerman TV release. Nominated - Emmy, ACE
2002 Insomnia Christopher Nolan
2003 Matchstick Men Ridley Scott
2005 Kingdom of Heaven Extended commentary by Dorn on Director's Cut DVD
2006 A Good Year
2007 Year of the Dog Mike White
2008 Australia Baz Luhrmann Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Editing
2010 I'm Still Here Casey Affleck
London Boulevard William Monahan
2011 End of Watch David Ayer
2014 Sabotage
2016 Ben-Hur Timur Bekmambetov
2017 Power Rangers Dean Israelite
2020 Come Away Brenda Chapman
2021 Zack Snyder's Justice League Zack Snyder Additional editor
Army of the Dead Post-production

As sound editor / assistant sound editor[edit]


In 2012, the Motion Picture Editors Guild listed Memento as the fourteenth best-edited film of all time based on a survey of its membership.[6]


  1. ^ Nesselson, Lisa (2000). "Reviews: Memento", Variety September 14, 2000.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Wood, Jennifer M. (2004). "The Thrill of Living on the Edge: A Conversation with Insomnia Editor Dody Dorn", MovieMaker Magazine February 3, 2007. Webpage archived at WebCite from this original URL on March 6, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Kaufman, Debra (2004). "A Memento from Dody Dorn", Studio Daily July 1, 2004. Webpage archived at WebCite from this original URL on March 6, 2008.
  4. ^ Hunt, Bill and Dugan, Todd (2003). The Digital Bits Insider's Guide to DVD (McGraw-Hill Professional), p. 118.
  5. ^ "American Cinema Editors > Members", webpage archived by WebCite from this original URL on March 4, 2008.
  6. ^ "The 75 Best Edited Films". Editors Guild Magazine. 1 (3). May 2012. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015.

External links[edit]