Episode 59: EditCon 2021: In Conversation with D. Gillian Truster, CCE

Sponsored by IATSE 891

Today's episode is part 1 of a 6 part series covering EditCon 2021 that took place virtually in February 2021.

Working from home: has COVID-19 changed the collaboration dynamic forever, or are we just waiting to head back into the office? Stephen Philipson, CCE, and D. Gillian Truster, CCE, kick things off by sharing stories of rolling with the punches in 2020, and reflecting on how the job of editing may or may not change when the pandemic finally ends.

GILLIAN TRUSTER, CCE

Hailing from Toronto, Gillian began her career as an assistant editor. She has since had a diverse career editing drama series, feature films, and MOWs in a variety of genres, and the good fortune to work with many prominent and celebrated producers, directors, and screenwriters. Gillian is best known for her work on Orphan Black, Anne with an  E, and The Expanse. She has won two CSA awards, a DGC award, and has earned eleven award Nominations.

STEPHEN PHILIPSON, CCE 

Stephen is an award-winning editor of TV series such as Altered Carbon (Netflix), American Gods (Starz), Anne with an E (CBC/ Netflix), and Hannibal (NBC), and films such as The Wild Hunt (by Alexandre Franchi), Grown Up Movie Star (by Adriana Maggs) and documentary Prom Night in Mississippi (starring Morgan Freeman), which premiered at Sundance, broadcast on HBO, and screened at The White House. Stephen is honoured to serve as CCE President and help the CCE advocate for editors across Canada.

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The Editor?s Cut – Episode 059 – EditCon 2021: In Conversation with D. Gillian Truster, CCE

Sarah Taylor:

This episode was generously sponsored by IATSE 891. 

D. Gillian Truster, CCE:

I feel like when I have somebody in the room with me, there’s some kind of exchange of energy that’s happening. I think partly it has to do with being able to read body language. But also, it’s not just that. I think you actually get to know a person better when they’re in person.

Sarah Taylor:

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 acknowledgments are the start to a deeper action.

Today’s episode is part one of a six part series covering EditCon 2021, that took place virtually in February, 2021. In conversation with D. Gillian Truster, CCE. Working from home. Has COVID-19 changed the collaboration dynamic forever, or are we just waiting to head back into the office? Stephen Philipson, CCE, and D. Gillian Truster, CCE, kick things off by sharing stories of rolling through the punches in 2020, and reflecting on how the job of editing may or may not change when the pandemic finally ends.

Hailing from Toronto, Gillian began her career as an assistant editor. She has since had a diverse career editing drama series, feature films, and movie of the weeks. Gillian is best known for her work in Orphan Black, Anne with an E, and The Expanse. She has won two CSA awards, a DGC award, and has earned 11 award nominations. Stephen is an award-winning editor of TV series, such as Altered Carbon, American Gods, Anne with an E, and Hannibal, and films such as The Wild Hunt, Grown-up Movie Star, and the documentary Prom Night in Mississippi, starring Morgan Freeman, and premiering at Sundance. Stephen is honored to serve as the CCE president, and helps the CCE advocate for editors across Canada.

Speaker 2:

And, action.

Sarah Taylor:

This is the Editor’s Cut.

Speaker 3:

A CCE podcast.

Speaker 4:

Exploring the art-

Speaker 5:

Of picture editing.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

My name is Stephen Philipson, and I’m the current president of the Canadian Cinema Editors, coming to you live from my house. Our theme this year is shifting world, shifting industry. The events of the past year have brought unprecedented changes in the way we make and consume media, the way we understand the world, and even the way we relate to each other. We don’t know exactly what our industry will look like when this outbreak finally ends, but we do know people will need stories more than ever. 

Let’s introduce our first guest. Gillian Truster is the multi-award-winning editor of some of the most well-known shows cut in Canada, including Orphan Black, Anne with an E, The Expanse, and Snowpiercer, amongst many others. Since her talent is in such high demand, she’s always working, even during a global pandemic. So, we thought we’d talk to her about how the pandemic has affected the job, and how it might or might not change in the years ahead. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Gillian Truster.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Hi, Stephen.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Good morning.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Good morning.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Gillian, let me start by asking, what were you working on when the pandemic struck?

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

I was working on Snowpiercer at the time. I was actually in Vancouver. Then when all this went down, I had to fly home with a drive, and set up here in Toronto. It was crazy, because the way that it worked on Snowpiercer, the idea would be that I would assemble in Toronto, and then go to Vancouver to work directly with the director, the producers. I flew to Vancouver on March 1st, and almost as soon as I arrived we were already hearing… you know, you hear about social distancing, etc. And by the 13th, everything was shut down. So, I honestly didn’t even get to see Vancouver at all while I was there. So, I’ll have to get back there at some point again. So, Stephen, what were you working on when all this happened?

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Well, I was actually in Los Angeles. I was working on a show called The Bold Type for Freeform on the Sunset [inaudible 00:04:20] in LA. My family was still here in Toronto. And like you, we started hearing about everything that was going on. And I think it was Saturday, March 14th I called my wife and we just realize I had to be back here in Toronto as soon as possible. 

So, I called up the producers, and they were actually very gracious, very great. They just said, “You know what, finish the show from Toronto.” So what I did, I basically put all the dailies that I had on a hard drive, on the Monday morning, the 16th, went into the office, got everything together, got on a plane at about 3:00 pm that afternoon. I was back in Toronto that evening, and then Tuesday morning I was up and running up in Toronto. And very seamlessly, we barely missed a beat. I was just very lucky that my producers were okay with me finishing remotely.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Same here.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah, then I had to isolate in Toronto for 14 days. What else have you been working on during the pandemic?

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

After Snowpiercer, I worked on a new series, called Pretty Hard Cases and that show was initially, I was initially supposed to start on that immediately following Snowpiercer, but it got delayed because of COVID. So, I ended up starting working on it in September. Then, I’ve recently finished that. I am now working on season six of The Expanse. How about you, what else have you worked on during this pandemic?

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah. Well, I’ve worked on a movie that we called Faith Heist, here in my home office. That was in the fall. I was out of work for a little while during the summer, which worked out okay, because obviously I have three children, so there was a lot of just stuff we needed to do organizing, and starting online schooling in the fall, and everything. So, that worked out well. And currently working on Bold Type season five. Which we’re also doing from here, but it’s a little bit different. Rather than working on my home office here, I’m logging into an Avid which is actually in LA, working over a jump desktop over a virtual private network.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

My LA desktop can appear here in Toronto on my computer, and I’ve been working that way. Which is, it’s working fairly well. What has your work situation been for the past few months?

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Yes. With Snowpiercer, what we did was I took the drive, I worked from home, and then I worked with the producer. We would just talk on the phone for notes, and then just send cuts to him. The assistant editors were in Vancouver, so we transferred files via Media Shuttle. And then, when I worked on Pretty Hard Cases, we were given the option of working from home, but the entire team wanted to come to the office. What we did was, we all had our own offices, and we all had to wear masks. The only time we could take off the masks was when we were in our own rooms by ourselves.

And then, we Zoomed with all of the directors. But what we did was we had to show runners on that show. One of those show runners was the onset show runner. The other showrunner was part of sort of what we call our post production bubble. And so, she would come into our edit suites and sit with us, and we worked directly with her. And then for The Expanse, again, the whole team was given the option, if we wanted to work from home, we could. But, everybody wanted to work out of an office. We were all set up in our own rooms. For that, we’re going to be using Clear View to work with the directors and the show runner remotely. How has it been setting up a suite in your home? How’s that been going for you?

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

You know, it’s been okay. It has its ups and downs. I think overall I’m very lucky, because I have a nice space in my home here. I’m in downtown Toronto, so in terms of Internet, we have good strong Internet. Knock wood, I haven’t had any Internet issues, do to just the time. It’s good, the flexibility has been nice. My kids are at home. It’s a very emotional time with online schooling, so every now and again it gets tense. But, the good news is I have a really good pair of noise canceling headphones that I use. So, that’s been essential equipment.

You know, one thing that came up on Faith Heist, because we had originally, we were talking about going into the producer’s office. But it wasn’t ready in time, and I’d set up a good suite here. Now the issue was, in terms of working together, we actually decided to work together in my home space. Which, it worked very well in this case, because I had a prior working relationship with the producers. We knew each other, we’ve worked together in the past, we had a comfort level. 

I didn’t mind having him in my home office space. He could turn a little bit of a blind eye to all the chaos with our three children, home schooling, just in the sense that he has kids as well. So, it wasn’t an ideal situation, but I think it worked well. We wore masks and maintain six feet of separation in the suite, and can open the window here for ventilation.

But, I think if I was working on a show with producers that I hadn’t worked with before, or if it was a more formal working relationship, or a more, kind of you know,  intense show, I don’t know that that situation would’ve worked very well, and I would’ve wanted to have people in my house. But, in this case it worked very well. And in terms of The Bold Type, I haven’t worked with anybody yet. But it’s okay. Again, because I know the people from The Bold Type, I’ve worked with them for almost three years now, talking on the phone or over Zoom, we already have a prior working relationship. So, any of the challenges in terms of working over technology are a little bit minimized, just because I feel like I know them and have a comfort level with them.

We use a system called Millicast, where basically I can set up my Avid  in LA to output to a website with a URL that’s very unique and distinct, and then whoever has that URL can just watch the show. And it actually works fairly well. We’ve tried it a few times, and the show has broadcasted fairly high resolution, high quality. There’s no stuttering or anything. It’s been okay so far. It’s obviously challenging to work with a new producer or director in that way.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

But again, because I have a private working relationship with these people, so far so good.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right. You don’t feel the impact as much. Yeah. You bring up some good points. It sounds like that the benefits are having flexibility. Technology provides flexibility. And I think flexibility in work arrangements are really, really good. Especially if you have to do any sort of caregiving. Especially during the pandemic, when kids haven’t been able to go to school for large stretches of the pandemic, and daycare isn’t available. Other people who could babysit your children, you can’t do that anymore. So, I think certainly flexibility is a very, very positive development. You know, and also things like the fact that there’s no commute, people have more time to do other things.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

That’s a good one.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

That’s a really, really good thing. The fact is, one thing you mentioned about having a good space at home, that you’re lucky. One of the things I think about is, when people are wondering, will people in the future just work from home, and not go into the office? And when I think about it, I try to think of it from several different angles. 

So, the first angle I try to think about it is from the practicality of that. And so, one of the things I’m having trouble wrapping my head around is this idea that everybody has a good space that they can work from at home. When you hear about a lot of people working from home, a lot of those people have office jobs, and all they need for their office jobs is a laptop. And it’s very portable, and it’s small, and they can move anywhere. Whereas with us, you could work from a laptop, but it’s not ideal. 

So most people, they have a couple of reasonable sized monitors, they might have a TV, a couple of decent sized speakers. I mean, if you really want to have all the [French 00:12:00] of editing, you need a decent amount of space. If you live in a place like Toronto, where it’s very expensive, real estate is at a premium, you may not have the space to do that. 

I mean, I know lots of people who, during the pandemic, what they’re doing is they’re shoving their furniture out of the way, and they’re setting up at their kitchen tables. I think that’s fine. I think people can accept that, because they’re like, “Well, this is what we have to do. It’s a pandemic.”

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

But at some point, people might want to use their kitchen tables for eating again. It’s the same thing, does everybody have an environment that’s conducive to working from home? So, I think it depends on what your living situation is. And then, also you need a fairly robust Internet. Because we’re uploading/downloading fairly large files. From the practical point of view, I have a bit of trouble thinking that it’s just all of a sudden everybody is going to be working from home, and that’s just going to work out well. How do you feel about that?

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah, no, I agree. Again, I do often think how lucky I am really just to have this space that I’m in right now. I’ve been able to make it work. But like you said, it’s sort of in the context of hopefully going back into the office soon. There are a lot of distractions. Again, there’s ups and downs. Without the commute in the morning, means I gain a little bit of time in the day. 

I know especially for our guests joining us from Los Angeles, that’s a huge plus. That’s good. I mean, I like the ability to just go make lunch in my own kitchen, rather than eating set food and catering, which is, I think I’ve actually lost weight during the pandemic for that reason. Yeah, I can’t help thinking I do have a bit of a unique situation, and I’ve been able to offer flexibility to The Bold Type through this, which has been great.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

But yeah, not everyone is in that situation, for sure.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

And maybe not every, but also your point about having your producer come to your home. Definitely there’s lots of reasons why you might not want your boss in your home, working. So, it’s sort of like there could be projects that if you decide to work from home, what happens if the person does want to work with you in person, and what do you do in those situations?

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

I mean, social distancing is an issue. We were just able to fit two producers in here from Faith Heist, and I had to kind of scrunch way in the corner, and set up the TV way at the other side of my office. So, it wasn’t an ideal working environment. Like you said earlier, it worked well because we know that it’s temporary and it’s a situation beyond our control, and that hopefully one day we’ll be back in a more traditional office environment.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

One other thing I find with working from home, I think that you have to be more disciplined about your work hours.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Absolutely.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

And also, the producers also have to be more disciplined about… I think what happens is, you have your space and because it’s there, it potentially you could work whenever. I read an article recently that said that people were working longer hours when they were working from home, for that very reason. And then also, I think it does open the possibility too, that producers could ask you to do things at times that they wouldn’t ordinarily ask you to do, because they also know you can’t just say, “I’ve left the office.”

So, I think if you’re going to work from home, I think it’s really important to be disciplined about that. So, that’s something to think about as well.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah, no. You know it’s funny, in my situations, I sometimes have the opposite problem, where there is a lot of distractions here. If I have to take the kids to school, or have to pick them up, I find I work in little chunks at odd hours sometimes as well too.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Just because I have to make dinner, because my wife is, she works full-time as well. So flexibility, it’s like a double-edged sword. So, I have to be more disciplined sometimes about setting my own hours too, to make sure that I get enough time in the day.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

And sometimes I end up making up time on the weekend.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right. It’s true. It’s interesting.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Sorry, I was just going to say, another issue too that comes up, and that I wanted to ask you about actually, Gillian, how do you feel this working remotely affects the job creatively too? Because obviously when you’re working with producers, if you’re not in the same space, it’s a different dynamic.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

So, what’s your sense on how that affects the creative relationship, or the creative process between working producers and directors?

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

It is interesting. I think for me, with my process, I think for years we’ve been used to working remotely with producers and directors. There’s been lots of times where they either can’t come into the edit suite at a particular time, or they’re actually directing a series, and then they’ve flown back home, they might not live in your city, while they’re doing the director’s cut, and then so you’re working remotely. 

So, I am used to working remotely. But what I’m not used to is also not having the team around. So, not only working remotely with the showrunner and the director, but also with your post team. And for me, I would say that is a really, really big loss. 

So, the way I typically like to work is, when I’m assembling, what I like to do, once I?ve done an assembly of the show, before I submit it to the director, I like to have the assistant editors come in, and we screen it together, and we talk about it in great detail. I want to hear all the things they have, all their thoughts. All things they like, things they don’t like. And some of those things that we talk about, I’ll implement at the assembly stage. And some of those things I will have in my head, of ideas that I’d like to implement later after I’ve spoken with the director. 

So, that is a big thing for me. It helps me in my… Because also, I really do want to hear what people have to say. And I don’t think it’s the same when you screen something… When people are in my room and we screen it, I can read their body language, I get… Even if they say nothing, I’m getting a sense of how engaged they are. Are they laughing at the right moments? Are they emotionally reacting when I think they should be, when I’d like them to? So, that’s something for me that’s a big loss.

But also, I think from their perspective it’s a bit of a loss too. Because for many assistant editors, not everybody, but for many, they would like to eventually be editors. And so, what I think one of the other reasons I like doing it is because I feel like editing is, the creative part about editing happens in your brain. It doesn’t happen when you’re sitting at a computer. It’s not about where you make the cuts. 

It’s about thinking about why you want to cut, and how you want to cut. And so, it’s about learning how to articulate what you’re thinking and why. And so, it’s like a muscle memory. So, it’s one of those things where it’s actually really, really a good learning experience. And, I’d like to also add, it’s a good learning experience for me too. Because I feel like even though I have the title of editor, and they have the title of assistant editor, that doesn’t mean I have nothing to learn. And actually, I find that when I am sitting with the assistant editors and they have great ideas, I’m also learning from them.

So, listen, not everybody works this way. And there’s also lots of projects that people edit that don’t require this kind of collaboration. But for me, it’s a big loss. I’m on The Expanse now, and right now me and another editor have started, and we show each other stuff. We’ll knock on each other’s doors and be like, “Can you look at this? What do you think?” And so for me, that’s a really, really valuable part of the experience.

In terms of working with the show runners, or the directors, or the producers, like I said, I am used to working remotely. But it’s a really interesting thing I’ve found, having this break, and then coming back to work on Pretty Hard Cases, and just being able to compare, really compare what it’s like when you really are working with somebody completely remotely, that you’ve never worked with before, versus having somebody that you’ve never worked with before, but also have them be able to come into your suite. Sometimes.

Sometimes I would also Zoom with the showrunner when she wasn’t able to come into the suite. But, I think there’s a real difference between those two things. I feel like when I have somebody in the room with me, there’s some kind of exchange of energy that’s happening, where I just feel like it’s hard to articulate exactly what the difference is. But, I feel like you can get a little bit more… There’s something about the creative process that I think is really, really valuable. And, again, I think partly it has to do with being able to read body language.

But also, it’s not just that. I think you actually get to know a person better where they’re in person, versus only getting to know them through a screen. Because what happens is… You know I think it is? I think it’s when you’re working with somebody in person, you’re having conversations with them that are not only about the work. You get to know them as a person outside of… You’ll joke around, and you’ll laugh at stuff. And I think what happens is, that affects how you relate to each other too.

Because for me, the ideal way of working, with collaborating with somebody, is that you’re comfortable with each other, and so there’s a free exchange of ideas. That they feel totally comfortable telling me what they think about the cut, and I feel totally comfortable telling them what I think. And that it’s in this free exchange that you’re able to truly collaborate, have a really close collaboration, and get to what you two of you really think is the best.

And I think being able to work in person, you get to know each other in a way that is conducive to creating that comfort level that gives you that collaboration that I like. I mean, what is your feeling about that sort of thing?

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah, no, I agree with everything you’re saying. I think for me, since I’ve been working in series television for the past few years, what I keep thinking about is typically shows have two, three, four different editors. And after a while, shows kind of developed their own zeitgeist, is the word I like to use, where everyone sort of feels like they’re making the same show. 

Subtly, you’re making similar decisions, because you’ve had this experience of, I guess communal experience, of working together in the same space. That everyone kind of sinks up, for lack of a better word. And currently on The Bold Type, I feel like because I’m already, quote unquote, in sync with the other editors, and the producers, I still feel like I’m making The Bold Type when I’m here, and I know what it is, and I understand it. My assistant is in Los Angeles, but we’re texting to each other constantly. I call her up if we want to have a little discussion. I try to let her edit stuff, and we can talk about it to help her career.

And all that has been quite easy, but because we have this pre-existing relationship. I’m a little worried, my next show I’m doing season two of a show that I wasn’t on season one for, and I’m worried there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve in that I don’t even know if I’m ever going to meet the people I’m working with. We’ll see, it really depends on what happens in the pandemic. I may go to LA for the second half of the show, or I might not. I guess what I’m worried about is finding the look and tone of the show, and getting into that zeitgeist without being in person.

I was on a show recently, our producers were in LA for the entire process. And we used a platform called Sohonet to work with them. And in that case, it was interesting, because Sohonet is very robust. It’s like a very high-end version of Skype or Zoom, where the person appears on a normal TV sized monitor with a high-resolution camera, so you can read body language a lot better through Sohonet. It’s seamless, there’s no pause, there’s no delay in communication. 

So, I worked with producers for six months through Sohonet. What was interesting, I think it went quite well, and it was interesting, we actually met in person later after I was done the show. For the first time ever I actually went to the room they were broadcasting from the whole time, which was very bizarre. But what I found is we had a reporter when we met in person, because we developed it over six months.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

So, I think because that particular technology was very robust, very dependable, and high resolution and all those things, I mean, it wasn’t ideal, but we were able to make up for it. I think what we lost is, again, it’s like you said, when you’re working in the same space, there’s opportunities for casual encounters, whether at lunch, or people just popping into the suite. Whenever you go on Sohonet, it’s a very formal arrangement. 

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Right.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

We’re going to talk at this time, we’re going to talk about this, for this amount of time. So, maybe you lose a little bit of that chance to just see them in the hallway, or get their quick thoughts on something. I mean, that was a bit of a loss.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

No, it’s true. So it sounds like, to work, stream live, where there’s no lag with what you’re streaming, so the technology itself is not a barrier to working with somebody. And also in the case of Sohonet, where you saw the person, and it was sharp, and they were big.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

So, it was trying to replicate that in person experience as much as possible. Because often what happens, Zoom has a share screen, you can’t use it for sharing high-res sequences. It’s not robust enough for that. There’s just too much lag. But what happens is also when you share your screen, the people become really, really small. And so, your screen- So, that’s a big difference actually with Sohonet. It maintained, so that you at least really get a sense of looking at their face, reading their face. And that seems to be a really important part of collaboration, being able to read the person.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

The nonverbal communication.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Exactly. All that nonverbal communication. But also, your point about when you’re working with somebody remotely, what happens is you have a screening time, and you talk about… You have a mandate for that call, and you just talk about that thing. But when you’re in person, it’s all those little interactions that you can have, where you can just grab a person and ask them a question. You don’t have to set up a call, or a specific time.

And then also, like you said, those interactions lead to other interactions where you get to know a person on a personal level. Which I think is actually really important for this industry. When I think about people entering the industry, you know how they say it’s all about who you know, right? When somebody’s looking for somebody, they might remember you from meeting you at some point, and then they’ll hire you on something. 

And so, if you’re just entering the industry, if you’re working from home all the time, I wonder actually how you make those connections that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to make if you are working out of an office. So, that’s a question I have, those little-

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah. The social aspect of the industry, how important that is to career growth. Particularly when you’re just starting out as casual encounters and everything. It makes it a lot harder. Even today in EditCon, a big loss that we were dealing with, trying to figure out how to make it a social gathering. Because we’ve always seen this event as something that builds community. So, how to build community online. It’s not quite the same. Still figuring it out. So, sounds like working remotely [crosstalk 00:27:17] has pros and cons. I’m sorry, go ahead.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

It sounds like EditCon’s a really great example. Where with the technology, now there’s these amazing editors from all over the world that are part of EditCon. And I’m super excited to see some of these panels. They’re editors of some of my favorite shows and movies. And that’s not something we would be able to do without the technology. The downside, of course, is that for the people who would’ve in previous years been able to come to EditCon and go to the TIFF Lightbox, you lose that in person interaction, where I think you do get to know people. 

So, it’s interesting. It’s interesting to think that when I was working on Pretty Hard Cases, and The Expanse, everybody’s given the option of working from home, everybody wanted to come to the office. Because I think, if the pandemic has taught us something, I think one of the things is the value of human interaction. It’s kind of like during this pandemic we’re zooming with our friends and families to keep up with them. 

But, I don’t think anybody’s saying to themselves, “Well, because I’m Zooming, I don’t need to see them in person anymore.” They’re two different experiences. Technology’s amazing. You want the technology. It’s essential. It has been essential for us through this pandemic. But, I don’t feel like it entirely replaces the human interaction, seeing people in person.

And it’s the same thing I feel like about film versus theater. Film doesn’t replace theater, and vice versa. They’re just two very different experiences. Both have value, yeah. So I guess, I think the social interaction… And also, when I think about my career, when I really think about what have I really enjoyed, what are my memories about? When I look back at my career, what have I really enjoyed working on? 

And for me, what I’m working on is essential. I really want to be challenged by the work I do, I want it to be about things that are important to me. But when I have the memories of those things, it’s actually the people I’ve worked with, the laughs we’ve had. So, I feel like it’s the camaraderie.

So, if I was to always work from home, I would still love editing. But, it would lose a part of it that I really value, that I find is very enriching. And just the friendships that you make because you’ve worked with people. It sounds like you feel sort of the same way about that aspect of it.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Absolutely. I mean, editing anything in the film industry, compared to other occupations is… A friend of mine always says, “A lot of people live to work…” Or sorry, I’ve got it backwards. In an ordinary job, you might live to work. But in editing or in the film industry, because it demands so much of you creatively, just in terms of passion, that we live to work. And for us, a career in film, or in editing is creative, and it’s something that’s very much a vocation rather than just the job that we do. So, yeah, if we lose some of those things, the work/life balance, the community side of things, those are things that I think we have to work to protect.

And I guess the question that comes up out of all this is, where do we go from here? How do we move forward using some of this technology that we’ve been talking about, which has improved the situation, but without losing the important aspects of our job that come from working in person? So, I’d love to get your thoughts on that, on what you think is next in terms of where we’re going.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

I think that it’s clear that the pandemic has accelerated the development and use of technology that allows us to work remotely. And I feel like the technology does provide some extremely valuable things. Like you mentioned, flexible work arrangements. That is a really important thing. And it allows us to work remotely with people, not only in other cities, but other countries. That’s amazing. We’re definitely going to be using this technology more and more. 

But I feel like what’s going to happen is it will be a hybrid. That people will still work in person together, because they?ll want to. Maybe not on every project, maybe not every project requires in person collaboration. And also, there’s a lot of factors involved as to why it might be better for a particular project for you to work from home, versus coming to an office. Is it valuable for you to work in person with somebody, or does it matter for that particular project? 

But, I feel like that it’ll be a hybrid. That there’ll be some projects you work from home, but others it will be a combination of those two things. Because why choose, when both have value? Why not use the best of both worlds? Use the best of them and that’s what I would advocate for. What do you think?

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Yeah, I agree. I mean, there’s a lot of, I guess, issues that come up around, is every editor, kind of, responsible for having their own suite in their own gear, as we discussed earlier? I know we have a lot of people joining us from the US. I find when I work in the US, I tend to go into an office on the lot and use studio gear. Whereas here in Canada, a lot of people have their own equipment, and do rent it out. There’s always issues that come up, like do you need to have your own gear? If so, what’s a fair rate to rent it if you’re not using it all the time? I mean, those are things that I think we’ll have to work out definitely.

I keep hearing about hot desking in the corporate world, where people don’t come in as often, so there aren’t as many offices, and people share offices. Maybe we’ll be sharing suites more than we used to. Yeah, no, I agree with you. I do think it’s important as editors that we advocate for time to work in person in a more traditional way, so that these technological tools sort of enhance, or allow us to do new things, don’t make the creative process entirely isolated.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

And so the question that becomes is, well, one question I have is, how do you think this is going to affect EditCon in the future? Because what’s amazing, like we talked about, is that here you have, it’s all virtual. But there’s some real upsides. Because again, you can have panelists that are from all over the world, and also participants from all over the world. Which before, when you had it in Toronto, it’s mostly people who live here. And then, some people would fly from across the country to attend. But now, far more people can come. I mean, do you think that in the future EditCon will also be hybrid? What are your predictions for that?

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

I hope so. I really hope so. It’s an organizational challenge. But, I think the two biggest goals of EditCon, one, provide educational opportunities for all our members, and two building editing community through networking. Education, the online aspect is better, because we can reach more people across Canada, we can reach people who can’t travel to Toronto, and in regions of Canada where it might be prohibitive. Which is great. 

But, networking is better in person, because of these interpersonal relationships and stuff, and what we’ve been talking about. So, we are definitely looking at ways we can offer in person events that are also available online, or connected to other simultaneous events across the country. But, it’s a volunteer run event, so it’s a challenge.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Correct.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

But anyways, I want to thank you very much, Gillian, for joining us today, and sharing your thoughts where we’re headed.

  1. Gillian Truster, CCE:

Thank you for having me.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

Oh, it’s been a pleasure.

Sarah Taylor:

Thank you so much for joining us. And a big thank you goes to Jane MacRae  and Alison Dowler. This episode was edited by Malcolm Taylor. The main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall. Additional AVR recording by Andrea Rush. Original music created by Chad Blain and Soundstripe. This episode was mixed and mastered by Tony Bao.

The CCE has been supporting Indspire, an organization that provides funding and scholarships for indigenous post secondary students. We have a permanent portal on our website at CCEditors.ca, or you can donate directly to Indspire.ca. I-N-D-S-P-I-R-E dot 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 have enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and tell your friends to tune in. Until next time, I’m your host, Sarah Taylor.

Stephen Philipson, CCE:

The CCE is a nonprofit 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.

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