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The Editors Cut

Episode 040: Interview with Liza Cardinale, ACE

The Editors Cut - Episode 040 - Interview with Liza Cardinale, ACE

Episode 040: Interview with Liza Cardinale, ACE

Today's episode is an interview with Liza Cardinale, ACE.

Liza Cardinale, ACE is a television editor based in Los Angeles, CA. Her work spans many genres from comedy to fantasy and often features stories with complex female characters. Some of her credits include Outlander, Dead To Me which earned her an Eddie nomination, and the upcoming dramedy On The Verge. We chat about Liza?s editing journey from New York to LA and what life is like during the pandemic.

The Editors Cut - Episode 040 - Interview with Liza Cardinale, ACE

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The Editor?s Cut – Episode 040 – Interview with Liza Cardinale

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 acknowledgements are the start to a deeper action.

Sarah Taylor:

Before we begin today’s episode, I have a message from the Vancouver short Film Festival. The Vancouver Short Film festival is committed to celebrating the vibrant community of short film, video, and animation artists in British Columbia. Watching together while staying apart, this year, VSFF will take place January 22nd to 24th, 2021 in an online format. Visit vsff.com for more information.

Sarah Taylor:

Today, I bring to you an interview with Liza Cardinale, ACE. Liza is a television editor based in Los Angeles, California. Her work spans many genres, from comedy to fantasy, and often features stories with complex female characters. Some of her credits include Outlander, Dead to Me, which earned her an Eddie nomination, and the upcoming dramedy, On the Verge. We chat about Liza’s editing journey from New York to LA and what life is like during the pandemic. I hope you enjoy getting to know Liza as much as I did.

 

[show open]

Sarah Taylor:

Liza, thank you so much for joining me today on The Editor’s Cut. I’m really excited to sit down and pick your brain about all things editing.

Liza Cardinale:

Sure. My pleasure to be here.

Sarah Taylor:

Excellent. Where I like to start is, where are you from and what led you to the world of editing?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, I grew up in the Bay Area, which is around San Francisco in California. I think it all began because I was a latchkey kid, which in generation X, where the people who like I had a single mom who was working, so a lot of times I’d get home and I would just watch TV. That was part of my routine. So, I watched a lot of shows like Three’s Company and Laverne & Shirley, and I mean, tons of really fun eighties sitcoms.

Sarah Taylor:

Excellent.

Liza Cardinale:

If they weren’t appropriate for children, a lot of things were definitely going over my head, but I think I just got caught with the bug of entertainment really young because of that. Because that was like my friend, my companion, my TV, my joy, my entertainment, so much fun. Then my dad, he moved to LA to become a writer on Family Ties, because he was never a writer when I was a kid. He was an accountant and then he built houses.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s a big shift. That’s awesome.

Liza Cardinale:

Huge shift, yeah. The way he kept changing careers, I think showed me that wow, anything’s possible. When you’re a grownup, you don’t have to settle into one thing. You should always follow your passion. His really good friend from growing up was Gary David Goldberg, who had created Family Ties and really hit it big as a writer, but they were just little scrappy kids running around Brooklyn in the ’50s. But Gary really wanted his friends to join him in his success, so he taught them how to write from afar. I just remember my dad writing all these spec scripts of cheers and whatnot.

Liza Cardinale:

I would read them, and he would say, “Read this script and put a red check mark by anything that’s funny.”

Sarah Taylor:

That’s awesome.

Liza Cardinale:

To make sure that the humor was coming across. I’d say that, that was my early training, was in reading. Reading his scripts and seeing him evolve as a writer. He still writes to this day. You cannot get this guy to stop writing. He loves it. No one’s paying him for it, but he loves it. That’s something you can do forever. That was a happy thing. Then when I would visit him in LA, I could sometimes visit the set of Family Ties because they had a live audience, so that was super exciting to me, as like an awkward tween from suburban Marin County, where nothing exciting was really going on.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, that’s awesome.

Liza Cardinale:

Getting that peek behind the curtain made a big difference. Sadly, I never got to work with Gary, or even talk to him really, professionally, because by the time I had a strong career, he had already retired and sadly he’s passed away now. But interestingly, sidebar, he is one of the main reasons that Liz Feldman became a showrunner and a writer. She’s the showrunner of Dead to Me. She also grew up in Brooklyn, like my father did, like Gary, and she said that, when she was a kid, she was in her parent’s chiropractor office, and they got all the magazines for the clients to read in the waiting room.

Liza Cardinale:

She read People Magazine. They had a huge profile on Gary David Goldberg, the showrunner of Family Ties, and he was talking about his life story growing up in Brooklyn. Liz said that that was her light bulb moment, where she’s like, that’s what I want to do.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s amazing.

Liza Cardinale:

She didn’t know showrunners existed, but the fact that he came from Brooklyn and he ascended to those heights showed her that she could. So, it’s been cool. Sometimes Liz and I talk Brooklyn stuff.

Sarah Taylor:

What a wild connection that, that ended up being. How cool is that?

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. The last time my dad visited me, I took a picture of him, because I gave him like a Dead to Me hat or something with a baseball cap. She said, “Oh, it looks like your dad and my dad should be friends,” and then she sent me a picture of him, and they’re like the exact same type of cute Brooklyn dude. I don’t know how to explain them [crosstalk 00:06:01].

Sarah Taylor:

Dude from Brooklyn.

Liza Cardinale:

Adorable. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, that’s fantastic. So, your dad was a big influence on you for even just storytelling, getting into that world, knowing that, that’s a possibility. How did you end up then … Did you just decide to go to film school? What was your next step knowing that you wanted to do that too?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, I didn’t know much about it, and my dad didn’t know much about behind the scenes people, so I just thought there are directors, there are writers, and there are actors. That’s about the extent of what I knew about filmmaking. I thought, I know I don’t want to be in front of a camera. I could be into writing, but I think I should direct. I think I want to be a director. That was initially what got me into really studying different directors’ work. I would rent all their movies and go down the rabbit hole of Hitchcock or John Waters. I got really obsessed with them, and David Lynch. I liked the weird stuff.

Liza Cardinale:

I still like weird stuff. I went to UC Berkeley and it didn’t really have a film department. I was doing like theater. I was just sort of dabbling at that point in various art forms, but I made some films instead of writing papers because I was lazy about writing papers sometimes. The teachers would accept that, even though there was no production department, so I just had to make my own movies and use my own camera. Then they had one VHS tape to tape kind of editing system, so I got in there. You could not tear me out of that room. I just wanted to stay for hours and hours, and the sun went down and the time flew by.

Sarah Taylor:

It sounds very familiar.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah, that’s a very common early editor story. You get in there, you’re like, I’ve never done this before, but I can’t stop. [crosstalk 00:07:45].

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. It’s been … What? 12 hours just passed? What? Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. It was so rewarding. That’s when I realized that this is my happy place. I don’t really want to be in charge of everything, and I definitely don’t want to get up at five in the morning every day and run to set. I think this is a much better fit.

Sarah Taylor:

Then what led you to your first job? How did you get your first job in the industry, or even learn the craft?

Liza Cardinale:

I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was doing random jobs. I went to New York thinking I wanted to move to New York, so I was pretty much homeless at that point. I was just like subletting an apartment. September 11th happened the day after I arrived in New York City, and that completely shut the city down. So, any like job hunting, house hunting, Mary Tyler Moore fantasies I was having of taking over Manhattan, that definitely was halted in its tracks. Instead, I just had the experience of being there for that.

Liza Cardinale:

One of my best friends in the city was an assistant editor. I knew I liked editing. I still hadn’t committed to that as a craft, but she let me come to work with her every day because I had nothing to do and nowhere to go, and the city was kind of shut down. She was working in Nyack on a Jonathan Demme movie called The Truth About Charlie. She was an old school film assistant that doesn’t really exist anymore where she was conforming the print. But the main editor, Carol Littleton was working on an Avid, and she had one assistant who was working on an Avid.

Liza Cardinale:

I’d sometimes sit behind that one. Her name’s Suzanne Spangler, she’s an editor now. She would just to look over her shoulder and be like, “So, here’s what I’m doing. Here’s how you get the dailies, you get the bin, you get the ALE file. I just like accidentally shadowed some really great, top tier professional editors. Then went to a trade school right after that. I went to a school that just taught editing in Portland, like an Avid certified whatever kind of place. Somebody I met there … I was still homeless at this point, by the way, because I moved from New York to Portland.

Liza Cardinale:

That school, they get a director to bring footage in to let the students play with it. The director was named Billy Logue, and he said, “Why don’t you move to LA after this is done and recut my movie. I want you to cut the whole thing. I can’t really pay you, but I’ll get you a job at the Playboy channel.” Which is where he worked.

Sarah Taylor:

Interesting. Yeah.

Liza Cardinale:

But I’d said, “Sure.” It’s very open at that point, and then what’s the next door that’s opening I’m going to walk through it? I moved into my dad’s garage, where I had a little twin size bed and got to work night shift assistant editor. My first job, I just learned from the people. I learned the Avid, but I had no idea about workflow and scripts and all the things, outputs that I had to do, but people are so friendly. They taught me everything I needed to know, the other assistant editors.

Sarah Taylor:

Then that led you to assistant editing, right?

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. I assistant edited for a very long time. It felt like an eternity.

Sarah Taylor:

Did it feel like an eternity because you felt like you’re trying to get to the next step and it just wasn’t happening, or how did it work for you to get from assistant to now then be like, okay, I don’t want to be labeled that anymore, I want to be the editor?

Liza Cardinale:

That was a very tough leap. I think it might be a bit easier for ladies now because people are so hungry to find lady editors. But I did notice in my time, which is not that many years ago, that all my male counterparts had been promoted long before I was. I don’t think it was because I had less skills. I just think people just tended to trust guys more. The way it’s changing, it’s great. For me, I met this editor named Jonathan Schwartz on the Big C.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s such a great show.

Liza Cardinale:

Oh yeah, it was a great show. I loved it so much so I always made sure I went back to it. I couldn’t make the last season, but I did three seasons of it. We would kind of share … It was a weird setup, so I think I had to assist a few different editors and they’d shuffle us around. I just really liked John. I had been working on The Walking Dead, but it was giving me so many nightmares.

Sarah Taylor:

Can’t even imagine.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah, it was pretty gross to work on that. It was with a good friend of mine. I was assisting someone from college actually, from UC Berkeley. Lovely guy, but I just called him and I said, I don’t think it’s a good fit for me. I’m dreaming about putting axes in zombies heads and blood spurting is just really not my style. I told John, “John, I like you. I like assisting you. Wherever you go next, you can have me if you want me.” He said, “Oh, okay. You’re not going back to The Walking Dead. Okay.” He took me to a show called The Neighbors for ABC, which was a sitcom.

Liza Cardinale:

He really wanted to cut features, so he didn’t want to stay there for very long. He did stay the whole first season, but then the second season, he decided to leave to do a feature that he recommended that they promote me instead of finding an outside editor.

Sarah Taylor:

That was great.

Liza Cardinale:

So, I was very lucky to have that assist. Then the showrunner, Dan Fogelman, knew me, trusted me. I had cut some stuff for him, so he went to bat for me. I think that the hard thing is that you need somebody in a position of great power to go to bat for you with the studio because they don’t want to risk it.

Sarah Taylor:

Was that your first sitcom? You watched the sitcoms as a young kid in the ’80s, and then now you’re cutting a sitcom. Were you like, “Wow, I’m here.”

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. It wasn’t the kind of sitcom that those were. There was no live audience or anything, but it had that sensibility. I think, because it was very wholesome and sweet and family based. As my dad would tell me, you always have to end with a quiet scene between two people. You have to get to this intimate, true heartwarming moment at the end, and I pretty much followed that formula. It did feel pretty good. It was definitely weird too, but it got canceled. But still, it was such a great first job because I knew everybody on the crew. I even knew the actors because they shot right there and I had so much support.

Liza Cardinale:

My first day, I had people coming into my room saying, “Liza, we’re so happy for you. You’re going to do great. Congratulations.” Because they knew it was such a big deal too. I felt like, oh, I’m so supported. I don’t have to prove myself. I still do, but I don’t have to do it in a unfriendly environment.

Sarah Taylor:

Exactly. That makes all the difference.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

You ended up being the one of main editors of Outlander, which is a huge series that has a huge following. People love it. I giggled when I heard that your first job was with Playboy and you’re working on Outlander, which some people say is soft core for women. I was like, that’s fun.

Liza Cardinale:

Definitely is. Yes, there’s enough soft core for men. It’s time to make some for women. I fully support that.

Sarah Taylor:

Yes, amen. I think that is great. Getting onto Outlander, did you read the books? Were you interested in that series before you got onto it? What was the story of Outlander, and when you started working on it, did you have a feeling that it was going to become this big?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, I knew it was a huge romance, novel community. I knew it was huge in that community as a book series, so I suspected. Just like Game of Thrones, that whenever you have multi-million human beings already in love with these characters and waiting for it, I figured it would be pretty big, especially once the casting was good, because that’s where I guess it could have sunk if people didn’t love their Jamie because they love their Jamie so much. That would have been like a personal affront. I love that it has such a big fan base because I like to read their comments on episodes that I’ve done and see on Facebook.

Liza Cardinale:

I just love to know that it’s connecting with people and to see which are the moments that they really connect to, what makes them cry, what disappoints them too, I’m curious about, which is usually any time it diverts from the book, which is like the Bible.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, no kidding.

Liza Cardinale:

Even before I had my interview for that show, I read the entire first book, which was hard to get through all of it really fast, but I didn’t really know about it before. I got the audio book, I would read it, I would get it in my car whenever I was driving through Los Angeles. It was really fresh in my mind when I talked to Merrill, who was an executive producer and she was in Scotland. She was like calling me from the set to interview me.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, so cool.

Liza Cardinale:

The crazy time zone difference. But I could just talk about the characters in the story and that was basically the interview. It was so easy to latch onto that, especially in that first book. It’s so exciting because it’s the falling in love and the time travel. Yeah, all the hot steaminess of it. I’m someone who’s been to a lot of conventions like Comic-Con or KublaCon, various kind of nerdy things. I just like that environment. Super fans are not new to me. That’s a very comfortable crowd. I remember when it premiered and I went to the … A lot of us went down to Comic-Con for the premiere, and they had it in a big movie theater. Bear McCreary, the composer debuted the Jamie and Claire theme music live on stage.

Sarah Taylor:

Amazing.

Liza Cardinale:

Then they played the first episode of cut outs and all these ladies in the audience just screaming, screaming throughout. It was really fun. It’s so fun as a TV editor to get to see things in the theater anyway, because usually you have such a distance from your audience.

Sarah Taylor:

That must’ve been really interesting, you’re getting feedback from your audience all the time. As you went forward to the second season, to the next seasons, were you taking some of that knowing how the audience was reacting to things? Were you thinking about that in the edit, or were you just still doing your thing going with your instinct?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, I would always read the book before the season started for me. That was mainly because I could see how important accuracy was to the fans. I had to just become a fan of the books myself in order to deliver that, so it’s very clear in the books what are big moments and what a character is supposed to be like. Sometimes that changes based on casting and stuff, but I could tell … I could just see what were the important moments that needed to land and needed to be really emotional and heartfelt, so then I made sure I gave them a lot of extra time in the edit. I spent a whole day, and this is not even actually something from the book.

Liza Cardinale:

This is a bad example, but I spent at least a full day on a one minute scene where Jamie goes into a blacksmith place, and Murtagh’s there, and he doesn’t know Murtagh’s there. They’re seeing each other for the first time in years, but I understand how important that relationship is and how huge that moment needed to be an epic reveal moment. I spend the time by trying it a hundred different ways until I find the best one.

Sarah Taylor:

It might not have been in the book, but you knew those characters and you knew how important those moments were for the audience, which I think probably made a huge impact for the people watching that [crosstalk 00:20:02].

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. A later episode in that season, I also got to cut the scene where Jamie sees Brianna for the first time, because she traveled back in time to find him. That also was a very tough scene, and I spent days and days on it trying a hundred different pieces of music and different close-ups, different timing, who, what. In the end, it got to a place where everybody would cry when they watched it.

Sarah Taylor:

Because you’re like, I win. I did it.

Liza Cardinale:

I did it.

Sarah Taylor:

When you’re in those moments where you’re going and you’re auditioning all these different takes or you’re playing with the different music, are you bringing, in your workflow, do you bring somebody else in to watch your edits with you or do you watch it on a different screen? How do you navigate that world when you’re trying to see if a scene is working?

Liza Cardinale:

I usually don’t bring anyone in. I think, because I’m the hardest to please person that I know. If I can please myself, I kind of assume that other people will like it, which may be a weird thing to say, but sometimes I’ll play it later, or I’ll let my assistant, of course, watch it when they need to do some sound work on it or something. That’s usually my first audience I’d say. I love when assistant tells me if the scene is working for them or not. I really respect their opinion. But yeah, I usually don’t like get a crowd in or anything. I sometimes sit back, I try to watch it without touching the keyboard, but I usually fail.

Sarah Taylor:

It’s really hard. I’ve tried that too. I’m like, maybe if I watch it on my TV where it’s not in my editing, but I still haven’t tried it.

Liza Cardinale:

Well, this is advice that Michael Ruscio, another ACE member, he told me that it was really important to take it home and to watch it on your TV, especially when you’re talking about a full episode, because that’s the only way you cannot touch it. It’s the only way you can get in the head of an actual audience member.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, for sure.

Liza Cardinale:

I still have not done that though. I don’t know why. I don’t have the patience to do it that way.

Sarah Taylor:

I know. I feel very much the same, but I think it’s great advice. We just need to take it.

Liza Cardinale:

It’s great advice. I’m just such an obsessive changer. I’m just such a noodler.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. That sounds very similar to my style. Were there any challenges that came with Outlander, you jumping between time? It sounds like it could be very complicated. Did you run across any challenges in the edit?

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. Well, I’d say the most challenging thing sometimes was the camera work, because it was a tough … We were in this weird gray zone where they wanted to be beautiful, but not very composed, like a typical period piece would be. They wanted it to feel real and grounded. That’s what was special and unique about the show. Sometimes when you have a handheld camera that’s moving around and shifting focus, and there’s a lot of times when it’s just ugly unusable stuff, because cameras, then sometimes they miss the moment that I really, really wanted.

Liza Cardinale:

That’s a challenge that I’d say is not my favorite challenge to deal with, but I just worked hard to preserve the beauty as best I could. Sometimes I’d have to stabilize shots that were a little too loosey goosey. The other challenge would be that the showrunner, at the time when I worked there, was Ron Moore, Ronald D. Moore. He likes to rewrite in the edit. Not all showrunners do that, for sure, but he is definitely the type. He’s not restricted by what he’s seeing on the screen. He’s like, Oh, let’s just change the entire theme and vibe of this theme.” Or like, let’s end it here, or take the whole middle out.

Liza Cardinale:

He’s very outside the box thinker, which is great. I find it really exciting to work for people like that, but sometimes it feels like, what? You want me to do what? That’s not at all what they shot, that’s not at all what was written, that’s not how it was played. But there’s actually a ton you can do in the edit when you have to. It was a great learning experience. For example, there’s a scene in season one, episode five, which was my very first episode that I cut, where she’s going on the road in Scotland. It’s a love letter to Scotland episode.

Liza Cardinale:

It shows the world beyond just her, and she’s starting to connect with these people almost against her better judgment. She’s just starting to like them and feel like part of the part of the crowd. They were supposed to be on the road for like months and months, but it felt like it was three days because I don’t know, it was just a failure of the script or whatever. It didn’t come through that there was time passing. Ron said, “I need to feel the passage of time. Let’s just make a montage somewhere in the middle there and we’ll add some video.” Then he said, “Okay, make a montage out of footage. Shop for other scenes.” I had to dig through now, luckily there were some things that I hadn’t used at other campsites or whatever, so I could pretend like it was … This is a whole new campsite.

Liza Cardinale:

This is a whole different … This is the same river, but I’m going to flop the shot and pretend that’s a different river. The view certainly helped, but I think people completely bought it that this was a legitimately planned time passage montage. It helps that everybody’s wearing the same clothing. From episode to episode, they’re just never changing their clothing because to be like time period realistic.

Sarah Taylor:

Exactly.

Liza Cardinale:

You can really steal stuff. You could steal stuff from anywhere. I could steal things sometimes I’d have to steal from other episodes to make a montage. Because this is not the only time I had to do that. I had to do that probably every season, make up a montage that wasn’t there.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Yep, that sounds like a challenge, but great that there’s the opportunity that you have those extra elements that you can just harvest from, right?

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah, and that was nice about being there for so long, so I was there for the first four seasons, so I had a pretty good baseline knowledge of …

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. You can remember what came from before or whatever. That’s cool.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Do you have a highlight from Outlander?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, my favorite episode was definitely the witch trial episode, which was season one, episode 11, and I loved it because it was when Claire confesses to Jamie she’s a time traveler. I knew that also from the book was a huge, huge, huge, huge deal. There was so much anticipation leading up to that moment. It felt … Yeah, I liked being able to cut that. Then I loved the friendship with Geillis, and the craziness of the witch trial and everyone’s shouting. It was just such a visceral episode that went so many places. From beginning to end, you really feel like you’ve been through something. It’s an experience. Yeah, I loved getting to be that.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s awesome. Are there types of scenes that you prefer to edit? Do you like editing elaborate scenes with lots of people? What is your ideal scene to cut that you’re like, “Yes, I can’t wait to cut the scene?”

Liza Cardinale:

Well, I don’t love cutting scenes with lots of people in them because they’re so hard. They’re so hard. I love any scene that has emotional undercurrents going on, like falling in love is my favorite kind of scene to cut, I guess, building up to kisses, or good friendship, or intimacy when something feels really real and connected. That’s my favorite. Then hopefully the performances are good.

Sarah Taylor:

I feel like you’ve got to do a lot of that in your work on Dead to Me, there’s a lot of those kinds of moments.

Liza Cardinale:

Yes.

Sarah Taylor:

You’ve worked a lot on a lot of Netflix series as of late, Dead to Me being one, and Insatiable, which I loved. I thought that was a great series. Then Teenage Bounty Hunters, which I sadly heard was not renewed.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah, that really surprised me.

Sarah Taylor:

With Dead to Me and Insatiable, it’s comedy, but it’s dark comedy. Is that something that you were wanting to get into?

Liza Cardinale:

Not consciously. I think it just sort of happened. I think I have enough of a slightly morbid sense of humor that it’s a good fit, and I understand it, and I get it. I’m grateful to be in that place, but yeah, I didn’t actively pursue it. If anything, I keep telling my agent, I want to do a romcom. I want to do a romcom. I think they’re making them again. Just get me on some, like you’ve got mailed [inaudible 00:28:55] in Seattle type movie. That still might happen. Those usually are not dark comedy, but they’re sweet. But yeah, I like to go between the two. I like to balance my light and my darkness.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s amazing. Let’s talk about Dead to Me. How did you end up getting that job? How did that work out for you?

Liza Cardinale:

That was a matter of me sending my resume to the right person at the exact right moment. I was wrapping up on Orange is the New Black. I was hired to just cut one episode because the editor had to start late, and I had no idea what I was doing next. I heard about Dickinson for Apple, and that this woman, Darlene Hunt, who was the creator of The Big C, I heard she was involved. So, I sent her my resume and said, “Hey, do you need anyone, Dickinson? She said, “No, we’re cutting in New York, but I’m sending your resume to a friend who’s looking for an editor.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh great.

Liza Cardinale:

That was Liz Feldman. Liz got it. Within an hour, she had her post producer call me and say, can you come in and interview? I mean, they were desperate. They had already started shooting, and they didn’t have their pilot editor.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh wow.

Liza Cardinale:

I think they had just started shooting that day. Liz is just … She’s very picky. She had interviewed a lot of people and she hadn’t felt that click, that magic that she was looking for. I basically packed up my office at Orange is the New Black and drove right over to the interview with her at Raleigh Studios. I hadn’t read the script because I really had just gotten the phone call about it. I didn’t even know about the show. She told me, ?I like Christina Applegate?. I love her. Oh my God, she’s a goddess. Yes, yes, yes. I’m going to love the show. Yes. I had already been hired to cut another dark comedy about a widow called Widow.

Sarah Taylor:

Interesting.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. Then that was going to happen the year before and then it got killed, whatever. Happens to pilots. They never ended up shooting it. It was for YouTube Red. I think that that disappeared, whatever happened. I felt like I had unfinished business in widow comedies.

Sarah Taylor:

You needed that.

Liza Cardinale:

I needed to do a widow pilot. I even told her about that one. She said, “Yeah, I read that script. That was pretty good.” I said, “Yeah, it’s really sad that didn’t happen, but please can I do this one?” She sent me the script and on Saturday I read it. Then we talked again. I said, I loved it, whatever. We talked about the script. She said, “It’s between you and one other person.” I don’t know who that was. She was really agonizing over it. Then Monday I found out she had chosen me. Yay.

Sarah Taylor:

Yay.

Liza Cardinale:

Then I had to get to work. I had to wait for Netflix to approve me, which took a couple of days. I started on Tuesday or Wednesday, right after the interview and I was already so behind, whatever, because they started shooting on Friday. Then there was that panic that I think you know about, where they were concerned about a particular scene [crosstalk 00:31:58].

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, tell us about that scene.

Liza Cardinale:

Okay, so my first day there was very intense. They were shooting down the hall. They were shooting using part of my … The editing office as a location. So, there were like a million people thumping around the line producer, and Liz, and the director kept coming into my room and saying, “Have you cut the scene yet? Have you cut the scene yet? We might need to do a pickup. We might need to do a rewrite. I don’t know. We have to get this location, it’s really complicated. You just need to show us the scene right now.”

Sarah Taylor:

No pressure, no pressure.

Liza Cardinale:

I said, ?Oh my God?, I just got here. I don’t even know what this show is. This is really stressing me out, to have to show something on my first day. This is definitely not standard operating procedure. I cut something together and showed them, and they were like doing this kind of woo pensive watching. They’re like, yes, we need to pick something or we need to shoot something differently. I said, “Well, Liz, what is it that you want from the scene? Because maybe I can tell you if it’s somewhere in the dailies, maybe I just need to change the cut.”

Liza Cardinale:

She said, “Well, I don’t think you’re keyed into Judy’s story enough and I think it needs to be a closeup. I think we need a closeup of her and we need to have more of an emotional moment with her telling the story of her miscarriages.” I said, “Yeah, that would really help. To be honest, I don’t believe her because she’s just been exposed as a liar, so I don’t even know if she’s telling the truth about these miscarriages.” Liz said, “Mm.” She wrote a lot of new dialogue and shot a new scene and it became abundantly clear she’s not lying. This is a super earnest, sad, raw moment for her. That’s what was missing in the original version of the scene.

Sarah Taylor:

Wasn’t this one of the first scenes that they actually shot too?

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. They shot all that whole grief circle. Everything at the grief circle, which was the beginning and the end, they shot that the first day.

Sarah Taylor:

Even for the actors to get into it, that’s such a big scene to do at the beginning?

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. That’s wild.

Sarah Taylor:

Those scenes where you’re like … It’s almost like a dinner table scene or a fight scene, or like your pen. You’re in the scene and there’s lots of different direction and it’s a circle, that must’ve been a huge challenge in itself just cutting a scene like that. How did you approach that? Especially under the gun of, I need to put something together now. How do you do that? What did you do?

Liza Cardinale:

Oh God, I think I was having an out of body experience. I can’t really remember. I liked the take where Jen … The thing about Christina Applegate, she doesn’t like to do a lot of takes, so you kind of have what you have. I liked the one where she came in really hot and was yelling and really angry. I just went with that vibe and then tried to find some funny reactions, but I don’t know. I don’t even know how to answer the question because it was such a frightening experience. I just tried to like block out everything that was going on around me and say, okay, what do I like? What do I like?

Liza Cardinale:

I don’t know the tone of the show. I don’t know what the showrunner wants. I’ll just try to do something I think is interesting and hope that, that translates.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. I feel like that’s a really common. It’s sometimes hard to articulate how the process is working in our heads, as editors. Like, we’re doing what feels right. We’re doing what our instincts tell us to do. You brought up not really knowing the tone of the show, and as a pilot editor, that’s what you’re helping shape. How do you approach that with the director, the showrunner, and getting the right tone? Especially in a dark comedy, because I feel like if it’s too much joke, then there’s not enough drama, how do you balance that?

Liza Cardinale:

That was super tough on the Dead to Me Pilot. We spent a lot of time, a lot, a lot of time. Finding the tone for one thing was finding the right temp music. That was so hard. I basically gave up because everything I tried, Liz would reject. Eventually, we hired a music editor to come work with us for a few days. He had a huge library of soundtracks and he found one thing that she liked, one thing. It was the soundtrack to a movie called Barry, about Obama. It wasn’t the Barry … At first, I started cutting with it thinking this is Barry, the TV.

Sarah Taylor:

The TV show.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. But no, it’s the movie called Barry. For some reason, she responded to that. It wasn’t too sappy. It wasn’t too comedic. It just had a little lift of energy to it that helped you feel like it wasn’t … because we were trying the leftovers. All she had told us was that she liked piano and she liked a bit of orchestration, which sounded like we were going down a path of way too heavy handed, dark sadness. Because especially if I ever put in a comedy film score, she would say, “That’s too jokey. That sounds too jokey. No, no, no, no.”

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah, it was very hard to get there. But once I found Barry, we just used that for everything. We used every track of that throughout the first season. I mean, now we have actual score from Adam Plouff, which is beautiful and he hit that tone nicely. Yeah, I think music is a big part of the tone. Then we had to shave out a lot. Basically this tone was found by cutting out scenes, and part of that … Or cutting scenes in half. Too much was being played, very earnestly, in dramatic, and so it didn’t feel like a comedy at all. I would say it’s still is not huge comedy forward, but you at least know that you have permission to laugh at stuff that it’s not taken too seriously.

Liza Cardinale:

There were scenes like the beach scene where they talk Jen and Judy and they’re really bonding there. There was at least two more minutes of that, for example. That was something we could trim down, keep it intimate, keep it sweet and important, but not linger too long on these heavy stories they’re telling each other. There’s another time when they go to a cliff and they do this primal scream together, and we just took it out. I don’t know. It just felt a little too Indie movie moment scene moment, or something.

Sarah Taylor:

I’ve seen that scene before.

Liza Cardinale:

Exactly. It was an iconic moment. We didn’t need to repeat. The grief circle in the beginning also went maybe five minutes longer than what you see today, which is still pretty long, but that’s the shortest I can make it happen. I tried to cut that scene down for, days, days and days.

Sarah Taylor:

How much time did you have to get the pilot to be ready for … Were you on a tight deadline to cut the pilot or did you have some space to actually try?

Liza Cardinale:

We had space because they didn’t do the pilot separately. They just started the series, so I had basically the entire run of the series to keep tweaking it, and we did keep tweaking it for a very long time. I can’t even remember what episode we were up to shooting when we finally said, it’s locked, but it took a while. Yeah, we just had to, whatever time she needed.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s great.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

With Outlander, was that a scenario where, because it was for a broadcaster, were you doing it where you had, like you had your 10 days of, or whatever it might’ve been to get to an editor’s cut, then you had a director’s cut, and then you had lock-in stuff to meet deadlines, air date deadlines?

Liza Cardinale:

No, no. I think the air dates were so typically so far away that they really did not influence our time. We had as much time as we needed.

Sarah Taylor:

With Netflix stuff, is that kind of how it’s going? Because you basically delivered the whole season at once.

Liza Cardinale:

I mean, Dead to Me season two was very intense delivering because they wanted to … They had a launch date in mind so we did have to get every episode done by whatever, April or something. It was a lot of weekend work and late nights to make that happen. That was not an ideal creative scenario. I’m not sure what season three is going to be like, but I’ll find out soon enough. They’re gonna start shooting in January is the plan right now.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s exciting. Cross our fingers.

Liza Cardinale:

Hopefully that works out. With other Netflix shows, we tend to stay on a schedule. Like Teenage Bounty Hunters, I think I would get … They’re pretty generous. I would have four days for an editor’s cut, which was very helpful, because I always say at least one day to just catch up on dailies that I was behind on. Then doing my music usually takes a couple of days, and then like recuts and polish. I use all four of those days pretty intensely. A lot of shows don’t even give you that. Then director’s cut, whatever that was, I guess they get four days, two, three or four. Then producers would get four or five days. We really kept that moving along pretty snappily.

Sarah Taylor:

Are you doing alternating kind of you’re maybe episode two and then episode four, and then kind of bouncing back and forth between other editors?

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. But we at least, on Teenage Bounty Hunters, it was nice because they shot one episode at a time. So many people are cross boarding now and that makes it a little trickier to figure out editing schedules.

Sarah Taylor:

Now, I know that you have been giving back to the editing community by doing lots of interviews like this one. You’re also an artist in residence at the Manhattan Edit Workshop. How did you get involved with that? And why did you feel like it was important to do that?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, that was just Janet Dalton was her name, she’s an instructor there. She reached out to me via Jenni McCormick, who’s the director of ACE who is oftentimes my-

Sarah Taylor:

Yay, Jenni. We love Jenni.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah, she’s 100% my fairy godmother in all ways of my career. That was just, yeah. Jenny sends me an email saying you should do this. I said, okay, I don’t know what this is, but sure. Jenni told me to do it. I’m doing it. Then I connected with Janet. Really, I just sat in with her students a couple of times and I’d watch some of their work and let them ask me questions. They were people trying to make a career shift into editing. I’m not sure if any of them were even fresh out of college, maybe one of them, but they knew nothing about the world professionally.

Liza Cardinale:

So, they needed to know I could help them a lot with understanding how it works, politically, how you job hunt and what kind of first jobs you might need to take, like mine. Just take whatever you can. You might have to do night shift, you have to take the jobs that no one else wants to do, that is how you begin. I think it just comes naturally to give back because I don’t know, I’m just that kind of friend. I see other editors as my friends. If I can help them, of course I want to, and I’m always so grateful to get advice and help too, I just think it’s a really great community that way, where we … Usually, we’re not huge ego people. Usually, we’re like happy behind the scenes, supportive type people. We work best when we’re helping each other get ahead. I don’t feel competition with my fellow editors.

Sarah Taylor:

You mentioned when you first started, you got to shadow two women, which back then was a big deal, that you had the editor and the assistant editor were two women. You mentioned, touched on like, you might’ve become an editor quicker if maybe you were a man. What are your thoughts on like, how do we make the post-world more equitable and how we bring more diversity into the edit suite and help shape what’s behind helping create the stories with people that are actually in the world and it’s not just homogenized as it has been for a long time?

Liza Cardinale:

It just seems like it’s 100% happening right now. I’m not sure all the mechanisms of that, but showrunners and studios are making a huge effort to increase their diversity. I know that because, for one thing, I get offered a lot more jobs because they’re very often looking for female editors, or I recently interviewed with studio executive at 20th Century Studios. It’s not Fox anymore, it’s just called 20th Century Studios. He had called my agent saying, I need to meet some non-white guys, so send me. I just need more. I need more diversity in my Rolodex. I just need people, so he sent me and a couple African-American editors over to meet with him. I think that’s what it takes. It takes outreach. It takes it being a priority from the people who have the hiring power to do it.

Liza Cardinale:

I’m not sure why, but I think there’s a lot of inclusion writers going on so they need to get to that 50% mark. I’m so grateful for that. I think it’s excellent. Now, a lot of people in socio-economic lower kind of poverty world, they don’t know about a lot of these jobs that we have. A lot of people don’t know what editing is, or how to be a PA, or any of these. It’s just not around their world a lot. That divide, I don’t know how to bridge exactly, except for something like a podcast is accessible to anyone. Hopefully, people will listen to that or try to get information to schools. Yeah, that I think is something that’s an important next step is just trying to get the word out there that these kinds of jobs exist and that you might have a talent for this kind of work and you just don’t even know it because you’ve never heard of it.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. I think in our industry, it’s very much like, oh, so-and-so says there’s this job, and so we’re kind of all sort of getting work from somebody we know. It is opening up that world to everybody. There’s programs I know in Canada where they are offering internships to BIPOC people and people that wouldn’t typically be invited to the table, which is what we need to do. I feel like, in some cases, I don’t know what it’s like, maybe in the States, maybe you can touch on this, but up in Canada, we often have the choice to who we get to choose as our assistant. There’s one editor that I … Cathy Gulkin, she’s a documentary editor here in Canada.

Sarah Taylor:

She is so brilliant. She said, “Whenever I hire, I always try to hire somebody that doesn’t look like me.” I think that’s like a huge thing that we can take forward if we have the ability to hire, to not keep filling our spots with people that look like everybody else, because then we’ll have more voices in the room. I’m wondering how it’s like in the States for you, or in Hollywood, if you have any say in that sort of stuff.

Liza Cardinale:

I do have say in who my assistant is. Now, I’m very attached to my current assistant.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s fair too, yeah.

Liza Cardinale:

I’m not going to quit her until she quits me, but she is also … She doesn’t look like me. She’s younger. She’s half Mexican immigrant, but I do think that I would certainly make a push to hire somebody who was having a hard time getting opportunities who I felt like they had the enthusiasm and the drive to learn. It’s a really hard thing to take a risk on somebody when you’re doing remote work, because then you can’t be in the room educating them. I think that’s what it takes is, if somebody doesn’t have the experience, which is very common for a lot of these people trying to break into the business that they’re not in it yet, they’re going to have experience that’s not necessarily relevant.

Liza Cardinale:

But if they have intelligence and drive and a generous person in the office, then they can learn anything the way I learned at the Playboy channel.

Sarah Taylor:

Everybody needs to work at the Play ? I’m just kidding.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah, and then I learned in time, my next bigger job as an assistant was the Sarah Connor Chronicles. Full of visual effects, but I had to learn all about like Anna Max. Such great people there helped me out too. But you do have to be a quick study. It’s okay to know nothing, but you have to be able to pick things up pretty quickly, because nobody can stop their work and just teach you all day long.

Sarah Taylor:

But I think hearing somebody, like you say that, to say, you don’t have to know everything, and that as long as you’re willing to learn, you will figure it out. Where I feel like, maybe it’s typical, or it’s been said before, but often, I think women will be like, well, I don’t know all the things so I might not take that job. Or a man will typically be like, well, that’s fine. I don’t know the system. I’ll just do it. I’ll just do it.

Liza Cardinale:

[crosstalk 00:49:10]. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

To hear women who are successful, say, “I didn’t know everything, but I figured it out. I learned, and it was part of my job and it was amazing.” I think young people in the industry need to hear those kind of stories and know that you don’t have to know everything because you’re starting and every show is going to be different and it’s going to have its own thing that you’re going to learn and figure out, right?

Liza Cardinale:

Exactly. Yeah. You just have to be friendly. You just have to have a good attitude and be open, and do not be afraid to ask questions, because all of us will say this. We’d rather you ask the question than do it wrong and make it up. You know what I’m saying? You don’t know how to do something, there is no shame in that. Usually, it can be taught pretty quickly.

Sarah Taylor:

You mentioned remote working. As we all know, amidst of COVID, you had just wrapped up Dead to Me when you got the lockdown, but you did get back in the edit suite because you recently … Well, the show Social Distance, which just was released. Well, when we’re recording this, yesterday, I watched the first three episodes. Quite enjoyed it. How did you get onto that show? What was the process like working remotely, I’m assuming, on a show all about the pandemic?

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. I was three months into safer at home with just being trapped in a house with my husband and child. Her school had closed down. She’s, she’s five. So, I was still a bit in that shocked frame of mind of like, how vigilant do we have to be? How big is this threat? There’s just a little bit of stress going on all the time. When they contacted me from Tilted, the production company that does Jenji Kohan’s production company that did Orange is the New Black and Teenage Bounty Hunters. That’s why they called me because I had already worked for them.

Liza Cardinale:

When they contacted me, I was thrilled to get back to work, but also a little concerned about, how am I going to rewire my brain to focus on something else. Maybe it was good in a sense that it was commenting on the pandemic itself because that’s where all of our thoughts were anyway, but it was enough of an escape from my own internal anxiety about it, to just be able to work, to get into some normalcy of a routine. It felt really good. I don’t have a space to work at my home, so it’s a bit complicated for me. My place is just really small.

Liza Cardinale:

I had to rent a little room for my friend who has a photo studio. I just locked myself away. There were no windows, no furniture, no comfy couch, like you usually get in an editor’s room. But it worked out. It was great. They rented me the Avid. It was just like my little workstation. We decided to get on Slack. We just said that pretty quickly. That’s not something I’ve ever used on a job before, but I think it’s actually quite brilliant because then your own email doesn’t get clogged up with all this little chatter, and it was great.

Liza Cardinale:

We’d have different channels based on the episode number, and then we’d have general channel, so we could all connect about things we all needed to know, so incredibly helpful to have that. We felt a bit of connection was going on between the whole team all the time. I had my assistant far away. We had a VFX editor. We had a lot of media coming and going in and out. The visual effects were extremely complicated and a lot of things in my script there’d be no coverage for. The editors had to generate the content from scratch. I’d have Hannah, my assistant, doing like screen recordings of Google searches and screen grabs of all these different apps. It was tough. It was definitely not the easiest job.

Sarah Taylor:

Because I knew you cut the first episode, as I watched it, I was like, oh, this looks very complicated, but it worked great. Can you give just a brief synopsis of what Social Distance is about?

Liza Cardinale:

It’s an anthology series. So, every episode is its own unique story with its own cast. They don’t fit together in any way except the timeline, I suppose. It starts as quarantine pretty much is new. It starts in New York City with my episode where he is a recovering alcoholic who’s going to AA meetings. That’s the thing that pops up throughout the episode is AA meetings are on Zoom now. Are they as effective? Are they feeling connected? It’s hard to know. Then he goes down a rabbit hole of his own version of doom, scrolling, just looking at his ex-girlfriend’s Instagram page and seeing that she has a new boyfriend and all these things that drive him a little crazy.

Liza Cardinale:

It was a tough episode because most of it is just one guy alone, not a ton of dialogue, unless he’s talking to somebody on a video chat. Usually, he’s just the lonely dude scrolling the internet. I just have shots of his face that they recorded. All the actors had to record themselves with iPhones. I think they used iPhones for everything, but they somehow patched to a SD card. I don’t know how that worked, but so they recorded all their own stuff. Maybe a PA came to their house. I’m not sure. All the actors lived different places.

Liza Cardinale:

It wasn’t all shot in LA or anything. It was shot all over the country so that there was a lot of severe coordination going on behind the scenes that I was not privy to. For me, the process was fairly simple and that I just downloaded my dailies every morning and they were sunk up and they looked like normal dailies, so I didn’t have to figure out how to get things off an iPhone or anything.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. That’s good.

Liza Cardinale:

But yeah, it was unique figuring out the tone of that too, and how strict we had to be about, what were the rules of it? A lot of these things were worked out as we went that you had to always … All right, I didn’t say the most important thing about it, which is the entire thing is in screen genre. The movie, Searching, was done, which I watched for research. That entire movie takes place like you’re watching a laptop screen. You sometimes see the person if their camera is on, but otherwise, you’re not going to see them, and you’re just going to see the stuff they’re typing or the things they’re looking at on their desktop.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah, that was the genre that we were locked into. We used a lot of different apps. Every script had different apps written into it and you can show them as long as it represents accurately what the app does, then you don’t get into legal trouble with it.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, I didn’t know that. That’s good to know.

Liza Cardinale:

I don’t even know if they had to pay, to say Instagram, as long as it looked like a real Instagram, but don’t quote me on that. I’m actually not sure, but I know that we had to be very careful about accuracy, like with Zoom and all that stuff. Many meetings about all those tiny details.

Sarah Taylor:

There’s so, so many details. Because even in the one, the first AA meeting, there is what? You probably know how many people were in the meeting.

Liza Cardinale:

I think there were maybe just 24 in the first one, something like that. It was a lot of those squares.

Sarah Taylor:

There was a lot of squares. It was great because I think a lot of people would probably feel as like, that is exactly, I didn’t go to an AA meeting, but I’ve had many different meetings, different conferences I’ve gone to where you see … That’s what we saw. We’ve been seeing for the last nine months. I think you did a really great job of merging all those different elements together. Yeah, him with his laptop on and you see him recording in photo booth. There were just so many elements where I was like, wow, there’s so many things. I can only imagine what your script was and like what you had.

Liza Cardinale:

I think I had 12 video layers, at least. If they tell me to change something, I’d be like, this could take me three hours and 20 minutes of render time, so I’ll just make a note of that.

Sarah Taylor:

Are you sure you want me to do that right now? Okay.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. You’re not going to sit here on my ever cast stream while I make changes.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. How did that go for you? Not getting to be with the director in the room. Was that something that was hard for you or was that an easy transition?

Liza Cardinale:

It was okay doing the video streaming. It’s just awkward and there were a lot of technical problems. I would just get booted out spontaneously or their picture would freeze. There’s just a lot of like, stop, stop, wait, refresh, change your bandwidth, turn your video off, mute your microphone. It over-complicates the situation. I think video chatting with five people is always a little awkward because you never know when it’s your turn to talk, and no one’s really looking at each other. It’s definitely not ideal, but it worked.

Liza Cardinale:

It helps that I knew everybody. I didn’t know the showrunner, Hillary, but I knew the rest of the people, the producers that were in the rooms. They were the same people I had just worked with in Teenage Bounty Hunters. That helped a lot, because like my current show, I’m doing a show called On The Verge with Julie Delpy, French actress. I’ve never been in a room with her at all. We had the job interview on Zoom. We’ve done some streaming sessions with her, like always full of huge technical glitches. She’s a super scatterbrained creative individual, so I never even know when she wants to talk to me. She’ll just say, “Let’s do a session, 10 minutes. I’m ready.”

Liza Cardinale:

I’ll be like, okay. I go to make sure everything’s plugged in right, and my microphone is muted. There’s always new challenges with remote work. It’s just not as organic as someone dropping into your room to have a moment of realness, like a human connection moment that’s not just business. No, every moment you’re interacting with someone, it is scheduled, it is limited timeframe. It is all business, no chit chat. Plus, there’ll be other people listening.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, which you kind of miss that intimacy of … Sometimes there’s an intimacy with director-editor moments, where you’re kind of playing therapist sometimes. You’re learning about whatever happened the night before, or whatever happened on set and probably don’t get to do some of that stuff.

Liza Cardinale:

Find those little moments of connection and relationship. They matter a lot in the editing room and on the screen, they matter just as much that I’m feeling connected to the people making the show, so that I understand what they’re looking for so I can deliberate. You know what I mean?

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

Liza Cardinale:

What their values are, who they are as a person, what’s their sensibility, what’s their sense of humor? It’s all information to channel into editing.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Have you figured out any tricks on how to find some of that stuff now that you’ve done your second show now in this world?

Liza Cardinale:

No, I’m basically just in survival mode, just get through it until life can be normal again. This is never going to be my favorite way to work. I’m in a slightly better environment now because the other editor of the show I’m doing, she had an extra little room in her backyard that I can rent from her. We have a bit of communion between us, which is great. Yeah, we can show each other stuff, and she can translate all the French stuff to me because I don’t fully understand it. She’s a native French speaker as well. That’s really great.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s perfect. Have you done other shows in other languages?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, there was a bit of Gallic in Outlander, but I highly doubt that any of those actors were really speaking it correctly. We didn’t quite worry about it too much. I think there was a Gallic consultant guy who’d be on set and he had really weird hair and he would sometimes watch cuts and try to get us to ADR things that they were really off. We would get them to pronounce, to repeat their performance, so they pronounce things right. But most of the audience is not really Gallic.

Sarah Taylor:

Probably not that many people.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. They’re just reading the subtitles. But the French people, this show is made for the French audience, so the French has to be correct.

Sarah Taylor:

How are you finding that work? I’m working on a French show right now as well, and I don’t speak French. But it’s a docuseries, but yeah. It definitely takes, for me, it’s like a whole other … my brain is working so much harder because I’m like … You’re trying to make sure the translation, but get the body language and get the right sense. Yeah, it’s definitely a little more challenging, that’s for sure.

Liza Cardinale:

I find it almost impossible to judge if somebody’s being funny, or even good acting, I find it a lot harder to judge, because I barely understand. I know a bit. I’ve studied French, but the way people actually speak is slang. They’re mumbling and throwing things around. It’s going right over my head. I’m just going to have to rely on Julie for that. She actually has her own Avid so she can watch tapes, and maybe she’s even going to cut some stuff. I’m not sure, but she has all the dailies, and so she can maybe make selects. I don’t know. It’s all very new in the process, but she will definitely tell me if there’s a better French read. She didn’t expect me to be fluent, so it’s okay.

Sarah Taylor:

You’ll pick up some stuff, I’m sure.

Liza Cardinale:

It’s kind of fun. Yeah, exactly.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, it is fun.

Liza Cardinale:

I think I’m learning some. French people are so passionate and shouty when they [crosstalk 01:02:43]. It’s fun.

Sarah Taylor:

I have a couple more questions and one of them I think is very important. What are the things that you need to have in your edit suite that make you feel like a normal human being?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, I always have nice little dim lights. I have essential oils and a diffuser. I like to pretend that my workplace could be a spa.

Sarah Taylor:

Is there a specific smell that is like you use certain scenes? Do you have like a moon one?

Liza Cardinale:

Well, I only have lavender and eucalyptus, just because they’re both universally appealing. So, if somebody else is coming in …

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, and they’re very calming.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. They’re calming, they’re soothing, they’re cleansing of the environment. I like for my room to be a place that people enjoy entering, and I’m talking more normal editing life, not COVID editing life. I try to keep it peaceful. I don’t have a lot of stuff in here. I keep lighting kind of dim and all over the room if I can. I have little spritz of sage spray. As you know, you can’t really like burn a sage stick if somebody comes in and acts all crazy and then leaves your room, and you want to just clear out juju. I use this little sage spray. That’s it. Usually, I have a picture of my daughter up.

Sarah Taylor:

Nice. Do you have a set routine of how you like to work? Do you take walking breaks? Do you eat lunch at your desk or do you make sure you eat lunch elsewhere? What is your sort of editing day routine?

Liza Cardinale:

The most exercise I get is switching from a sitting to a standing desk. I try to do that a few times a day. I don’t do a ton of walking, but I just got a Fitbit to try to encourage myself to get away from the desk. I think that I usually just get so engrossed in my work that I forget about my body and how to take care of it. But I think quarantine taught me that there are lots of great exercise videos on YouTube, and I should just take a break and do a half hour Pilates thing or yoga thing. And it’s not in my routine yet, sadly, but I have a yoga mat here. That’s another thing I always keep an edit room is a yoga mat and some foam rollers for trying to stretch out the shoulders that get a little too tense sometimes.

Sarah Taylor:

Yes. Do you have any tips for editors who are making maybe a career transition into, coming from documentary and to television or assisting into editing?

Liza Cardinale:

My tips would be to have a great attitude to everybody that you meet so that they want to hire you later. Because even if they don’t have a job for you right now, they might have a job for you in three months. That timing is a big part of it. But if you show consistency and genuine enthusiasm and a work ethic, that will go so far, even more than actual skills, I think, because we’ve all come across people who bring unpleasant vibe to the office and then everybody’s a bit uncomfortable. I think that a lot of we’ll make allowances for somebody who’s just … You’re just going to play well with others, you’re going to fit in here. My husband is actually making a career transition. It has nothing to do with editing, but he was a software engineer for 20 years and now he’s studying to become an architect.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh wow.

Liza Cardinale:

It’s totally different than what he’s been doing, but he is such a knack for it. It’s clearly what he should have been doing all along, but that’s okay. I don’t think it’s ever too late to make a switch, especially if you have a passion, but I do think you need to also have a knack for it or else it’s going to be pretty hard to do a career transition later in life. So, you want to feel like it has to feel kind of easy and right when you’re doing it. I don’t think editing is something that’s very easy to teach, especially when it comes to just the instincts of it. That way that you just have to keep changing things till it feels right.

Liza Cardinale:

I don’t know how to teach that to a person, but I think if you have that, you probably know it, just because people watch your work and they’ll connect to it and they’ll get it and they’ll feel something when you want them to feel something. Yeah, I’d say don’t attempt it if you’re finding it a huge challenge because it is a pretty tough gig even when you’re good at it. But I want to encourage people for sure, if you love it, if you’ve tried it and you love it and the hours fly by and the sun goes down, that’s what you’re looking for, that’s the sweet spot. Anyone who feels that way about editing should absolutely pursue it as a career because it pays well. There’s tons of jobs. There really are tons of jobs once you’re in the flow of it.

Sarah Taylor:

During COVID, we’ve definitely seen it, people want content. We’ve always wanted content, and we always want it … We need it. Now more than ever, yeah, it’s not going to stop. How we do it is changing, but we always need to tell stories.

Liza Cardinale:

Right. There are like what? Four more streaming services just started in the last year.

Sarah Taylor:

It’s wild.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. A lot more, a lot of opportunity there.

Sarah Taylor:

I feel like you’ve given us a lot of great information and lots of, I don’t know, exciting tips for the young editors out there or people wanting to be an editor. Yeah.

Liza Cardinale:

Yeah. I guess the only tip I would give is just to keep meeting people and keep asking questions. Not only do you learn from asking a question, but the person you’re asking will come to trust you based on your questions, because they’ll see, oh, this person has a really active interest and a curiosity, and they’re asking the right questions. They’re really getting to the heart of this and they care. I find that, as far as who I help get a leg up, it’s always the people who just wanted to come into my room and hang out. Maybe it’s a PA wanting to come in and just see what I do and ask me once in a while without intruding.

Liza Cardinale:

But when they see a moment, they could ask me, “Well, why did you make that choice?” Then it’s kind of fun to talk about that. Because usually, we’re just so in our internal brain. I think you’ll find a lot of editors love to talk about why they do the things that they do.

Sarah Taylor:

Well, thank you so much for joining me today. It was so great chatting with you.

Liza Cardinale:

Oh yeah, you too.

Sarah Taylor:

Good luck with your French series. I hope it all goes well. I look forward to seeing it in the future. Stay safe, stay well.

Liza Cardinale:

Thank you.

Sarah Taylor:

Thank you so much for joining us today, and a big, thanks goes to Liza. A special, thanks goes to Jane MacRae and Jenni McCormick. The main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall, additional EDR recording by Andrea Rusch. Original music provided by Chad Blain. This episode was mixed and mastered by Tony Bao. 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.

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Catégories
The Editors Cut

Episode 027: Hope in the Time of Corona

Episode 027: Hope in the Time of Corona

Episode 027: Hope in the Time of Corona

We have been thinking about our fellow editors from around the world in this unique time.

Episode 027: Hope in the Time of Corona

In this episode we hear from our past guests and editors down south from ACE about how life is for them. We hope these messages bring you hope in these uncertain times.

Thank you to the editors who contributed to this episode:

Cathy Gulkin, CCE,

Kevin Tent, ACE,

Nicole Ratcliffe, CCE,

Justin Lachance, CCE,

Liza Cardinale, ACE,

Paul Day, CCE

Mike Munn, CCE,

Daria Ellerman, CCE,

Zack Arnold, ACE,

Stephen Philipson, CCE,

Jesse Averna, ACE,

Jonathan Dowler,

 Krystal Moss

Lesley MacKay Hunter,

Paul Hunter,

Stephen Rivkin, ACE,

Pauline Decroix,

Scott Parker,

Michèle Hozer, CCE,

Jane MacRae,

Ron Sanders, CCE,

Jillian Moul, ACE, D.

Gillian Truster, CCE,

Paul Winestock, CCE,

Sarah Hedar,

Écoutez maintenant

The Editor?s Cut – Episode 027 – ?Hope in the Time of Corona?

 

Sarah:

Hi, and welcome to The Editor’s Cut. I’ve been thinking about my fellow editors around the world in this unique time. Some still have work where others have been at a standstill for a couple months. I wanted to hear how everyone is doing and what’s helping them get through. So I reached out to our past guests and editors down south from ACE to share how life is for them. For myself work has slowed right down, but life in Edmonton Alberta is still busy. My four year old daughter is home with me. She’s here right now.

Young Voice:

Hi.

Sarah Taylor:

And my husband and I are both working from home. I have two dogs and two cats and five fish. Mondays now consist of pretending with my daughter–

 

Young Voice:

Let’s play!

Sarah Taylor:

–extra long dog walks and lots of baking. I’ve also been attending the many Zoom events the CCE and other organizations are hosting. In some ways I feel more connected with friends and family, as we’ve been taking the time to call each other and check in. The app, Marco Polo has been a savior as it feels like I’m talking with friends all day long. There are definitely low days and days where I have all the energy in the world but I just ride the wave. I know we will be okay. And for now I will settle into this new world.

 

Young Voice:

Let?s go for a walk.

Sarah Taylor:

I hope these messages bring you hope in these uncertain times. 

 

Cathy Gulkin:

Hi fellow editors, Cathy Gulkin here in Toronto. The centre of the universe is awfully quiet these days. But as a homebody, I don’t mind all that much. I think many of us editors are pretty happy living quiet lives. We’re the ones who prefer to work by ourselves in our own spaces whenever given the choice. So it’s kind of nice that there’s no other option now.

 

The director can’t come in and sit over our shoulders and frame fuck. I for one, find that liberating. I continue to do all of the things I’ve always done to protect my physical and mental health while working in the edit suite. Take lots of breaks and go for brisk walks. Now wearing a mask and social distancing. But since the streets are mostly deserted, it’s not that difficult. I’m also counseling the director I’m currently working with about how I think we can complete the project using tools like Zoom and Skype, to do pickup interviews, because this doc was supposed to follow three young people during their last year of high school, and our Act Four–graduation–has pretty much been canceled. Finding a new act four is a challenge. What I’ve said to the director is, if he can’t fix it, feature it. We’re living in an historic moment. And so are the subjects in our documentary. I think that capturing their current experience through online interviews in their own vlogs is going to make a very interesting film. I know things are much harder for editors working on fiction, where all production has stopped, and for those who are waiting to begin projects that would have been shooting this spring. My current gig ends in June, and if Cruz can’t go out this spring and summer, I won’t be working either come September when I’ll be eager to get back into the edit suite. But I’ve been through the boom and bust cycle in our industry before, and there were no government income programs to help us out then. I just saw my savings dwindle, went into some debt, and then things recovered and so did my financial situation.

 

This too, shall pass. Stay strong and safe colleagues.

Kevin Tent:

Hello, friends and fellow editors, north of the border. It’s Kevin Tent reporting from down here in Los Angeles. I hope you are all healthy and well. You may be familiar with me and some of my early work on classics such as, Salt: The Hidden Threat, Cholesterol: What Can You Do? And one of my personal favorites, Teenagers: How to Get and Keep a Job. It’s such a mind blowing and difficult time for all we humans right now. And the film business has taken a huge hit, especially on the production side, which of course affects us on the post side.

 

Yet as grim as it sometimes seems. I am optimistic that once it’s deemed safe, there will be a big demand for content and productions will be back up. It might not be overnight, but I have faith in the ingenuity, the versatility and the creativity of the people in our business. They’re amazing. So things will get better. It might take a while, but they will. 

 

In the meantime I am extremely grateful that my family and I are safe and healthy. I’ve been proud of the people of Los Angeles and California. For the most part, they have taken the situation seriously and are following safety protocols. And although our numbers are climbing, they seem relatively manageable and not as bad as they could have been for a state of our size and population. Personally, what’s helped me a lot in dealing with the pandemic has been exercising regularly, and meditating. About four years ago, you may remember we had an election down here, and the day after I realized I had to do something to deal with how I was feeling.

 

So I bought an app called Headspace and started, and it’s been a godsend. I moved down to different forms of meditation, tried different things and different apps, but I highly recommend some sort of mindfulness practice. All editors could use it pandemic or not. So make sure you get out and exercise if you can, treat yourself well physically and mentally. And when things get tough, cut yourself some slack. You will, and we will get through this. Wishing you all the best from south of the border. Stay safe, stay strong, stay sane and hug your loved ones. Your friend and colleague Kevin Tent.

Nicole Ratcliffe:

Hey everyone, Nicole Ratcliffe from Vancouver here. I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe. Like many of you, I lost my job around mid March when all of this happened, and it seemed like the entire industry around the world shut down. So now that I’m home, I have all this time. Time to get things done that have been on my to do list for what seems like years. And also, to finally catch up on all those TV shows and movies that I keep telling everyone I’m going to watch.

 

A few other things I’ve been doing is I’ve taken up knitting in the last year. And I’m really enjoying that. I finally have gotten over the stress of it, and now I’m enjoying it. I’m working on a big knitting project right now. My biggest project so far, it’s a large six color shawl. I’ll send you all pictures when it’s done. I’ve been reading a lot, getting through quite a few books, enjoying that. And luckily the weather has been quite nice here in Vancouver over the last couple months.

So, I?ve been spending a lot of time outside in the yard, getting it cleaned up from the winter and getting my greenhouse ready to start planting what will be my own food, really looking forward to that. I’ve been keeping in touch with my film family here in Vancouver, and some people in Los Angeles online via either Zoom or Houseparty. And it’s been really great just to keep in touch with people, see what they’re doing to keep busy and just talk about what’s going on right now and how people are feeling about it.

 

I find that everyone is being incredibly supportive, but having fun online with those people as well has been really, really great. I recommend Houseparty, if you haven’t tried it. Anyway, as I said, I hope you’re all doing well. I’m thinking of you all. And I hope that we all get back to work sooner rather than later, but in the safest way possible. Take good care.

Justin Lachance:

What’s up guys. This is Justin Lachance and this is my impression of every Tech/gaming podcast intro on the planet. [beep] Oh no. Okay. All right. [beep] At the beginning of this pandemic, there was a meme going around that editors would send each other. I’m sure you all saw it. It spread faster than COVID. If somehow you haven’t seen it. It had two pictures of an editor at his computer. And under the first picture, there was a caption that said, ?A video editor.? The caption under the second picture said, ?A video editor in quarantine.? Both pictures were identical. I admit, I thought it was funny because at the time I was about to start working on a small series with an insane turnaround schedule. I thought, yeah, that’s totally it. I’ll be working from home and we’ll be able to get it done before things get really bad. This was on March 11th. As the news became darker and darker by the hour, I realized this was going to change a lot of things about our industry.

 

The production was put on hold as the country closed up shop. I found out that because Quebec Spring Break happened just before shutdown, some people on the set of my series had contracted the virus while on vacation and spread it to a lot of the cast and crew without knowing. I thought about the meme and was like, well, I guess being a post-production loner is a good thing now? I don’t know. Days went by and I talked to the Post Super, the director, my agent, the producers of future projects. And we all didn’t know what to say to each other. We’d say, we’ll give it a couple of weeks and see what’s up; in the meantime, take care of yourself. Weeks went by. I started doing things around the house. I painted my fence, planted my seedlings. I tried to take my mind off the fact that there was a global pandemic happening out there. And on top of that, I wasn’t editing. A month went by, two. Today is May 11th. And there’s talk of some production starting back up in July, but that’s a big maybe.

 

I got to admit, it’s pretty brutal–to have a full year of exciting projects blow up like that is rough. But then I think about that meme. I look at it from a completely different angle now. Before I’d see the brutally honest hilarity of our job, I’d be like, “Yeah, I willingly spent my days alone in a room while being lost in a very specific train of thought sometimes to the point of madness.” It was funny, but like so true.

 

Now I look at that meme and see the hundreds of people behind the editor that aren’t pictured. The conversations with the directors, the producers, the other editors I’ve worked with. All the fun we’ve had, the hilarious sleep-deprived laugh-a-thons, the creative eurekas. And I mean, I’m not kidding myself, there were some pretty frustrating times too. But it takes a literal army to make a film or show. And the hard part about this current moment in time is that we are more alone now than when we’re in our edit suites. But, one good thing about right now is that these people are free to talk cause, well, what else are they going to do besides making banana bread?

 

I’ve been able to have Skype virtual beers with old colleagues, call friends, text with people I haven’t talked to in ages because we now have time. I’m learning more about the people I work with because we’re talking about our lives, telling our stories about how we’re dealing with this stuff. It’s kind of awesome. It’s definitely not perfect, but I’m appreciating this time to rekindle the human side of this industry. And I got to say groups like the CCE and Les Treize are helping make that happen. Also, I’m re-watching Community on Netflix and hopefully laughing myself to July. Until then, take care.

Liza Cardinale:

Hello. This is Liza Cardinale ACE, reporting from Los Angeles, California, where the birds are chirping, the sun is shining and the cameras are not rolling. I wrapped up the second season of Dead to Me, the day our Safer At Home home orders began. We had to cancel our farewell Margaritas at Don Cuco?s in Burbank because sharing chips and salsa is on hold down here along with most social interactions. 

 

I miss my friends. I miss getting on airplanes and I miss dropping my four year old daughter Izzy off at school. Her education and exercise needs are far better met by trained professionals. I fear I fall short as her substitute preschool teacher, but mostly we have fun. Izzy is thrilled to have me home giving her heaps of attention. I feel like I’m making up for lost time stuck in edit bays. We craft with glitter, act out stories with her dolls and do fizzling science experiments.

 

Before the pandemic, I had no idea how much entertainment you could get from a bag of baking soda. But my slow simple life will soon come to an end. I’ve been hired to cut a show called Social Distance that will comment on our current situation while shooting under extreme restrictions. I’m sad to leave Izzy?s playroom, but we’ll strive to bring her joy of spontaneous, messy, sparkly creation into my own.

Daria Ellerman:

Hi, I’m Daria Ellerman and I’m a picture editor from British Columbia. Like lots of you, the idea of working hard and then stopping is not unusual. On March 13th, I was at the end of a much needed break with a project booked for the end of March. And within a week we received an email shelving the project indefinitely. By that time I’d already realized the implications of the pandemic on the film industry. And I thought it might be possible I wouldn’t work again this year.

 

I think having been a freelancer, my entire career has been a huge help. I’ve weathered three economic slowdowns, changes of technology and delivery systems and the cancellation of really great shows we’d all hoped would run for eight seasons. I’m doing as I’ve always done between projects, get more exercise, do those forgotten things around the house, renew friendships and binge watch shows or watch movies I missed seeing.

 

Granted it is different now, coffee and lunch dates are out the window and email FaceTime and Zoom calls are the way we’re keeping in touch. Staring out the window and drinking coffee is an acceptable way to spend half an hour during pandemic. I text with some editor pals about how much we’re eating. I talked to girlfriends about being with your partner 24/7. About a month into my isolation, I started fretting about work.

 

What I did was reach out to my agent and to post producers that I’m close with. All of them got back to me quickly, and they were glad to talk about life in isolation and then work. Let’s face it, we really need to talk to work colleagues about work, to really talk about the inside baseball of it. My agent talked about the demand that will be there once production can begin. My post producers talked about how easily we in post could create environments that were safe and how we could even work from home if we had to. These conversations made me feel positive about the future. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed are doing webinars. I love seeing my colleagues talk about what they do and it makes me feel part of a community.  Editing, directing, and a class in modern art have inspired and transported me. Many editors are introverts by nature. We don’t mind being on our own, and we’re able to easily get lost in our work. In the absence of work, we need to find projects to channel our decision making skills into.

 

So, while sorting my son’s childhood Lego collection and listening to Anna Maria Tremonti interview Catherine O’Hara isn’t editing, it does appeal to my visual organization side while making me feel part of a community. Hang in there. We will all be back in a little dark room soon.

Zack Arnold:

Hello, fellow editors and post-production professionals in Canada and all around the world. Zach Arnold here, editor of Cobra Kai, as well as the creator of The Optimize Yourself Program and Podcast. No different than you, my world has also been turned upside down over the last couple of months, and I’m stuck at home with nowhere to go. As a self proclaimed extreme introvert, I have been practicing social distancing pretty much as an Olympic sport since about 2005.

 

So to be honest, things haven’t really changed for me that much. But in other ways, everything has changed. My family is home all the time, and both my wife and I have become homeschoolers, which definitely makes it harder to do that deep creative work that I love to do so much. And without any editing projects to look forward to in the near future, there is of course, fear of the unknown. What’s coming next? Is there going to be work again?

 

But if there’s one lesson that I hope to take away from this experience, a lesson that all of us can take from this experience, it’s that realizing there is very little that all of us actually have control over in the world and the best place that we can focus our attention, is on the things that we can control, like how we spend our time, what we can do to prepare for when there are jobs for us again. And most importantly, the kind of people that we want to be at home with our families and our loved ones.

 

Know that whatever you’re going through right now, you are not alone. Even if you live alone, and you haven’t seen another person for two months, you are not alone. There are literally billions of people experiencing the same anxiety, stress, and uncertainty as you. And we are all going to get through this together. Take care of yourself, forgive yourself for the days that you would much rather watch TV than get something done, and do your best to stay connected to the most important people that are in your life, even if that happens to be through video chat. Stay safe, healthy, and sane, and be well.

Steve Philipson:

Hey everyone, Steve Philipson here from Toronto, Canada. I hope you’re all safe and finding ways of staying healthy and happy. It’s mid May here in Toronto, and we’re still on partial lockdown. While some restrictions are starting to ease, it looks like the film industry will be mostly shut down for a while. Like many of you out there, I’m anxious to get back to work both for financial and spiritual reasons. But since there’s not a whole lot I can do about it, I’m trying to use this time as a sabbatical or a chance to refresh and recharge.

 

I started working on some writing projects. I’m working with the Canadian Cinema Editors Association, to help get some online events going. I’m getting in shape, spending lots of time with the family, and like everyone I’m baking tons of bread. Anyways. I’m really trying to see this time as a gift. And I hope you can too. Now I know it?s hard not to worry about the future, but I can’t help thinking things are going to work out.

 

I mean, the fact is people need stories more than ever. And since we’re storytellers, I’m really hoping it’s only a matter of time before we’re back in the editing room or a suitably equipped home office. In the meantime, I hope you can find ways of staying strong and using this little sabbatical as a chance to challenge yourself as best you can. Learn a new skill or tackle a project you’ve been meaning to do, but don’t forget.

 

We may not know when or how the industry will recover, but we do know that the world needs stories desperately and it needs people like us to help tell them well. So sit tight, stay safe, and I look forward to seeing your work soon in whatever form it takes.

Jesse Averna:

Hello, fellow editors. My name is Jesse Averna. I’m from down south in LA. First off, I want to say, sorry for what you’re going through. This sucks. You deserve better. I think it’s good to admit that. This isn’t some opportunity you’ve bumped into. It’s a crisis. So first and foremost, I hope you are surviving it with your loved ones. Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose the time that we’re in, but here’s the good news: we will survive.

 

I know this is likely the worst patch you’ve been through in maybe your whole life, but humans have been through worse and made it through. You’re here today because someone in your family is a survivor and you will be too. Something that helps me right now: when I can, I make sure to go outside at night and look up at the stars. Since LA skies are so clear at the moment, we have a decent view. I try to think about my place in the universe and in the history of time.

 

There’s something comforting to me about being reminded how small all of this really is. How brief it is on a cosmic scale, a blink on a piece of dust. I’m in no way trying to trivialize this situation. It’s absolutely awful. But it does help me to zoom out as far as I can sometimes. Anyways, please know that you were loved. And that you?re thought about, even if people don’t reach out as much as they should. Everyone’s wrestling with this in their own way.

 

I hope too, that you’ve cracked the working from home routine. I’m not there quite yet. And please keep going, keep surviving, look for the positive and the helpers. I’m honored to talk to you all. And I hope that we do get to meet in person when all this is over. Bye.

Jonathan Dowler

Hey everyone. My name is Jonathan L, and I’m an editor in Toronto. I just wanted to say, I hope you’re hanging in there. I hope we’re staying safe. I hope you’re staying healthy, these days can get hard. I’ve gotten better at homeschooling my three kids, and I started off the lockdown and I’m failing grade one math. So, I hope you’re doing better than me, if you have young children. 

 

When Ontario shut down, I lost work. So, if you are like me without work, hang in there. The sunnier days on the horizon, I hope you’ve gotten some sort of creative projects that you’re working on. There’s some great resources out there online for anything you want to learn. There’s also a good thing to be said about learning a new craft. I’ve taken the time to try editing with Premiere Pro. I’ve taken the time to try and get into DaVinci grading software, the software’s free, and you can actually learn the fundamentals about it, which is always good.

 

But for those of you who just want to chill out, one thing that I’ve learned about all of this, is that we’re all running our own race and we’re all dealing with this in different ways. So, if being super productive and super organized and having a plan and tackling it every day is a way that you can deal with this time. Then that’s great. But if you just need to crash on the couch, watch some TV, watch movies or play video games. Then that is totally cool too.

 

In times like these, I try and draw inspiration from the place I’ve always found inspiration and that’s the movies. I’ll play the clip, it is something that has always inspired me. And it’s from Lord of the Rings. Frodo basically says, ?I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.? Which I think we can all sympathize with. Let’s just say the ring is COVID-19.

 

[film clip audio]

Frodo:

I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf:

So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.

[wnd film clip audio]

 

So, I choose to use that and try and be positive about it. Stay safe, stay healthy, keep cutting, be creative. And I’ll see you on the other side of this.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

Hi there, it’s Leslie MacKay Hunter.

Paul Hunter:

And Paul Hunter.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

We’re asked to speak about what it’s like editing with the whole COVID-19 situation going on. We’re fortunate in the fact that animation is one of the areas that has continued going on.

Paul Hunter:

Probably if anything is also expanding and picking up speed.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

I happened to be in the middle of a contract when this whole thing went down and I have to say a huge shout out to the IT team, to not only figure out how 400 people were going to work from home, but short of ripping the TV down off the wall, literally sent every element of my studio to me. So, I have a full suite that I’m used to in the studio is all at home and I’m working from home. Thankfully, I’ve been working with this director for several months now and he and I have kind of got an idea of what we’re going for.

Paul Hunter:

So, I was in a unique position that I was between gigs when the whole lockdown happened. So, I had decided that I probably would not be able to find any work. All of a sudden I get a call and it looks like I now will be having a gig as well, because there’s a need for new content. And animation is the only part that can create anything new right now. So, I’m going to be in a unique situation where I’m going to be working with a director that I have never worked with before at a studio that I’ve never worked with before. And I’m going to have to figure out how to communicate and build a relationship while starting this project remotely.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

From a personal level, we’re both very thankful to have a fairly young puppy who has joined our family within the last few months. So she of course requires quite a bit of attention. So, we are getting out for walks with her. We’re trying to make sure we get some physical activity exercise in on a daily basis.

Paul Hunter:

Also working for a home. There is some pros.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

For instance, when I’m having a really busy day, I am very fortunate in the fact my lunch is usually delivered to me.

Paul Hunter:

Con, if you’re the second editor of the couple who gets a gig after the first one has taken over the nice office, you get delegated to setting up your suite in the basement laundry room.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

Sorry.

Paul Hunter:

Pro, we have a four legged stress reliever who likes to sometimes poke her head in and try her paw at editing.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

Con is she’s the hit of our studio. And nobody wants to talk to me on Zoom anymore. Pro you are able to relax the dress code even more so than normal.

Paul Hunter:

Con. I still can’t have boxer Tuesdays.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

We recognize how fortunate we are and we’re staying safe. And I encourage all of you to do what you need to, to just keep your head on straight during this time. Because it’s a weird time. It just really is. So take the time, do what you need to, have a giggle every so often and stay safe.

Paul Hunter:

Take care guys.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

We’ll see you soon.

Paul Hunter:

Bye.

Leslie MacKay Hunter:

Bye.

Steve Rivkin:

My name is Steve Rivkin and I’m in Los Angeles working on the Avatar Sequels. At a time when the majority of our industry is out of work. Our editorial team is very fortunate to still have a job. In March, our production crew was scheduled to head to New Zealand for the next leg of our live action shooting schedule on the films. A contingent of our editorial department was scheduled to go, myself included, when the national emergency was declared in the US.

 

The trip was postponed and we went into lockdown like everyone else. The Avatar projects are unique in the sense that a huge percentage of the films are virtual production based on the performance capture of our actors, which wrapped some time ago. We have the ability to play back those captured performances and create shots for the films without the actors present on the stage. Now their virtual characters will be driven by the actors? captured performances.

 

Currently, during the lockdown, we are unable to access the virtual stages at Manhattan beach studios to create those camera shots. But fortunately, we have a backlog of scenes to continue to work on remotely from home, and shots and coverage are still being created through alternative methods. Our entire crew of editors and assistants have been equipped with specially-formatted laptops, monitors, and an encrypted password protected path for us to access from home, the Avids and media that are secured in the cutting rooms at the studio.

 

We are conducting online meetings reviews with editors, assistants, VFX effects supervisors and digital artists. All working from home. The pandemic has forced us to test workflows that I believe will have a lasting impact on our industry and the future of how we work. I think when we get on the other side of this worldwide crisis, a lot of what we’re doing may stick and more and more editors will be working from home in the future. In the meantime, stay well, hopefully we will all be able to safely get back to work soon.

Pauline Decroix

Hi, my name is Pauline Decroix. Salut, mon nom c?est Pauline Decroix, I’m going to share with you what kind of change I faced during this quarantine time. Je vais vous parler un petit peu qu’est-ce qui a changé pour moi dans cette période de quarantaine. Pour moi, de n’ai plus une station de montage à la maison, mais deux. Pourquoi, parce que ma station de montage est sur Mac, et je travaillais sur une série de télé qui était sur PC, alors la production m’a gentiment ramené l’ordinateur de production à la maison. Donc maintenant je travaille sur deux stations différents à la maison. So, what has changed is that I have not only one editing station at home, but two now. My regular one is a Mac and the second one is a PC. I was working before all of that happened on a TV series that was working on a PC platform. So now I’m working on a PC platform from home, thanks to the production company who bought the production computer at home.

 

What is exciting for me during this special period, I’m fortunate enough to be part of two other projects. Two short docs, working on those, I find myself that I take more time than usual to work on them. And the time allowed me to be more creative, to find more ways to improve my cuts. So, I think I’m going to remember that in the future when we are forced to meet our deadlines. Just to remember that when we give time to creativity, it’s a win-win for the project and for ourselves. Donc, ce que je trouve qui est géniale en ce moment c’est que je prends plus de temps pour travailler sur mes projets. Pas sur la série de télé sur laquelle je travaille à ce moment, mais sur les deux autres courts métrages documentaires sur lesquelles j’ai la chance de travailler. En faite, je prends plus le temps de la réflection. Et du coup ça m’aide à être plus créative et je crois en faite j’essayerais de faire repenser mes productrices, producteurs, réalisatrices, réalisateurs que c’est important de donner du temps à la créativité parce que le projet au finale, sera que plus gagnant. Voilà ça c’est ma petite contribution aujourd’hui. Stay strong colleagues, restez forts collègues.  Stay healthy, restons en santé. And we are going to go through that together – et on va passer à travers tout ceci, tous ensemble. So, see you on the other side. On se revoit de l?autre côté. See you on the other side. Bye. À bientôt. Take care.

Scott Parker:

Hi there, my name’s Scott Parker and I’m a documentary editor in Edmonton, Alberta. I usually work out of producers? studios and sometimes I rent my own temporary space if I’ve got a lot of different jobs on the go. The rest of the time I work from home. I was pretty lucky that I had a plan to move out of my temporary office on March 15th. Just about the time the COVID shutdown happened. So, now I’m working out of my little basement suite where I also live.

 

One of my biggest and most rewarding projects has been postponed for a while. I don’t think it will get canceled outright, but if it does, things are going to get pretty tricky. I’ve been spending my time learning new things on Udemy and I’ve taken some social media courses with Hootsuite. I do more and more social media work now. So, learning new skills is good. That’s always good. Even though I’m pretty solitary by nature, being solitary all the time is getting tiring.

 

I can feel it sort of wearing me down, and I feel stuck. And right now I feel like this is going to be going on forever. But I am lucky because my friends and family are doing fine and I don’t know anybody who’s been sick with COVID. It’s never been easy for us freelancers to make a living in this business. And the whole COVID shutdown has made it that much harder. But it’s going to be over and we’re going to get back to it.

 

So let’s try and stay sharp and look after each other. And when it’s time we’ll get back at it. We’ll make commercials and music videos and documentary films, and will curse system crashes and client changes and ridiculous deadlines and I look forward to all of that and I wish you all the best of luck.

Jane MacRae:

Hello Sarah and people of the editor’s cut who are listening to this podcast. I think it’s great that you’re taking the time to hear from everybody, so I’ll just keep it brief for myself. This is Jane MacRae. I am a film and television editor living and working in Toronto, Canada. For the last eight weeks or so–however long it’s been, I’ve completely lost track–I’ve been self isolating at home with my husband, a middle school teacher who’s been doing classes from home, and my dog who is mostly incredibly thrilled to have us around so much.

 

As a freelancer, I am pretty used to uncertainty in my life. I’ve had many periods of time where I’ve not worked for many weeks at a time, sometimes willingly, often unwillingly. So for me, taking this time has not been, I think as stressful as it has been for people in other industries. I am also fortunate that no one around me has been affected directly by the virus. Members of my family who were working are still working and people are healthy, so that’s great.

 

Here in Toronto, most of the editors that I know I think are not working. So, I feel very fortunate that I actually have been working quite a bit during this period. I had a job at the beginning of the quarantine on a show that had been shot already, so I edited that for a while. Then I had some time off and I’ve just recently started on a new show that’s being produced by a Canadian production company that’s being shot entirely with actors in their homes in lockdown.

 

I’ve only worked on it for a few days so far, but we have some really, really great cast members, young people who are filming using cell phones at their homes and interacting via Zoom and being directed via Zoom by the director and showrunner. So, I’m pretty excited about the show. I think it should be pretty fun when it all comes together and it’s definitely something that is going to feel unique and very particularly of this time, which I think is important, to kind of remember how we all felt and what we were all going through during this period.

 

My big hope obviously is that things will ease up, that we’ll be able to start going out seeing our friends and family and also that the industry here in Toronto and in Canada and around the world will get up and operating again. Here we’re very, very reliant on a lot of service productions coming in from the United States and it’s going to be really challenging to see what’s going to happen in the future if travel restrictions continue and just generally if people are feeling nervous about traveling and they might not want to come up here to shoot films or television shows.

 

So I’m not really sure what’s going to happen, and I just have to take it day by day and keep my fingers crossed that we’re going to be okay.  In the meantime, I’ve also been working with the rest of the board of the Canadian Cinema Editors to try and connect people during this time when everyone’s stuck at home. The board has been amazing and worked so hard to put together a lot of online events, creating virtual socials, online masterclasses and talks. We even did a couple of Netflix parties just trying to find ways to get our post-production community to connect and talk with each other and not feel so alone.

 

I’m really, really proud of all the work that all of our board members, who are all volunteer, are doing during this time. And Sarah, I want to thank you particularly for your work on the Editor’s Cut and taking the time to bring in all these messages from around the world. I hope that everyone is healthy, that everyone remains hopeful and that we can all go back to the business of being creative and being excited about what we’re making as soon as possible. Good luck to everyone and wishing you the best. Thanks.

Ron Sanders:

Hi, this is Ron Sanders from Toronto and I’m in quarantine like everyone else. So, I’m staying home and trying to keep myself amused and a bit sane. FaceTime and Zoom are helping us to keep in touch with family and friends, but after that it’s a long day. I read and listen to music. I play guitar some. I grew a beard and I shaved part of my head. What makes my day more specific is the time I spend playing with my computer.

 

I have Avid media composer, DaVinci Resolve and Final Cut Pro 10. But I don’t have as much picture media. Few things I have managed to discover though: Media Composer?s new interface accomplishes very little. DaVinci Resolve I just don’t like and Final Cut Pro is pretty much useless for me. Big fail. I also have Garage band and Logic Pro, and a large library of samples and loops. I?m getting into funk drumming. 2020 will be the year of COVID-19, social distancing, and political tap dancing by our various leaders. It will also be the year of all of us doing the best we could. Stay home. Stay well.

Jillian Moul:

Hello, this is Jillian Moul. I’m a documentary editor and ACE member in Los Angeles, California. I’ve been working from home since late last year, so my routine has been much the same since our shelter in place. One difference is that my director, producers, and I collaborate on Zoom meetings. And even though I’m a bit of an introvert, and love to work alone with the footage and the story, when we do collaborate, I prefer to do that in person, which of course isn’t happening right now.

 

I find virtual meetings to be limiting and strangely exhausting. I?ve rarely gone out since early March. Safety has been a priority, especially since I have asthma, but as cautious as I’ve been, I woke up one day with symptoms that seemed like COVID-19. I got tested two days later and the results came back four days later. Negative. I was relieved, but our tests aren’t very accurate. There are many reports about false negative or false positive results. My symptoms would get better for a couple of days. Then get worse and better back and forth until five weeks later and they’re all but gone. I’ll get an antibody test, but I’ll wait for the Roche test since that one is highly accurate. There are still a lot of questions. What we do know is that our world has changed. Lucky for us in post that technology is such that we can work from home. I hope that you’ll be well and employed in the months ahead. I look forward to the time when my colleagues and I can once again share our stories in person.

Gillian Truster:

Hi everyone. My name is Gillian Truster, and I’m an editor from Toronto. I was working just outside of Vancouver on a TV series when our production shut down because of the virus. I’d only arrived there on March 1st, and was really looking forward to exploring the city since I’d never been to Vancouver before. But within days of my arrival, the news surrounding COVID-19 became progressively more serious. When I told the woman who ran my Airbnb that I was flying home, she said she was so relieved. Knowing I was alone in the city, she had been about to message me to let me know she’d take care of me if I got sick. It’s one of the kindest, most generous things anyone has ever said to me. Since I’ve been back home. I think of this often. It’s a good reminder that while crises can bring out the worst in people, they can also bring out the best. I find myself having a greater appreciation for things I used to take for granted and also having deeper conversations with friends.

 

Maybe it’s that small talk seems so trivial now in light of the pandemic, or maybe it’s the shared knowledge that we’re all going through some sort of trauma and we’re all listening to each other more. I hope some of that kindness stays long after the pandemic ends. This is a time of great anxiety and uncertainty for all of us, and I find it reassuring to remind myself that this too shall pass. In the meantime, I’m staying connected to family and friends. I think it’s important to check up on them, and nice to be checked up on. Perhaps the world in the new normal will be better than the old normal. I look forward to the day that I can see all your lovely faces again in person. Until then, please stay healthy and safe. Virtual hugs to all.

Paul Winestock:

Hi, ssh listen. It’s the early sounds of spring in Toronto. It’s Paul Winestock and I’ve been asked by the CCE to talk about how the challenging time of the pandemic has affected my days, my time. And of course, I don’t have work right now and I don’t foresee any work too soon and not in the next couple of months. So, I’m just trying to enjoy each day as much as I can giving a bit of purpose with projects. So I’ve been spending time in my garden building a trellis and prepping the garden for the summer season. I do stuff around the house–whatever my meager talents can manage such as painting or little fix ups here and there. And then in the evenings the family gets together and we will do a puzzle or play game, Rummy cubes, Settlers of Catan. We like to attack each other full throttle.

 

We do some cooking and baking. We’re baking every few nights actually. The carrot cake we learned a lesson that came out raw. The cheesecake brownies were a huge hit. I go down the rabbit hole of YouTube and Spotify and listen to new music and old music. And we’ve been binge watching shows like Bosch and I Unorthodox. And then we’ve gone to older shows like The Wire and re-watching The Wire and Battlestar Galactica, the 2004 version, which was one of our family favorites.

 

And when we feel like a good silly comedy, we go to HBO, Angie Tribeca, which is like an airplane movie humor, like the movie airplane. It’s great, silly fun. Anyways, I hope everyone is well and healthy, and I look forward to seeing any of you, all of you at an edit facility at a corridor, CCE event sometime in the near future. Thanks for listening.

Sarah Hedar:

Hi, this is Sarah Hedar and I’m in Vancouver, BC. Like pretty much everyone else. I’ve been social isolating and although I’m sure the sentiments played out, it hasn’t been a huge stretch for me to spend more time alone given my chosen profession. But despite that, I am looking forward to seeing more friends and family as restrictions ease up and in each phase. And in the meantime, I’ve been catching up on rest and working on some of my own projects and I’ve also been able to take the time to just watch more content and especially trying to see more work from friends and colleagues and peers.

 

So it’s been pretty great to see the caliber of work that’s out there. And I’ve also been trying to keep track of where our industry is headed in terms of productions resuming, and what that could look like for protocols and budgets and how that’s going to affect post-production. While there’s just so much uncertainty, and just also looking at where I’d like to be when things start to pick up again and if there are any changes to be made there.

 

I know a lot of people aren’t really getting any time and that things have been really up and down for a lot of folks, and people are just managing a lot. So, wherever anyone is at, I just hope you’re able to find your part and your peace and all this and make it through and I truly wish everyone the best.

 

Mike Munn:

Hi, my name’s Mike Munn and I’m a film editor and I live in Peterborough, Ontario. Like most other editors, I’ve been working remotely since the lockdown started in around mid-March and it has obviously a very big downside. There’s nothing like working with people in the same room and interacting in that way, but editing to a degree is conducive to working on your own. And I’m actually looking at this as a learning experience.

 

I’m trying to look at the upside as a kind of a dry run for doing more of my work remotely in the future because I live in Peterborough and all of my work is out of Toronto. If I can avoid staying in town and commuting into town to work periodically, I’d love to do more of that. I’ve been hesitant in the past just because  working out the technical logistics of working at home has always been something I’ve not really looked forward to but I’m being forced to do it now.

 

So in a way I guess the benefit for me of this whole period is going to be having set myself up at home and learning to work with filmmakers remotely is something perhaps I can do more of in the future. I’m trying to look at the upside of this whole situation and the other thing I would say just in terms of my two-sentence worth with how I keep myself sane and functioning the way I should, for me it’s routine. I’d follow the same routines I would if I was working with other people or going somewhere else to work.

 

It’s getting up in the morning, getting dressed and isolating myself in the part of the house where my edit suite is and feeling like I’m going to another place and keeping up all the routines I would do when I’m normally editing, which is taking a break periodically and finishing more or less the same time every day. Trying to not work in the evenings too much. For me, that’s always been the way to not burn out or not overdo it. Keep up a regular routine, so anyway, good luck to everyone. This will be over eventually and work will return to normal, so. Okay, bye.

Michèle Hozer:

Hi, my name is Michèle Hozer. I’m a documentary editor and filmmaker. In 2017, my husband and I bought a property in Prince Edward County. We had spent the previous year working on a documentary for TVO here, and we fell in love with the place. The plan was supposed to be in about five years from now, I’d be able to have a full time studio and production office here. In the meantime, I was going back and forth from Toronto to the County working mainly in the city during the week.

 

When the pandemic hit, I realized that I can set up shop full time here in the County. I brought my favorite equipment including a standup desk and started cutting here. Okay. There are challenges working here in the County, notably, a really bad internet. But with a little bit of creativity, I’m able to crunch down files small enough to upload them onto Vimeo and Dropbox. My two favorite tools working remotely. It’s great working here in the County. We’re able to go for long walks and we’re near the lake.

 

So I’m very grateful to be here. The question remains, what’s going to happen to our industry? I know a lot of people whose productions are on hold because of COVID-19. What’s it going to look like next year at this time? I am optimistic though with the little ingenuity. I think we’ll be able to work around it or at least I hope so. Good luck to us all.

Paul Day:

Hi Sarah, it’s Paul Day. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this extra special podcast. During this crazy time, I know for myself, keeping busy and cooking and reaching out to as many people as I possibly can has really been a help for me. Friends who I’ve missed and thanks to sort of social media and Instagram, Facebook and Zoom and FaceTime, emails. It’s definitely one of those times that reaching out and connecting with your friends in any capacity is the best medicine I think.

 

For maintaining creativity, I’ve been playing a lot with Photoshop and learning a little bit about After Effects and watching a lot of videos on the making of things and the editing of things and reading books on the editing and being part of the DGC and the Canadian Cinema Editors. I’ve been able to interview some editors and I was interviewed for some things as well. If it’s a small way of reaching out to people who are just starting off in the business or just for the same simple interest of people who are in the business who want to learn more about what we do and sort of peek inside the trials and tribulations of a cutting room or than where they started. And the multiple levels of appreciation for people that you meet along the way. And the understanding that a career doesn’t happen overnight. A career is built over time and hard work and perseverance and it takes an army to build a career. And I wish everyone the best. My career has always been in the sense of giving back as much as I can because I just think people need opportunities. And they want to see that people care about the next generation. And I think that’s important, more prevalent in post-production because we’re always so isolated away.

 

And to have editors reach out and talk to people and share their experiences is a good thing. And I think everyone should do that. This COVID experience is yet another chapter in people’s lives, in their careers, whether they’re just starting off or whether they’ve been in it for 20, 30, 40 years. It?s definitely a trying time to think of a more frugal way of living, which I guess we should all do anyways. This too will pass. If somebody’s listening to this and they’re feeling down or they’re feeling low, I encourage them to reach out to friends and just say, “Hey, I’m not feeling well today. Do you have 10 minutes or 20 minutes to have a cup of tea and just chat on the phone.”

 

But there’s also times to just get outside and walk the dog and enjoy the silence. Thinking about I’m taking the dog for a walk, how quiet it is outside. So I kind of relish in that. And just one day at a time, we will all get through this and we will all get to a point where we’ll look back on this and go, “Gee, we survived this.” So anyways again, this is a great idea for a podcast and I hope I’ve contributed something. And again I can’t thank you enough and the board at the Canadian Cinema Editors for the amount of work that you have all put in to entertain and to inform and to build up the prestige and the fascination that people should have with editorial. You guys definitely have been knocking it out of the park. Take care everybody. We’ll see you on the other side of this. Bye.

Krystal Moss:

Hello, Bonjour. My name is Krystal Moss from Edmonton, Alberta and I’m a bilingual editor here and a new mom to a baby girl that was born this past January. While the pandemic has brought certainly unique challenges to motherhood, my day to day hasn’t changed a whole lot during my maternity leave. I’d love to share with you all some sounds from my home in the hopes that it brings you a little bit of joy today. We’ve got some baby girl gurgles [Baby gurgles].

 

Here I am dusting off my guitar while baby naps. [Guitar strumming.] And with the help of my downstairs neighbor Ben, here is ?Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams and Dream Your Troubles Away.? [Music playing] Take care editors. Remember that the sunshine always follows the rain.

Sarah Taylor:

A special thank you to all the editors that took time to share with us today. Thank you to Jane MacRae, Jenni McCormick from ACE, Stephen Philipson, CCE and my auntie Heather Urness for helping inspire this episode. I hope you’re all well and safe. Take care. 

The episode artwork was designed by  Jane MacRae, music provided by Soundstripe. This episode was mixed and mastered by Tony Bao. 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.



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