The Editor's Cut - Episode 041 - Edit Chats with Ken Filewych, CCE

Episode 41: Edit Chats with Ken Filewych, CCE

This episode is the online master series that took place on May 13th, 2020, Edit Chat's with Ken Filewych. CCE.

TEC_EP041_MS_Edmonton_Ken_Filewych_CCE-WEB

Ken’s diverse career has included editing Joni Mitchell’s ballet The Fiddle and the Drum, Tricia Helfer’s Walk All Over Me and the legendary band the smalls reunion tour documentary Forever Is A Long Time. He has also cut over 100 episodes of Heartland – the longest running one hour drama in Canadian history on which he is currently serving as Supervising Picture Editor.

Besides editing, Ken has directed dramatic television, commercials and live sports events.

Sarah Taylor and Ken talk about workflow and process with an emphasis on speed and why Ken thinks being fast is part of being a great editor.

This episode was sponsored by Annex Pro/Avid

Listen Here

The Editor’s Cut – Episode 041 – Interview with Ken Filewych, CCE

 

Sarah Taylor:

This episode was generously sponsored by Annex Pro and Avid.

            Hello, and welcome to the Editor’s Cut, I’m your host, Sarah Taylor. We would like to point out that the lands on which we have created this podcast, and that many of you may be listening to us from, are part of ancestral territory. It is important for all of us to deeply acknowledge that we are on ancestral territory that has long served as a place where indigenous peoples have lived, met and interacted. We honor, respect, and recognize these nations that have never relinquished their rights or sovereign authority over the lands and waters on which we stand today. We encourage you to reflect on the history of the land, the rich culture, the many contributions, and the concerns that impact indigenous individuals and communities. Land acknowledgements are the start to a deeper action.

 

The CCE is pleased to present Edit Con 2021, the Fourth Annual Conference on the art of picture editing. This year it will be a two day online conference on Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21, 2021. Edit Con 2021 is presented under the theme of Shifting World, Shifting Industry. Tickets are on sale now at cceeditcon.neme.tv, that is C-C-E-E-D-I-T-C-O-N-dot-N-E-M-E-dot-T-V. Hope to see you there.

 

Today’s episode is the Online Master Series that took place on May 13, 2020. Edit chats with Ken Filewych, CCE. Ken’s diverse career has included editing Joni Mitchell’s ballet, The Fiddle in the Drum, Trisha Helfer’s, Walk All Over Me and the legendary band, The Smalls’ reunion tour documentary, Forever is a Long Time. He has also cut over 100 episodes of Heartland, the longest running one-hour drama in Canadian history on which he’s currently serving as Supervising Picture Editor. Besides editing, Ken has directed dramatic television, commercials, and live sports events.

 

Today, we talk about workflow and process with an emphasis on speed and why Ken thinks fast is part of being a great editor.

 

[show open]

Sarah Taylor:

Welcome, Ken.

Ken Filewych:

Hello, all.

Sarah Taylor:

I want to know how you first discovered editing and your journey to being the editor you are today.

Ken Filewych:

Well, first of all, thank you for asking me. It’s very nice to be asked and hello to everyone joining us. When I was in high school, my dad had some Super Eight home movies he wanted to get transferred to VHS and there was a place in town at Edmonton that if you did it yourself, it was a little cheaper, so he said, “You want to go do this?” And so I said, “Yeah, that sounds like fun.” So, I went and I found it pretty easy and the guys that worked there, the owner said, “Hey, you’re pretty good at this. Do you want to come do this and work at this facility?”

            And so, I took a summer job transferring basically home movies to VHS and it was really interesting, because I thought, “Man, it’s so cool to see just how everyone, all these similar experiences are being told and it was really, really cool.” But the place that I worked at was super shady. And I just remembered there was one Friday, they said we got to move all our gear out of here and put it in the back of this pickup truck and take this gear off this pickup truck and put it back where that was. And of course, that night, the whole place burned down, but when they reopened, they had a lot of really nice gear. And so, I realized that I’d probably been complicit in the crime and then quit.

Sarah Taylor:

Good one.

Ken Filewych:

And went to work for their competitors and their competitors had a VHS Linear Suite, and so people could rent that out and one of the things I did there was a lot of offline work on commercials. So, as I was doing my transferring of home movies, I would, I started kind of dipping my toe in that world of VHS to VHS editing. And so at that time, I actually worked that summer job through high school into university and I was in university in Economics and not doing well or enjoying it. And I thought, “Well, they were starting a film program at U of A the next year, so I transferred and I did that.

            And then after that I went to NAIT and took the radio and television program and yeah, as I was in NAIT, I started cutting news in ITV and to me, that’s when it all started to click. I just loved cutting. I love the speed of it all, but overall, I liked the pressure of it all. And originally when I went to NAIT, I wanted to be a switcher, like on sports events, a director and a switcher for live sports, but I quickly realized that those jobs, people have to die in order for you to get those jobs and-

Sarah Taylor:

Pretty much.

Ken Filewych:

It just wasn’t practical. Anyway, so that’s yeah, that’s how I’ve sort of started and I just always liked TV and film and I thought, “Well,” I didn’t realize it and really, it’s weird, I didn’t realize that you could make living doing it. It never occurred to me until I started sort of, “Oh and actually there are people that do this.” So, that’s how I got started in.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s awesome. And you started in Edmonton, which is great.

Ken Filewych:

Yes.

Sarah Taylor:

How did you then end up getting Heartland? And did you anticipate it being such a long running show going on to your 14th Season, right?

Ken Filewych:

No, I mean, I was asked to come in to interview and I had been recommended by someone and they said they’d like me to be one of their editors and they’d shot the pilot and they had edited the pilot. And they said, “Now, that we’re greenlit, we’re going to shoot some extra scenes, we want you basically to add that to the pilot and then after that, you can start cutting new shows.” And they gave me the tape, VHS, again, VHS. I’m an old man, just for those that their computers aren’t working well. I’ve been doing this a long time. And I took that tape, and I went home, and I put it in my home theater downstairs and it was… terrible. It was so bad.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, no.

Ken Filewych:

And I hit fast forward, and I hit fast forward again, and I watched it basically in four times fast forward. And I went upstairs and went to my wife, and she’s a costume designer, and I said, “If they think this is good, I can’t work on this. It’s terrible.” And she’s like, “Maybe, just, is there anything you could do with it?” And she said, “And if it’s so bad, it won’t last, right?” And so, “Yeah, that’s true.” So, 14 years later…but…

            So, I went back in and I said, “Look, like, I’ll do it, but you have to give me all the original footage,” which at that time was on DV cam, “And let me re-dig [re-digitize] it and let me open up the program and I’ll add the new scenes, but I want to be able to recut the scenes and re-explore the options and just smooth everything out.” Because again, I don’t want to disparage those that had cut it before, but it was a time and money thing. So whatever, however that turned into that, where the pilot was. And so, they said “Sure,” which I don’t know, looking back, it’s like, “I don’t know why they gave me the job really.” And then I did have another career lesson during that same meeting.

            I was waiting to talk to the showrunner, and I’m wandering the hall, and just waiting, and I hear two people in a room say, “Hey, I hear you might be coming to help us out here.” And I said, “Yeah, yeah, I might. Yeah, it looks like I’m going to be editing.” “Oh, good, good.” And they said, “Did you see the pilot?” And I said, “Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s terrible.” It’s like, “Who even talks like that.” And I’m going on…

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, no.

Ken Filewych:

And of course, they were the writers of the pilot.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, dear.

Ken Filewych:

And it’s like, so how I got that job—and then the other thing about that was Dean Bennett, who was the director of the pilot, who is a very good friend of mine now—they had asked him to come and sort of review the new cut, the scenes added. And he was really resistant to come in. I couldn’t figure out why. He didn’t want to come, didn’t want to come. And so finally he comes in to look, and I hit play, and we start watching it, and he stopped me right away. He says, “Did you recut this?” I said, “Yeah, I told him the whole story.” And he basically had a tear in his eyes and said, “I never got the chance to do my cut.” And so, he was so thrilled that we got to work on this and put it in shape.

            And so, anyway, telling that story, it’s certainly not the lesson in how to get a job or keep a job, but yeah, the fact that they hired me, I guess, so I don’t know.

Sarah Taylor:

Well, maybe there’s something to be said about like being creative and not being afraid to tell it like it is, so that you can make it better, like you didn’t go in and say, “This sucks. I don’t want to work for you.” You’re like, “I can make it better.”

Ken Filewych:

Yeah, we just kind of… I wanted to have that discussion, but some good lessons of who to talk to and know who you’re talking to when you’re actually walking down strange hallways, which I thought a good lesson for Ken to learn.

Sarah Taylor:

When to bite your tongue.

Ken Filewych:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s funny. So as I mentioned earlier, you’ve done documentaries, like lots of things, feature films, scripted television. What do you prefer to edit and what do you like best about each of those?

 

Ken Filewych:

I love documentaries. I think it’s just such an editor’s world, right? Like, the questions that come up when you’re doing them, is it balanced, even should it be balanced? Who’s telling the story? And I was thinking about the Michael Jordan doc that’s out right now. It’s a great example. I don’t think you can call that a balanced documentary since he’s an EP and he has final cut on the show, but maybe that doesn’t matter.

            But for The Smalls, I just, I liked the idea that for any documentary, like, it’s about finding that nugget that we all know. And there’s always that moment when the original idea that you started the doc with—something happens and it shifts gears. And it even matters when you’re cutting it or you’re cutting it as they’re shooting, like I was with The Smalls. Or are you cutting it after everything’s been shot, and it’s all in the can? So, for The Smalls, I have a story about that and there’s really two types of people in the world. Those who have never heard of The Smalls, and those that have and they’re like super fans and they think it’s the best band they’ve ever heard. There’s no middle ground, right?

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

Ken Filewych:

And when I was in university, they were huge at the U of A. It was right around the time of SNFU and…

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Good old days.

Ken Filewych:

… they never really took off in the east, they never really took off in the west, and so, they were known as this hardworking prairie band that didn’t seem to crack the next level. So, as you mentioned, the documentary is called, Forever is a Long Time. And their last tour was called, Goodbye Forever. And so, I loved that fact. Right there, I was like, “Well, that’s going to be…” so and I’m thinking… so I talked to Trevor Smith, the director of the project, and he says, “This is going to be great. There’s going to be a lot of drama, them getting back together.”

            I knew that when they were breaking up all those years ago, Corb Lund was leaving to go start his country career, and the incredible guitar player stopped playing guitar. He doesn’t play guitar anymore. And the lead singer is framing houses somewhere and they can’t find him. And then the real reason the band broke up was because the drummer, you know, substance abuse—the drummer shot a guy. There’s going to be drama, like mad, right? So, you start cutting it and they’re still shooting, and it just becomes this love fest. The shows are sold out. The band members are all getting along. They’re rediscovering what they had and what they love, and now they’re understanding it through different… and it’s all great for me, but it sucks for the doc, because I was hoping the drummer was going to shoot a guy again.

 

Sarah Taylor:

[Laughing] Oh.

 

Ken Filewych:

So the focus—there’s the perfect example of the documentary. It just, it absolutely changed focus and we made it instead of it about being, “Why didn’t they ever crack and become bigger?” It really was about: they were bigger than anyone ever knew, even themselves. And it was just this beautiful success story. And so, to me, that’s why docs are so fun. It’s writing the story, and we all know that. Everyone, anyone on this call knows that, but that’s why I do love them.

            And I did also like doing commercials and music videos, because there’s always that shorter timeframe and the beginning, middle and end part of it. But in the end, I just like storytelling and it doesn’t matter to me. You learn that storytelling is storytelling, no matter the length of the product, essentially.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I was really excited to see The Smalls doc. Good for you for getting to cut it. That’s awesome.

Ken Filewych:

I mean, of course, it was. No one would ever cut a documentary. No one cuts documentaries to make money or to be sane or any of that, right? I think I paid my nanny more money while I was cutting it at that time, because I probably paid to work on that project.

Sarah Taylor:

Sometimes that’s what it ends up being for sure.

Ken Filewych:

Yeah, but I loved it. I mean, I loved it so much.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, that’s great. As we mentioned, before you start directing episodes of Heartland, what was it like for you to switch gears and take you off your editor hat and put on your director hat and were there challenges there? Was it easy? Like how did that go for you?

Ken Filewych:

I was pretty fortunate to even get the chance and I’d thank Jamie Paul Rock for that and I had directed other things over the years, but I’ve never done scripted drama, and I thought, “Oh, this will be really good.”

            And I think one thing that, on Heartland in particular, is people underestimate how hard that show is to shoot. People, they see it as this quaint little family show, but anyone that’s filmed in Alberta, I think they’ve realized there’s a lot of… it’s a small market. There’s a lot of challenges just with the weather alone and even with the scenics and the sky. I’ve seen so many directors come and just get eaten alive by the filming out here. It’s just so different. Now, not all, everything’s different, but there is a there’s an aspect to that.

            So for me, I was lucky that I had sort of seen many directors with their successes and failures, kind of through the footage and I was really aware of where the stumbling blocks might be. And I had the support of the cast and the crew and so, I was lucky. I told Jamie, I figured I had one mulligan in me and then after that, they didn’t care and they would throw me under the bus. But the difference between the directing, and editing, is all those things that you say. I was so conscious of not being the director who sits down and says, “So, I’m an editor…” and all of that stuff that you all hate.

Sarah Taylor:

The worst line.

Ken Filewych:

Everything, all the lines that… and I was pretty good for the most part, but there were a couple times when I was really having trouble,  just even getting a point across. But I was also lucky that in the second and third year, for whatever reason, the editor, who did a great job, was only taking it to the director’s cut and so, I actually took over the cuts after that. So, it’s sort of like, “Okay, now I can actually put the hat back on,” and I’m working on things that I actually—but all those times that I used to talk to students and say, “Make sure you never edit your own things and all that stuff.” And it was like, “Okay, well, practice what you preach.” Kind of, right? I was really lucky, yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

With all the experience that you had as an editor, when you went into the actual directing part, did you find that was like a smooth transition for you that you… well, you knew the show because you’ve been working on the show for a while, was there anything there where you were a little nervous or you like stumbled or it just felt natural because you’ve seen it so much?

Ken Filewych:

It’s just, it’s natural. I mean, yeah, it’s all… I think I’ve always said that ADs and Editors make the best directors because what an editor lacks from maybe not being on the floor as much, an AD has all the floor experience, but then they don’t know the other side of it for the most. I think those two worlds I really find or why people… yeah, anyway, but no, it was great and of course, I was nervous, sure, but it went well, so I don’t know. Maybe I was just too dumb to realize what I was biting off.

Sarah Taylor:

No, probably not. Did you have a chance over the years like did you know all the crew and stuff? I think that’s a big thing. As an editor, I think we’re often just the mysterious person that puts the footage together, but doesn’t actually know the crew, but you were able to get a handle on that.

Ken Filewych:

Yeah, I really made a point of that. But having said that, there were a lot of– whether it was actors or other people and then, one of an early assistant actually moved from the office and became an assistant or in one of the early years and she was the super, like she knew everybody, so there were people I didn’t know and drivers and stuff. And so, it was awesome having her because people actually used to visit editing to come talk to her, which, yeah, that’s an unheard of occurrence in the dark rooms, like people were like, “Oh, this is where you guys are.” You’re not all moles.

Sarah Taylor:

[Laughing] “You have a personality.”

Ken Filewych:

Yeah, yeah, “Get away.”

Sarah Taylor:

“Don’t look at me.” Well, we could be all living our dream right now. People that are at home if that’s–

If that was who we are, yeah, right?

Ken Filewych:

That’s the joke. We’ve been self-isolating for years.

Sarah Taylor:

We’ve been practicing for it all of our life, yeah. So, those are my questions and I’m ready to open it up to our audience. Nicky says, “What is the greatest challenge you face on any given day as an editor?”

Ken Filewych:

I just like to challenge myself, so if there’s any repetitive, it’s a repetitive job, and so, I just like to always remain fresh and positive and one of my early lessons cutting news was that I met a bunch of editors and they were miserable human beings and if you come into that, sort of as, “Oh, they didn’t shoot it, and why didn’t they do this, and why and how come?” It doesn’t matter. It’s our job to make things look great without anyone ever noticing or caring about the problem. So, one of my early challenges was learning to remain positive and not get frustrated or blame other people. And to this day, what I try to do, one of my challenges is just to try something new and remain positive. And maybe discover a new way to cut a scene just to keep my mind fresh.

Sarah Taylor:

Jana says, “Was it easier to work a scene knowing how the final result needed to be from being the editor, working as a director?”

Ken Filewych:

I mean, in the end, and everyone’s joking about it, like every single person says, “Well, it’s your problem, isn’t it?” It’s like I guess if you don’t have it, you have no one to blame, but you, and so, I think that’s great, and I embraced that, and it was very funny. But I think all of us, anyone again on this call, we can close our eyes and stand there and, I stand there and I still see things as if I’m watching a monitor because that’s my frame of reference for 25 years. So, when I’m standing on location, all I have to do is just sort of concentrate, and I see everything through that “monitor” and it just happens to be in front of me, whereas–

Sarah Taylor:

That’s interesting.

Ken Filewych:

And I’ll still stand by, which doesn’t mean I’m always at the monitor. I like to stand beside the camera. But it’s funny in my mind’s eye, that’s what I’m seeing, like I’m sure other people are seeing these vast, beautiful vistas and all the rest, but I’m just in this thing that I can just like, “Oh, that’s what this is going to look like and this is how it’s going to cut,” so that’s just how my brain works.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s so cool. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Well, the questions are coming in. This is exciting. Okay. Ann Kerr, I’m sorry if I pronounced your name wrong. “How would you recommend contacting editors or post production studios in order to do network and further get on to start in the industry?”

Ken Filewych:

Yeah, I mean, that’s the big thing. For me, it was school. I met people in the school that either I still work with today or that told me about someone that I worked with that I moved to Calgary that I worked with and eventually became friends with that, again, still work… like the networking thing, I was never very good at. I don’t like talking. I don’t like self-promotion. I don’t like any of that stuff, but I learned that that’s something you have to do and it’s really just… and it’s different now. I think, Sarah and I, you and I were talking about like I had to volunteer and cut things for award shows or things like that to kind of get my name out there. But now, there is this whole virtual environment where people can get on calls like this and meet people and that’s really the new way of getting your stuff out there.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, word of mouth feels like the biggest-

Ken Filewych:

It’s everything, because-

Sarah Taylor:

It’s how I get my work, too.

Ken Filewych:

It’s so hard to find people that can do the job and that are good people, and that you trust them, and so once those relationships are built, that’s why it’s so interesting.

Sarah Taylor:

Well, that’s why people end up on a series for 14 seasons, right? Like you build that reputation and that relationship, because that’s what it really is and you don’t want to leave your safety net sometimes?

Ken Filewych:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

So, Eric says, “You were going to talk about speed?”

Ken Filewych:

Well, why don’t I do that because this might actually answer some questions. So I told Sarah, I would like to submit my manifesto… I just want to put something on record as to why I think this is all-important and maybe it will answer questions. So, Sarah, when you asked me to do this and for me, I wasn’t sure what I could offer to the CCE because there are so many wonderful and successful editors in the association. And I have often spoken to students, but this is different, because everyone kind of here knows what they’re doing.

            But one of the things that I’ve often been told is that my assemblies are good and I’m fast. And I know that the first rule of editing club is anyone who tells you they’re fast is probably not fast. So, in my defense, that’s what other people say. And also, being fast doesn’t mean you’re any good. You have to be a good storyteller first, but for me being a great storyteller is also about being fast. And sort of here’s why.

            So if I go back to when I graduated film school, I did it as nonlinear was just coming into the world. I was working in linear suites and growing as an editor, both as nonlinear was coming in and as basically, the nonlinear tools were growing. For me, it was never lost on me that flatbed film editors were nonlinear and we had moved away from that for years, until EditDroid and Avid sort of came back. One of my big reasons for editing the way I do it is—I remember when working in a tape-based linear system, and you would often hear, in this $700-an-hour suite, “Well, I guess that’s good enough.”

            And the reason for that, of course, was as changes were made—we were making versions, and sub-masters, and copies, and we’re increasingly degrading the quality of the product, with every pass. In every edit, it seemed to me there was a point where someone would be like, “Well, the quality loss to make another change isn’t worth the change. So it’s good enough.” And I always felt guilty. I felt like that was my fault, because I’m in this room. And so for me, when that was no longer an excuse as the nonlinear stuff was really coming out, I really embraced that. And for me, the faster you could edit, the more you could explore with these new tools.

            And I’ve often talked to students and I’ve often likened it to hunt-and-peck typing. It doesn’t mean you can’t type War and Peace using two fingers, but it would take you a long time. That writing analogy, to me, was very much like the manual type writer versus, now, computer desktop word processing: linear versus nonlinear. And so, for me when that technology was coming out, it was good because I would never have to hear, “It’s good enough again.” Okay, so this is halfway through my manifesto, so bear with me two more minutes and then—

Sarah Taylor:

A minute.

Ken Filewych:

One of the other things I was thinking about when you had asked me to do this, Sarah, was I don’t get a chance to watch other editors work anymore. Earlier on in my career, I would take that chance and you’d watch—and workflows and actions are usually very similar, but sometimes it’d be like a little spark and it was like, “Whoa, that’s a good way of doing that.” And, “Oh, maybe I could incorporate that into the way I do things.” So, I guess for me, having said that, what I’ll show today is my current style of doing things. I don’t feel it’s right or wrong. I find I’m still always tweaking the way I work and adapting, but I just like making myself more efficient.

            And the other thing is, I’ve worked on pretty much every system and I always had found that teaches me new ways to work. For one thing, I’m actually cutting a feature right now in Premiere and I had never opened Premiere until two months ago. I had used After Effects a lot 25 years ago as my comp tool, but the director of the film, he knows Premiere and he wanted me to use it because after the movie is done, he wants to be able to pull sections and actually do a trailer and things like that. I decided to do it, but the dailies weren’t done correctly. I basically organized and adjusted and did all the syncing on a program that I didn’t know two months ago. And I have since apologized to my two current assistants forever being mean and about dailies are impatient. It was a good thing for me to do.

            So I guess, and the last thing I’ll say is that I didn’t realize early on, too, how much I’d have to know about computers. So, when I was getting out of school, I always just assumed that there’d be technicians and people to set up and maintain the gear. And over the years, like I’ve become a way bigger computer nerd than I ever wanted to be and I just think that being able to know what the guts of the tools are become really important as an editor because then you’re never stuck. You don’t have to wait on anybody. That led me into also doing my own VFX and stuff. So I do, do a lot of my own VFX. I do most of those on Resolve and Fusion. Fusion is how I do that.

            So, I guess for me, the quickness comes from–there’s two things. I told you, Sarah, I live by the “hit by a bus” theory. I was never this way early in my career. When a project was done, I often had many files called “new graphic,” or “new, new graphic,” or “new, new, new, new final graphic.”–

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Guilty.

Ken Filewych:

But now, I live very clean. I have clean projects, clean timelines, clean bins, clean directories, and so that I think helps in the speed thing. And then, the other thing that I tend to do is part of my—when people say, talk about the assemblies, I personally want to make my assemblies essentially something that you could broadcast. I’m not saying I’m the only one that does this, but I take it as far as I can. It obviously means dialogue, music, sound effects mix, but it means if there’s any dialogue clarity issues, I go to the wires and find the thing. I have proper music cues, no bumps, do all those VFX temps and all that kind of stuff. Because I never want someone watching the cut for the first time—I never want to have say, “this part would be like that.” Because that’s so distracting, and someone can only view it for the first time once.

            And I want them—that first viewing to me is sacred. Because if they view it and it creates the emotion and informs the [story] problems, I think it’s only helping the process. So, I always say that, when I’m working with a director, I want to be working on the 5% or 10% of the cut that’s sort of the nuance, and the soul, and the emotion. And I don’t want to be re-cutting scenes that kind of weren’t right from the beginning. So, that is my… I actually shaved this morning. I looked like the Unabomber before this morning, so that was my Unabomber Manifesto and why I think speed is important…

Sarah Taylor:

Speed is important.

Ken Filewych:

Because in order to do all this, you need to be fast. In order to kind of get to that stage of meeting the assemblies and all the rest of it, so that’s all.

Sarah Taylor:

Okay, that’s good. Back to directing, Adrian says, “Arriving as a director to a show that has been shooting for a while, where everybody knows each other and there’s a mechanics there, were they receptive to you as a director, as the crews would be like on a standalone project, do you think?”

Ken Filewych:

Well, first off, editors are usually chameleons anyway. I think we’re bartender, counselor—we hear people’s marital problems, we hear all the stuff that goes on in here when people are traveling, and fighting—and sometimes editing is the last thing on people’s minds. So you’re actually counseling people and you’re receptive, and you have to be sensitive to people’s moods, and all these things.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yup!

Ken Filewych:

And depending on who’s in the room, we change. If it’s just the director, we have the one-on-one. But then we’re also facilitators. If there’s a heavy-handed executive producer fighting with the director, we’re facilitating, we’re making progress. We’re making sure we make progress.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

Ken Filewych:

I think that’s inherent in us anyway. For me, my editing personality on the show was certainly slightly different than my directing personality. It’s just that clear. But I was very comfortable standing in the middle of the room and taking that on. And I jokingly said, with everyone too, that I’m going back to edit after this, so I can’t be too much of a jerk, because I’ve still got to work with these people for seven months. I was very fortunate people were very receptive, and only wanted to help me.  Yeah, I was very lucky.

Sarah Taylor:

James says, “Hi, Ken. Do you consider yourself a director trapped in an editor’s body?”

Ken Filewych:

No, and that’s a great question. I actually, I always, I feel like an editor. I love directing. I love doing other things, but always, editing is my blood, it is my soul. And I never felt that—but I do love directing as well. But I feel like I come at it from the mindset of an editor, and I’m proud to say that. I never was like, “I can’t wait to call myself a director because I hate being an editor.” Not at all. It’s like, “I love being an editor, and I also just like to direct.”

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. I’m not going to tell you the name of this question because you’re going to know, “Who is your favorite director you’ve ever worked with? And why is it Matt Watterworth?”

Ken Filewych:

[Laughing] Hey, Matt!

Sarah Taylor:

But his serious question is, “What do we, as the Alberta Film and Television community need to do to make ourselves a more active and competitive jurisdiction specifically for homegrown production?” This is a big question.

Ken Filewych:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

I don’t know.

Ken Filewych:

That’s a huge… I mean, look, we’re in a very difficult time across the country with what we’re dealing with, with shows being shut down. We are such a small little jurisdiction anyway. Yeah, that’s an “over-beers” question, I think, I don’t know. Yeah. I don’t have any quick answers there and-

Sarah Taylor:

That’s a whole Zoom call.

Ken Filewych:

That’s a whole other thing, but everyone fights the good fight in all different jurisdictions and that’s what we do.

Sarah Taylor:

Jason asks, the pandemic has resulted in many different challenges for the industry, what challenges do you see in the short term and long term for editors in Canada going forward? And even more specifically, in Alberta. Kind of similar…

Ken Filewych:

Well, I mean, I just don’t see us… our industry is not conducive to just being one of the first to open up, I think it’s the last to open up. I mean, the floor is all about being close to people and hair and makeup, and all the different departments walking all over each other and touching the same pieces of gear. And it’s going to change the way we serve food, it’s going to change catering, change craft service, never mind all the other stuff.

            So, I just think, there’s going to be such a slow return, I think, to what we’re doing that I think the biggest challenges is going to be waiting for enough stuff to be shot, so we can start cutting again. Unfortunately, I think that’s going to be the biggest thing. Luckily, we are a section of the production that is used to cutting essentially, either remotely or in our own worlds. So we as editors are perfectly sort of situated for that. But the front end of the industry is not. We need the content and that’s the challenge.

Sarah Taylor:

There’s been lots of really creative things happening with people coming up with creative ways to get the content. So yeah, it’s exciting and also terrifying. So, Keith says, “I use both Avid and Premiere. I prefer Premiere because I find it a bit more user friendly, but I was wondering why you think a lot of production studios are switching over to Avid?”

Ken Filewych:

I mean, Avid just because it’s legacy gear. I mean, that’s the biggest thing is that there are many editors that only know Avid still to this day. They’ve gone along for the ride the whole time and major experience editors that only know Avid, drive those decisions in the edit suite. Like I said, I’ve worked on everything and there’s so many things, I just wish I could still do a mishmash of different programs. And I’ll say like the interface on Avid, GUI, is terrible. It’s so old, even now with Ultimate, the new version. I love Avid, it looks terrible, it still does. And it bugs me every day and so, I make all my things dark and I try to make it, but yeah, like as a look, it’s not modern, but that’s okay, that’s what people are used to. But that’s why I like using Resolve and trying different things because I really enjoy just seeing how the tools are changing. Did I answer the question?

Sarah Taylor:

I think so.

Ken Filewych:

Yeah, that’s why. It’s just a lot of editors use Avid and have on big shows for all this time. And I think as younger people come in, they decide what they’re going to work with and then that little shift happens all the time in the industry, essentially, I think.

Sarah Taylor:

Totally. Fiona asks, “Do you have any advice to give a student or recent graduate aspiring to be an editor?”

Ken Filewych:

I think just with like any discipline and film, go out and do it. Find your way. The tools have never been better during the… two weeks ago, I ordered the Osmo 3 for my iPhone, so I could play around with a gimbal and 120 bucks later, it’s the most amazing thing ever. I’m doing all these time lapses out my Window and just, I still love doing stuff like that. So, shoot stuff, edit stuff, create things. Some of my favorite projects ever have been friends that we work on bigger shows together that we get some gear and shoot something on a weekend with no one telling us—and those are still some of my all-time favorite projects that I’ve ever done even at this stage, and I still do it, just to keep the creative part of my head in check.

Sarah Taylor:

It didn’t get easier after The Revenant was shot in Alberta, which lots of major Hollywood shows shoot in Alberta, but post, it doesn’t happen.

Ken Filewych:

Yeah. It’s always going to be, this is where we have a new government, we have cap issues, we have the model that we’ve been asking for, for 25 years to have a tax credit. So, I mean, anybody that’s from Alberta will know all the struggles that we’ve had. Until we get a tax credit, the industry here will never grow—and how we sort of have a tax credit, but not really. Let’s not even talk about it, and let’s hope that we all survive another day. People don’t [even] realize what’s been shot here half the time.

Sarah Taylor:

A lot of films are-

Ken Filewych:

So-

Sarah Taylor:

So many films, you’re right, right.

Ken Filewych:

Inception and Bourne. All the things that are coming in and out of here have been amazing. But anyway, let’s stay positive. It’s not a great situation, but let’s hope that we’re okay in a year.

Sarah Taylor:

On that note, let’s learn about editing.

Ken Filewych:

I’m going to talk a little bit again of just about my process, again, not right or wrong, but editing process and some of the things that I think helped me be fast and kind of quickly tell stories. So, I think one of the biggest things is… I can pretty much do almost everything with just my left hand without using the mouse. As I’m editing, I find that if I can do most of the commands with my left hand, I actually am using the mouse as a—I’m alternating sometimes. And even that physical act makes things go quicker. I do a lot of my work on the timeline. Once I’ve cut a scene, I work a ton on the timeline. I think that’s really important.

            Probably, one of the things I think is one of the most useful shortcuts is the mapping from source to the timeline. If my source is Video 1 and Audio 1 and 2, and I want to map it, what I do is I have all of my sources mapped on my keyboard so I can deselect. If I’m in my timeline, I deselect. I can choose Video 1, Audio 1, and 2, simple. But what if I want to remap to Video 2 and Audio 3, 4? Deselect Video 2, Audio 3, 4? Those are the things that you do a million times a day and—

Sarah Taylor:

Totally, yeah.

Ken Filewych:

And the shortcut of that, the rippled to insert or the delete… those are the things to me, that if you just get those maneuvers down, it’s just amazing. And I really feel the mapping—and I actually had trouble with the mapping in Premiere because it’s opposite to that. It actually looks at the source as to what it’s going to put down on the timeline. But even just on the timeline, say I want to select a clip. There’s in/out, there’s ripple/delete. Like just doing those things and that’s all left hand. It’s all stuff that just you can… I wrote down some of the shortcuts that I have mapped and again, I’m sure most everyone has these, but it’s… so the ability to change from source record to the program monitor is I think one of the most useful things, too.

            Using left hand and playing and then I drop down and now I’m playing on the timeline. So again, you’re not ever spending time at all. You need to click here, you need to click here. So those are just some of the things…. So for me, all those things like the insert, overwrite, copy/paste, insert/paste, the ability to add markers, edit markers, the extend edit, all just mapped on the keyboard. One of the other things I really love to do is for trim edits, I think live trimming is really important. So in this case, if I wanted to trim, I can deselect, choose Video 1 and go right into trim. Then using the live trim on the sequence itself, I think is incredibly useful.

            And the reason I also think that’s useful is that I find it’s a way of communicating if you have people in the room. It’s not just about hitting play and then watching the program. It’s about helping people follow what you’re actually doing. When you’re live trimming, I think, “Oh, they can kind of understand that.” We’ve all been there when we open up a bin and there’s something that shows up on the source monitor and everyone’s, “Oh, that reminds me, we got to talk about that.” And I said, “No, no. We were focused on something here.”

            Whatever you show on that program monitor, you’re communicating to those in the room. Even if someone’s talking and saying they’re having trouble getting out a thought about it, and you kind of realize what they’re talking about… what I’ll do is, I’ll often just take my playhead, and if I know this is the shot they’re talking about, I might just kind of… wander back and forth, and even do maybe a look at a shot before, a shot after, so on the program monitor that’s happening. It’s one of the ways to spark people because if you know what they’re trying to get out, and they can’t get it out, you’re helping them find that.

            This also goes to my theory of new directors versus experienced directors. I truly believe that you can tell at what stage of career a director is in by how close they’re standing to you, or the monitor, and in particular—

Sarah Taylor:

Or your keyboard.

Ken Filewych:

Or the keyboard. Okay, so John Fawcett, Bruce McDonald, Grant Harvey, they’re sitting back there. They have a script for another show open. They have their computer on. They’re responding to emails and they look up once in a while and they say, instead of saying when to cut, they say, “You know we need to build a beat there. That still isn’t synced. That doesn’t quite work for me.” I think, “is there another way to get into that? Is there? What about? What about? I don’t know? Is there just something else we can use?” And so, then that’s part of the conversation.

            New directors stand next to you, touch your screen, touch the monitor, and they can’t—you’re also working usually three frames—or three cuts ahead or behind. So, if you’re watching the monitor, we all know that what [it appears] you’re doing often isn’t what you’re actually doing. And so, there have been times when one day a director comes in and starts touching near my screen and then they come in the next day, and wouldn’t you know that my briefcase is there on a table, and I’ve barricaded myself in. It’s like, “Don’t stand—”

Sarah Taylor:

“I need my safety bubble.”

Ken Filewych:

Yeah. I think that’s the best thing about COVID is I’m going to be able to say, “Social distancing, please.”

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. “Get away from me.” No, I get it.

Ken Filewych:

So, it’s funny that… and I guess that goes to the other point of when we were talking about directing to editing. We should speak in terms of story, right? There’s a new director snapping their fingers and telling you where to cut. It has nothing to do with that cut usually. Usually that one cut is related to three other cuts and if you change that one, you’re going to need to reshape and re-time. It’s that awareness that I think as an editor you realize that’s what you’re doing. And again, to me, it also speaks to the speed thing. Where you’re just sort of going, “Okay, here’s what I have to do.” And if they’re in the room, you want to do it as quick and efficiently as possible, not to distract people.

            One thing that I use all the time, we all know how valuable real estate is on a desktop. What I like to do is in the timeline presets, what I mostly cut in when I’ve put a show together, if I’m in a stage where I’m actually looking, now I have music and all the rest, I have something called “dialogue and music.” And what does that mean? Well, it means that my one, two tracks—I’ll back up. Normally, the way I organize my timeline is Audio 1, 2, 3 and 4 are dialogue; 5, 6 are sound effects; and 7, 8, 9 and 10 are music. And, again, not a revelation, but I stick to that as much—I just stick to it.

            When I’m editing and I can see my dialogue when we’re mixing, it’s quite easy to [see], “Oh, look, there’s my key frames. There I can now duck the audio under.” Well, what if I’m on a “sound effect?” Well, I quickly have a sound effect, so it changes the size of my tracks. What if I have four tracks of dialogue and I want to do all four tracks of dialogue? So it’s, again, not everyone—I’m sure people do this, but I use this so much… because there’s nothing to me that’s less efficient than having to manually resize your tracks, right?

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

Ken Filewych:

And so, I just set up, and it’s one of the first things I do. I always make sure I have music, all four. So if I’m ducking between two music on 7, 8, 9, 10, I quickly change that and now, you’re back to your normal way. I think that’s a really important one.

Sarah Taylor:

I’m primarily Premiere and I know there’s people on the call that are primarily Premiere, knowing and they’re like, “Oh, Avid, it takes 27 things, steps to do the one thing I can do in Premiere,” but if you know that you have all these different options of pre-organizing, like pre-setup. I think that’s the biggest thing is to know how to preset up your shortcuts and everything, so that you don’t have to do everything in 20 steps. It’s just yeah, clicking different things on and off.

Ken Filewych:

When I started that Premiere project, I basically opened up the keyboard and I started figuring out how to do things. I said, “Okay, so here’s how I do this.” What’s the equivalent in Premiere? And I created ways of doing it in Premiere. So, the other—what about selecting trim edits? Well, this, I’m now clicking, is very inefficient. Especially if you’re doing, “Okay, I’m going to click here…” What if you’re able to select your track, and I just select V1 and I’m on a keyboard shortcut one touch, and now I’m actually live trimming that without ever using my mouse. That’s invaluable. All those little things add up during the day.

            Another tool that I use a lot is Script Sync in Avid. Now, those of us that know Avid from years ago know that Script Sync was a really great idea, but it was never very practical because what you have to do was have an assistant go through your bins and your clips and manually add basically key frames on a text file in order to sync the video clip to where it is on the script. Every morning, I have my new scenes and I open up my script, I review every bin, I sync it to the script and now, I know, okay, now I kind of have that idea in my head of just how much I have to get done just to get the new footage cut. I find that one invaluable. I really love how it just starts my day and kind of, yeah, gets me in the mind of okay, these are, now I’ve looked at every scene, I know what the coverage is.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Jana says this is why people work in Avid instead of Premiere.

Ken Filewych:

I’m agnostic. I’m editing agnostic. I love everything.

Sarah Taylor:

One other question someone has here is, “When you’re working on a project, do you often make separate sequences for your different scenes and then add them to the assembly or do you cut?”

Ken Filewych:

So, the way I set up my project is… on Heartland, we shoot two episodes per block like most. I have the sequences bin that contains right from my first draft all the way to my picture lock. I have a color code on each of the shows as well. My odd number shows, all the related bins are in red, and if I would open up 1306 sequences [even numbered], all the 1306 sequences are in blue, or the bins are in blue. I actually know which show I’m looking at just by looking at the bin color. And yes, I actually use sequences on my cuts. The way that I cut a scene is— I actually prioritize every little section of the scene as I’m cutting it.

Show dialogue:

Oh, look who it is Mr. Aspen Grove Beef.

Ken Filewych:

And I keep doing that.

Show dialogue:

Look, who it is, Mr. Aspen Grove Beef. Mr. Aspen Grove Beef.

Show dialogue:

I came to clear the air. I came to clear the air.

Ken Filewych:

As I’m assembling that on the sequence, I’m actually prioritizing and deciding, which one I liked more. So, the first line, okay, that’s great. If at the second take I liked it more, I put it before the other clip.

Sarah Taylor:

I get it.

Ken Filewych:

And then, after I’m done going through all my footage, I never have to go back to the source footage in a source monitor ever again… because I have this document essentially that I’ve gone through and I’ve prioritized what I think is—so if someone says, “Was there another take?” Yes. I’d go to the next one on my timeline and say, “Oh, yeah, this is the one I liked second most.” And once it’s in a timeline like this and you’ve sourced your material like this… I mean, I can cut the scene in three minutes. I can cut the whole thing in three minutes just by knocking out… and going through.

            And then the nice thing is, what if you are making a cut and you’re, “Oh, you know what? The continuity doesn’t match there.” And so, I just go to the next one and I use that one instead. And so, you have all these options just right in front of you and it is so efficient and quick to work like that and it also is a great tool when people say, “Well, what about something else?” You’re able to call it up and you can basically recall what you were thinking three weeks ago when you cut them.

Sarah Taylor:

So, what do you call this sequence when you’re organizing it?

Ken Filewych:

I actually call it “My Selects” and then I do a fine cut of it as a sequence on a separate timeline in the bin before I add it to my ongoing and ever building master timeline. The other thing, I actually do, well, I have my assistants do, is as timing is always an issue, I have a bin called “Script Timings.” And the Script Timings, I actually create a sequence, and all it is [is] titles. Based on the script timings from the last table read, I create a sequence of all of the scenes in the show with their proper timings and then I use this to—once I’ve cut a scene, I duplicate the sequence and I put my finished sequences into this and replace the title.

            The reason that’s so cool is that as you’re going, you’re actually timing your show with the new scenes I shot. The show timed out four and a half minutes heavy from the outset. So, now as I’m cutting and inevitably someone comes in and says, “Look, we got to drop a scene. How’s the show timing?” And you look, you say, “Yeah. Actually, we’re right on what we were for the script timing.” And because you know you don’t have to go and have someone time it out. So, I actually find that one incredibly helpful as well.

Sarah Taylor:

I would never have thought to do that. That’s great. Cool. Huh! I’ve taken that note for myself.

Ken Filewych:

There you go, so someone’s learning one thing. Yay!

Sarah Taylor:

One question about script sync. So, if you have multiple resets at a single take, it often chooses just the one line?

Ken Filewych:

Correct.

Sarah Taylor:

Or do you have a workaround for that?

Ken Filewych:

Well, there’s two things you can do, you can actually duplicate the clip and put it in twice. That’s also why I really—man, one slate per run is so much easier. But actually, that’s probably one of the rules I broke the most on the day when I was directing was, “Keep rolling, go again.” And I was just like, “Oh, Ken, you terrible human being.”

Sarah Taylor:

And then you’re like cursing yourself at the end.

Ken Filewych:

So, what you can do is, say this first take was run twice, you can actually set an in/out marker for the first take, select where it happens on the script, and when you drag it over, sync between first and last mark. What it’s doing is actually telling it to just sync using that first section of the clip. Then I just take the clip again, make new in/outs and drag it over a second time and tell it to sync to that. So, it’s not as elegant, but it certainly works.

Sarah Taylor:

Derek is wanting to know how you approach pacing in your edit.

Ken Filewych:

To me editing is music. It’s loud and soft, fast and slow, tension and release. That is what we’re creating. Those little moments of adding a beat before a cut… what does that mean? It means that, “Oh, someone took an extra thought.” If you jump on it, it means they didn’t have a chance to do a thought. Every one of those little techniques is about storytelling. That’s every single scene. And I would say my biggest learning as my career has gone on, is that when I first started cutting drama, I would cut a scene as a stand alone, with no thought to the greater picture. Now as I cut a scene, I’m actually thinking about the whole thing.

            I’m thinking about what comes before and what comes after. And I’m thinking, would we ever want to reveal this so early, or do we want to make a point, and point this out that someone had this thought. I’m already thinking about that when I go back to my assemblies. And it’s not conscious, but I just realized now, when I go through them, “Oh, I must have had that thought because I cut it differently than I remembered cutting.” It was purely because of, maybe, a piece of information. That all happens in the pacing of the show. How do you set up drama? Well you introduce tension and you release it. Or you quicken a pace and then slow it down? It’s all that. That is the craft.

Sarah Taylor:

What’s your process like? Do you read the script? So, you have Episode Five of Season 13, did you read the full script first? Do you read the scripts that were shot? What is your process on that side? Or do you look at the footage and read the script as you’re going?

Ken Filewych:

I tend to. I’ll definitely read the last script before production starts. I actually find the table reads informative, even though a lot of it isn’t exactly how it’s going to be. But I can start to visualize it when I go to those table reads.

Sarah Taylor:

Do you always go?

Ken Filewych:

Yep, yeah, I always go. So I’ve done my script sync and now, I have all my new scenes ready for the day. I’ll open up my first new scene and I will read the continuity notes, really with an eye only to if there is a problem. So, something in red that says, “Hair not good,” whatever those things are.  Then I cut the scene basically not looking at circle takes or even preferences. I don’t look at that. I don’t really want to know who liked what, because it should be apparent. Actually, I find it’s not my job. And it just doesn’t work that way.

            I find if you say, “this is the best take.” Well, sure, 70% of it might be, but the other 30% might be amazing, [if] you build in your emotion by using multiple takes. Once I read the script, I just cut it just from the footage. Then if you were to go back and look at my selects and look at it to the lined script, I guarantee you that 95% of it is probably what was thought of on the day as the best, and that sort of thing. But I’m certainly not guided by, “Just use this take.” I never do that.

Sarah Taylor:

So, it’s a lot of your instinct?

Ken Filewych:

100%. The best compliment you can get is someone says, “Wow, I never would have thought of that.” They’re the ones who shot it and they say, “I never would have thought of that. I just love it.” That’s when you’re like, “There, that’s doing the job.”

Sarah Taylor:

So, Nigel is asking, “I’m assuming you’re working in hours, 60-hour workweek? Do you have any tips for work-life balance and how do you manage having a family and working such long hours?”

Ken Filewych:

Oh, my God. That’s another “over-beer” one, isn’t it? No, I mean, my wife’s a costume designer and my two girls are 13 and 11. We’ve employed two nannies often. It’s a terrible industry for work-life balance. I remember sitting upstairs in the office a couple of years ago, and Bill Jansen, the Transport Captain was looking at me. And I’m like, “Bill, what are you looking at?” And he said, “I’m just trying to think if I know anybody else other than you and Jen that are Key Creatives that are still married in Alberta?”

Sarah Taylor:

Good for you.

Ken Filewych:

And so, everyone started taking up the challenge. And everyone’s like, “What about?” “No, they’re divorced.” “Okay, what about?” “No, no. They…” And then no one could think of another couple. And so, no, it’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible. I have no advice other than it’s important to somehow find it. but I don’t know what it is. We have that discussion as a couple to this day because it’s terrible. Sorry.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s okay. That’s the reality.

Ken Filewych:

I wish-

Sarah Taylor:

I’m curious, does your wife work on some of the stuff, same stuff you work on?

Ken Filewych:

No. We’ve done a few movies together and we’ve actually tried to alternate. When we can we try to do things like that. But to be honest, that hasn’t always worked out. Luckily, in editing, I would say, I’m for the most part, more flexible. Well, I am. She works 20 hours a day, seven days a week and on set. I would say I’m the one that probably ends up being a little more flexible in that, but yeah, it’s tough.

Sarah Taylor:

So, James is asking, “So, two to three hours of dailies versus nine hours of dailies. Curious as to how you would change your approach of your daily routine. Some shows have insane amounts of footage that make it difficult to keep a locked down routine.”

Ken Filewych:

Right. You know what? The dailies, the amount of dailies, doesn’t change my routine other than I do find that if I don’t get an early start on the new scenes, I find it really difficult to start. For example, say we have a production meeting for the next block that I’m going to go to, and it’s from 9:00 to 11:00. I go to that. And if I then come to do my new scenes, I find it really difficult to get in that mindset and start the day. So, I really like attacking new things early in the morning, while I’m fresh, and I leave mixing and VFX, and all those other things I might do, till later in the day. That’s my only personal preference. It doesn’t really shift the amount of the footage. You just get through it and that’s the only—

Sarah Taylor:

Use Ken’s techniques and then you’ll go faster.

Ken Filewych:

That’s right.

Sarah Taylor:

Matt’s asking if you can go into more detail on how you file, your file naming, and folder structure.

Ken Filewych:

For me, a folder structure is—I have a “new bin scene” that the assistants put in. So even while I’m cutting in the morning, if I only have one bin of it, or one scene available, as I’m cutting that scene, the new bins of new scenes are actually being added as I cut, pretty standard. I have a “completed scenes” folder. In order to get my head around what I’ve done, and what I need to do, I just keep dragging and dropping in there. It feels like an accomplishment every time you put something else in there.

            I do have favorite bins that travel from block to block. In those favorite bins, I keep things like “resizing,” and “titles.” I keep a bunch of templates, so that as I’m cutting, I never have to open up “effects.” I just drag and drop 100% blow-up, and then open it up, and then do the change. I find those really helpful, too. If you have a bunch of pre-built effects that you can just drag and drop at any time.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. What’s your solution to the export reel, “final, final, final version 3.mov” file name problem?

Ken Filewych:

I just make sure at the root… say if I can’t find a sound effect, and I’m like, “You know what, Jerry? Can you find this for me? It’s probably something we’re going to have to download.” We have sound effects folders that we put raw materials in. It goes in there no matter if it’s new or old. Then when we import it, what he might say, “I opened up your Scene 32 and your sound effect is in Scene 32 because that’s where it goes, and it’s called Motorcycle Drives By.”

            So, we just never put a new bin, a new file. We don’t name it that way. It’s named what it’s always going to be named and it goes in the same spot every time. You can tell my old man, that’s the one thing that—

Sarah Taylor:

Like, “This is how we do it.”

Ken Filewych:

It’s like the only thing that I’m particular about. I’m a very easygoing editor, but that is one thing that it’s just what I asked that’s like, “You know what? It makes me happy.” And I want to be able to always just not have to search for them.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, for sure. Jana is asking, “Do you do the color correction for your edits or is it more for a reference to the show, like for your first cut?”

Ken Filewych:

I’ll color correct—and that’s a good question, because they’re dailies—but one thing on this, on Heartland in particular, we really take our dailies far, too, because we want it to be less work as we all have time constraints. We really wanted a good flow there, so yeah, I’ll just color correct and throw it in. But when I send it to Technicolor, when they conform, I just send them the log Cs basically with the effects, with no color on it. So, I end up having two versions on my system.

Sarah Taylor:

So, what made you decide to use Resolve and Fusion as opposed to After Effects?

Ken Filewych:

That’s a good question. I don’t know why I originally did that. I just really enjoyed the nodes. I was using Resolve earlier even before Fusion was part of it. I thought the motion tracking was really good. And I’m sure After Effects is too. And I’ve used After Effects even since then. I just for some reason ended up in Fusion, but no particular…. I just like the look of the program. To me, it just looks like a modern piece of gear.

Sarah Taylor:

And Jana says, “And that’s how you are on this show for 14 Seasons. True storyteller soldier.”

Ken Filewych:

Exactly, hey.

Sarah Taylor:

Jana is asking, “Do you edit on Resolve, too or do you just use Color and Fusion?”

Ken Filewych:

I’ve edited some short films on Resolve. Originally, when I was asked to do the movie I’m doing now, I actually wanted to do it in Resolve. The problem is, it doesn’t talk well to others with [in terms of] audio. So, it’s an amazing dailies creation tool. People, please email me if you have discover something that I haven’t. But for the most part, as far as I understand, most people will still sync on other programs, and throw it into Resolve to export their dailies. And the reason is, the minute you sync, it has a great sync tool, the minute you sync video to audio in Resolve, the audio metadata takes on the metadata of the video clip. And so, when you export your sort of “all maps,” and after the fact, the metadata from the audio files no longer exists.

            So, that’s been my experience. I don’t know if someone has figured out a way because I’d love to cut in Resolve, different things. When I’ve done short films, I’ve done it in Resolve to keep it compact and very efficient for someone that say, if they have Resolve, you have color correction, whoever, but then the audio is always a bit of an issue and figuring out a way to round trip that.

Sarah Taylor:

Eric says, “You’re very versatile. Very impressive.”

Ken Filewych:

I think that’s the Calgary, the Alberta guy in me, just be I’ve had to be, right? To kind of-

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. Small market.

Ken Filewych:

Small market. You kind of going to do a lot of different things and-

Sarah Taylor:

Matt is asking, “I’m curious about how a new producer might best approach you about working together? What should you have prepared? What questions should you be prepared to answer? And where should the script ideally be before being approached if somebody was going to approach you?”

Ken Filewych:

Well, I always, I’m perfectly willing to talk to people about anything. I’ve always hired a ton of practicum students over the years. As far as projects go, yeah, anybody emails me and we just sit down and have a coffee and talk about stuff. And yeah, I love the early talks about how, what’s being shot, where it’s shot, how we’re shooting it? I kind of love that discovery of helping the technology kind of solve problems and yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Solve problems before they happen, because you know that they will?

Ken Filewych:

Before they happen, yeah, absolutely.

Sarah Taylor:

Any advice for working with actors as a director?

Ken Filewych:

Again, that’s the chameleon in us, editors. I never judge an actor from what I’ve heard, either. Because you hear about certain actors and then you go meet them and maybe you just jive with them. And they never glance sideways at you once. Then an actor that you heard is wonderful to work with is actually terrible to you or something like that. You have to read the room and you read those people and you decide when you have to be firm. Luckily, on Heartland when I’m directing, I know a lot of these guys as what I would call friends now, too. But they all need to be handled differently, right?

            Some people [are like], “Tell me where to stand. I don’t need to talk about my motivation, just tell me what you want to see.” And others will get you in the van on the way to lunch and talk your ear off for 45 minutes, talking about how to open the door properly, right? The biggest thing is actors are almost, to a person, insecure. It’s not surprising because they’re putting everything out there. I couldn’t do it. When those tantrums occur and mic packs are thrown, or whatever happens, it’s usually out of… it’s just like my kids. “Why are you acting that way? Because you’re scared about school tomorrow. Oh, I see. So, that’s why you called me the worst dad in the world. Got it.”

            Being a dad was the best training for directing. Getting that sixth sense about what’s actually bothering someone, and that’s like editing. When someone in the room is going, “God, that cut is the most terrible cut ever, and blah, blah, blah.” And it’s like, “Okay. Well, I don’t think they’re talking about the cut.” That’s a bad example. No one says that, but when someone’s struggling with something, and then you go, “Is it because of this thing over here?” And it’s like, “Oh, you’re right. That is what’s bothering me.” And then you’re, “Oh, okay.” So, you know what? You just have to be perceptive and figure out where that problem actually lies.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, totally. Do you have a favorite mouse for editing? You don’t like using your mouse very often.

Ken Filewych:

Right now I have a Kensington trackball. I’ll change it up once in a while just to kind of get the claw different. I do have Intuos, a Stylus, and a pad as well. I’ve never been able to edit with that, although I see people doing it. I do use that for some of my paintings, sometimes, just to change it up, and just to do something different.

Sarah Taylor:

Any other like organizational software or anything like that, that you use to make your life better?

Ken Filewych:

I like to use drive cataloguing software because I like to know what’s on my drives. Because I’ve had to offload certain things after this show. I have every shot piece of daily accessible to me, except the first season. I have every audio music. I have every music cue ever written for the show at my instant disposal.

Sarah Taylor:

Cool.

Ken Filewych:

I have every broadcast master. I have every sound effects, dialogue, and music stem ever written. It’s all accessible at the touch of a button for me. The few times I’ve had to offload things, I like to keep some drive management software, just simple text reading, so that we can actually do a search.

Sarah Taylor:

Is there often like in Heartland, is there lots of like flashbacks or is that a thing that you often have to do and find? Yeah.

Ken Filewych:

More for recaps, maybe a new storyline comes in again, reference some, so we are able to throw that in a recap or something like that.

Sarah Taylor:

Awesome.

Ken Filewych:

Well, thank you everyone for sticking it out and thank you, Sarah, for asking me to and I hope people found it useful or something.

Sarah Taylor:

You have given us lots of great insight, myself now, I feel like maybe I’ll dig into the Avid and give it another try. Just kidding. No, it’s been great. I think that I look forward to you teaching a live class one day in Edmonton, so I can go and learn even more, so I’m putting it out there. There’s always something to learn. It’s great. I love hearing from editors and picking brains and seeing how everybody’s brains work, so this has been a joy. So, thank you, Ken.

Ken Filewych:

Well, thank you guys very much, and thank you, Sarah for asking. And I hope everyone is staying safe and I hope the work just flows in when it starts up again and everyone’s working and happy and healthy.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Okay, well, take care everybody and we will all see you soon.

            Thank you so much for joining us today and a big thank you goes to Ken for taking the time to sit with us. Special thanks goes to Jane MacRae and Alison Dowler. The main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall. Additional ADR recording by Andrea Rush. Original Music provided by Chad Lang. This episode was mixed and mastered by Tony Babb.

            The CCE has been supporting Indspire – an organization that provides funding and scholarships to Indigenous post secondary students. We have a permanent portal on our website at cceditors.ca or you can donate directly at indspire.ca. The CCE is taking steps to build a more equitable ecosystem within our industry and we encourage our members to participate in any way they can. 

 

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and tell your friends to tune in. ‘Til next time I’m your host Sarah Taylor.

 

[Outtro]

The CCE is a non-profit organization with the goal of bettering the art and science of picture editing. If you wish to become a CCE member please visit our website www.cceditors.ca. Join our great community of Canadian editors for more related info.

Subscribe Wherever You Get Your Podcasts

What do you want to hear on The Editors Cut?

Please send along any topics you would like us to cover or editors you would love to hear from:

Credits

A special thanks goes to

Jane MacRae

Malcolm Taylor

Hosted, Produced and Edited by

Sarah Taylor

Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixed and Mastered by

Tony Bao

Original Music by

Chad Blain

Sponsor Narration by

Paul Winestock

en_CAEN

stay connected

Subscribe to our mailing list to
receive updates, news and offers

Welcome! / Bienvenue!

Welcome to the new CCE website. We're in beta! See a bug or issue?

Bienvenue sur le nouveau site du CCE. C’est une version bêta! Vous avez repéré un bogue ou un problème?

Skip to content