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The Editors Cut

Episode 050: Animation with John Venzon, ACE

The Editors Cut - Episode 050 - Animation with John Venzon, ACE

Episode 50: Animation with John Venzon, ACE

Today’s episode is the online master series that took place on September 29th, 2020. Canadian Cinema Editors and American Cinema Editors presented a discussion with animation editor John Venzon, ACE.

John Venzon, ACE

John Venzon, ACE is a feature film editor who works primarily in Animated Feature films. He was the lead editor on “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut”, DreamWorks Animation/Aardman Pictures’ “Flushed Away” Warner Animation Group’s “Storks”,”The Lego Batman Movie” and is currently editing a new animated feature for DreamWorks Animation.

Graduating with a BFA in Film Studies from The University of Colorado at Boulder, he made his way to Los Angeles learning his craft as an assistant editor on films from directors such as Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” , Robert Redford’s “The Horse Whisperer” and David Fincher’s “The Game”, “Fight Club” and “Panic Room” before crossing over to animation with director Trey Parker. He is a member of both American Cinema Editors and The Academy. He resides in Los Angeles with his enormous music collection.

 

This event was moderated by Carolyn Jardina, Tech Editor at the Hollywood Reporter.

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The Editor’s Cut – Episode 050 – John Venzon, ACE

Carolyn Giardina:

Favorite snack or drink while you’re editing?

John Venzon:

Movie theater popcorn and a giant Diet Coke. Don’t do that, you’ll die.

Sarah Taylor:

Hello and welcome to the Editor’s Cut. I’m your host, Sarah Taylor. We would like to point out 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.

Today’s episode is the online Master Series that took place on September 29th, 2020. The Canadian Cinema Editors and the American Cinema Editors presented a discussion with animation editor, John Venzon, ACE. John is a feature film editor who primarily works in animated feature films. He was the lead editor on South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, Dreamworks Animation, Ardman Pictures, Flushed Away, Warner Animation Groups, Storks, the Lego Batman movie, and is currently editing a new animated feature for Dreamworks Animation. Graduating with a BFA in film studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder, he made his way to LA learning his craft as an Assistant Editor on films from directors such as Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer and David Finch’s The Game, Fight Club and Panic Room, before he crossed over to animation with director Trey Parker. He’s a member of both American Cinema Editors and the Academy. This event was moderated by Carolyn Giardina, Tech Editor at the Hollywood Reporter.

[show open]

Carolyn Giardina:

I’d really Like to start with animation editing. It’s often described as being different from live action editing in the sense that in live action you shoot first and then edit, and in this case, it’s almost the opposite. You’re almost edit first, and then produce if you will. 

 

So would you take us through the process and some of the key considerations that you have when you’re working on these movies?

 

John Venzon:

I find it really interesting when I talk with people who go, “What do you even do? In animation, don’t you, isn’t it you just animate it? Do they hand you the shots and you just cut off the slates and put it together?” And by the way, I never take offense at this because even fellow editors who have cut many, many movies will say to me, “What do you even do?”

And the best way I can think to describe it is to say to the fellow editors, imagine you get a phone call saying, “Oh, I want you to edit my next movie, but  you know what we’re going to do is we’re to spend the next two to three years with you, me, the director, the writer, the cinematographer, and we’re going to make the movie in the room, just us as a group, over and over and over again, making sure that we like the story and making sure we have the flow, we understand where the act breaks are, and that it has real emotion. And only after that time, do we feel like, yes, we’ve gotten the story, right, we then shoot the movie.” Which, I think, is a really wonderful way to spend a couple of years, especially when you feel a kinship with the team you’re working with.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Now, tell us a little bit about the collaborative process and also the timeline. So, as you go through these stages, who are you working most closely with on the team? You mentioned the writers, you mentioned the director and from one of these, this could be a year or more. So would you give us a little bit more of a sense of what it’s like to be in the trenches?

 

John Venzon:

Each one of these stages, I have a central partner, in addition to my director, that I’m spending the majority of my time with. The first stage being story, I typically work with the story department and they have a main storyboard artist who’s usually called the head of story. That person is kind of like a junior director for the storyboard team. Obviously, everything we’re doing is in conjunction with the director. The director in an animated movie serves the same purpose as a director in a live action feature, but just a little bit different specialized position, because they have to understand every stage of the process. Whereas I think in live action, you can tend to rely more on say your cinematographer if you don’t understand camera. But if you’re in animation, you have to know, deeply, what a 50 millimeter does to your character’s face as opposed to 150 millimeter lens.

And so, as a result, I tend to find that animation directors tend to have a broader base, not always, but that tends to be the case. But in working through the story, we go through, we put up the script, and storyboard artists are almost like co-editors with me because they’ll go through and they’ll storyboard the sequence. And by the way, just to put it in a way that that makes sense, in live action, storyboard artists really exist to help with the cinematography, whereas the storyboard artist on an animated film works as a cinematographer, as the co-editor, and as the actor, because they have to act everything out.

And from my part, when I’m in storyboard, I’ll get a sequence, and I’m sure just even in that little clip right there, it’s a very short shot. And if I were treating it as a live action editing situation, that would be one cut. But in fact, that’s five to 10 edits internally because I’m cycling between the boards to indicate movement. And those timings will then carry forward to the animators once they get it, to kind of see where I’m timing the acting change ups. And the director will work with me to say, “Oh, hey, you know what? Let’s have his face turned from happy to sad a little bit later.” So we’re actually getting to be really granular. And we’ll go through and we’ll do temp voices, which are a lot of times people who are in the editing room with us. People at the studio who are actors will come in and do voices for us, and we iterate over and over and over again because we have screenings where we’ll sit down and we’ll watch the script, full motion with the storyboards, the voices, the sound effects and the music.

And we’ll say, “Oh, well, the first act is great. That feels about right, but what is happening in the second act?” And by the time I get to the third act, I’m just way too confused. So we’ll rip it apart and go, “Okay, where is it broken?” And we’ll end up going through and redoing storyboards, maybe sometimes we’ll go through and we’ll combine characters. A lot of times, in the script, we’ll realize, like on the movie Shark Tale, there were two mafia type characters, one that was going to be voiced by Martin Scorsese, and one that was going to be voiced by one of the members of the Sopranos. And we realized watching the film that we only needed one mob character type. And so we ended up combining the characters and moving the story points onto the Martin Scorsese character. And these are things that you discover as you go through.

So what ends up happening is, I also, when I’m cutting these things, I’ll look at what the storyboard artist’s pitch is, and I’ll say, “Oh, we could use a closeup here,” or, “I’m a little confused here,” or, “I’d rather be wider here.” And so the board artists and I will kind of figure out how to adjust the timing and the composition. I’ll take it and then cut it, and we iterate over and over and over again. I like to think of the Avid as the world’s most expensive typewriter, because we’re basically just rewriting the movie as we go.

Then after we get done with that, we’ll say, “Okay, this feels good,” then we’ll bring in the actors. In the case of the Lego Batman movie, it was Will Arnett as Batman and Zach Galifianakis is the Joker, and we’ll record the movie with them. And this is the case with a lot of comedians or improv actors, you’ll end up getting stuff that was never in the script, and you’ll go, “Oh, that’s a great bit.”

And I’ll talk more about cutting improv a little bit later, but the idea is that we then look at the movie, again, and we say, “Okay, great, this scene is working and we’re going to move it into the layout” which is the stage where you saw the digital mannequins, that’s really when we shoot the movie, and it gives me the second chance to edit the movie. So I am editing the movie the first time in storyboards, and then I re-edit the movie completely because once we get in with like a real 50 millimeter lens, I’ll say, “Oh, you know what? We can’t see quite as much,” or, “The Joker, the guy was standing in front of the camera, and the little guy was way in the back doesn’t work.” So we end up having to reshoot the movie and recut it.

Sometimes we’ll combine shots, sometimes we’ll do things that are too labor intensive for a storyboard artist. Like a steady camera, [a viper] like a moving camera is really labor-intensive in storyboards, but in layout it’s much easier. Then we go through, we recut, we write new lines, so we’re still rewriting, as needed, up to that point.

And then we go into animation and that’s where the dollar values are double. It gets really expensive. So the further you go along, you want to get your story really dialed in because it gets to be really expensive. So, and the animators are, as I said, in the clip, they’re really the actors of the movie. It’s really interesting because if you think of a character, I’ll just think of Will Arnett in Lego Batman, he really had two actors. It was Will Arnett as the voice, and then you had all the animators that were working to kind of pose him and do the change ups. And the animators are looking at the timing that the director has approved and the storyboards kind of give rough timings, but that’s really where they bring it to life. And lengths will change, and we’ll kind of get it to a place where we’ll say, “Okay, that’s it, the scene, that’s exactly what we want from the scene.”

And then we go into the lighting stage, which is really where the movie is lit. And up until that point, the textures, in CG anyway, are all kind of like digital mannequin-y, they’re really kind of gray or one tone. Well, it gets into lighting, all of a sudden everyone’s skin looks like real skin and there are real lights out there. 

And we also integrate visual effects, so pretty much, and this is where it gets crazy, in order to interact with fabric or hair, that has to be treated like a visual effect. So, that’s where everything gets integrated, in the lighting, and if you change stuff in lighting, it’s really expensive. So that’s why, for me, I feel like as soon as we go into animation, that’s when we really shoot the movie.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Before you fell in love with animation editing, you actually started in live action. So would you tell us a little bit about your experiences in live action? And then how did those experiences bring you to animation?

 

John Venzon:

I went to film School at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and I had a really, as one does in your early twenties, I had a really rigid idea. I’m going to Hollywood. I always wanted to be an editor, I’m going to go to Hollywood, I’m going to become editor, and then I’m going to edit the next Star Wars movie. That was kind of what I had in my mind. And so what I found was, once I got out, I wanted to find editors whose work I really admire. So I had grown up really loving the movies that Donn Cambern had cut, the Michael Tronick, the Alan Heim, the Michael Kahn, Carol Littleton, these were the editors that really inspired me. And so I decided that if I was going to be an Assistant Editor, I wanted to have a chance to work with these people.

And I just really caught a really lucky break and got hired as an Assistant Editor on Natural Born Killers, Oliver Stone’s movie, Natural Born Killers. And I was hired by Brian Berdan and Hank Corwin, both with ACE. And it was the thing where I got interviewed at 9:00 o’clock at night on a Thursday, I got the job at 10:00 o’clock on a Thursday night, and I was on a plane to Gallup, New Mexico, the next morning. And I think that was the thing, I was young enough to not realize that that’s not a normal way to live your life. And thank goodness, I haven’t really been paying attention to what seems like a normal life, because it allows you to kind of follow the things that seem really exciting. And thank goodness I did that, I made lifelong friends with both Hank and Brian and the other people that I worked on that show.

But the thing that was really interesting working for Oliver Stone and that particular group of people was understanding that you have the lead editor, but they’re not the only editor. That you can actually have a really successful film that has its own unique identity because you have multiple people putting their own creative hands into the film. And I think that that was something I didn’t really understand before. I thought it was the lone editor who was making all the editing creative choices. But, and certainly there are movies that way, and I’ve done movies that way.

But it opened my eyes to realize that there’s another way to work, which is finding people that you feel that you can collaborate with and get to a really vulnerable state where you go, “This is what I think the movie should be,” or, “This is what I think the scene should be,” and being open to having someone say, “Well, have you considered exactly 180 degrees opposite from what you’ve done?” And not be hurt about that, not be upset or see that as a failure, but see it as, “Oh, wow. Well, wait a minute. Well, if we go completely other direction, what does that do?”

So that led me to, after Natural Born Killers, going to work on a movie called Little Giants, which was edited by Michael Tronick, Billy Weber, and Donn Cambern. And I got to assist for my editing idols, it was amazing. And that was kind of the beginning, my career really started to take off because I got to know more people. And I got a chance to, because of that show, it was an Amblin film, I was a known quantity to Amblin. And so when Michael Kahn needed a Digital Assistant Editor, I got the call. And I got to assist Michael Kahn, which, for me, was like being the bat boy for the Yankees as they were winning all those World Series back in the day.

And I really got a chance to watch Michael, watch his cutting, kind of learn from him, see how he handled screenings, see how he handles directors. And I think that that’s probably one of the best things that editors can do for their assistants, which is just to be open door, to observe, and in so much as you can learn by watching, that editors have more to teach than just covering a wide into a closeup, or making sure you don’t trombone, like cut in, cut out, cut in, cut out. That’s all important, but probably the more important thing is how do you handle it when your director is having a really rough day and maybe isn’t really in a space where they can be their best creative person? When is it right to give them the space they need to kind of get to a place where they’re ready to work? And when is it important to kind of help them along? And these are all things that you kind of realize and learn as you do films.

But basically what ended up happening is after working for Michael Khan, I can’t even believe I got the good fortune of getting tapped to be James Haygood’s assistant on The Game for David Fincher. And then we rolled right into Fight Club, and here I am, like an Assistant Editor, we were doing Fight Club. I’m like, “This movie is going to be amazing. It’s unlike anything, and I’m going to be an editor. I’m going to work my way up and cut for David Fincher.” When all of a sudden the phone rang and a friend of mine from college said, “Hey, John, I’ve got this low budget animated movie. Would you like to edit it for me?”

And of course, the smart thing to do would be, “What are you, nuts? I’m not going to leave a David Fincher movie to cut some no-nothing animated movie.” But I said to my friend, “It sounds amazing, but I don’t know anything about animation.” And he said, “Nah, don’t worry about it. We’ll figure it out together.” And that movie turned out to be the South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut movie. My friend was Trey Parker, and Matt Stone, who I went to film school at the University of Colorado at Boulder with. And it was one of those things where when you get an opportunity in your life where someone believes in you, to say, “I’m going to take a chance on you. You’ve never done this before, but I like working with you.” You can’t say no.

So I ended up having to go into David Fincher’s office and say, “David, I’m quitting,” which it was maybe the hardest conversation I’ve ever had. And by the way, and to David’s credit, he was so lovely about it. And so for me, I have two movies on my resume in 1999, South Park and Fight Club, and I think that pretty much the rest of my career, it’s just all downhill from that.

So yeah. So South Park, I don’t know if folks know about South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. I’ll just tell a really quick story, just to set up what it is to have worked on the South Park movie. We started out, the South Park movie, and it was originally kind of tentatively titled South Park Goes to Hell, right? And the MPA said, “You can’t call your movie South Park Goes to Hell. It’s an animated movie, absolutely not. You have to come up with a different name.” And they said, “Well, what do you want us to call it?” And they said, “Well, submit a list of names, and then we’ll tell you what ones are okay.”

So they wrote up a list of names, and on that name was South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. And they submitted to the MPA, and the MPA said, “Yeah, that’s fine. It is up on the screen, so it is bigger, and it is longer than a TV show, and it is uncut because there’s swearing in it. So, okay.” And so they approved it, and then a week later, the MPA came back and said, “You snuck a dick joke into your title. No, no that’s unacceptable.”

And they said, “Well, you approved it.” And they said, “Well, we’re unapproving it.” And they had to get Paramount involved to say, “Look, you said we had to change the title. We changed the title, and now you’re telling us we have to change it again, no, no.” And that’s why it’s called that, to this day. Just as an aside, I debated picking Blame Canada, but I didn’t want anyone to feel like that was a slight, because honestly, from everyone who was working on the movie, we love Canadians. As a matter of fact, maybe my favorite part of the whole movie is when the Canadian Prime Minister gets to tell the US military, “Hey, fuck up buddy,” which always makes me laugh. 

 

But the reason I picked that scene is because in cutting that movie, I got to cut alongside Gian Ganziano and Tom Vogt, who came from the TV show, and they came on to cut with me on the show.

But my main co-editor on that show was Trey Parker himself. He is an amazing editor. He would always cut his stuff at school, and it felt really natural to be cutting with him. But I learned so much about comic timing from him. And you’ll see in the film, he wasn’t afraid to push me to do cuts that maybe they weren’t exact match cuts, but, South Park has baked into its DNA kind of a crappy level of quality as part of its quality, at least in the early sessions, the early parts of the show. But the reason I really picked up there was, that was the first song in the first batch of songs that Trey wrote for the movie when I realized, “Oh God, we’re making a musical because…”

 

Carolyn Giardina:

What? You have to tell us about how it actually became a musical.

 

John Venzon:

Here’s the best part about Trey and Matt. At that point, they were in season two or season three of the show, and people were giving them advice, “Look, you guys have maybe two years more on the show max, and it’s going to go off the air. So you guys need to do a cash grab, get in, get as much money as you can, and get out before the house falls apart.” And Trey and Matt took a much different approach. They felt like, well, if we’re only going to be able to do this for a couple of years, let’s do a movie that we want to do, and just do something completely bonkers. They went to Paramount and they said, “Yeah, we’re making a musical, it’s going to be South Park: The Musical.”

And Paramount went, “Under no circumstances are you making a musical. No one wants to see a musical, musicals don’t make money. This is a cute, swearing, we’re going to let you swear. That’s the deal. Go make your sweary movie. We’ll make our money. We’ll get out before this thing falls apart.” So Trey basically went, “Well, we’re making a musical.” And they said, “No, you’re not.” And he said, “Yes, we are.” And the studio went, “Do we understand each other?” And Trey said, “Yeah, we do understand each other.” And then we went back and we made a musical.

And by the time the studio got a chance to see the screening, it was too late to really do much to change it. And so they’re like, “All right, fine. Just give us something that we can put in theaters.” And so Trey, they got to make the musical, and this piece of music I heard when Trey brought it in, when I was just starting to cut the scene. And it was really the first time I realized that my friend who I’d gone to college with was not only a comic genius, but he was also a musical genius. Keeping in mind that this song is being written 11 years before he wins the Tony for Book of Mormon, right?

So I’m listening to the song and I’m going, “Oh my God, this has everything that’s wonderful about Broadway musicals. It’s not some crappy knockoff.” And so I think this is an important thing to pay attention to when you’re doing comedy, because you can imagine a less talented director doing this as a parody, because clearly it’s a parody of a part of Your World from Little Mermaid. So you can imagine a version that is just like the filthy version of that. And you might get a laugh out of it, but it’s just kind of a, “Ho, ho, I see what you did there,” kind of comedy. But Trey and Matt did something really smart. They made the character of Satan not the worst person in the film. The fictional Saddam Hussein is really the bad guy in the movie. And so by taking and humanizing Satan, and realizing that he just wants to be loved and he just wants to be genuine and be himself and be with people he feels are like him up above now. Admittedly going up above fulfills the prophecy and then Armageddon happens. So it’s kind of hard to root for Armageddon, but you do, because you can completely see the character separate from Satan, but you see the character and you understand, I know what it is to want to feel accepted and loved and not mistreated by someone who should be treating me better.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

How did the character change and evolve during the process of editing? I’m sure you tried different approaches too.

 

John Venzon:

My memory of Satan and Saddam’s relationship is being pretty bedrock to the movie. That was the one thing that changed is just making, coming up with more and more, just terrible things that Saddam would do to make Satan feel bad about himself, in being ashamed of being in relationship with him, just basically everything a bad boyfriend would do in a relationship. And just, I think that was really just finding the line between, just over the top, because obviously once they get up in the prophecy is done and the world burst into flames, it’s very bad. But that the idea being that you understand emotionally what’s going on, and that’s actually one of the things that I tried to do on every single movie, because I’ll sensibly…

When you think of bad animated movies, you think of just the cheap, disposable animated movies. It’s about two friends who find out what it means to be friends, because they want to be friends. And at the end of the movie, they’re friends. There’s no, there, there. It’s just so what. But if you can always wind your character back to something that’s super relatable to you on a basic level and either relationships or just feeling you don’t have a voice in the world or not really knowing what you want and being afraid to go out make yourself vulnerable. I think anytime you can tell a story where you reveal part of your heart, that is kind of scary to say out loud, and you can put that into a character.

People respond to that. You know, South Park is such a weird example to begin as my first animated movie, because by the time I got to the end of it, basically everything I learned could not be applied to just about any other animated movie I would do for the rest of my career. Most animated movies take between two and a half to five years to make, the South Park movie was made in 11 and a half months. Like I said, the crummy jitteriness of it is baked into the DNA. And even though it appears to be

 

Carolyn Giardina:

[it’s just unheard of] in animation.

 

John Venzon:

That is, that is super fast. So the timeline is, I’m working on Fight Club. I quit Fight Club. I cut the South Park movie. I finished the South Park movie. And then I go back as an assistant and I finish Fight Club. Because David had had a year and a half to make Fight Club, I managed to squeeze another film right in the middle of it. So that was my career. I was like, well, I’m back working for David again. I’m an assistant editor again. That was a fun adventure, I guess that’s my career. I guess it’s very confusing until I get a phone call-

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Now it wasn’t your career, because then the next step was DreamWorks animation and Aardman, wonderful comedy Chicken Run, which had also fantastic characters.

 

John Venzon:

Oh yes. And actually this is a really interesting thing that… Just going back to the idea of working with multiple editors and realizing that’s a really wonderful way to work. And actually a lot of my friends like Rob Komatsu ACE, who is one of the top television editors on the planet and just a super gifted editor, he works with multiple editors. 

 

And as they’re swapping the episodes between the two of them you make something where you all figure it out together. I’m always really in awe of how those guys and men and women on TV shows make things that are as cohesive and as emotionally effective as any animated feature or any live action feature that it actually… I find myself gravitating more to TV shows these days than movies. If I’m being honest, it feels like that’s where the really interesting stuff is being made.

In terms of Dreamworks, I get a call from Marty Cohen, rest in peace, Marty. He was the head of post for Amblin and he was head of post for Dreamworks. I worked with him on two shows and he said, “Jeffrey Katzenberg saw the South Park movie. He thinks it’s really funny and wants to know are you an animation editor?” And I said, “Is there money?” And he said, “Oh yes.” And I said, “Well, that is exactly what I am.” And I’d never really thought of myself as an animation editor. I’d wanted to be an animator kind of for a while because Looney Tunes when I was a little kid. Because I couldn’t draw, I just gave up on it. So then in realizing, oh my God, I could actually work on animated movies, as a thing, as a regular thing.

And so Jeffrey started me out on a directive video sequel to Prince of Egypt called Joseph King of Dreams, which makes sense. I do an R-rated animated movie. And then I do a Bible picture as a palette cleanser. Once they saw that I wasn’t a complete maniac, they said they needed help on Chicken Run because they had discovered that the two rats, Nick and Fetcher, were feeling like something that they wanted to have as a runner through the film. And they were working over in Bristol. Mark Solomon, the lead editor, very talented editor, along with his coeditors, Robert Francis, and Tamsin Parry. They said, “Hey, we could use some help. And we heard good things about you and why don’t you come work on it?” And so I was in Glendale, working on beats while they were in Bristol, where they were actually shooting the film.

Now, one thing I want to say about Aardman, it was a lifelong dream of mine. Well, when I say lifelong, since I saw the very first Wallace and Gromit short to be able to work with Aardman, I mean, oh my God, they’re one of the best animated studios, animation studios it’s ever been. And so for me it was again another one of those, “I can’t believe I’m getting the chance to do this.” And so I had to storyboard artists that would send me the boards, David Bowers and David Soren. And so what I would do is I would work in Los Angeles with the scratch voices. We would bring people with English accents in and they would do the characters and I would cut it together. And then once I cut the scene, I would send it over to Mark who would then integrate it into the film. And then he and Nick and Peter Lorde, the directors would work the sequences and they would give me notes and I would make changes.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Nick made up the core team and the editorial team on that one.

 

John Venzon:

Mark Solomon, he was the lead editor. So he was the main person who was integrating everything and making sure that Nick and Pete were happy with everything. And then Robert and Tamsin, who I really hope I’m pronouncing Tamsin’s name correctly. They were working over at Aardman. This is an interesting thing when you’re working on… The scene I’m about to show you is the section that I cut, but of course it goes through the process of the lead editor to make sure that I wasn’t, that my timing… And I might’ve cut it a bit more aggressive than perhaps the rest of the film. And I think that that’s… Just like a conductor doesn’t play the music but they determine the pace and to make sure that everyone is cohesive. That’s really the role of the lead editor. And so when I come onto a show, helping out, I’m always really respectful of the fact that the lead editor is determining the overall pace and tone of the film and you really want to get in and just help them out.

 

And I think that being an animation editor and maybe being a live action as well, it’s really about getting in and supporting the lead and doing good work. But always asking yourself, What’s the emotional point of the scene? What’s going on and making sure that is done in conjunction. So then that way you’re not throwing out a bunch of, “Hey, how about these jobs wakka, wakka, wakka.” And then they get it and they go, “This is pointless. None of this is on theme. These characters are doing things that they don’t do in the rest of the movie.” You have to, you have to really be cognizant of how your pieces are fitting into the larger hole.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

I was trying to get to this with the team, is you were also working with the director who was also one of the founder’s of Aardman-

 

John Venzon:

Yes.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

… So that played a big role in a lot of the creative decisions as well.

 

John Venzon:

Yes, absolutely. And Nick and Pete were both full time because this was getting close to the end of the film. So they were frantically shooting up… By the way, just as a thing about Aardman and all stop motion animation, that’s like, Corpse Bride, any stop motion animated movie, you can think of. It’s like someone said, I want to take everything that’s miserable and difficult about live action filmmaking and everything that’s difficult and miserable about animation and make one misery sandwich. Because you have to build everything and actually really build everything in real. If there’s a tiny fork in that scene, someone has to carve a tiny fork. You can’t go down to the grocery store and say, “I need a pinata, I need a fruit bowl.” Someone has to physically make those things.

And then if that wasn’t bad enough having to build sets, then you have to painstakingly make it one frame at a time. So I think that it takes a really special type of animator to really excel in stop motion. And God bless them. They make the best. I love stop motion movies. But that’s… And another thing about stop motion is you go from storyboard to finished animation. There’s no like weird middle step because you’re actually on a set with a camera and you shoot it. So you still work the film in storyboards, but you really, you go from storyboards to that’s it, you’ve got the movie and you color time it. Getting to cut something for Nick Park it was absolutely on my bucket list. It’s a thing where you just end up doing something where you think how many puns can I fit into the smallest space area?

And the storyboard artists just were reeling them off. I think that those two characters really work as kind a Greek chorus to give the audience a sense of where Ginger and Roger are in terms of their development and whether or not they’re actually going to be able to escape in time. But I think that it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t always get too bogged down in story, that sometimes you want to make sure you have fun.

And I think that that’s a good example of just getting in and really having fun. I think the other thing I wanted to say is, is that sometimes when you do jobs, you’re helping out, but it can lead to wonderful diversions in your career. Because of my work on that I ended up doing two more features with Aardman one called A Tortoise versus the Hare, and then Flushed Away, which was produced by Pete Lord, who was a co-director and one of the founding members of Aardman.

 

This pretty much this leads into the stage of my career where I call it, learn by doing. Which, when I was given the amazing opportunity to cut the South Park movie, not only was I beginning editor, but I was also a beginning animation person. And then I really needed to get in and start cutting and honing my craft and learning what, how far you could push timings. Because when you’re in storyboards that times it a little bit different than the layout, things tend to expand and slow down. And you only learn these things by cutting. And so I was at Dreamworks for another eight years after that. And then I thought to myself, I bet the world’s economy is going to collapse in 2008. I should probably leave Dreamworks and go start working in independent studios, which by the way, you can never control your career that way.

The world as we all know, can change on a dime and you just have to do what feels right. During, after leaving Dreamworks I ended up working for a number of independent studios. I got to work for Illumination. I got to cut over at paramount for a while. But the main thing was, is just getting to work with the different variety of directors, that sometimes come from storyboarding, sometimes come from animation, sometimes come from writing. And you really learn how… The person will usually direct from their strength of where they come from. And so you kind of learn the animator might not be able to communicate as well in storyboards as they do in the animation process. But sometimes you end up getting an experience with someone who comes from a writer, director, point of view, that you don’t expect. And that’s what happened when I landed at Warner Brothers to edit the movie Storks.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

John, I would really love you to talk about the use of improv in animation, because this is a fantastic example of what improv can really bring to a story.

 

John Venzon:

Thank you for bringing that up. Because the main thing you need to know about this, was the Warner brothers decided to try a different process of making films. What they decided to do was to pair a really talented live action comedy person, a director with a really talented animation director. And so I got my two dads, the amazing team of Doug Sweetland, who was one of the star Pixar animators. He animated so much of Woody in the Toy Story films, along with Nick Stoller, who was the writer director behind, Get him to the Greek, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbors. And so as a result, they had two very different ways of working. Typically when we do scratch temp voices and when we record the actors, we record them in isolation. And then that gives us 100% control over overlapping dialogue. And what ended up happening is Nick said, “Well, Hey, can’t we get a couple of microphones and get the actors in and record everyone in the room together.” Which by the way, saying that to an animation person is like…. What?

We don’t have complete control over everything. And so what Nick did is he chucked the standard way of working out the window. Basically, it’s the story of Junior, who’s a stork and Tulip, who is a young woman, and they have to deliver a baby, which Junior basically just wants to get the baby delivered and go back to his life. That’s the basic storyline and Tulip wants nothing more than to deliver this baby. And Junior’s going to cut corners because he just wants this baby out of his life so he can get back to it. The thing that I love the most about that movie and the thing that was amazing about cutting it, was two things. One Nick decided to make that movie because of a really genuine life experience that he had. He and his wife were having trouble conceiving their daughter, and they were going to fertility clinics.

And it was, it was really difficult on both of them. And he remembered he had a thought that wouldn’t it be great if you’d just write a letter to the storks and they could bring you a baby, that would be so much easier. And so that inspired him to create the story of the baby and kind of getting a family a brand new baby, because it’s such a primal thing.

 

And also the fact is, is that when a baby smiles, I defy you as a human, you can be an ex-con. You can be a MMA fighter, but if a baby smiles at you, it melts your heart. There’s no defense against a smiling baby. So that was number one, that was Nick’s superpower, number one, Nick’s superpower number two is, that he loves improv. And so in getting into the room, he would get… That was Katie Crown as Tulip, Andy Samberg as Junior.

And then the wolves. And I say the wolves, all of the wolves were voiced by Key and Peele. So Michael Key and Jordan Peele came in and recorded the voices for every single one of those wolves. And basically what would happen is Nick being the writer director would write the scene and then we would get into a room with all four of them together with four microphones. And then we would read through the script as written. So we would have a pass of the script and then Nick would start shouting out improv prompts. So he would just randomly say things like, “Okay, Andy, pretend that you can’t hear Tulip. And let’s just do a pass where you go through and go, no, I can’t hear you. I’m not listening.” And then Katie would respond to that.

Or they would just turn Jordan and Keegan loose and they would just improv. And what would happen was, is that I would be in the room with Nick, with the script and I would be lining it and going, “Okay, that’s a funny thing. And Nick laughed at that.” And then we would get done with a run and I would have to turn to Nick and say, “Okay, Nick, we need to write some dialogue. So we can get from seeing the baby and fighting and then kind of getting back into the aah section.” And he would write the script on the fly and give the actors prompts. And then I would get back to the cutting room with literally five or six different versions of the scene. And it was just a matter of going, okay, not only what was the funniest, but what was also the most on theme for what’s going on with Junior and Tulip.

But the other thing is that it allowed me to exercise a philosophy. I have of instant karma for characters who are undeveloped, when I say undeveloped, I don’t mean they’re not well drawn. I mean, underdeveloped in the sense that they are not, they’ve not come to the self realization that they’re going to come through over the film. So Junior was a jerk and was mean to Tulip when, Tulip was just trying to help this baby and be a good person.

And so much of the comedy is watching Junior get hit over and over and over again until he starts realizing, oh wow, the world is bigger than just me and what I want, and actually this baby is maybe the most important thing in the world. And that actually is more important. And that’s drawing upon my experiences as a parent and realizing that at three in the morning, when your kid is really sick, it doesn’t matter that you love vinyl records or that you how to parasail or whatever it is.

All that matters is that, you know, instantly what pharmacy is open right now. So you can go get medicine, so your kid can feel better. And that those are the things that you really look for in characters. And you know, when you’re working on an animated movie, what characters don’t feel like they could be real humans. I spend most of my time, when I’m editing an animated movie, imagining those characters are people that I would see in the world rather than talking birds. And then it allows you to relate to it. And it allows you to say to the director, “I’m having a problem because when juniors coming in, I don’t believe what he’s saying because he would…” And if he’s going to say something exactly opposite, what he should be saying, I need to understand why he’s pushing. Is he saying it because he doesn’t want to deal with something or is he just unaware? And that’s really how you and the director and the writer in this case, director and writer figure out the story as you’re going through storyboards.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Could you also talk about how the voice casting went for Tulip? Because, I think that also gives you an interesting-

 

John Venzon:

Oh Yeah.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

… Perspective on the behind the scenes process.

 

John Venzon:

Typically, what you’ll go through, as I talked about the scratch voices, you’ll get either an actor or just a normal human being, who happens to be working on the film and you’ll do temporary voices. And every once in a while, you’ll find someone who is so unique and has such a… It’s so hard to point, but when you hear their voices, you go, “This is the character.” Because I think that they had always thought, “Well, We’ll get Katie Crown in, she’s a standup comedian, she’s a writer and she’ll help us flesh things out, but clearly we’ll replace her with Melissa McCarthy.” Or with whoever, whatever actress that fits the role. But we realized about halfway through the storyboarding process that she is, that Tulip is so heartfelt and wonderful.

And if we bring someone in, maybe they can replicate it, but we won’t get this specific thing. So Nick went to the studio, went to the head of the studio and said, “I want to cast this complete unknown woman because she is doing this magical thing with the film. And we really should hire her to be the lead voice” And to Warner Brothers credit they said, “Well, all right. As long as we have other people to do marketing. We had Jennifer Aniston in the film and we had Andy Samberg. And as long as we have people that can do the marketing push, yeah, we can cast her.” And it also helped that everyone really liked her in terms of her performance. Also, she’s a wonderful person. And to this day, she’s the head writer on Bob’s Burgers now. And she does voices on the show and she is, she’s a wonderful and wonderful to edit and super lovely as a human.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

And because they creative process is so collaborative it’s really not unusual to have even a director or a member of the crew end up voicing a character in these movies.

 

John Venzon:

That is correct. Improv because of the strength of what happened on… Oh, and by the way I need to mention is vitally important, that when I was cutting Storks, I was the lead editor. And just when I was working as an additional editor, helping out Mark Solomon on Chicken Run, I had Chris Cartagena and Steve Liu, who are both wonderful editors and lead editors in their own right. Came and helped me out on the show. And so it allows you to focus on one area of the film while they’re getting, say something in the second act cut together. So Jesse Averna and Christine Haslett are my current fellow editors on the film that I’m cutting right now. And I would be dead without them. And that’s the thing where you give your all, when you’re not the lead editor, because you know, the lead editor appreciates it.

And then you give your all as the lead editor, because you’ve got people who are fearlessly cutting with you. It’s wonderful when you find people that you feel that connection with. That’s how these animated movies really get made and wonderfully. Because I had done all of this editing, all this improv editing, it was about eight months towards the end of the Lego Batman movie. And they needed help working on the second and third act. And so they said, “Hey, this guy knows how to cut improv and he’s in house. Let’s have him come help out.” And that’s how I ended up getting hired onto the Lego Batman film. So basically all you need to know is this is the big finale scene. Batman and Joker have been battling through the whole film and Joker has finally decided to blow Gotham up with a giant bomb that Batman isn’t able to diffuse. The thing that’s really interesting about the way the Lego projects are done is that they have very large editing crews because at least for when we were making the Lego Batman film that we had the team in Los Angeles, and we had the animation team along with the main editors over in Sydney, Australia at [Animal Logic]

 

Carolyn Giardina:

[Do you want to give a shout out] to the main team?

 

John Venzon:

Yes, I absolutely want to give a shout out to the main team. We had so many talented editors working on that and I had to write everyone’s name down. So I made sure not to miss anyone. Well, first of all, the main editor, the lead editor was David Burrows, who was the co-lead editor on the first Lego film, really talented editor, along with Matt Villa, also an amazing editor. Garret Elkins, who was cutting on this. He also cut Anomalisa, just a [mwah], such a wonderful animated movie. [Vanara Taing], John Tappin, Doug Nicholas, and Todd Hansen, who are by the way, a team, they’re working together at, I think over at Sony right now, working with Phil and Chris on their next project over there. Along with Ryan Boucher and our director, Chris McKay, who was the main editor on the first Lego film, in addition to directing, he was also another one of the editors on this film.

And so this was really a whirlwind thing because we had to get the second and third act really up on its feet and iterate over and over and over again in a fairly short amount of time. And boy, I’ll tell you, David had his hands full along with Matt over in Sydney, just trying to get the film finished. I picked that scene because it was the culmination of something that I think Chris was so smart to do, which was how do you do a new version of the Batman and Joker story? Because it’s, I mean, 70 years or 80 years, or however many years those two have been going at it. How do you do a new version? Well, I think the way you do it is you make it a super relatable story and you borrow the arc of a romantic comedy that you have the Joker who just wants to be heard and just wants to hear, “You matter to me.”

And Batman, who is, of course, the Dark Knight in this film, is very much, “I’m a lone wolf. I talk to my low voice because I have to be by myself.” And for him, the growth in that film, which by the way, I think it’s super relatable. You can’t reinvent Batman, but you can certainly take him from a person who is isolated and only cares about himself because he has to do the superhero job, to expanding his circle, to include Robin and Alfred and Batgirl and the Joker. And for the Joker, his arc is literally similar to the Satan and the Saddam storyline from the South Park movie that if you’re in a relationship with someone who takes you for granted and doesn’t hear you, it’s really relatable because you want to be heard.

You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who treats you poorly and just takes you for granted. And so by looking at the romantic comedy arc, it allowed us to do, to plot it. Basically, Batman in the first act saying, “I like to fight around, I didn’t say you were the only villain I was fighting. We never agreed to be exclusive.” And then kind of seeing Joker realized, well, maybe I should try and make him want me more and then finally turning his back. Yeah, I did say Matt Villa, by the way, Jenny McCormick says, Matt is, I did mention him and he’s wonderful.

Anyway, the idea being that the arc is that he has to then say, “I’m breaking up with you, Batman.” And then Batman has to get to [the point in the] story he realizes, I don’t want to live a life without having the Joker in my life, because he pushes me to be a better superhero by him being a better villain. So I think that once we got that arc in, it allowed us to really shape it. 

 

And I cut so many versions of that scene, where we protracted the breakout, the bit where the conversation kind of changed. But ultimately, in these cases, is you always have to keep reminding yourself what is the core emotion? And the core emotion is, is that Joker has turned his back and in the scene, he literally turns his back on Batman and then Batman has to win the Joker back.

And that the point is, is that he is genuine and sincere about what he says. So at any rate, that was such a wonderful experience, mostly because I was such a big fan of the Lego movie. It is cut so aggressively and I remember seeing it for the first time, I was cutting Storks when they released it, when I was at Warner Brothers, and I just saw it and went, “Oh, that is everything I want.” The jokes are furious, they come right on top of one another, and it’s probably more my taste to be a bit more aggressive in the cutting. And that’s the Lego Batman movie.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Let’s bring us to where you are now. You are busy working from home. You have [a remote] set up in your house.

 

John Venzon:

Behind my evil layer poster, you would see a giant continuity bar with all the scenes from the movie I’m editing, which I had to hide. But yes, I’m back at Dreamworks and I’m editing a movie that I often realize that when you get a project that you work on you care so much about, you really draw upon everything you’ve learned and this movie is pushing me to cut in a way that informs. Every single clip that I showed you guys now funnels into the movie I’m editing now, it is what I’m considering to be the pinnacle of my editing career. And I can’t tell you anything about it because Dreamworks will shoot me. They have snipers outside my window waiting to make sure that I’m not breaking my non-disclosure agreement.

But I can tell you it’s called The Bad Guys. It’s based on a book series from Australia by an author by the name of Aaron Blabey. And if you are a 10-year-old or know a 10-year-old, you know all about this book, it is a big hit and is really funny. And it comes out in the mysterious future. So look for it in the next a year or two.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

We look forward to it. We’re going to go to Q and A. I’m going to ask one quick question first, before we go. And there are a lot of questions that we’re going to try and get through as many as possible.

 

John Venzon:

All right.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

But real quickly, before we go to the ones from the audience. You often hear about writer’s block, but what happens when you get editor’s block? You have to get it at some point.

 

John Venzon:

Yeah. This is actually one of the real big advantage of being in animation, because when you’re cutting a scene and you feel like, ah, nothing is working and it feels like you’re pressing wet newspaper together, and nothing is sticking. I can stand up and walk to the storyboard artists, so Matt Flynn, who is one of my favorite storyboard artists who’s ever lived, he was the head of story along with Craig Berry on the Storks movie, and I’m working with him on my current movie. I can walk into his room and go, “This scene is kicking my butt. I can’t figure out, I’m doing the scene and the character is doing this, but none of the jokes are landing, and it feels like something is wrong in the movie.” 

And so [to kind of combat] what feels like writer’s block is, is that a lot of times Matt will say, “Well, okay, what’s happening in the scene?”

And I’ll say, I’m just going to make something up. The guy comes in and he says, I want everyone to listen to me, right? And it’s basically, I say, it’s driving me nuts because the audience is expecting him to walk in. And then nothing is a surprise and nothing is funny. And Matt will suggest, well, what if he does the opposite? What if we flip the scene and we make it he’s already there and he doesn’t want to talk, and everyone is expecting him to talk. The audience and the characters in the scene, what would happen if we did that? And then all of a sudden he goes, “Oh, oh, oh, that’s great.” And then we’ll hash out a basic pitch and then this is my microphone right here. I don’t know if you guys can see, this is I record all my voice stuff for the movies I’m cutting on that microphone. And we’ll get in and we’ll record the voices and we’ll cut it together using the existing storyboards.

And then we’ll call the director in and say, “Hey, we had a thought, what if we did this?” And then we’ll play the scene. And a lot of times, the director will go, “Oh my God, that’s it. That’s the problem. The audience is expecting this and they’re bored when we give them exactly what they’re expecting.” So I think that kind of inverting what you’re doing in so much as you can, inverting it and then trying it again. The other thing I do is I find work that inspires me. If I have an editor’s block, I think my friend, Melissa, who’s cutting the Ted Lasso Show, she’s wonderful. And Ted Lasso, if you guys haven’t seen it, is the best show on TV right now. It’s on Apple TV and it’s the best mix of comedy and heart. It is everything that I want. Most of the quite really talented editor or I watched The Good Place, the editors of The Good Place or the editors of 30 Rock. That’s also how I get over writer’s block or editor’s block.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Okay. Next question. You’ve been asked, if you could share a few tips on comic timing, what works and what doesn’t?

 

John Venzon:

Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. One of the things that I focus on when I’m cutting a scene, is I’ll try to stay as true as possible to the script, right? Or the way it’s been boarded by the storyboard artist. And I’ll go through it and feel my way through it and try and make myself laugh. I think that a lot of editors talk about how we editors are the first audience. And so I think that you have to always remind yourself that you’re the first person to see the movie and react to it. And so you have to really remember that your honest reaction, the first time you saw it, either in [dailies] or, or in my case, the first pass assemble. But a lot of times, I’ll watch the scene and I’ll shape it and I’ll shape it and I’ll shape it and still, it feels loose or flabby, or the jokes aren’t landing. And I’ll think to myself, “[ugh], this scene would be so much better if we lost that shot.”

Then I’ll remind myself, “Well, hold on. Why don’t you just try losing that shot and see if that works,” and invariably, I’ll do that and go, “Oh my God, the scene is so much funnier now,” because it’s sharper and you’re paying attention to the setup for the joke and the payoff for the joke are much closer together. And so you have to give yourself permission to go through and do the good version.

And I know this sounds really lame, but I’m just going to say it out loud. Sometimes, you have to remind yourself, hey, why don’t I do a version where I just take out the bad stuff and just use the good stuff? Because sometimes, you get really caught up in, this is the way the scene has always been. And it’s been this way a while. And I think someone liked it, but I can’t remember who and you have to go, “No, no, no, no. Set it aside because,” good Lord, we have Avids or Premiere or whatever we have copies. We can always revert back, but give yourself permission to do the version you think is really funny. And invariably, you’ll find the comic timing that way.



Carolyn Giardina:

Next question, does the storyboard timing for jokes or [inaudible] jokes stay the same into final animation?

 

John Venzon:

Sometimes it will. It usually will, if the joke is a big facial change up. So like if a person is like, oh, talking about Junior, the scene from Storks where Tulip goes, “Hey, I just realized this baby and I have the same birthday and Junior’s like, “Oh really? I don’t care.” That change up that I used, the storyboard is going from I’m really interested in what you have to say. I don’t care what you’re saying. That timing stayed very specific of the timing of the board there into animation.

But I tend to pay attention to change ups, big change ups like that or the change up gets a laugh. And I tend to be a bit more less uptight about other elements that the animator is going to do a much better performance because they have the full range of motion of the body of the character. So I tend to remind myself to stay open and not be too rigid about mandating, “Hey, you didn’t do it exactly in the [boards].” Only do that when you get to a place where you’re like this used to get a laugh and now it’s not getting a laugh.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

As an editor, do you ever struggle with the director to get your point across? I think the question is, how do you explain, convey a decision to a director?

 

John Venzon:

The interesting thing is the question under that question is how can I make sure the director hears me? That I want to make sure… I think because that’s the thing that we’re all creative people, and when we do a cut of a scene, we’re really putting ourselves out there. I mean, we’re really taking a risk and maybe we’re thinking, “I know the writer wanted this, but I feel like the movie has changed. And actually this actor or this voice has changed the nature of the film. And actually, I really want the director to hear me when I say the old way that everyone has been holding onto doesn’t work anymore.” That’s an old version of the movie. And that happens a lot in animation because we’re throwing things out and reinventing things. And a lot of times, we call it vestigial organs that stay in the film, we’re like, we don’t need that placenta anymore.

That placenta was for an earlier version, we don’t need it anymore. And sometimes, you can really be nervous about stepping forward and saying, “Hey, we don’t really need it.” Or maybe it’s a thing where you have a director that has a really specific idea about something and then they don’t really want to be open to it. There are two ways that I approach it myself. And again, this is just John [Venzon] and ACE, your mileage may vary. My feeling is do the version they’re asking for always. Always do the version they’re asking for, because here’s the deal. Let’s say I have a really rigid view on something and I’m like, “No, that guy’s wrong. He’s super wrong. When I play the scene, he’s going to see how wrong he is.” Because the thing is then you put the director in a position where the director has to go, “Come on, stop being a jerk. Just please show me the version I’m asking for.”

And then you’re like, “”All right, fine.” And you do it, right? And it works. Oh, oh, you’re an asshole. That’s terrible. Or that’s option number one or option number two, you do it and it works, and you’re the genius who made the director happy, or the director sees it and goes, “Oh, oh, that didn’t work.” I had an idea that didn’t work and then you say, “Well, hey, here’s what I was thinking; another way we can go or options.

 I tend to use language like options or suggestions or what if we tried, because the idea is, is that we’re not like this warring state, we’re a team. And I mean, there’s diplomacy. And I think that’s a big part of it. I tend to think of the director and editor as the mother and father of the film, that the film is our baby.

And that sometimes, the dad is completely right and sometimes, the mom’s completely right. But the truth is, is that you both want to have a voice in how your child is coming along. And I think that it’s a matter of if you say to the director, “Hey, I’m going to totally do the version you’re talking about. I’m super onboard with this, but what if we tried this as an alt?” Use words like alt, so then that way, you understand that the director hears you say, “I’m super on board with what you want to do. I just want to give you options.” Because that’s ultimately what we do as editors.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

We have a question about the difference in assisting for animation vs live action. How [are they] same or different?

 

John Venzon:

I was only ever a live action assistant. And so my whole experience of seeing animation assistance is from the editor’s point of view, but I can tell you what the… The assistance that I’ve seen that have been since gone on to editing. I can kind of tell you the things that are consistent with them instead of loading dailies, you’re loading individual storyboards. And I mean, tens of thousands of drawings go in to make a movie. So you have to basically import and keep track of all of that. The scratch that you’re recording is like hours and hours and hours and hours of voices that you’re going to throw away. And then hours and hours and hours of voices that you have to track. So I think that consistency and strong organization is consistent across the two. It’s just your media management is a little bit different, but turnovers to sound are the same, turnovers to composer, prepping for screenings.

You’re seeing cuts. By the way, one of the big advantages of working in animation as an assistant is that our films tend to be shorter, so your QC time is less. So that’s a plus to me, as a person who worked on The Horse Whisperer as an assistant editor, having to QC a four-and-a-half hour cut of a movie is a real bummer. I tend to give the assistance more to cut in animation because you’re building the scenes. The first pass at the assemble is usually the storyboard artist’s cut of the sequence. And so I think it’s important to let the assistants get a chance to cut that way, because it’s fairly organized and the shots are in the order.

Because just as I’ll take it and I’ll go through and I’ll say, okay, that’s the first pass as pitched by the board artist, but I know that we don’t want to be in a closeup that quickly, or there are three shots when we could do this in one. And that’s something I can do once the assistant has done an assemble pass on sometimes. You get to listen to a lot more music as an assistant editor in animation because we’re cooler. Maybe that’s… We have Fridays, we drink on Fridays, we have cocktails. It’s much cooler. I’m sorry. The answer is it’s way cooler to be an assistant editor [laughs].

 

Carolyn Giardina:

We have so many great questions. Next one is, does your temp music and effects play a big part in storyboards?

 

John Venzon:

Yes. Oh my God. That is a brilliant question. Yes. The answer is a lot of times because our visuals are so threadbare because they’re just black and white drawings, we have to really let the sound effects and the music do a lot of heavy lifting. 

And a lot of times also, we’ll record lines that we know we’ll take out once we get into animation, because you might have a character say, “I’m so scared,” that when you get into animation and you see the scared look on their face, you go, “Oh, we don’t need to say it because we completely see it.”

But I mean, we always fall prey the same way in live action that you can get into a temp love situation, where you go, “Oh, I love that piece of music,” or “Those sound effects were amazing,” And then you ended up mandating to you’re a very talented composer, or you’re a very talented sound designer. Look, just do a better version of the thing we already did. You have to realize that those sound effects and those pieces of music are just the boat you take to get to the new world. And when you get to the new world, you got to burn those boats and commit to being in the new world with the composer and the sound designer. Otherwise, you’re going to make them miserable, and you’re going to get a lamer version of the movie.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

And a related question, at what point does the composer get involved and, or do you ever use temp music tracks?

 

John Venzon:

If you look at what we call needle drop music, like songs that are going to make it in into the show, those songs might be picked and that might be in the temp version, and it might be in the final version. It’s a matter of sometimes, the composer a lot of times will come on an animated movie typically, eight months before the release of the movie. The movie I’m on right now, I just had my first meeting with the composer and I’m so excited. This particular composer started playing themes and the director and the producer and I were all just giddy with anticipation.

But so in animation, the composer like on Flushed Away, Harry Gregson Williams, started a year-and-a-half before our movie, starting to play themes. Again, animated movie released animation, the animated movie release dates tend to be a bit more flexible because they’re so complicated to make, that a lot of times, that can push the release date out and then the composer is on for a lot longer. But sooner than usual, it isn’t a thing where three months before the release or four months, you have your composer come on. It’s composer really gets to live with the movie quite a bit.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Other than the nonlinear editing system, what software must animation editors be well-versed in?

 

John Venzon:

I will tell you what extra programs I use, Pro Tools for sound design. Although you could use Garage Band, anything where you want to have a design work, if that is your side thing or After Effects. After Effects is wonderful because the storyboard artists are all drawing in Photoshop. And so you’ll have layers and you’ll be able to… Like, for example, if there’s a shot where the camera flies into the room and goes past a bunch of people to end up on a character, if a storyboard artist was drawing it, it would be like kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick.

But if you get the storyboard artists to give you the layers, you can actually fly the camera in 3D past. So it’s kind of like two-and-a-half D rather than 3D flying through up to the character. And so you can do basic animation. And I try to use those for shots where jokes aren’t landing, because sometimes, change up on the boards allows you to sell the joke. But sometimes, if it’s a gradual thing, like watching something rise, I think it’s helpful to have After Effects to be able to do basic animation to sell the boards.

Carolyn Giardina:

Next one, do you ever try to assume a particular mindset to help you edit? I’ve heard of editors that try to assume the mindset of the character in the scene they’re cutting or the mindset of the viewer, basically like method acting. Have you ever tried this or do you have your own method to help you edit?

 

John Venzon:

Yeah. To tell you the truth, the mindset I get into is reminding myself no matter what scene I’m cutting, pretending that they’re real people, that I’m in the room that that scene is taking place. And if I’m in the room, I try to listen to my own internal voice of what am I paying attention to? Do I believe what this person is saying? In other words, like if I was in the room with them, would I be looking over at the person who’s not speaking? Would I want to see them react like, oh, this guy or whatever. And then that will lead me towards how to cut that scene because it might not have been boarded that way, and it allows me to go back to the storyboard artists to say, “Hey, what would be great is if you could have this character getting more and more frustrated and annoyed as the blowhard keeps talking.” So I think that the mind state is just pretending that they’re real people and if they don’t, and I know it sounds like a crazy thing to say because I’m imagining myself in a cave with hundreds of wolves and a woman and a talking bird. But the truth is if I imagine that that is a young guy and this is a woman who is totally wonderful and not being listened to and these wolves are people that want the baby, and they want the baby, I’m imagining, what am I paying attention to?

I’m wanting to clock the baby. I want to know if… Want to know how the… In that scene, I found myself cutting it going. I want to check in with the baby to let the audience know that the baby is in no danger because that was when the scene was pitched; my instant reaction was, “Well, no mother will ever let their children watch this film because they’re saying they want to eat the baby?” How do you sell that? Well, then I imagined myself in the scene going, “Oh, if I see that the baby is okay and happy and that the wolves are doing basically the bare minimum of taking care of the baby, like putting the baby on a blanket that you feel, okay, okay, the baby’s not in any harm.” If the baby is happy, then I’m happy, and I can enjoy the scene, but that’s really about making sure that you treat everything like it’s really happening.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Do you play a musical instrument? And if so, do you find this has an impact on your editing? I can help answer that question. Yes. He is a fantastic bass player. John, how does that impact your editing?

 

John Venzon:

I’ll tell you that is a really good question. I think in so much as any one of us editors if there’s ever been a time in your life where you were like, “I really wish I’d stuck with the piano,” or “God, I always wanted to play the guitar,” or in my case, play the bass, do it because it will make your editing so much better. Just on a very practical level playing music allows you to feel change-ups in the song so you’ll know, “oh, I need to, I need to slide up the neck, and now I really need to come in hard on this beat in the song,” because then when you’re cutting music, you’ll go, “Oh, oh, oh my God I hear the change-up in the ride of the song, I’m going to sync that up with when the character does this flourish.”

And those are things that I didn’t really pay as much attention to before I started playing the bass. I’ve been playing for about six years now, but understanding tempo and being able to listen and play at the same time will help your editing immensely because it is all rhythm. It is all rhythm. Sometimes it’s visual, sometimes it’s in music, and sometimes it’s the sound of a person’s voice.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Do you start working on a film before panels or drawing? I think that means storyboards. If you get[so], what are you doing at that stage?

 

John Venzon:

That’s a good question. The answer is typically… I start on the movie, right… Probably a week before the storyboards come up. So this is where it is analogous to a live-action show where you’ll come on, maybe a week or two weeks, most before dailies start coming in because storyboards are effectively dailies. I’ll come on a little bit before the boards because I’ll need to record all the temp voices for the script. So the storyboard artists might still be drawing, but I’ll have the script, and I’ll be able to go through and say, “Oh, we need to cast a female lead and a male lead.” And then we’ll go through, and we’ll actually audition temporary voices because those temp voices have to sell the movie until we can get to a place where we have our real actors come in. And if you have temporary voices that are terrible, it will sink your movie, and you will never get your movie made.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Do you feel more connected to the story when you’re working on animation, as opposed to working in live-action? It seems like the editor or editors are involved basically from the start to finish as opposed to live-action.

 

John Venzon:

Yeah. And I’ll tell you the answer to that is a resounding yes. I feel so much more connected. When I was… And I’ve edited four or five live-action movies in my career. And in each of those films, I always felt like it was all about trying to get what was on the page implemented as best as possible because obviously, that’s what’s been shot. So I’ve always felt like these are the pieces, I can make a truck, or I can make a car, but it has to be a vehicle. In animation, I can say, “All right, we tried the truck, we tried the car, what if it’s a plane? Or what if it’s a cheeseburger?”. The idea is that because I’m there talking with the director and sometimes the writer and the story team, and we’re all working together, it allows us to go, “What’s really important about this?”, and I’ve worked on so many animated movies, including Storks, where we started out with one idea, and it changed very drastically.

 

The original version of storks was about the military. The storks were an emotionless military organization, and it was a father and son story. And we did two screenings, and we realized no one wants to see another father and son story. This military thing where the storks are all emotionless is a stone-cold bummer. And that’s when we realized, “Wait a minute, hold on, what if instead of the military, it was corporate?”. So the idea is that it was emotionless, but kind of a phony bottom-line emotionless. And once we realized that was the way to go, it allowed us to reframe the movie completely, and that’s what I’m talking about, where you have to kind of let go of the old idea, burn those ships. You’re in the new world; commit to the new idea.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Two-part question one: you ever miss working in live-action? And part two of that question is: would you recommend trying to focus your career on one genre that you love or being open to anything?

 

John Venzon:

I think I’ll answer the last part first. I think you should really be open to anything because I think anytime you have a rigid view of your career, the career you end up having will end up feeling like a disappointment because it went in a different direction. And ultimately, we never really know. I never thought 20 some years ago that I would be an animation editor, but thank God I am. I love it so much. And to answer the second part of the question is I think you… Once you start doing something, then you have that kind of spark of, “Ooh, oh, I like doing jokes this way,” or “I really like more emotional stories,” or “I like quieter things or more contemplative scenes.” You’ll gravitate towards your strengths because you’ll have success at it. And whether or not you actually get to do the thing you want to do, I still haven’t ever edited a Star Wars film.

You kind of just say, “Okay, well, that if that ever happens, great, but I’m not going to kill myself.” But I think the idea is to be open to anything and pay attention to the voice inside you, as you’re building something going, “Oh, oh, oh, this feels right.” I tend to think of the metaphor of if my hands get grabby, then I know I should do more of that. And then the ultimate thing is I do really miss a live-action from time to time, mostly because you ultimately can say, “Look, I have 10 shots, which take would you like”? The character still needs to walk into the room. There’s some kind of… Cutting a live-action film is very much like cutting the animation on a film that you’ve been working on because unless you want to go re-shoot it at a great expense, this is what we’ve got. But if the idea of working on the same film for three years terrifies you, then animations probably not for you, but it is the thing we always say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And if you can imagine, an animated movie is an enormous… Enormous marathon, a live-action feature is maybe like a 5k and a commercial is like a hundred-yard dash. So that’s… pay attention to your temperament.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

How do you find work-life balance?

 

John Venzon:

I think it’s tough for editors. I mean, I’ll be completely honest. I do my best with work-life balance, but the truth is when we have screenings, it consumes my life. I mean, I just have to go, “Well, I really would’ve liked to have gone out to dinner, but unfortunately, the director needs to see this tomorrow morning,” and you push back when you can. And you try to find people who respect the fact that you have a family or that you’re a human being with bodies that break. I will tell you that has been a big, a big surprise, a positive surprise on the animation side is that because we’re making movies for families, most people in animation have families. And so when you say, “Hey, I have to cut out early tonight because my daughter has a concert recital or I have to pick up my son from the airport,” that people tend to be a lot cooler than they would be if they were all people in their mid-twenties with no children.

And, and ultimately I ended up crossing over into animation right around the time I became a parent, and sort of working at Dreamworks for almost 10 years was great because it was stable work, it wasn’t far from my house. And so I think that… I think the idea is that you always have to be vigilant about making sure that A you work with people in so much as you can, that aren’t maniacs, and that don’t have kids. And if a parent… If you have a director that has a kid, you’ve won the lottery, because then you know when I say I need to do this for my daughter, the director is going to go, “Well, I don’t understand why I thought why you’re doing that.” So it’s, you have to… it’s difficult. Sometimes you get… Sometimes it’s a bad balance. Sometimes it’s a good balance, but we always have to keep trying.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

You mentioned television…

 

John Venzon:

Oh yeah.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Inspire to do more television. And what are the separate challenges to each?

 

John Venzon:

Television animation work is very different than live-action animation work. I would say, I would say that if you talk to Robert or to Melissa, that they would tell you that the schedules are more compressed, but you’re effectively working on a nine-hour feature film that it’s spread out over however many episodes. In animation, television animation is difficult because the compressed schedules means that you have to cut corners. Sometimes you can still do good work. By the way I’m not condemning all television.

If you look at… look at films like Avatar: The Last Airbender, or you look at The Legend of Korra, you look at like any number of animated TV series. You can do great work, but by and large feature animation work tends to be three to five years on a project. You’ll do six or seven series in the amount of time it takes me to do a feature. So I tend to like to stay in feature land just because I like to have the time to expand. But I do think the appeal of being able to get it onto something and finish it and move onto something new that has its appeal.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Do you have dreams of cutting any particular style of animated film? Is there a story you’d love to see animated with you as the editor? Also, have you ever cut a documentary, or would you like to?

 

John Venzon:

I have cut a documentary. My senior thesis for film school was an hour-long documentary I made about selling my family home. And actually, the thing that you’ll find is animation editors, and documentary editors have a lot of weird crossover in our jobs. We’re trying to figure out the story. We’re Kind of trying things and throwing things away and trying to manufacture the structure of the film out of things of disparate parts that maybe weren’t meant to go together. So I have a feeling if you’re a documentary editor and you feel like you have an aptitude, you probably would do really well in animation.

And in terms of style, Brad Bird, his films are wonderful. I would love to cut a film for Brad Bird. If I ever can. The Incredibles is one of my, if not my favorite animated movie of all time, one of boy… Anyway, so like a superheroy, Brad Birdy, Pixary thing, that sounds like something… That sounds all right for me. And also, the other style that I would love to do would be a heist movie. I would love to cut a heist movie. I’m such a big fan of film noir and heist movies. I would love to do that would make me really happy.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Speed round. We’re going to try to do a couple more before we wrap up.

 

John Venzon:

Oh yes, here we go. Give them to me, give them to me.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Will we ever see another South Park movie?

 

John Venzon:

I wonder the same thing about Trey and Matt. I mean, maybe I think tonight is the premiere of their quarantine episode. So the thing I find with Trey and Matt is that the stuff like Imagination Land was originally meant to be a feature, but they ended up doing it as a multi-part thing on the show. And so maybe they’ll never do another movie. I think that Trey has aspirations greater than South Park someday. I mean, Book of Mormon is brilliant. I can’t wait for him to write more musicals.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Favorite snack or drink while you’re editing.

 

John Venzon:

Oh, well, okay. I’m going to… I’m going to do a category. Favorite snack or drink, things that I should be eating and things that I shouldn’t be eating, things I should be eating our water, more water. My favorite snack is of course, movie theater popcorn and a giant diet Coke that, but again, don’t do that. You’ll die, but I’m trying to figure out how much I can do and not die.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Favorite actor you worked with on a film.

 

John Venzon:

This is going to sound really strange. Martin Scorsese. Martin Scorsese was my favorite actor I’ve ever worked with on the film, just because he was like, “I’m not an actor. I’m just going to talk like myself”. I could listen to Martin Scorsese for hours. So weirdly Martin Scorsese in Shark Tale.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

What are some of your favorite animated movies that you would recommend everyone watch?

 

John Venzon:

Oh, wow. This is good. Storks. Number one top of the list Storks full-stop. Well, of course, Storks, but if you haven’t seen Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, rent that it is a wonderful film. And it’s an amazing film because it’s actually really mature in the sense that it deals with conflicting emotions. You actually have characters where the villain, you see the villainy, and you’re like, “Well, actually the villain has a good point and she’s actually doing really good things for people. So she’s kind of not the villain, but she’s also doing terrible things”. And so you see everyone’s point of view in that movie.

I would say Akira, if you haven’t seen Akira, it is one of the best animes ever created. If you haven’t seen Anomalisa, which is Charlie Kaufman’s film that my friend Garret cut. It’s wonderful. It’s a movie that really sneaks up on you because it’s really about depression. It has a really relatable thing. And of all the Pixar movies, this is going to sound really crazy, my favorite thing that Pixar has ever done is the short Presto, which Doug Sweetland directed. I think that’s the best thing Pixar has ever done. And I wish they would do more stuff like that.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Someone asked if you’d clarify the difference between a co-editor and an associate editor.

 

John Venzon:

You’ll hear the expression associate editor, and then you’ll hear co-editor. I think that it really depends on how the lead editor wants to organize the show. There are some editors, and I was certainly this way on Storks, where I wanted to have my hand in every single scene because I wanted the specific execution because of the immense amount of improv and the fact is there was no script to follow. So I had to be the point person for all of it, but now the movie I’m working on right now, I have an associate editor, and the associate editor tends to be more like a junior editor, but they are, let’s make no mistake. They are editors. My associate editor, Christine, is an editor. She edits on the movie, and my co-editor, which is Jesse Averna. He is also an editor, and I’m just the lead.

So they tend to be… it tends to be however the lead editor wants to organize the show. Sometimes the associate editor will just do music and sound effects or basic assemblies. Sometimes they’re actually working with the director. The way we were organizing the show right now, Jesse works with the director, Christine doesn’t tend to work with the director as much, basically by virtue of the fact that we have to set up remote connections to be able to drive the avid in sections. But if we were all together in the same room, Christine would probably be working with the director from time to time, as opposed to not at all because of internet connections and Evercast licenses.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Do you have any personal projects you aspire to create?

 

John Venzon:

I do have a movie. I have a movie that I have a pitch for, but I think part of me stops doing it because I don’t want to appear like, “This guy talking about his movie.” the best to kill a friendship is to say, “Hey would you read my script”? you really have to be good friends with someone. Maybe you’ve bought them a car, and then you can ask them to read their script. But I do have a comedy that I think would be fun.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

And if you could only be involved in one part of the editing process, would you choose cutting the storyboard or taking over in the animation phase?

 

John Venzon:

I have to tell you, I think my favorite part of the process is the story processes, storyboards because the way I like to work is to work with the storyboard artists because you are really, you are joined at the hip because they are co-editors they’re cinematographers, and you’re making the movie together, and you’re discovering what your film is becoming together. So if I had to pick one, it would be storyboards with layout being a very close second because then you get to re-shoot and recut the movie a second time. But this time with actually achievable shots.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

We’re done. Would-

 

John Venzon:

Yay. Thank you, everyone. This was really nice. That’s all I’ll say. I’ll say one last thing. And then you say one last thing. My last thing is I deeply appreciate everyone in CCE and in ACE coming to hear this talk. We’re weird people that work in dark rooms. And so it’s really lovely to come see my fellow editors in a discussion. And I’m really humbled and deeply appreciative that you want to hear what my experiences have been. So thank you. Thank you all for coming. I really appreciate it.

 

Carolyn Giardina:

Thank you to both organizations, and thank you, John, for being such a fantastic guest and sharing so much information and everyone; thank you for great questions. Have a safe evening.

 

John Venzon:

Thanks, everyone. Goodbye.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Thanks so much for joining us today, and a big thank you goes to John and Carolyn for taking the time to sit with us. Special thanks goes to Jane MacRae and Nagham Osman. This episode was edited by Jana Spinola. The main title sound was created by Jane Tattersall, additional ADR recording by Andrea Rusch. Original music provided by Chad Blain and Soundstripe. This episode was mixed and mastered by Tony Bao. 

 

The CCE has been supporting Indspire – an organization that provides funding and scholarships 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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Credits

A special thanks goes to

Jane MacRae

Nagham Osman

Hosted and Produced by

Sarah Taylor

Edited By

Jana Spinola

Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixed and Mastered by

Tony Bao

Original Music by

Chad Blain

Soundstripe

Sponsor Narration by

Paul Winestock

Sponsored by

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Categories
The Editors Cut

Episode 047: In Conversation with Nena Erb, ACE

The Editors Cut - Episode 047 - In Conversation with Nena Erb, ACE

Episode 47: In Conversation with Nena Erb, ACE

This episode is the online master series that took place on August 25th, 2020. In Conversation with Nena Erb, ACE.

This episode is sponsored by Annex Pro/AVID

The Editors Cut - Episode 047 - In Conversation with Nena Erb, ACE

We discuss Nena’s television career which started as a PA in the art department of MADtv and has progressed to being an Emmy winning editor on HBO’s documentary series Project Greenlight and Insecure. She has also worked on Crazy Ex Girlfriend and the Apple series Little America. We talked about her work on Insecure which landed her an Emmy win in 2020 and most recently an Eddie award nomination.

This master class was moderated by Sarah Taylor.

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The Editor’s Cut – Episode 047 – Interview with Nena Erb, ACE

 

Nena Erb:

I have a really weird method of cutting. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, tell us, tell us! 

Sarah Taylor:

Hello, and welcome to The Editor’s Cut. I’m your host, Sarah Taylor. We would like to point out 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:

Today’s episode is the online master series that took place on August 25th, 2020 in conversation with Nena Erb ACE. We discussed her television career, which started as a PA in the art department of Mad TV and has progressed to being an Emmy-winning editor on HBO’s documentary series, Project Greenlight and Insecure. She’s also worked on Crazy Ex-girlfriend and the Apple series, Little America. We’ll talk about her work on Insecure, which landed her an Emmy win in 2020 and most recently, and Eddie award nomination. This event was moderated by me. 

 

This podcast contains language and content that some may find disturbing or offensive. Listener discretion is advised. 

 

[show open]

 

Sarah Taylor:

Welcome Nena Erb ACE. We’ve got to add the ACE. It’s very exciting. 

 

Nena Erb:

I don’t know, CCE sounds kind of interesting too.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Well you’d have to move to Canada, but that’s okay. You can have both. Thanks so much for joining us today. We do have lots to cover. We have some clips to show, lots of questions to ask. But first I’m going to give a little bit of a bio on Nena. She is an Emmy winning editor based in Los Angeles. She has edited projects for HBO, Apple, Universal, Killer Films, and many others. In 2016, she received an Emmy award for her work on HBO documentary series, Project Greenlight. In addition, she has received two ACE Eddie nominations for her work on season three of HBO’s comedy drama series Insecure, which is what we’re going to talk about today. Well, season four.

And the other would be for CW’s acclaimed, a series Crazy Ex-girlfriend. Nena’s received her second Emmy nomination in 2020 for her work on season four of Insecure, which I was really excited that I had got to know Nena through back and forth about doing this event. Then I saw that she was nominated for an Emmy and I got really excited, and I was like, I emailed her in the middle of the night, “Congratulations.” So congratulations to you.

 

Nena Erb:

Thank you so much, and thank you for having me. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yes. I’m so glad that you could Join us today. So to get things going, tell us where you’re from and how you ended up in this world of film, television, and specifically editing?

 

Nena Erb:

Well, I’m originally from Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan but we pretty much grew up in South L.A. and I’ve been there ever since. I didn’t go to film school. I went to art school and ended up being a PA in the art department on Mad TV and did that for a while and bounced around production. Nothing felt the right fit, so I just kept trying different things. It wasn’t until I was working as an associate producer that I really understood what editing was about, because the editor I was working with he completely opened my eyes and then showed me how you can shape characters and change the tone, and how much control you have over the story. 

Of course after that, I was like, I was hooked. There was no turning back. So I learned the software and he was kind enough to hire me as his assistant, and here I am many, many years later. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

What was one of the first jobs you had that made you be like, “I am an editor now. This is it. I’m a real editor.”?

 

Nena Erb:

Gosh, it’s so hard to say because honestly there are days when I’m not sure that I’m an editor on a show for the first time, whether it’s a pilot or if I’m in a first season show or even my first season on Insecure, which is last season, I wanted to make sure that I did a really good job. When you’re new, you want to make sure you fit in. You want to make sure you’re getting the tone right, the pacing right, the look right. All of it has to be … You have to blend in seamlessly with the team and your work has to be seamless. 

And so yeah, whatever I’m in those environments, I don’t feel I’ve made it until the first screening, and until I know that the producers are happy. Then it’s like, okay, I’m okay. I’m good. I can keep editing.

 

Sarah Taylor:

I feel that’s a really common thing that happens is like, because every project has a whole … Because everything’s different. You have different people to work with, different stories to tell, and then once you get the ball rolling, you’re like, “Wait a minute, I got this. It’s okay. I know what I’m doing. This is great.” First I want to ask, because you started doing more work in unscripted, is that right? And then moved to scripted. How did that process work from being an assistant or an editor in the unscripted world and then making that jump to be in scripted? Because I feel a lot of people will want to make those transitions, and so how did yours work?

 

Nena Erb:

Well it took a long time, easily a span of like 10 years. What happened was I had started in non-fiction and there’s a show called Curb Your Enthusiasm that came around, they were looking for an assistant. I thought this is the perfect chance for me to get into scripted television. I interviewed. Didn’t get the job.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Darn it.

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

I was like, “I didn’t see that one. That was exciting.” Anyway …

 

Nena Erb:

Didn’t get that job at all. But the interesting thing is I befriended the editor. His name is Steve Rasch ACE, and I became friends with the associate producer whose name was Megan Murphy. And we just kept in touch, and at one point in the season they needed some extra help for a short, very short term. I went in there and helped him out, and that kind of took my friendship with them to a different direction. Steve became my mentor, Megan became a really good friend and a champion. After that I think Curb wrapped, she took a job on a reality show, and I happened to be on that show.

I didn’t know that she was … I knew that she worked there, but I didn’t know she was keeping an eye on my work. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Oh wow.

 

Nena Erb:

She was just secretly watching my cuts and evaluating me, I guess. After that she had a show that also included improv comedy, and she knew that I could handle copious amounts of dailies with different lines and the camera everywhere else, so she brought me on and that was my very first scripted credit. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

What was that show? 

 

Nena Erb:

Lovespring International. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Then have you worked with her since then? Have you kept that relationship going through the years? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, definitely. She’s hired me to do music editing for one of Jeff Berlin’s movies. Then later on she hired me to do some editing for one of his movies as well. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s awesome. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

I think that’s something to be said about our industry too, is that you make those connections with people and you become their friends or you just you’re friendly with people and they want to work with you because they like you right? And they want to keep bringing you back because they want to spend time with you and you do good at your work and all that stuff so, something to be said about making sure we keep our relationships good with people in the world in the industry. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, definitely.

 

Sarah Taylor:

So, I’m curious as every editor I think has slightly different processes on how they handle dailies, and when they get to look at scripts, or how they look at the notes and all that kind of stuff. Do you get to have a look at the scripts before you start? Do you have any input in scripts, or the scripts before you get to start post? It’s probably different in TV because it’s a pretty fast turn around and the writer’s room is happening now for Insecure, but you’re not part of that. So yeah. What is your process with that? Do you get to be part of the table read, like that kind of thing? Then what happens once you get in the edit suite and you start cutting?

 

Nena Erb:

Typically I’m usually getting the scripts a day or two before the table read. Unless it’s something really, really glaring, we don’t really chime in about the scripts. There’s a whole team of people that get paid to do that, so I’m just happy to read it and show up with a table read, show up at their tone meetings, and then once the dailies come in, what I’ll do is I’ll watch everything including just the nothingness in between resets, because I’ve found reaction shots that have bailed me out many times in those moments. I watch it from the first frame to the last frame. As I’m watching it, I’m cutting it in my head too. And of course, if I love a performance, I’ll just make a note of that or I’ll put a locator on it. After that I start cutting. I have a really weird method of cutting. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Ooh tell us, tell us.

 

Nena Erb:

I like to do multiple versions of every scene. Because sometimes there might be two or three performances of a certain line that I like, so I’ll have different versions with different performances, different ways to get into the scene, out of a scene. My first pass is not perfect. I’m just trying to put it all together, put the bones together and then I’ll move on. The next morning while my assistant’s prepping dailies, I’ll come in and I’ll watch all those different various scenes. And it always happens that there’s one version that’s going to jump out, or maybe parts of one version end up another. Once I pick those versions, then I clean it up and polish it and make sure it’s perfect. 

Usually by then dailies are ready for the next day and it all starts over again.

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s a really great way of doing it, because then you have those fresh eyes on it in the morning time where you’re like, in the heavy of it during the afternoon or whatever the day before, and then you get those fresh eyes and yeah things do pop out right?

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Have you ever found that with doing that process where you have all these different variations of the same scene that you have been able to audition them for the director if they’re like, “Oh, something doesn’t feel right.” Do you bring those other versions up and say, “Oh, I tried it this way.” or is it just go away because you’ve already picked your favorite? 

 

Nena Erb:

Sometimes. Very rarely, but sometimes I’ll have two versions that are just like, I can’t pick. Either one works. If that’s the case, I’ll pick one that might reflect the script more, and just so … because I know that writers want to see their words on it, so it’s kind of important to present that. And then as you know when you’re cutting, there’s always things where like, “Hmm, that’s got a bull’s eye on it. I know that people are going to bump on that,” or those parts kind of like, “It’d be better if those lines are switched.” I have a log of all the scenes, and there’ll be a version of that. And if they’re in the room and they’re like, “I’m not so sure about this area right here.” I will say, “You know what? Let me show you this other version I was working on. And that’s when I show it to them. Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

What’s your typical schedule for, like I say for Insecure?

 

Nena Erb:

Well, I usually start cutting the next day so I can stay up to camera and make sure that nothing is missing or that there’s no issues with the dailies. Then after the last two dailies, we have three days to finish our editors cut, typically like two days for editing, the last day’s reserved for music, because music is a huge thing and it takes a long time. After all the songs.

 

Sarah Taylor:

How is your relationship with your assistant? What stuff do you rely on them for in your process? 

 

Nena Erb:

Oh my gosh. My assistant is amazing. She’s my teammate. I bounce things off of her often and especially with music because sometimes you’re like, I love all three of these songs, but I know I can’t put three right there, so I’ll play them for her and she’ll usually help me narrow it down. And sometimes I’ll realize once we’re narrowing it down, like, “Oh wait, this song would actually work great in another scene or another episode.” I trust her opinion and I’m always … We have an open door policy. She cuts whatever she is drawn to. We work on it and yeah and once she cuts something, I’m very open to putting it in the episode and screening it with the producers and directors.

Sometimes I’ve been able to convince directors to let her jump in and get a little practice in to do notes. Because it’s easy for me and her to work because it’s very … we have a relationship, a friendship. I think when you’re on the hot seat with a director who’s breathing down your neck, it’s a whole different experience. It’s something that I think it’s important for them to go through, and so I’ve done that to her a few times and she’s done amazing all those times. So yeah, I definitely treat my assistant like a number of the team. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Have you used the same assistant for a long time, or is it depending on the show that you’re on?

 

Nena Erb:

I’ve been working with Lynarion for about three years going on four, I think. Prior to that I had an assistant for, I think one season, it was … I walked into a pre established show that had an assistant that they wanted me to use. Then prior to that, I had an assistant for about five years. I try to work with the same people.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Now when also comes to your process and stuff. Is there anything that you need to have in your edit suite or that is a must have shortcut or something that you do all the time that if you didn’t have, you’d be like, “I need that thing,”?

 

Nena Erb:

I mean there are so many things.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Well, tell us the things. I have many too. 

 

Nena Erb:

I like to have my tea there. I like to stand, I like to have my bench a certain way so that people aren’t behind me. I have it setup, so I’m able to talk to them face to face. It sounds really strange, but it works great. I highly recommend it. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Do you have a monitor behind you for them to screen …? How does that set up work? That sounds really good. I’m curious.

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. Pretend your desk right now is your [inaudible] right? And I’m the producer. I’m actually sitting this way, but I can talk to you and then he’d be right there. For them it’s like a living room area you know?

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah.

 

Nena Erb:

For me, I can … Once I do something, I can poke my head out and talk to them about stuff. I just think that it’s better when they can see your face. But I just think that it’s … when you can see someone’s face when you’re working on notes and stuff, I feel you can establish a rapport quicker. Trust is built quicker too so …

 

Sarah Taylor:

And then can you watch them when they’re watching easier that way? Like you could see their reactions and be like, “Oh yeah, I was right. That’s not working.”?

Nena Erb:

Yeah. I try to watch them, but I don’t want to be like … You know? Because then they’ll feel very self-conscious. But I always like sneaking a little peak, and especially in areas where I’m not 100% sure that it’s working, so…

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s a good technique, and you’re usually always cutting in AVID. Is that your main software? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yes definitely. Yep. I wanted to teach myself Premiere during COVID, but I kinda never got around to it.

 

Sarah Taylor:

There’s a lot of things that we have to sort through during COVID so I can understand that. Is there a project that’s been maybe stood out to you either because it was super challenging and then you had to overcome something to make it be whatever it ended up being, or it was like, “Hey, this works really good. It’s smooth sailing.”? I don’t know if that ever happens, but has there been one thing that’s really stood out to you? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, yeah. It was last year, I worked on a series called Little America. It’s a series that I don’t think would have gotten made even five years ago. It’s a series about the immigrant experience. Each episode is completely different one could be comedy, another one could be drama, and so as an editor, it’s really nice to have all those different genres to stretch your creative muscle. For that, I mean that I loved just the ability to be able to jump between the two genres, and also I’m an immigrant and I never thought that I would be working on a show that’s about the immigrant experience, something that I’ve actually gone through and I can relate to. 

I love that the show runners, they didn’t want to paint them as stereotypes that you normally see, you know? So that was great. It was great to be able to humanize them and show them as normal people. It was…I think there’s a lot of criticism about the show because we didn’t involve politics, but I think that it was important for them not to do that, because it’s not about an agenda for us. It’s just about showing immigrants as normal human beings. Someone that might be related to you. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. I really enjoyed the series. I think if you did include the political side of it, then people who might not have watched it and then might have realized, wait a minute, that person is like me, or made it relatable. I, of course, watched year two shows episodes, which I loved. Do you want to talk a little bit about, was it called The Silence? That was the episode title, right? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

For people who haven’t seen it, it’s an episode where basically the whole thing takes place at a silent meditation retreat, so really there’s no dialogue. But Nena did a brilliant job, and it was funny, and there was … It was so good. I was laughing then I was crying. It was great. Anybody who hasn’t seen it yet, please go watch Little America, The Silent. And then the other one was called The Sun?

 

Nena Erb:

The Sun yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Which was heartbreaking, but also very good. How did that work for you, to cut almost … They were 30 minute episodes, right?

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

With really no dialogue. Did you add sound effects? Were you shaping the soundscape and all that stuff? Because man, it was good. There was lots of good moments. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. That’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever edited so far. I’m sure there’s going to be harder things coming up. But up until now, that’s probably the hardest one, because there is no dialogue. Certain times the performance can be really subjective when there isn’t dialogue surrounding it, propping it up. The first cut came in a little along, it had a lot of different storylines, and watching it felt like you’re just watching a documentary. Not really sure who the main characters are, or who you’re supposed to be following, because you’re following multiple people. We slowly chipped away at it, chipped away at it. Because in the beginning there was a scene with dialogue that set up everything. 

Then in the middle there was a little more dialogue, and then there’s all the dialogue in the back. Through experimentation we got rid of all the dialogue in post, and we had to get rid of many, many different characters stories so that Sylviane’s can rise and you end up realizing, “Oh, I’m supposed to be following her. This is her journey as a seeker. She’s here, she’s looking for love, she’s looking to belong. That story finally bubbled up to the top after 50 some odd versions. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Wow. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, it was … We did a lot of different versions. I think I did like 10 one night. It was ridiculous. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Wow. Well you wouldn’t tell by watching it. It looks great. I liked that there was no setup. Right? I feel like you guys … Yeah, you did a great job of … Everybody kind of has … Maybe not everybody, but there’s a vision of what a silent meditation looks and there’s like … You’re like, “Oh, okay. They’re not talking. Okay. Yup. That’s how it goes. Yep. This makes sense.”

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. Lynarion, my assistant, she did a phenomenal job with the sound design. She really did. It was so good that when we got to the stage, I think we had to go back to what she had a lot of times.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Nice. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. That was an interesting mixed day. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

You’re like, “Actually it was better before, sorry.”

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. They were great with it though. Cool, very, very understanding of it. They were able to still add their own little touches, but yeah, she knocked that out of the park. The sound design was so great. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. It was really good. Did you want to talk about The Sun and how that came together, that episode?

 

Nena Erb:

That one came together more traditionally I think. But of course, anything compared to The Silence and all those versions that we did seem easier. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but … But yeah, that one was … It was interesting for me because I didn’t want to demonize Syrians. It’s about a Syrian man who seeks asylum because his father discovered he was gay and is trying to kill him. It’s a heartbreaking story. At the same time it was very important to the director and to myself and producers to make sure that we didn’t shamed him into that, “Oh, you should be more accepting,” kind of a role. We tried to explain why these mercy killings or whatever they’re called are done in that culture. That was, I think, probably the most eyeopening experience for me to be able to really scrutinize all the different performances to make sure like, “Okay, this is emotional, but not too sappies.” Because you don’t want to like … anything too syrupy. 

When the guy’s explaining why the father is hunting him. And also we couldn’t be too angry either. Then now you’re demonizing the father and the whole culture, religious reasoning behind it. For the tone it was really tough to find the right balance, but I think we did okay. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. I think that’s such an important thing to talk about and that you have those discussions because it’s so easy and in a lot of media, it’s so easy for that to be … Well, you’re just, you’re the bad guy period. But he’s a whole human and there’s reasons why he believes a certain thing, and there’s culture, and there’s religion, and there’s … We all have good and evil. It’s good to have stories that where you see, well that’s really crappy, but also I can see where he’s coming from right?

 

Nena Erb:

Right.

 

Sarah Taylor:

I think we definitely, as editors can help shape those things. And yeah, you’re right. The fact that you took that time to really look at all the reactions or all of the takes and say to you know … To be thinking about that while you’re cutting, because that could be lost on … Other people might not, or if that’s not brought up in whatever you might miss it and then we’re telling a completely different story. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. Definitely.

 

Sarah Taylor:

It’s a reminder to all the editors out there that we do have a lot of control in the edit suite. We can really shape things to be impactful, I think right?

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, I think you did a fantastic job on that one. 

 

Nena Erb:

Oh thank you. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

So yes, everybody, please go watch Little America. It was a really great series. Highly recommend it. Apple TV. Well, speaking of things to watch, so Insecure. This was season four. Yes. We’re watching clips from season four. I’m a huge fan of Insecure, and when I was looking to see who we could bring on for the master series, I discovered that Nena had cut Insecure and I got very excited. I was like, “We must interview Nena.” Then I saw all of her other credits and I was like, yes, she’s got lots of good stuff. This is great. I’m a fan of, and familiar of your work and a fan of your work. We have a few clips to watch. Do you want to maybe set up the series and we’re going to watch self-care Sunday as the first clip, just so in case people haven’t seen it or…?

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. This is episode six. It’s basically the first few scenes of the episode. It comes after the block party episode where Issa and Molly, her best friend, they have the big blow out. Of course neither wants to apologize to the other, because they all feel like they’re right. Even though the block party was a huge success in this episode, Issa’s feeling a little empty, and she’s missing her friend. And so throughout the entire episode, she’s constantly checking to see if Molly’s called and Molly hasn’t. This is her kind of … We’re not going to show this part, but the episode’s all about her trying to prove that she’s not a selfish bitch. What we’re about to see is the aftermath of a fight that happened between her and her best friend.

 

[clip plays]

Bitch, do you hear yourself? Nobody has more drama than you, Issa. You still the same selfish bitch you always been. You need to figure out your shit and stop using people.

Last night was lit. 

When’s the next one? 

Where were those bomb tacos from? 

Thought that shit was going to be whack.

But that shit was tight. 

The most fun I had an Inglewood in a minute. 

I can’t believe Vince Staples was there.

We need more events like this. Even my grandma was out there dancing.

Tonight in the South L.A. niggas gathered for fried chicken, cocoa butter, and violence. But as always, you can count on Shannon on the scene.

Yo, just checking in on you. Don’t let that Molly fuckshit ruin how well you did today, you killed it Iss. By the way, did you invite mom, because she keep blowing my-

Hey, morning after update. It looks we are waiting on deposit returns from four vendors. But in the meantime, I did have a few questions about something that you was telling me that-

You okay girl. What was that last night? What happened with y’all. Okay this baby won’t stop crying. Why you reaching for my titty, ain’t nothing in there. Is that a Wheat Thin? That’s a Wheat Thin.

So what am I supposed to do now? 

That’s a good question. You fucked up.

I didn’t fuck up. She fucked up. 

And she got you fucked up.

Fucking right.

That’s what the fuck I’m saying. 

I should probably reach out though. 

Reach out? Have you noticed that you’re always the one reaching out and apologizing.

The fuck.

Yeah. Let her reach out to you. She’s wrong too. Effortless bars.

Okay. Yeah. But what do I do while I wait? 

Relax, relate, release. Take care of you. 

Self-care Sunday. 

I’m sorry, what? Speak up.

I said self-care Sunday. It’s when you take care of yourself on a Sunday. 

I know what that means. I read too. 

Okay. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

I love the mirror talks always. They’re my favorite scenes. Tell us about this scene and why you chose it to talk about.

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. I feel like every season there’s always an outlier episode. I had that in season three as well, and I feel this is very similar. There’s a lot of use of the graphics from social media, and the whole concept of the half of the screen being taken up by her brother, her assistant and social media stuff, the YouTube clip. It’s always taken up by somebody else but never Molly. It’s like the two halves and half of one’s gone. That was kind of the idea for me anyways. I wasn’t in the writers room so I don’t know what they had. But for me, cutting, I was always, I had that in mind. The amazing thing was we never discussed what any of the graphics would look, or whether it would be picture and picture or exactly 50/50 split. It went back and forth multiple times.

Knowing that that could be very, very challenging, the notes process and it could change a million times. I just decided, I made a decision, let’s just do half and half and Lynarion made all those graphics which are phenomenal.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. I think it presented well, and so there wasn’t a single note. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Nice. 

 

Nena Erb:

And all the graphics.  I had a lot of notes from the VFX team.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

 

Nena Erb:

[crosstalk 00:29:47] put that together, but yeah, I was relieved and amazed that Lynarion did such a great job with that, that we just sailed through. There’s a phone conversation that we’ll probably take a look at later, but that was also a continuation of … Originally it was supposed to be a split-screen conversation, and we tried it that way but it … I don’t know. I didn’t feel like we still needed to use a 50/50 visual language that we used earlier, because it comes from after she had her chat with her mom. So maybe she’s starting to feel whole, so I didn’t feel like we needed to split the screen. That was just a crazy, crazy concept that I ran with. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

I hear you. Well, it worked, and I think, yeah, it had lots of good, good … Well, there was lots of good things of what was on the other screen. The graphics or that YouTube lady. Like [laughs]. Do you want to touch on music for this series and why music is such a big part of the series, and what that process is like in the edit suite? 

 

Nena Erb:

Sure. Yeah. Music is a huge character. Issa’s a big fan of music. She’s always said that she wants a great show, but she wants the music to be dope. We’re always trying to use artists that are unreleased or about to release when the episode drops. It’s a whole timing thing that our music supervisor Kier Lehman has to deal with. He’s been able to find all these incredible artists that I had never heard before. So yeah. We have like thousands and thousands of songs to choose from. 

Sarah Taylor:

Wow.

 

Nena Erb:

It’s got to be West coast, it’s got to be the right vibe. It’s got to sound great. It’s got to have lyrics that fit the scene. There’s a lot of different boxes that we need to tick, and so that’s why it takes forever. But I feel like we’re doing okay with the choices that we’re making. Yeah. Issa always has ideas too, because maybe she’ll be driving into work and she’ll hear a song and she’ll say, “Oh, let’s try that there.”

 

Sarah Taylor:

One question that popped up in the thing was does she ever come to the edit suite and work with you?

 

Nena Erb:

Yes.

 

Sarah Taylor:

What is it like working with her? I think she’d be really fine but …

 

Nena Erb:

She’s great. She’s super smart. She’s able to look at herself and be very objective. I know that that can be really hard sometimes for producers who are also acting in the episodes, but she’s great. The first time I worked with her, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, within minutes it felt I was hanging out with a friend criticizing what’s on TV. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s awesome. Do think that growing up … Because when did you move to L.A.? You were a young child when you moved to L.A.?

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Do you think that growing up in L.A. is helped you work on the show because you are from L.A.? Do you feel that’s a benefit for you? 

 

Nena Erb:

I think so. I feel it has … South L.A. in particular that whole neighborhood that the show is based on, or based out of, was where we settled when my family and I immigrated here. So yeah. So that community has always been very, very special to me because it was our first experience in a whole new country. It could have gone south really bad but it didn’t, because like … It was incredible. Our neighbors embraced us and just helped us along. I had friends almost immediately.

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s great. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, so growing up in that area, it’s always been very special so … I love featuring South L.A. so…

 

Sarah Taylor:

I feel like that’s a really special part of the show, is that you have these really great drone shots and just street shots of the space, and it’s like a character in itself I feel like. And … So yeah, I was curious to know if there’s … what you felt there was that connection. Thinking back to when you were your young self, did you ever think that one day you’d be making a show based in that community? That must be pretty wild to think about. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, definitely. I did not think that would happen and I made it a point not to say anything in my interview because I didn’t want that to be … I didn’t want that to sound fake because it’s not.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah for sure.

 

Nena Erb:

For sure, people have like, “Oh yeah, I love that city,” and stuff, like using it in the interview. But for me it was a very personal thing so I didn’t tell Issa until we were done with season three. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, she must’ve felt … That must’ve been a special connection there-

 

Nena Erb:

Oh yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

… to talk about that yeah.

 

Nena Erb:

It’s so interesting because South L.A. changes. It’s always changing, constantly evolving. From season to season, we have to shoot new exterior’s. Things are just different. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Do you want to show the next clip? I guess it would be the phone call. 

 

Nena Erb:

This comes after an entire episode of her giving an older man a ride. He’s this prickly old man who’s making her life miserable, but she’s just trying to prove that she’s not a selfish bitch.

 

[clip plays]

Hey.

This is Kelli, may I ask who’s calling?

Kelli it’s Issa. You called me. 

I know I called your ass, but you’re ignoring me like you’re my biological father. Where you been? Are you okay? 

Yeah. I’m okay. I’ve just been busy. 

Okay. Well have you called Molly yet? 

Uh-uh (negative).

Why not? 

Because she hasn’t called me. 

So that’s it. That’s a wrap? Issa, come on. I know you’re upset right now, but maybe if y’all sat down and talk face to face, you could work it out. 

Are you giving Molly the same energy? 

Yes. I’ve been calling that bitch too. Look when me and Tiff let our shit sit too long, we almost didn’t come back from it. 

I just don’t want to be the one to reach out this time. 

Okay. So what? If she doesn’t call, y’all just never going to speak again. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

I really liked the pacing in that one, and them walking and stopping and …

 

Nena Erb:

Oh yeah, yeah. That was a very deliberate choice. I wanted to make it seem like they were going to potentially meet in the middle. As a symbolism of them coming to accord and she’s going to go call Molly. But they never do meet in the middle so … and she never calls Molly. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Nothing is solved.

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.  I had a little fun cutting that once I didn’t like what it looked like as a split-screen. I tried that other concept of trying to make it seem like they’re mirroring each other as they’re getting closer and closer together only they really weren’t. I’m glad that in the end Issa likes this version better. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Yeah. I think it worked really well. When you’re in this show, because the framing is very … a specific style of framing for a lot of the shots and stuff. Are you at all ever helping with that process? Where like, if it’s in the suite you’re maybe punching in a little bit or shaping things differently to make sure it fits into that vibe I guess is … I don’t know?

 

Nena Erb:

No, no. I think that look was established since the pilot, and all of our DPs and our directors have honed in on it, and they’re very aware of when to shoot these short-sighted shots and when not to. Because we don’t use them a lot. We use them sparingly. There might be one potentially two in an episode, but not … It’s typically just one. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. But it’s still like, to me when I see it just … I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s the style of the show.” It’s interesting, I’ve never actually thought to count how many shots are like that, but that there’s only one shot like that in an episode or maybe two that it still is something that I’m like, yeah. That’s part of the show. That’s fun.

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

What is it when you’re hiring an assistant? Is there certain types of skills that you expect from your assistants? 

 

Nena Erb:

I have to get along with them. That’s the most important one, and hopefully they want to be a teammate. I like assistance that want to cut, because I like having someone to bounce certain things off of. That only comes with someone who wants to be an editor, right? 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

 

Nena Erb:

Skills, they’re always evolving. Right? Because I feel like our digital media is constantly changing, so as long as they can do the normal things prep dailies, and maybe script sync scenes, that’s kind of it. Sound design is very important, but I feel like both of the assistants on Insecure this past season are Louis and Lynarion. However they have spoiled me because they’re both so good at everything. Like everything. The effects, temp effects, sound design. Like all of it. It’s going to be hard to replace Lynarion, it really will be. But she’s on her way to editing so I’m pretty excited for her. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s awesome. You’ll have to get her to be like, who’s the next person like you come my way?

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. She’ll have to do the first round of interviews.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Have you ever had moments of creative differences with the director and had to stand your ground to get the approval for the cut that you knew was the right creative direction? 

 

Nena Erb:

No. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, that’s good. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Taylor:

You lucked out.

 

Nena Erb:

I pick my battles. I try to see it from their point of view, and I know that the director’s cut is a director’s vision and I try to make sure that I’m able to provide that for him or her. If it’s completely off the mark, I know it’s going to get changed. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. 

 

Nena Erb:

There’s no reason to get into it with them. There’s no reason. I just want to make sure that they’re comfortable and they are happy with what we’re turning in, and putting their names on. So, yeah, I don’t get into it. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

I think that’s the biggest difference between a film and television, is that the producers always have the final round. So, if something doesn’t make pass the producers, it doesn’t matter if you fought with the director about it, the producer is going to change it or vice versa, right? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Do you have any techniques or things that you’ve learnt over the years on how to deal with different personality types in the edit suite? Because every director coming in, every producer coming in, they’re all different. They all have their own quirks and stuff. So, how do you navigate it for yourself in the edit suite, and how do you communicate with all the different people? 

 

Nena Erb:

Well, if it’s a director I haven’t worked with before, I usually try to introduce myself either at the table read or at the tone meeting, make sure they have my contact information. I always … I offer this to every director. I always tell them …I go, “Hey, if you have a scene that you’re a little nervous about, that you’re not sure about, let me know. Shoot me an email, shoot me a text, whatever it is, and I’ll make sure that I cut that first the next day, so you can take a look at it and see if your concerns were valid, or if it was just something that you just weren’t sure, but now that you see it, it’s fine. I find that that really calms them down a lot, and it starts us off on a good foot. So, that’s typically what I do, and I always let them know like my job is to make sure their vision is realized, especially in TV. I think that means a lot to them because they don’t usually get that. 

With producers, it just comes from being in the room with them and trying to read their vibe, and understanding what their internal pacing is and what they respond to in terms of jokes or performances, and really observing them, I think. For a lot of editors, myself included, it can be a little frustrating after you’ve explored all the different avenues of what the scene could be from the dailies, and then they want to like dig into it and start from scratch because they haven’t seen all the things, but it occurred to me that they want to do that, not because they don’t trust me, but because they haven’t gone through all the different avenues that I have. I think of myself as a little tour guide at that point, and we always typically come back to the version that I had or some form of that, because I think once you get to know all the material, I mean, everyone kind of agrees on what’s working and what’s not, or at least I hope so, because you should be a good fit with your show runners. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

For sure, that helps. But that’s a good point of … I feel like maybe early on in careers or yeah, the more experience you have, the more you realize like, okay, no, I’m here as part of the team. Yeah, you do trust me, that I’m providing you with the cut that I think is right, but it’s okay for you to look at other scenes, or other takes. It doesn’t mean that I sucked at my whatever, right? I feel like it takes some time to realize that we can all … or we’re creating something together, right? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

And maybe, luckily … being fortunate to work with directors and producers that you can collaborate with, I think that’s a huge thing to get that confidence up for young editors or new editors, that they can work together to make the thing. 

 

Nena Erb:

Definitely. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

What are your current thoughts or ideas on what you think the future of post is, now that we’re living in a different world right now? What are your feelings on where things might go in L.A. and for you in the future? 

 

Nena Erb:

Everything is uncertain. I imagine we’ll be working from home a lot more with the potential going into an edit bay, if there’s a tough scene that the director or the producer wants to work with you on in person. There’s been shows that have a protocol in place where if that is to happen, they’ll have an edit bay set up. If you’re going to go in, you’re both going to get tested. It has to happen like a week from the time that you have to in or something. Then of course, you’re sitting far apart with the mask, but honestly, I’m happy to work from home, if it means that my family and I stay safe. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. But it’s pretty amazing how much you can do from home and how … even just Zoom, like right now. I have Zoom calls with my directors and stuff, and I was doing that before COVID, just because we were in different places. So, it is handy how our technology works. But do you feel like you’ll miss that face to face, or to have those conversations in person, or in the same room? 

 

Nena Erb:

Absolutely. Yeah. I think the rapport will be there, if you’re working with someone you’ve worked with before, but I think if you’re doing a new show with a new team, it might take a little longer for you to establish trust and get on the same page, I guess, with the other person. So, that’s going to be really interesting. I am curious to see how that’s going to go. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. As we all are. And every location is different, right? Every place that … yeah. I know more films are coming up to Canada to shoot because we have less numbers, but then it’s like, yeah, it’s just a wild. The new world. What are your thoughts about making the post-world more equitable, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement and all these other things coming to light. What are your thoughts on how we can make the post-world more equitable and how we can have a different looking people behind the computer shaping these stories, right? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. This is so interesting. I was just actually talking to Netflix about this.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, good.

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. I had just a general meeting with them and someone asked me like what I thought of including apprentice editors again, and I thought that was a great idea because apprentice editors, it used to be a thing that they would have on films. Someone that comes in that’s the entry level assistant, the apprentice, and they would learn from the two … the first and second assistants and be involved in the environment without a lot of risk. I feel like they should bring that back. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Totally. Yeah. 

 

Nena Erb:

That would help a lot of people build credits and have a resume, so that they can be up for jobs and be considered, because I feel like you can have diversity programs all you want, but if they’re coming out without credits, I don’t know that they’re going to get a chance. You know? I mean, everybody’s always going to say, “Oh, well, here’s two candidates. This person has a lot more credits and you’ve got none.” I think if there are apprentices and they can have like a list of credits on projects, I think it’ll be a lot more helpful. It’s similar to the DGA training program. 

I don’t know if you guys saw that up in Canada, DGA, they pick I think two or three … I don’t remember how many people they pick, but they basically put them on a feature film for a month, put them on another one for a month, put another one for a month, and then they do TV shows. By the time they’re done, they have a tremendous resume and they know how all the different genres work and they can run the set on anything. So, I think if we can do that, I think that’ll make a big difference. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’ll be huge. I think that’s something that’s just missing for a long time now, that we have come to the digital world where we don’t need to be in this expensive cutting film. We’ve lost that, where we’re passing our knowledge down as much, right? Especially in our smaller industries, like within Canada. I hardly ever have an assistant, let alone am I able to help somebody as much as maybe somewhere like in L.A. where you can have assistants. Then if we can do this apprentice thing, so many doors I think would open for people, and I think it’s so important. 

And it’s just to share our craft so that people can learn, and they’re not flailing. People are flailing trying to figure it out on their own. They could learn from somebody who has great experience. So yeah, I think that would be fantastic. I know the DGC has trainee programs, but I don’t know … I don’t think I’ve ever seen it for editing. I don’t think it’s in the editing realm, but that would be fantastic. Do you have a story of your own authorship that you may want to tell one day? 

 

Nena Erb:

No. I don’t … 

 

Sarah Taylor:

You like to help others tell stories. That’s fair. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yes. I mean, honestly, I don’t think my life is that interesting. So, I’d rather tell other people’s stories. Yeah. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s awesome. Keith asks … his question’s about the speed of editing. Do you or any of your assistants ever take time to pick up visibility? Is it something you allow your assistants some time to acquire, or do you expect it to be right away … how fast they edit? 

 

Nena Erb:

I don’t really expect my assistants to edit fast. I know that takes time. It took time for me. I think a large part of it comes with practice, but also the ability to really understand the material that you’re working with. If you know where all the bodies are buried, so to say, I think you can solve problems quicker, and I think that’s the perception of speed. When someone’s giving your note and you’re like, oh, right, okay. I can do this, this, this, and this. It’s because you’re accessing what you know, the tools that you have to work with. Because I feel like once you’re … a quick type of … I mean, it’s all the same, right? I think really, the speed comes from how quickly you’re able to solve a problem rather than the actual physical act of executing it. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

What advice would you have for a new learning film student who wants to become an editor? 

 

Nena Erb:

Oh, wow, there’s so many. Let’s see. Gosh. Well, American ACE. They have an internship program that is hugely valuable and it introduces you to all kinds of different genres, puts you in rooms. I mean, now everything’s virtual, but back when you can send someone to an edit bay, they would have you in a feature film room for a week. They would have you in an episodic TV room for a week. They would have you in a documentary reality room for a week, so you understand the workflow, and then they do a week in your mix house, your sound houses, your online facilities, so that you can understand, okay, all these things that you’re doing when you’re assisting, that’s where it goes and you understand why it has to be a certain way. So, I think it’s just such a great program that recent graduates should definitely apply. I don’t know if you guys have something similar. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

We have a mentorship program, yeah, and for the CCE that we just started this year … 2019, so last year, but going through this year, and we had a pilot project in Toronto. So, eventually we’re going to try to do it across Canada, but so, yeah, right now in Toronto it’s happening. Of course, it started pre COVID. So, we had all these things set up where people were getting to go into edit suite. So, they’re doing it virtually and stuff now, too, but it’s very similar. But more, they’ve been paired with an editor or an assistant that they’re … So, then they get to be mentored with that editor or assistant that they’re paired with. Yeah, we’re definitely trying to get that going more as a program, similar to what ACE is offering, because I think that’s huge. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. And also, I think the interesting thing is, with everybody being home because of COVID, you can reach out to people whose work you admire because chances are they’re hanging out. They might be open to just having a Zoom coffee with you. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. 

 

Nena Erb:

I think so much of this business is about relationships. I would just make it a point to reach out to someone new once a week or once a day, if you’re really ambitious, and yeah. Get to know a lot of people, establish and foster the friendships, and eventually they’ll become your network and they’re going to be able to help you move up, move around. So, all that, in addition to trying to cut as much as you can for practice, those are all things that I would suggest. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Awesome. Can you speak more about the interview process? How do you prepare and what’s the best piece of advice you would give to put your best foot forward in an interview? 

 

Nena Erb:

Well, I typically try to get the script, if it’s a new project or a pilot, and I’ll read it a couple of times. I always try to think, okay, for this scene … if I have questions, I write them down. If there’s something that I really connect with, I write it down. If I can think of music that would go great with the scene, I write that down. You want to come in with questions about the characters, the story. You want to bring something to it as well. So, maybe that’s a music thing, maybe it’s something else that you’re envisioning, or maybe you read the scene and you suddenly have a concept of how they can shoot it. That might be worth bringing up, just to spitball. But yeah, it’s really just doing your prep, and when it’s possible … because sometimes I’ll get a script and I’m meeting them in the … the meeting’s next morning, so I don’t have time to watch other programs or other movies that the producers have done before, because it helps to know some of their work, too. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Keith says he’s been teaching himself for the past six months and he’s been waiting to pick up freelance jobs to build his portfolio, and he wants to become assistant editor. So, he’s wondering how he should approach that. Is it more important to meet and make friends, which is kind of what you just said, with post-production people, or have a demo reel? Do you also have any good advice on how he can reach that goal of becoming an editor? 

 

Nena Erb:

Well, I don’t think you need a reel, if you want to be an assistant editor. I think it’s more important to meet people and connect with editors that you get along with, that will potentially need an assistant. That would be probably the quickest way to get a job as an assistant, but if you want to edit, then a reel is important because it helps to be able to show people what you’re capable of. And in terms of being an editor, I think for most people, they work their way up from being an assistant, so then it’s just finding an editor that will mentor you. And I would just try to do my job as best as possible, as fast as possible, so that I can cut something every day, you know? And I think sometimes, if your time allows and if your editor is cool with it, I would just try to cut something every day and then see at the end of the week, okay, how many minutes is that? Is it three minutes? Is it five minutes? And then if it’s five, the next week you aim to do seven- 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, yeah. 

 

Nena Erb:

 … and the next week 10, you know? So, that’s how you build up your speed and how quickly you solve problems, right? Yeah, I think making sure that you can keep up is going to be really, really important on your first editing job, because you don’t want to not be able to deliver on that deadline. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

For sure. Yeah. And if you are in Canada … Keith, I don’t know if you’re in Canada … we, pre-COVID, had lots of gatherings with editors. We’d have pub nights and stuff like that, but we are … as you know like events like this … yes, so he’s in Canada. Yeah. So, events like this, you can connect and learn from editors. Then also, we have Edit Con every year in Canada, where it’s like a full day of chatting with editors. Again, this year it’s probably … it’s going to be online, but those moments, getting out and going to networking events where you’re just connecting with editors and talking edit … because we all get excited and we all want to talk about it … is huge. So, yes, keep up with the CCE and hopefully when we have in-person events again, you can make some of those in-person connections. Another question from Sabrina. She says, as an editor, do you feel having a reel or series of reels put together as important? Or do you only provide examples of your work upon request from specific productions? 

 

Nena Erb:

It’s funny. When I first got an agent, she said to do a reel. I never got around to it, but I said, “Hey, I don’t have time to cut a reel, but here’s what I can do. I can do a website, and I’ll just put certain scenes up,” and she’s like, “That’s fine.” So, that’s been that, and honestly, I don’t know how many people have looked at it, if at all, but I imagine that if I was starting out, I imagine people would want to see something. So, I think that would be a helpful thing to do. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

I feel like it’s more, now, examples of a piece of work or, yeah like a scene or something is really important because you … well, I can’t say anybody can put together a montage of the cool music track and a bunch of clips, but to get your story sense or your pacing sense or whatever, the actual pieces of work is important. Do you have any tips for people who want to make the move to Hollywood or to L.A., and try to get into that world? Because yes, I feel like it would be daunting, but what are your ideas on that? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, I think it’s definitely possible. Absolutely. I would save money, a lot of money. because you want to make sure that you have a nice cushion, because there are times when you’re not working and it might be a month or two, and you don’t want to … It’s really stressful if you don’t have that financial cushion. So, I would plan and save as much as you can. I would … and as you’re saving, reach out to editors and assistants, depending on wherever you are level-wise in terms of your career. Reach out to people whose work, I guess, you admire or assistants who you know that have done really difficult V effects, movies. Whatever skill that you want and whatever job that you want, reach out to those people and try to make a connection. 

Again, when you’re meeting people, I would try to find out what they like as a person, rather than just all talk about working. And definitely don’t ask for a job. Get to know them first, because it becomes very awkward when you meet someone for the first time and then they hit you up for a job, and it’s like you want to help them, but you just met them. So, it’s a little difficult to know what their skill sets are, to know what their personality is like, and who they’re going to fit with. So, it just puts the other person at a very awkward position. So, I would definitely reach out, try to foster a genuine friendship, and maybe by the time you save up your money, you’ll know many, many people, and you move here and they can help you out. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s awesome. Are there any groups or things … like, there’s ACE, but is there anything else in L.A. specific that editors connect on or events that they go to, or anything like that? 

 

Nena Erb:

I think Blue Collar Post Collective. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. I think they’re pretty big and they’re great with welcoming people that are coming into L.A. or California. I believe it’s based in L.A., but I’m not 100% sure. They’re phenomenal. They’ve been very helpful. They sponsor people to go to EditFest every year. Yeah, I think that’s a great organization to connect with. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

So, Derek is asking, are there any techniques to use to build pacing in your edits? 

 

Nena Erb:

No. I rely on my gut. It’s always … it’s an internal thing. I can’t really explain it, but yeah, it’s all just up here. And I think it’ll come to you with practice … come to anybody with practice, I think. You’ll know what the pacing for a certain scene is, if you want it to be comedic versus dramatic. I think after … it just comes with practice. You’ll learn to trust your gut. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

What are your thoughts on temp music and cutting with music when you’re assembling? What is your ideas on … 

 

Nena Erb:

I don’t work with temp music when I’m assembling. I don’t do music until after I’m done, because I want to make sure that the scene can stand on its own without dressing it up with music. So, yeah, I don’t do that. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

What editors would you advise people to study their techniques and style? Do you have any favorite editors? 

 

Nena Erb:

I love Anne V. Coates and how throughout the years, her work is always changing and growing, and she experiments and she wasn’t afraid to try different things. I’m a big fan of her work, and other editors … it’s really just whatever you gravitate towards. I think it’s going to be tough to emulate and to copy another person’s style. I think you have to find your own because I think it has to feel natural to you, right? if you’re always trying to do something that someone else did, and if it doesn’t feel right to you, I don’t think that that would be a good fit. 

So, for me, yeah there’s lots of editors whose work I admire, but at the end of the day, I don’t ever approach a scene and go, oh, Anne Coates would cut it like this. It’s really just what I find in the dailies that speaks to me. And there are times when I’m like, I don’t like the scene. I know that I can do more, and then I’ll think of the crazy stuff that she did, in Out of Sight, and now it’s like, okay. I’m going to step away, kind of free my mind up, so I can think outside the box. So, there’s been times like that, where something she’s done has reminded me to take a risk. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, totally. I think that’s really interesting when you start to hear other editors techniques, and I think I watched something with a Mindhunter and how they were using lots of picture to picture takes of one actor from another scene, and then … and that was one of the first times I heard that and I never really thought about that. I was like, oh, my god, that’s such a great idea. We can do that. The technology’s there, and of course they shot it in a way that it would be also easier to do those things, but yeah, when you start hearing how people break apart things and put things back together, and then you just have that … It’s not even that it’s their specific technique. It’s how they accomplished something for that specific show, because every show has its own style. So, as an editor, our style is dictated by what the show is or what the film is, right? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

But to learn how people craft something with what they have and within that style, you can … yeah, you have those little things in your pocket, which I think is really fun. Do you think it’s necessary for somebody to go to film school … which you did not, but you went to art school … or is it better to find a mentor? 

 

Nena Erb:

I didn’t go to film school, so I can’t really speak to that part of it. I think mentors are very important. I’ve definitely had many throughout my career and I don’t know that I would have the same path without them. So, I highly suggest getting a mentor and film school is not bad. I’ve always wondered if I would have liked film school. If I had the time, I’d probably do it, but is it necessary, I don’t know that it is because I know so many people that didn’t go to film school and they have phenomenal careers. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

What is the role of an editor in pre-production? We touched on you get the script before the table read, but maybe tell us that. You get the script, you read through it. When you’re at the table read, what are you looking for? What are you there to get when you’re watching the table read? 

 

Nena Erb:

If it’s a comedy, I try to pay attention to which jokes are getting the biggest laugh and which jokes aren’t. I think the only show where I’ve been more involved with pre-production has really been Crazy Ex-girlfriend, because of all the musical numbers. They have dance, concept meetings, they have different … There was just a lot of different meetings to go into the prep of it, and sometimes they’ll want to do something that’s really out of the box and they want to make sure that the editor is there to make sure that they can do it and have it be cut together. So, that’s really the only show where I was involved from the pre-production standpoint, I guess. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. What was it like working on My Crazy Ex-girlfriend, having to be a musical and having all those major dance numbers? Did you love that? Was it fun or was it challenging? What did you like about that show? 

 

Nena Erb:

I loved it. It was so fun because every episode has at least two, if not … I think eight is the most we’ve had in an episode, and it can range so wildly in terms of genre. You can have an episode where you’re doing Simon and Garfunkel, and then the next piece is an ’80s hip hop song, and then the next piece … and we’re still in the same episode, could be hard rock. So, yeah, it definitely … I think, as an editor, you have a wide palette to choose from, and I think that’s always exciting, and it’s fun. It’s fun. The lyrics are great. They’re hilarious. The visuals are fun to cut and because they’re not the same genre, I enjoy doing the research for it because that sometimes will always inspire something else, too. So, I really enjoy that. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

What would you recommend people do when it comes to researching things about what they’re going to get into in the edit suite? 

 

Nena Erb:

Well, I think there’s a wealth of information on the internet now. I think if it’s a first season show, I would definitely research the creator, because chances are, they did a pilot somewhere, provided it’s a 

TV show. Yeah. So, there’ll be articles about it, I think, because pilots, when they get picked up, it’s always in the trades, and they’ll interview them. Or maybe they’ve given interviews on other projects they’ve done. See what their creative viewpoint is, if possible, if there’s articles about that. And if they’ve done a show before that, take a look at an episode or two, because I think that’ll really inform what they like and that’ll help you. As you’re starting to cut dailies, you’ll have their taste in your mind, so you can try to give them something that you think they’re going to like. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Charmaine says, do you ever find that your first cuts are super cutty? What’s your protocol for resolving that and pacing it out? 

 

Nena Erb:

I’m not a person that likes to cut a lot. I cut when it’s necessary. I don’t find that my first cuts are super cutty. I find that they might be … they should be more cutty. Yeah. But also, I think it … so much is dictated by the story that you’re telling, right? If it’s a moment that was kind of frenetic, yeah, I’m going to do more cuts. But if it’s a moment where they’re … there’s an episode in season three where Issa is walking down the street with Nathan, and the entire thing is like a very before sunrise episode. For that one, their chemistry was so good. I just let it play. I had some really, really long takes that just … unless the story dictated a cut, I just let it go. I really let the story dictate how often I cut, when I cut, if I cut. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Totally. Yeah. Curious about … so, Andrea is curious about what mouse you use. 

 

Nena Erb:

I have it right here. I’ll show. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Excellent. 

 

Nena Erb:

It’s one with a track ball, but I’ve mounted it so it’s vertical. Your elbows will thank you. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

That makes total sense. Yeah. Any other pieces of equipment, gear that you … You said you like to do standing … a standing desk, 

 

Nena Erb:

There’s a new piece of equipment that I’ve recently discovered and think it’s the best in the world. It’s the cube tab. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

And what is that? I don’t know what that is. 

 

Nena Erb:

I’m pretty sure Ruben introduced us to that. It’s basically a little cube, electrical outlet that basically, you plug it in and it has different prongs. So, you can plug different things into this cube that is now plugged into your outlet. Does that makes sense? 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. 

 

Nena Erb:

You can put all kinds of stuff on it. You used to have one outlet and now you have three.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Is it USB things that you can put in, or is it other plugs, just like another …

 

Nena Erb:

I think it’s just more electrical plugs. It’s really ever used on set, because they have  lots of things to plug into it. 





Sarah Taylor:

For sure. Yeah. Well, I know for myself, I get a lot of hard drives, so there’s definitely a lot of things to plug in and I only have so much room on my backup generator thingy. Yeah. Did you have a home system set up and have you been working at home during this time? 

 

Nena Erb:

Well, we finished the final episodes of Insecure at the beginning of lockdown. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Okay. 

 

Nena Erb:

The cuts were mostly done, so it was just a matter of approving mixes and doing VFX shots, but I had a laptop and one extra monitor that was always set up. I wouldn’t call it a full system by any stretch of the imagination, but I imagine that my next job, we’ll probably set one in there and we’ll see. Personally, I don’t want to use my own system, even if I had one. I would rather the show rent me one, because I don’t want to be responsible for getting it back up if it crashes.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yup. 

 

Nena Erb:

I’m not a technical, so … I turn it on and that’s about it. So, yeah. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Do you find that your assistants are super technical? I wonder, there’s a special skillset where I find some editors are like, “No, I don’t want to do the technology,” but then the assistants seemed to be really, really good with the technology. 

 

Nena Erb:

I’ve met many assistants that were phenomenal and they were very tech savvy, which is great, because I’m not, and they can just help troubleshoot much better than I can. I find that very interesting because it’s got to be such a different frame of mind to do your work as an assistant, and then have to switch so that you’re thinking with the creative part of it for editing. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. 

 

Nena Erb:

That’s got to be a tough thing to juggle on a daily basis, if you’re trying to cut after your assistant duties, but … 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. I find … because I often have to do both. So, I find for myself, when I’m sinking and stuff, I’m turning off a certain part of the brain, right? Then when it comes to creativity you’re turning it back on, it’s almost like folding laundry, so you can just do it. It’s like you’re doing the motions or whatever, and then when it comes to the … sometimes it feels harder, like you’re working harder, because your brain is working harder to do the actual editing, if that makes sense.

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah totally.

 

Sarah Taylor:

So, sometimes it’s nice to take that break. If I’m feeling stuck on a cut, I’ll be like, go sync to the next 

whatever I need to sink or whatever I need to prep. I can go do that to take a break from the story issue or whatever it might be. So, if you’re able to do that … maybe I just do that because I have to do that. Derek is asking, do you think … does age come into play when you’re hiring an assistant? 

 

Nena Erb:

For me personally? No. No. I’ve just got to make sure I get along with the person and that this person is a team player. If my assistant isn’t great, we’re both going to go down. Yeah, not just him and not just me. We’re both going to go down. So, yeah, it has to be someone who’s going to have my back and do the work, and someone that I want to have a drink with and hang out with. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Having a connection is … yeah. But then you can trust each other, right? You have each other’s back, right? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, exactly.

 

Sarah Taylor:

We have a question from Sabrina. She’s going to talk. I’m going to allow you to speak. Go ahead, Sabrina. 

 

Sabrina:

Hello. Thank you so much for doing this. Anyways, my question was about cutting different genres. Do you find … is there a genre that you really, really want to cut, that you have yet to? Or do you find you can jump around fairly easily, or was it difficult to switch around? Do you find you get pigeonholed very easily if you stick to a certain genre and you’re not able to move around as easily? 

 

Nena Erb:

Oh, gosh. A few years ago, I was very deliberate in terms of picking a drama and picking comedy, and then in the last few years, there’s this new blend of comedy that has a lot of drama in it, like Insecure and similar to Crazy Ex, and something like a Little America, too. So, I’ve been trying to do that more, but I’ll tell you, I think it’s … even though it has both comedy and drama, I don’t know that a true drama, like something like Game of Thrones, would even look my way. And actually, I don’t really … I enjoy the Game of Thrones, but I don’t know if I would want to cut that, to be honest. But yeah, so a true drama, I don’t think, would come my way, which is unfortunate. So, yeah, I think people do get pigeonholed. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

How long are you in the edit suite, usually? 

 

Nena Erb:

It’s usually … I try to not go past 12, because then I’m just fried, but there are times when you have to do more than 12, depending on the deadline, if you have a shorter amount of time to turn in an episode or a scene over, but yeah, I try not to go past 12. It’s usually about 10, 11-ish, somewhere around there. Again, a lot of it’s going to depend on how many dailies you get. I’ve had directors that shoot nine hours of dailies. So, for someone like me that wants to watch everything, my days are going to be long. But then you have other directors that shoot three hours a day, then it’s like, oh, it’s perfect. I can watch it all. I can cut it, and I can be home for dinner. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yay! 

 

Nena Erb:

You know.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Do you do any color correcting when you edit? If so, do you have any tips for how someone new to that process should go about it? 

 

Nena Erb:

I don’t really do a lot of it. I will, if a scene … if the dailies come back and it’s not quite right, if it’s too dark, or I’ll probably just drop a color effect on it and up the gamma, just so you can see the image better. But yeah, typically I don’t do color correcting. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Are you typically involved in the color timing when it comes to it at the end? Are you in for that, or just for sound? 

 

Nena Erb:

Just for sound, yeah. I’ve been invited to color sessions on other shows, but on this show, it’s very much the TPs domain. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

That was a big … when I first started talking to editors down in L.A., it was a surprise that you were included in even the sound. That wasn’t something that often … sometimes you’re invited. Well, in my experience anyway. It wasn’t something that was part of the process. You just handed it off and then you were onto the next thing. It wasn’t part of the contract or anything like that. Then I heard editors getting to do that and I was like, well, that makes so much sense. Then now, there’s been a few times where I’ve gotten to and then, yeah, it’s been huge. So, I’m glad that that’s part of the process down in the States, but I’d be curious to hear what other editors in Canada have experienced, because yeah, I don’t think it’s as common. 

 

Nena Erb:

Well, I think it’s so important because there’s a few times where they’ll drop dialogue lines. I will often replace dialogue from another take, but put it in the mouth of … so, the videos from audio, and then in the mix, I’m like, wait a minute. That’s not the one I put in there. I think it’s important for editors to be able to mix because no one’s going to know, other than you. You’re the one that knows it the most.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, totally. When you’re in those sessions, are they taking your direction? Are you in control? Like, you and the director are in control of what’s happening? Can you say, “No, that’s wrong,” and like be okay with that? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, we usually screen it and then I jot down time code and notes, and then we go through the list of notes and we go to the time code, and they play it and they’re like, “Oh, okay. I see what you mean.” Then you know address it. Some people do it after I leave. Some people do it during. It just depends on how much time you have and all of the mixer. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

I think, also, sometimes … often things get like lost in the translation to the sound system, right? So, you’re like, “How did you … why did you change that?” And it’s like, oh, it just didn’t connect properly, or whatever, right? It’s a simple thing to change, but if you’re not there to do it … Do you have anything on the goal coming up in the future that you know of yet? 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah, potentially. Potentially. I’m not sure if I should talk about it just yet.

 

Sarah Taylor:

That’s fair. That’s fair. That’s good to hear that things are coming. That’s good. 

 

Nena Erb:

Yeah. Yeah, there’s production that’s slowly trickling back in. Of course, no one wants to be the first, so there’s always a show that’s going to be the first early adopter. So, we’ll see what happens. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. 

 

Nena Erb:

And hoping that no one gets sick and we can all go back to work, and yeah. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. It’s definitely … yeah. It’s been a long time. So, hopefully it all works out. It’s been really great. You’ve given us a lot of great advice and insight on your workflow and your process, and your mouse, which these are important things. We need to hear these things, and I’m looking forward to keeping my eyes open for the Emmy’s, to find out if you win. I’ll be cheering for you, regardless. Do you have any last advice, or any other last tips that you want to share with us before we call it a night? 

 

Nena Erb:

You know, I just think, yeah, just keep meeting people. This is such a great time right now, just to meet whoever you want. I would take advantage because I don’t know that we’re going to ever have such access to people that would normally be not within reach at all. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, totally, because they’d be in their edit suite for 12 hours a day, not able to talk to us on Zoom. So, thank you for letting me reach out to you and talk to you about one of my favorite shows, and for taking the time to chat, all things editing. I wish you the best of luck in the future. I hope that everything gets picked up. 

 

Nena Erb:

Thank you so much. 

 

Sarah Taylor:

And I’m so grateful that you took the time to spend with us today. So, thank you again, Nena. 

 

Nena Erb:

Well, thank you so much for having me, and thank you all for coming.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Good night, everybody. 

 

Nena Erb:

Bye.

 

Sarah Taylor:

Thank you so much for joining us today and a big thank you. goes to Nena for taking the time to sit with us. A special thanks goes to Jane MacRae, Jenni McCormick and Ruben Lim. The main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall, additional ADR recording by Andrea Rusch. Original music provided by Chad Blain and Soundstripe. This episode was mixed and mastered by Tony Bao. 

 

The CCE has been supporting Indspire – an organization that provides funding and scholarships 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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Credits

A special thanks goes to

Jane MacRae

Nagham Osman

Jenni McCormick

Reuben Lim

Hosted and Produced by

Sarah Taylor

Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixed and Mastered by

Tony Bao

Original Music by

Chad Blain

Soundstripe

Sponsor Narration by

Paul Winestock

Sponsored by

Annex Pro/AVID

Categories
Past Events

Assistant Editing Workshop with Paul Whitehead

Assistant Editing Workshop with Paul Whitehead
April 10-11, 2021

This event took place on April 10-11, 2021

Presented in English / Présenté en anglais

This two-day course will cover not only the procedural and logistical aspects of Assistant Editing, but will also include a holistic overview of the politics and psychology of the editorial process and how it affects everyone in the cutting room. Insights gleaned from over 20 years of Assistant Editing experience will be shared liberally accompanied by many war stories to illustrate lessons learned the hard way. Newcomers and those with experience will both benefit from this course. Please note: this is not a course that teaches Avid, Premiere or any other NLE.  

The following bio is only written in the presenting language.

Paul Whitehead

Paul Whitehead has been a fixture in the Toronto Post Production community for over 30 years. He has worked as First Assistant Editor on over 50 film and television productions, and now edits episodic television and feature films. His career began at the dawn of non-linear editing technology, which allowed him to witness and contribute to its development over the years. Paul has taught others the art of assisting throughout his career both one on one and at the college level, and believes strongly that experience must be passed on to maintain the high standards that Canadian crews are known for.  

Paul Whitehead Workshop Screenshot

About the Event

April 2021

9-5pm EST

Online

Categories
Members Past Events

In Conversation with Jenypher Fisher, CCE, Kelly Morris, CCE and Tim Wanlin, CCE

In Conversation with Jenypher Fisher, CCE, Kelly Morris, CCE and Tim Wanlin, CCE
March 16, 2021

This event took place on March 16, 2021

Presented in English / Conférence en anglais

Join us on March 16th for In Conversation with Jenypher Fisher, CCE, Kelly Morris, CCE and Tim Wanlin, CCE. Veteran unscripted Vancouver editors Jenypher Fisher CCE, (RUST VALLEY RESTORERS) Kelly Morris CCE (HIGHWAY THRU HELL) and Tim Wanlin CCE (HEAVY RESCUE: 401) discuss their vast knowledge on crafting factual storytelling; the importance of finding the story’s truth, it’s language, and the importance of a strong, pivotal opening that will begin the audience’s emotional journey.

This event will be moderated by Showrunner, Producer, Director and Writer, Kelly McClughan.

The following bios are only written in the presenting language.

Kelly McClughanA passion for factual story-telling and exploration has led me to some of the most remote and intriguing places on earth. I care about getting it right, thrive in challenging environments, and have successfully filmed in traditionally difficult to access communities. As a showrunner, producer, director and writer, I’ve created thousands of hours of factual television for Canadian, US and international markets, and am frequently consulted to help develop, shape and pitch TV projects. An extensive background in journalism has equipped me to apply my skills across multiple genres. As VP Production for Canadian factual producer Great Pacific Media from 2014-2019, I was involved in all aspects of pre-production, production and post, including hands-on story crafting, content oversight and development.

Jenypher Fisher, CCEThrough hard work and determination, Editor Jenypher Fisher has developed a unique style, rivalled only by her keen sense of story and humour. Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the past 20 years Jenypher has been responsible for crafting a wide and varied array of Canada’s unscripted series. Projects include RUST VALLEY RESTORERS, WILD BEAR RESCUE, ICE PILOTS, THE BACHELOR CANADA, JADE FEVER, YUKON GOLD, THIS IS HIGH SCHOOL, QUEEN OF THE OIL PATCH, THE NATURE OF THINGS, ER: LIFE & DEATH AT VGH, PARAMEDICS: LIFE ON THE LINE & EXPECTING!

Kelly Morris, CCEKelly Morris CCE, is a Vancouver Based film and television editor and former president of the Canadian Cinema Editors, best known for his body of work in documentary and as senior editor for factual series. He has a passion for feature length film, investigative journalism and gritty reality. Series of note that he has worked on include Discovery Channel’s HIGHWAY THRU HELL, JADE FEVER and JETSTREAM, CBC’s HIGH ARCTIC HAULERS and investigative journalism series THE FIFTH ESTATE, natural history series BBC NATURAL WORLDLAND NAT GEO WILD, in addition to a wide breadth of documentary films, the most recent being Citizen Bio for Showtime. Shows he has worked on have received accolades including winner of the duPont-Columbia University Award for Broadcast Journalism (NUCLEAR JIHAD), a Sundance Grand Jury Prize Nomination (SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY), Gemini (THE FIFTH ESTATE) and CCE (A WOLD CALLED STORM) award nominations for Best Picture Editing.

Tim Wanlin, CCETim Wanlin is based in Vancouver where he has been editing for the last thirty years. During that time his focus has been to seek out projects that allow him to draw out the strongest story, both visually and narratively. He has amassed over seventy documentary credits. Highlights include CTV’s Gemini Award winning, PEACE WARRIOR, WHEN THE DEVIL KNOCKS, which premiered in the 2010 Vancouver Film Festival and CBC’s Canadian Screen Award winning, WILD CANADIAN YEAR. More recently, while continuing to follow his passion for documentaries, Tim is busy with unscripted series work including BORDER SECURITY, JADE FEVER and his current project, HEAVY RESCUE: 401.

In Conversation with Jenypher Fisher, CCE, Kelly Morris, CCE and Tim Wanlin, CCE

With thanks to our sponsors

About the Event

March 2021

5:00pm PST

Online

Categories
The Editors Cut

Episode 045 : Mental Health with Rebecca Day

Episode 045 - Mental Health with Rebecca Day

Episode 45: Mental Health with Rebecca Day

It’s been one year since our worlds have changed and we thought it was a good time to check in on our mental health.

This episode is sponsored by IATSE 891

Sarah Taylor sits down with psychotherapist Rebecca Day to talk about our mental health as creatives in the midst of a pandemic. 

Rebecca Day is a qualified psychotherapist and freelance documentary producer. She founded her company, Film In Mind in 2018 to address mental health in the film industry and has spoken at festivals such as Berlinale, IDFA, Getting Real Documentary Conference, WIFT and Sheffield DocFest on the issue. She offers therapeutic support and supervision to filmmakers working in difficult situations and with vulnerable people, as well as consultancies and workshops on mental health in the film industry. 

Her previous feature, Becoming Animal, directed by Emma Davie & Peter Mettler was a Scottish/Swiss co-production and premiered at CPH Dox in 2018. She is currently working with the impact team on Evelyn, an intimate and poignant film about death by suicide, made by academy award-winning director Orlando Von Eisendel at Grain Media and is producing a documentary with first-time feature director, Duncan Cowles titled, Silent Men.

For more info about Rebecca go to Film In Mind.

Another great mental health resource in Canada is Calltime: Mental Health. The site has a learning centre where you can take online courses about mental health as well as many resources. Links to help with general mental health, depression, anxiety, sleep, alcohol and addiction, suicide, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ resources. There is loads of information!

Listen Here

Sarah Taylor:

This episode is generously sponsored by IATSE 891.

Sarah Taylor:

Hello, and welcome to The Editor’s Cut. I’m your host, Sarah Taylor. We would like to point out

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:

It’s been quite the year, right? Feel like it’s a good time to check in with our mental health, so

today, I’m bringing you a conversation I had with psychotherapist Rebecca Day. Rebecca’s a

qualified psychotherapist and freelance documentary producer. She founded her company, Film

in Mind, in 2018 to address mental health in the film industry. She has spoken at festivals such as

Berlinale, IDF, Getting Real documentary conference, WIFT, and Sheffield Doc/Fest on the issue.

She offers therapeutic support and supervision to filmmakers working in difficult situations and

with vulnerable people, as well as consultancies and workshops on mental health in the film

industry. Her previous feature, Becoming Animal, directed by Emma Davie and Peter Mettler,

was a Scottish-Swiss co-production and premiered at CPH:DOX in 2018. She’s currently working

with the impact team on Evelyn, an intimate and poignant film about death by suicide made by

Academy-Award-winning director Orlando von Einsiedel at Green Media and is producing a

documentary with first-time director Duncan Cowles, titled Silent Men.

[show open]

Sarah Taylor:

Rebecca Day, thank you so much for joining us today. You’re based in London, is that correct?

Rebecca Day:

Well, actually in the Lake District in the north of England. It’s not in a city, which is lovely.

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, awesome! So thank you for joining us from all the way over the pond. Today, we’re going to

talk about mental health. We’re in a really trying time in the world, and I think it’s a good time to

check in and see how we’re all doing and maybe talk about things that can make our lives as

creatives a little bit easier. I’m really interested to learn about your journey, because you have a

company called Film in Mind, and you’re a psychotherapist, but you’re also a filmmaker. So can

you tell us a little bit about where you’re from, how you got into the film industry, and then how

Film in Mind came to be?

Rebecca Day:

Yeah, of course. Well, firstly, thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here. Yeah, I’ve

been working as a documentary producer for about… I think it’s coming on to 15 years, actually,

now. I’m still producing a little bit, but I’m pretty much almost full-time now as a

psychotherapist. I worked pretty much all in independent documentary, so feature-length films

being made for cinema, very tricky, challenging funding routes; tricky, challenging stories; lots of

really moving, emotional subject matter. Also, a really varied stuff over the years, and moving

around that independent international film circuit and just really getting to know the industry on

that level.

Rebecca Day:

During my time doing it, I guess there were just parts of the producing work that resonated with

me more than other parts, so it would be more of the emotional connection work, the outreach

and audience engagement stuff that I started working on, really appealed to me, and I wanted to

find out how I could connect with that more in the work that I was doing and sort of moving

away from some of the budgeting kind of stuff. Which I guess I was good at, but it didn’t really

speak to me from a passion perspective, I suppose, and I started my psychotherapy training a

few years ago, I think. 2016, I think it was, and qualified a couple of years later.

Rebecca Day:

And it was during that transition period that I started to make these connections between the

therapy world and the world of documentary in particular. I’m starting to see this with the fiction

world now as well, but at the time, it was very much about documentary, and it was this

realization that people making documentaries are immersing themselves in very much the same

difficult content, if I can use that word, because obviously, we wouldn’t use that word as a

therapist, but I can (as a) filmmaker. Subject matter, stories, being immersed with people in that

way, but without the support structures and without the training, really, to emotionally hold

themselves safe while doing that work.

Rebecca Day:

I’d experienced through colleagues, my own experience as well, and friends of mine, seeing

people drop out of the industry from burnout and exhaustion, or relationships breaking down

because we didn’t have the time to communicate effectively with each other, and a lot… I guess

lots of emotional strain that wasn’t being talked about that I then really wanted to address once

I’d gone through my training and realized that I kept writing about this in all of my essays. Yeah,

so it kind of came out of that, and then I created Film in Mind. I set it up as a private practice,

really, just reaching out to the film community and saying, “I’m here for therapy,” and it’s kind of

snowballed from there. I work with clients as a therapist, hourly sessions, weekly or fortnightly,

all around the world, all on Zoom. There’s not many filmmakers in the Lake District. And then

speaking on.. speaking in events and festivals and doing a little bit of training.. as well. So..Yeah,

it’s really varied and really rewarding work.

Sarah Taylor:

Do you find that a lot of your clients are actually in the film industry? Like did you really, like

they’ve tapped into that, and they’ve found you.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I have a.. Yeah! I do work with clients who aren’t in the film industry as well,

but it’s a very small percentage of my work. The majority of my clients are… mostly directors, but

I do have a lot of other practitioners working in different departments coming for support as

well, and sometimes we focus completely on the work, and I’d say for the most part, you know,

it’s all the other stuff that life chucks at us that comes into the therapy as well.

Sarah Taylor:

Totally, yeah. I think it’s really interesting, and I’ve never really sat back to think about it, but as a

therapist, you’re trained on how to give yourself space and time to process and not to take on

other people’s stuff. That’s what I’m assuming. And as the documentary editor, I’m really digging

into these people’s stories, and they’re stories that are traumatic, and there’s all sorts of things

that we discover in the edit suite.

Sarah Taylor:

But yeah, we don’t have the tools to see that, “Oh, I’m feeling really stressed right now,” or, “I’m

feeling really anxious right now. Well, maybe it does have something to do with what I’m

working on, and it’s not just something’s wrong with me, but it’s how I’m consuming and

absorbing the information that I’m looking at all day long.” So I’m just commenting on how

fantastic it is that you saw that, and you decided, “I’m going to pursue this, and I’m going to help

people unpack all this information, and how do we protect ourselves?” And so I’m just curious, is

there something that you could suggest as a first way of maybe shifting our mindsets into how to

keep ourselves safe when we’re working on content that’s really challenging?

Rebecca Day:

Yeah, I think the first, most important thing is for us as a community to recognize that the work

we do is emotionally challenging. That’s the first part, because we seem to work in a culture

where we’re not allowed to admit it. It’s that sort of show-no-weakness kind of attitude, and it’s

not a weakness to say that when you’re sitting for hours editing really hard footage that that is

going to have a strain on you emotionally. That’s one of the first things we learn as therapists, is

don’t shy away from the work, but learn how to do it safely, because the work is always going to

be challenging, and if this is where you want to be, then there’s things that you can put in place

to make sure that you can show up for your clients. And I think for me, it just felt exactly the

same for filmmakers. It wasn’t saying, “Don’t do that work, because it’ll be too hard for you.” It’s

saying, “How can you do it in a way that keeps you strong and keeps you healthy and keeps you

really present in it?” And the first step of that is saying, “Oh, no, this is going to be difficult for

me, but that doesn’t make me weak.” It’s that recognition of it.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Yeah, and I think once you have those realizations, it’s things like, okay, well, I know that

the first few weeks of doing a new doc, when I’m looking through all the footage and really

getting to know what’s happening, I might not overbook myself, or I might need to make sure I

put in place things that make me feel good after I’m done working, or that sort of thing. But we

can’t do that until we acknowledge that yes, this is going to be challenging, and that is okay. So

that’s really great.

Sarah Taylor:

As you know, as a filmmaker, obviously, we aren’t in a career that is stable or constant. There’s

always stuff that’s happening where we don’t know when the next gig’s going to be, or we don’t

know how long the project might be, or now we’re in the middle of a pandemic that has been

almost a year. And so how do we, as creatives, stay healthy and avoid burnout or avoid

depression when we’re kind of always trying to catch the next thing in some ways?

Rebecca Day:

It’s a really good question, Sarah, because I think if you had asked me that question

pre-pandemic, my answer probably would’ve been quite similar. I think the pandemic has added

a layer onto what we were already experiencing. Especially in the doc world, we were starting to

recognize that we were in a mental health crisis before the pandemic hit, and conversations

around burnout and depression were happening, but they were happening very quietly and

behind the scenes. I think what the pandemic has allowed us to do is, in some ways, made us

realize how resilient we are because we are used to working with uncertainty.

Rebecca Day:

Some ways, we’ve actually been quite well-equipped to cope with this, because we’ve been used

to that sort of shifting world around us and never really knowing on, but in other ways, I’ve really

noticed as well that the industry just galvanized and were like, “Right, what can we do? How can

we survive this? How can we get through it?” And there was sort of this huge lead as well for a

pause and just to use the time that we had to… You know..When work was being canceled, and

all of that was happening, just to say, “This is time for you to kind of heal from the ten years, or

however long you’ve been working in the industry, to heal from all of that potential burnout that

you’ve been suffering,” and for people to notice where they were at, to take stock.

Rebecca Day:

And I’m hearing that had happened to lots of people, but on the flip side, there was also that

real FEAR of, “I CAN`T… I don’t feel creative. I can’t muster the energy to work on these projects

that I’ve been putting off and now have time to do,” or whatever we have been placed with…

And I think what we weren’t really talking about or recognizing is that we were all experiencing

some kind of collective trauma. I think we probably understand that a bit better now, but we

were kind of living in this sort of weird state of fear, quite prolonged, lengthy period of fear. Well,

when your brain is in sort of protective mode, actually can’t be creative. That part of your brain

shuts down, because it’s in survival mode.

Rebecca Day:

So I talked a lot at the beginning of the pandemic about just being kind to yourself and not

pushing yourself too hard and waiting for the creativity to come back, because your body kind of

needed to come back down to Earth and feel safe again before you could start being creative.

And it’s very possible that some people are still in that place.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s really… makes me think. Totally, that makes sense, and we put a lot of

pressure on ourselves, because it’s like, “Well, what else am I supposed to do right now? I’m

home. I can’t go anywhere. I should be able to make this thing, and I should be able to make it

really great, but I can’t.” So to hear, “Yeah, well, your brain is on overdrive, and you’re working

through something that is something we’ve never dealt with before.” And..Yeah… And I know for

some people, they were then trying to do their work and have their kids at home and have their

spouse at home, and maybe they had no one at home, and they were alone. So we’ve really had

to work through… a lot of heavy things, I feel, during this time.

Sarah Taylor:

On the flip side, though, it kind of, for me anyway, showed how important the work we do is,

how people then turn to the TV or to films to kind of maintain some sort of comfort. And we got

to see all these shows and binge-watch the shows that we never got to watch before because we

were too busy and learned stories from people that we didn’t necessarily know about before,

because we had this time to just kind of be. So for me, it made me proud of the work that I do

put out in the world, because sometimes, in a moment of crisis, a world crisis, people took time

to reflect and be in those moments with those films and those shows. So there’s two sides to

everything, I guess.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah, absolutely.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. I kind of touched on, some people were isolated and alone, and as editors, we typically do

work alone most of the time. So now, there’s people that are working alone and not able to see

people, so do you have any advice or tips about how to deal with that isolation and that

loneliness that’s happening normally, maybe, in our work, but also extra now because of the

pandemic?

Rebecca Day:

I guess it really depends on your living situation, doesn’t it, because some people might be

working alone in their job, but as soon as they finish, they’re then dialing into a noisy family and

all of that brings. So you might find that what you’re not getting is any head space to yourself.

And then there could be people with different experiences, who are living alone and are really

craving that human contact and I guess it’s about trying to make the most of the things that you

are allowed to do, whether it’s going for a walk with a friend… I can´t imagine for editors, it must

just feel exhausting, the thought of getting on Zoom and talking to a friend.

Sarah Taylor:

Yes.

Rebecca Day:

Having been on screen all day, and… Yeah, I definitely have Zoom fatigue, it became a thing quite

quickly, because I do all of my work on Zoom now. I find that going for a walk and having a phone

call instead was a really nice way to connect with people. I don’t know what it’s been like where

you are, Sarah, but we’ve always been allowed to exercise with one other person as well. I like

exercising on my own, because it gives me head space, but I’ve also used it as an excuse to meet

up with a friend and have a walk or a run, just to have some contact with someone. I guess it’s

about finding those ways that you can connect that also take you off the screen, which is really

hard.

Rebecca Day:

In the long term, when we’re not finding ourselves in a pandemic, loneliness and isolation is

something that filmmakers, not just editors, but directors and especially documentary makers,

obviously, because we work in really small teams, talk about a lot. Maybe the times they only

really connect with other people is when they go to a film festival, and one of the things that has

been really useful for me as a therapist, and I wish I’d had this when I was producing full time, is I

do peer-to-peer… We call it peer-to-peer supervision, but it’s really a catch-up with two or three

other therapists once a month, and we schedule it in monthly. We put two hours aside for it, and

we make sure that everyone has a chance to talk. So it’s useful to structure it so that if

somebody has an issue that they want to bring, something… so it’s not just a free-flowing

conversation, that there’s space for people to bring the thing that’s on their minds. That can be a

really useful sort of constructive but supportive place just to share and feel safe in doing that.

Sarah Taylor:

Especially as a freelance editor, for myself, I don’t work with other editors unless they are

working in their edit suite in their house or wherever they are, and that is the thing that I hear a

lot of people say that they miss about not working in a studio, and I think a lot of people who

had worked in studios pre-pandemic miss that you can go down the hall, and you can sit in the

edit suite, and you can say, “Hey, I just need a break from my screen,” or, “Hey, can you come

look at this edit?” So to actually give yourself the permission to schedule in time to be like, “Hey,

let’s watch my cut,” that’s brilliant. That’s such a great idea. I hope that people take that and do

it, because I think I’m going to have to implement that into my schedule.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah, I think so. And obviously, nobody’s getting paid for that time, but I see it as a really crucial

part of my work, you know.. To set that time aside. And if it’s once a month, it doesn’t feel like a

huge commitment out of your working schedule, but it feels really nourishing and important.

Sort of keep me steady.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. And I think we often get those kind of… I know when I go to, say… because before, with

the CCE, we would have pub nights, and we would get to talk shop, and we’d meet and have

different talks and stuff, and I would always get energized after that, because I got to sit with an

editor and talk about editing for three hours, and it was just the best thing ever. So yeah, to

implement that into your schedule and make that part of being an editor, yeah, that’s a brilliant

idea. Thank you for that one.

Rebecca Day:

You’re welcome.

Sarah Taylor:

Something else I think is really interesting and something I worked through as a freelancer is

setting boundaries of when I’m working and when I’m not working, and I think it’s really hard

right now, too, because a lot of people are working from home, to kind of blur the work time

with life time, and like, “Well, I’m here all day anyway. I’ll just work for 12 hours.” Do you have

any suggestions or ways of you know, setting boundaries for yourself, to say, “This is what’s good

for me,” and then being able to relay that to the directors or the producers you’re working with?

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. I mean, it’s easier said than done, isn’t it? But just set your working hours.

Sarah Taylor:Yes

Rebecca Day:

I would just really strictly set your working hours right at the very beginning when you establish

that relationship. You know that if things overrun or you’re working on something really that you

don’t want to step away from, and you want to continue for another hour, you as the editor then

have the choice about whether or not you want to extend for an hour or you know offer a couple

of hours over your weekend, if that’s what’s needed. You get to choose that. But if you set really

strict working hours, there are the ones you commit to, and then you have the choice and

flexibility of whether or not to play with those hours as and when it’s needed, but only when it

feels critical.

Rebecca Day:

You know, I’m really strict about my weekends. It helps that I have a child, so I kind of need to be,

you know but I do occasionally work at the weekends when I have to. But it is that moment

critical moment of, “What’s the benefit of doing this at the weekend if I can’t fit this into the

week?” So it has to be.. I have to kind of talk it through, mull it through, in my head and make

sure that my family’s okay with it and just have those really strict boundaries. Once you get into

the habit of it, it starts to feel very easy. It’s just breaking the habit of being available all the time.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. I think with technology being in our hands to answer the email or the thing, it is

really easy to just always be on. I found for myself I didn’t set those boundaries until I had a kid,

too, and then I was like, “Well, I can’t. I physically can’t be in my edit suite, because I have to take

care of my child.” So…

Rebecca Day:

I was just going to say about notifications, Sarah, one thing you could do is just turn your

notifications off, but maybe a more helpful thing, because I know people find that difficult, is I

turn off the description of the notification, so when it comes to my phone, I can see I have an

email, but I can’t see who it’s from or what’s in it, and I find that so helpful. Because then I’m

like, “Okay, there’s an email. I’ll choose to look at it when I.. I have time. But if you can see the

content, it’s really hard to step away from it then.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. Especially when you’re really excited about a project, and you’re like… there’s that

other side of it where you really want to actually do the work, but you need to allow yourself to

have time to reset and settle, I think.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Sometimes that’s even hard, when you’re really passionate about what you’re working on. You

might want to work all the time. Something you said earlier is not giving yourself mental space

for yourself, and I think sometimes we miss that. If you are a caregiver to children or you have

other responsibilities, you still have to incorporate time for just you. Because I know for myself,

sometimes, I’m like, “Oh, well, I worked for eight hours today. I was by myself. That’s me time.”

But it’s not me time, because I’m working, and I’m doing other things. I’m not doing just what I

need to do to be a full human. Do you have any thoughts on what we could do to allow ourselves

to have those times?

Rebecca Day:

Yeah, again, I guess it’s listening to your instincts, isn’t it? I understand what you’re saying,

especially when you talk about really enjoying your work, because I love my work. I’m so happy

to do the job that I do and to sit down at my desk and connect with people in this way, but that

doesn’t mean that I want to do it all of the time, and I still try to set those boundaries between

work, life, and that time that I need for myself. If I can feel myself getting irritable or too tired or

a bit detached from my work, that’s often a sign for me. It’s just either wanting the day to end or

not really being 100% present. That’s when I notice that, “Okay, I need to take an hour to myself

with nobody else and go for a walk or go for a run,” or whatever it might be. Or just cook with

nobody else around. Or you know… The weather’s getting warmer, gardening tends to be my

thing as well.

Sarah Taylor:

I just got into gardening last year, and I was like, “Why have I missed this all these years? It’s so

relaxing.” I loved it.

Rebecca Day:

Me too. Yeah, it was last year for me as well. Through the lockdown.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, the lockdown brought out all sorts of things that we could invest in or look into.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

We talked a little bit about this earlier, about working on traumatic content. Do you have a

suggestion on if we know… “Okay, I’m going to start this project, and I know it’s going to be really

heavy.” Is there a way of looking at it or prepping ourselves to feel like we have more control of

our emotional state while we’re working on something that’s very dramatic?

Rebecca Day:

I think it’s really wise to say to yourself that yeah, you could be traumatized from working on

this. And again, the same as I said before, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but there’s

things that you can put in place to make sure that you’re resilient through it. The first question to

ask is, “Am I likely to be traumatized because this is really challenging, or am I likely to be

traumatized, or am I doing this project, because I relate to the trauma?” Because if there is

something I’ve known from a lot of people are drawn to work because it’s something they see

themselves in or a subject they’re familiar with. If that’s the case, and it’s a processed for you, I

wouldn’t say, “Don’t do it,” but I would say, “Make sure that you’ve processed it emotionally first,

or at least while you’re working on the project.” And the best way to do that is with a therapist.

They’re hard questions to ask. They’re big questions to ask yourself, but you don’t want to

potentially be re-traumatized or traumatized in the middle of that work. I don’t know if the

editing world talks about vicarious trauma very often.

Sarah Taylor:

I don’t think I’ve ever heard that phrase, so tell us. Tell us more.

Rebecca Day:

It’s not something we talk about usually in the film industry, but it’s second time trauma.

Therapists obviously understand this quite well, the idea that you can be traumatized from

sitting with someone else’s trauma, from supporting someone, or helping someone else cope

with their own trauma. Which I realize editors aren’t communicating directly with the people

who might be revealing their trauma in the footage, but you’re witnessing it over and over and

over again quite repetitively as well. So vicarious trauma is a very real risk, and there’s certain

ways that you can notice that might be happening.

Rebecca Day:

The first and most simple thing is a mood check. If you’ve finished a day of editing, and you’ve

stepped away from the computer, are you coming away with rage, or sadness, or anger that feels

out of proportion to how you normally might feel? And it could be that you’re holding onto

something. The other feeling you could have is feelings of guilt. Say, if you’re working on

something like a climate change documentary, or something like that, or something that’s sort of

speaking to the politics of our time, and you’re sitting there with all that guilt, what’s happening

in the world, and again, it’s out of proportion to how you might normally feel about something.

You’re holding all of that, and you’re not able to switch off from your work. That’s another

indication of vicarious trauma. The other thing to be wary of that you can notice is detachment.

So, if you feel yourself having no emotions to it, detaching from it, again, that’s the brain’s way of

saying, “This is too much.” You don’t want to be surrounded by it.

Sarah Taylor:

So if you notice those things, any of those four, I think you said, what should you do?

Rebecca Day:

I think you should ask yourself if you’re getting enough breaks. Are you working seven days a

week? Because if you are, that’s probably not wise. Are you stepping away from your computer,

even if it’s just for five minutes every hour, to just make sure that you have a break from the

screen and just to clear your head? Are you eating enough? Are you sleeping enough? And then

lastly, do you need extra support? So, wherever that’s speaking to a therapist, or again, that idea

peer-to-peer supervision would be really helpful in that sense. I’m also working with filmmakers

in a supervisory way as well, so where it’s not the personal that they’re bringing to the therapy,

but it’s completely work-related. So looking at projects and the effects that they’re having on

you. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

So if you’re working on a film that you know is going to be something heavy, you could have

somebody like you on hand and be like, “Okay, I’m starting to feel detached, or I’m starting to

feel whatever it might be. I think I need to talk to this.”

Rebecca Day:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. It’s a step towards normalizing it, isn’t it?

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah, and knowing that, “Oh, I can listen to myself, and I can step away,” because again, in

this industry, and I feel like a lot of it’s shifting because of us being in a moment of reflection

with COVID, that we are like, “Get it done, go, go, go. Get it as much as we can cut out. You

know?” And we are not looked at necessarily as humans with emotions. You work your 12-hour

day, you work seven days a week, because we have a deadline, and there’s notes to do, or

whatever. And this is why I want to talk about this stuff, so that we can normalize it, like you say,

to normalize that we do, are going to feel things, and that that’s normal and that we can get the

supports we need, if we continue to talk about it.

Rebecca Day:

Absolutely. I think the need for normalizing it is so, so important. In terms of long working hours,

you know as a therapist, I have a set number of clients that I would see in a day, and however in

need somebody is, I won’t squeeze in another appointment, because I have to have the energy

to be there for them. It’s more dangerous for me to show up for a client and be exhausted and

without the energy to actually engage with them than it is to squeeze them in. You know? And

so those sorts of boundaries are so important, and I think it really applies here in filmmaking as

well, in terms of energy levels that you have for your edit. So if you’re working 12 hours a day,

seven days a week, I would suggest that you’re probably working at half your capacity during

some of that time.

Sarah Taylor:

For sure!

Rebecca Day:

To reduce that, you might be working at 75% of your capacity rather than 50%.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, that’s something that I noticed. I started to really tune into myself and be like, “Okay, well,

this is when I’m the most creative, so let’s do this type of work when I’m most creative.” The

theory of working smarter instead of working harder, and I think we, by, again, talking about it

and sharing how you work as an editor can allow other people to take that time to reflect and be

like, “Oh, well, when am I the most creative? Maybe I do work best at one in the morning

because I’m a night owl,” or whatever. And just to be like, “That’s how I work, and that’s how I do

my best work, and I don’t have to be working for 12 hours a day, because I’m going to be sitting

there for six just zoning out at the screen and not actually doing anything.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, I think we as creatives and as editors have to take that time to just reflect and be like,

“Well, what’s best that I can bring to the job to do the best job I can do?” And definitely, for me,

no more than eight hours in the edit suite, because I’m not productive anymore.

Rebecca Day:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Another thing that we as freelancers, because a lot of editors are freelancers, we usually

get work through word of mouth, and going to events and networking, and meeting new

producers or directors, and now we can’t do that, and a lot of people have been kind of forced to

try to network online. So I don’t know if you have any ideas or thoughts on how to be more

comfortable, even just selling yourself and being like, “I do this work. I’m really good,” but also

doing it online.

Rebecca Day:

It’s really hard, isn’t it? Because I’m not naturally comfortable online either. And thankfully,

because there’s not many of us doing this work as therapy for film, there’s not a huge amount of

competition for me at the moment, so I don’t have to do an awful lot of marketing, which is a

real relief, because I’d be terrible at it. So I really sympathize with that. I really miss film festivals.

I love going to those places and just those spontaneous meetings that you have with people that

lead to really fulfilling working relationships.

Rebecca Day:

It is something that will start again. I know it will, I just don’t know when, and I know everyone

else feels the same, so I guess all we can do at the moment is just show up for the online stuff if

it feels useful, and to know that if you’re going to show up and can’t find the opportunity to

speak, then maybe it’s not the most useful thing for you. But also, I guess there’s something

about being proud of the work that you’ve done and shouting about it if you can, if that’s what

you want to do. I know a lot of people feel quite awkward about that, don’t they? About going

online, going on Instagram or Facebook or whatever the platform is that you use and saying, “I

worked on this amazing documentary,” and really owning the role that you had in that, whatever

film it was that you made. Maybe that’s where we need to be a little bit louder and a little bit

more confident. I don’t have a brilliant answer for that one, I’m afraid.

Sarah Taylor:

Well, even that’s helpful. I’ve found over the time… We..I was introduced to you through a panel

at a random virtual coffee with filmmakers, and I was like, “Well, I’ll just go.” And my plan when I

went to that event was to just do some work and listen, and then it was actually really engaging,

and I was just into it. So sometimes, you can actually find those moments via this weird Zoom

world, that we can.. Somebody might say something that sparks something, and we can.. it’s

almost like we have the permission even more so now to just be like, “Hey, can I connect with

you? Because..you know? Can I have your email? Can we exchange later?” And we can connect

with people from around the world in our house, which is nice, but we have to still put ourselves

in that situation in order to make those connections.

Which, I guess in reality, even we’d still have to go to the event to go and network in person,

which can be really challenging, too, and a little nerve-racking, especially… often as editors, like

we said earlier, we work by ourselves, and we might work with a huge team of people, but we’ve

never met them. So we go to these events, and you’re like, “I worked on this film. Hey, I worked

with your footage,” or, “I saw your name in the credits. I put your name in the credits, but I’ve

never met you.” And to have that courage to go up and say, “Hi, this is who I am,”. It also, I think

that even extends to posting about what you work on and being like, “Hey, this is what I did.”

Again, giving yourself permission to just be proud of what you do and how you contribute to

stuff.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. And knowing how you feel comfortable communicating and socializing as well, because I

notice that since I’ve been working in the film industry as a therapist, I feel a lot more confident

in myself than I did as a producer. I always felt that I wasn’t loud enough as a producer. I’m

naturally quite a quiet person, and for some reason, that’s more acceptable in the role. I feel like

it’s more acceptable now than when I was a producer, and so I’ve just become more at ease, I

think, with my voice and how I can use it in a way that I was as a producer. So I guess it’s

knowing yourself in that way as well, and saying, “How far am I willing to go out of my comfort

zone?”

Sarah Taylor:

Something else that I’ve encountered over the years is a lot of… I guess this kind of relates to

cheerleading for yourself, but the negative self-talk we often have as creatives, where it’s like,

“Oh, this isn’t going to be good. I don’t know what I’m doing.” Every project’s different, and

there’s always challenges, and how to maybe deal with what you might be telling yourself when

you’re in the midst of doing something, and the creativity it’s not there? Especially this year,

where you were mentioning earlier how our brains weren’t being creative because we were in

trauma. So how can we practice speaking to ourselves better?

Rebecca Day:

I really like that question. I think kindness goes a long way, and the kindness that you offer

yourself, as well as the kindness that you need and are hopefully receiving from other people.

Getting to know your critical voice is a really crucial thing. Everyone has one, but some people’s

critical voice is a lot louder than others, I think. I attended a training course recently, and we did

a little bit of work on the inner critic. There were 120 people in the course, and everyone was

communicating over the chat box on Zoom, and when they moved on to the inner critic part,

they asked us, you know, we did a sort of self-reflection exercise on our critical voice, and you

were asked to identify it. Get to know it. Could you describe it?

And it was amazing the amount people that were like, “Yes, it’s me when I was ten,” or, “Oh, it’s

my mother,” or, “It’s my…” And… Really how intimately people knew it when they were

prompted in the right way, of going, “Where is that criticism coming from, and how can I

challenge it kindly?” So not shut it down. It’s there for a reason. Imagine a world where you

didn’t have a critic. We’d all be enormous egos. It’s there for a reason, but if it’s dominating,

what does it need? How can you sort of talk to it in a compassionate way to try and reduce that

criticism down so it’s not destabilizing for you, or paralyzing? Again, useful with a therapist.

Sarah Taylor:

Yes. Yeah. You’ll learn those things. Well, that does bring to me the question of what kind of tips

do you have for self-care for creatives and for keeping ourselves healthy and well in our mind

during normal being in this industry and also amidst a pandemic?

Rebecca Day:

Yeah, I think I’ve said to you before that there’s… We’ve talked about a lot of this already, I think,

in the podcast.

Sarah Taylor:

I think so, yeah.

Rebecca Day:

About self-care and setting boundaries, stepping away from the screen, finding the thing that

relaxes you. Don’t listen to your friend or Instagram or your parents who think you should be

doing the thing that works for them. I mean, it’s nice to get tips and advice, and you can take

that and try things, but it might not be the thing for you. So the important thing is when you

discover something that relaxes you, do that thing, because for everybody, it’s different. Like you

and I were talking about gardening. We only discovered that last year, and I find it so soothing,

and I can’t even really describe why. Sometimes, I can go for a run, and it can make me feel really

anxious, and other times, it can make me feel great, and it’s just knowing what I need in that

moment as well. So there’s not just one thing that works, it’s, “What do I need right now, in this

moment?”

That’s always a really good question, “Is the thing that I’m about to do what my body is asking

for, or does it need to be something else?” Because sometimes we’re too exhausted to exercise,

but that’s often the go-to kind of thing, and maybe you just need to curl up and read a book or

cook yourself some nice, healthy food. It’s different for everybody, but just allowing yourself that

question, “What do I need right now in this moment to feel more stable?” or calmer, or whatever

it is that you’re going through, is that first step, I think. The self-care is every day. Something

every day to take care of yourself is really important.

Sarah Taylor:

That’s key, hearing you say “every day,” because I feel like often, we… go to the… “Oh, I guess I

should pause,” when you’re already at that state of almost at the end, almost about to burn out,

or almost about to break down, or whatever. You’re like, “Whoa, I should go to the gym, or I

should whatever…” But just like you say, with that peer-to-peer support, like, maybe schedule

yourself in. Like, “Okay, I’m gonna give myself… It doesn’t matter what time of the day, but I need

to give myself an hour to just do whatever feels right for today,” to give yourself that space.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Can people from Canada or around the world reach out to you if they find what you’ve said in

this episode helpful and maybe want to work with you on the therapy side of things?

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. Yeah, they absolutely can. You could… I’m a little bit active on Instagram, I guess. You can

contact me that way, but my email is on my website, filminmind.co.uk. I couldn’t get .com,

annoyingly. So yeah, I can be contacted that way. I’m hoping to have some other therapists that I

can work with soon, because I’m getting very busy. But yeah, if you know of any

editors-turned-therapists out there, then let me know. Maybe we should have somebody

specifically with it.

Sarah Taylor:

That would be amazing! Hey, any listeners out there who are editors-turned-therapists, we have

a new colleague.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, it’s a natural progression, it seems. I think I’ve used this phrase quite

a lot, but I do find that this industry naturally attracts people who are very compassionate and

caring, so I’m not surprised often that a lot of people who’ve worked in the creative roles end up

moving into therapy.

Sarah Taylor:

Well, there’s a thing that a lot of editors say, is that the edit suite is a therapy room, because we

deal with the emotions and feelings of the directors we work with, and so in a way, yeah. We’ve

already listening to everybody’s problems. We obviously don’t have the training, which is why it’s

important to talk about this stuff.

Rebecca Day:

That’s an interesting thing to bring up, Sarah, and I don’t know if you were about to close there,

but just the idea of caring for others as well, because it’s not just the subject matter that you’re

sitting with. It is the fact that you’re often sitting in the room as the person that the director can

talk to about what they’re going through, and that is exhausting. You are sitting in the therapist’s

chair then, but without anywhere to take it, and you can’t be that person for the director as well

as working through all of that footage. I mean, of course a relationship needs to be established,

but when we’re talking about boundaries, that needs to be really clear as well in that

relationship, because it has to be healthy and working. So if it’s exhausting you, then maybe

there needs to be a conversation about where else you can both get some extra support from.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. I think it’s interesting, because in the doc world, often the filmmaker can be part of the

documentary, right? They’re the ones that… they’re searching for whatever answers there are.

And so I’ve definitely experienced seeing directors work through their own stuff as… It is a form

of therapy for them to tell the story that they’ve been meaning to tell or wanting to tell, and they

go through a transformation. And you, as their editor, you’re joining them. You’re seeing it

happen. You’re seeing it unfold.

And I know for myself, it’s hard not to take some of that on, because I think in some ways, too,

some of the personalities of people who are in the role of editor, we do feel emotion deeply, and

which is, I think, why we’re drawn to this type of work. So, yeah..What we’ve talked about, I

think, is really helpful that you know. Acknowledge that that’s happening. Ask the questions, or

ask for help. Or, yeah, set the boundary, like, “I can’t talk about this right now. I’m not in the right

space to talk about this right now,” or whatever it might need to be. But to know that you have

control to do that and that it’s safe for you.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. Something about it being… “Oh, this feels like a bigger conversation outside of what we

need to achieve today, so how can this happen for you?” Because you’re working with the

director at their most vulnerable, I think, in the edit room. Their whole film is sitting there before

them. The both of you are responsible for putting it together, and they’re bringing all of their

emotion and sometimes years and years of filming that material into the room.

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. These are the things that we maybe don’t realize, don’t think about, don’t talk about, but

have a huge impact on what we deal with and go through every day.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

I don’t know. Maybe for some people, because we haven’t been able to have in-person edit

sessions with our directors and whatever this year as often, maybe… I’m curious if people have

noticed a difference in how they feel, because maybe they’re not having to have that role of

therapist to the person anymore, and that kind of thing.

Rebecca Day:

Wonder if you’ve experienced increased anxiety from your directors for being…

Sarah Taylor:

Farther?! In some ways, people have had to adjust, and then it’s also a moment where people

are like, “Oh, it does work. It’s okay. We can still do this. It’s okay.” And I feel like for me, I like to

work alone on stuff, and then I’ve had people who… “No, I want to sit with you for the eight

hours,” and I’m like, “But I don’t like that…” And now, it’s like, “Oh, no, she can still do the job,”

or, “We can still get it done,” and schedule two hours to do the thing. But every editor’s

different, and every director/producer’s different.

Sarah Taylor:

But I know for myself during this whole thing of the pandemic and also being a freelancer for…

I’ve been working on my own for almost 12 years, and so I know how I work, and I know how I

operate now, and having this time to really just be like, “No, this is how I need to do things, and

this is good, and I’m glad that I know…” It’s kind of given me more confidence, in a way, to be

like, This is how I can get things done at the best that I can get them, and now I have had the

time to figure it out, and that’s good. And, so just letting ourselves have the time and to not have

to take every project on and be constantly working, to give the time to actually look inside.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. And then ask for what you need as well..

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah.

Rebecca Day:

State the terms for how you are at your most productive and your most creative and your best.

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

I think that’s the biggest thing I learned recently, was to say, “I work the best by doing this, and

to provide you the best edit, this is how I can do it for you. And if that works for you, then we can

work together. If that doesn’t work for you, then maybe I’m not the editor for you.” But to allow

yourself to… And sometimes, you can’t do that. Sometimes you need to take a job because you

need the money, but to know what your ideal is and to be able to voice that.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. But normally, you find that the more confident you are about that, people have a lot of

faith in that. They really do.

Sarah Taylor:

Totally. Well, this has been really enlightening, and you’ve given me some things to think about. I

just want to thank you for taking the time.

Rebecca Day:

You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me.

Sarah Taylor:

It’s been fantastic. Thank you so much, and I will make sure that I link your website into the show

notes, and hopefully, you don’t get too much more busy, but yes. Thank you for supporting our

community.

Rebecca Day:

Yeah. No, if anyone needs to reach out for some advice. That’s always welcome. It’s always good

to hear from people, and the aim is for this type of support to become really normal and

standard practice within our industry, so the more we’re talking about it, the more we’re

reaching out, and the more support I can provide for people, the better, really. This is just the

beginning of it. So..Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

Awesome. Well, thank you so much.

Rebecca Day:

Thanks for having me. It was really nice to talk.

Sarah Taylor:

Thanks so much for joining us today, and a big thank you goes to Rebecca for sharing such

wonderful information. If you would like to learn more about Rebecca, head to her website at

www.filminmind.co.uk. Another great resource here in Canada is called Calltime: Mental Health.

The site has a learning center where you can take online courses about mental health as well as

many resources. Links to help with general mental health, depression, anxiety, sleep, alcohol and

addiction, suicide, and BiPOC and LGBTQ+ resources. There’s loads of information. Just head to

calltimementalhealth.com. Special thanks goes to Jane MacRae. The main title sound design was

created by Jane Tattersall, additional ADR 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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Please send along any topics you would like us to cover or editors you would love to hear from:

Credits

A special thanks goes to

Jane MacRae

Jana Spinola

Hosted, Produced and Edited by

Sarah Taylor

Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixed and Mastered by

Tony Bao

Original Music by

Chad Blain

Sponsor Narration by

Paul Winestock

Sponsored by

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Categories
The Editors Cut

Episode 043: In Conversation with Jeremy Harty, CCE & Cory Bowles on the film Black Cop

he Editors Cut - Episode 043

Episode 43: In Conversation with Jeremy Harty, CCE & Cory Bowles on the film Black Cop

This episode is the online master series that took place on July 21st, 2020.

This episode was generously Sponsored by Filet Production Services & Annex Pro/Avid

The Editors Cut - Episode 043 - Black Cop group photo

The CCE partnered with BiPOC TV and film to bring you In Conversation with Jeremy Harty, CCE and Cory Bowles about the movie Black Cop. On its release in 2017, Black Cop garnered critical acclaim as an unapologetic challenge of race and police. With a range of visuals from body cam to camera phones – dash cam to traditional camera work, Black Cop made use of multiple techniques to bring a fast paced hyper connected narrative to life. Edited by Jeremy Harty, CCE and was the directorial debut for Cory Bowles. 

This event was moderated by Shonna Foster.

Listen Here

Sarah Taylor:

This episode was generously sponsored by Filet Production Services and Annex Pro Avid. Hello and welcome to the Editor’s Cut. I’m your host Sarah Taylor. We would like to point out that the lands on which we have created this podcast and that many of you may be listening to us from are part of ancestral territory. It is important for all of us to deeply acknowledge that we are on ancestral territory that has long served as a place where indigenous peoples have lived, met, and interacted.

Sarah Taylor:

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:

Today’s episode is the online master series that took place on July 21st, 2020. CCE partnered with BIPOC TV and Film to bring you in conversation with Jeremy Harty CCE and Cory Bowles about the movie Black Cop. On its release in 2017, Black Cop garnered critical acclaim as an unapologetic challenge of race and police. With a range of visuals from body cam to camera phones, cam dash, to traditional camera work, Black Cop made use of multiple techniques to bring a fast-paced hyper-connected narrative to life.

Sarah Taylor:

Black Cop was edited by Jeremy Harty CCE. It was the directorial debut for Cory Bowles. This panel was moderated by Shonna Foster.

[show open]

Shonna Foster:

Thank you, everybody, for joining us today. Of course thank you, Cory and Jeremy and the CCE for hosting this. I’m very excited. It’s my first time moderating something. See how it goes.

Jeremy Harty:
My first time attending one, so.

Shonna Foster:

Excellent. We’re in the same boat, Jeremy. I guess I’m going to assume maybe that everybody’s watched the movie, but for those who haven’t, my little spiel about Black Cop is it’s a film which explores racial profiling and police violence through its main character Black Cop played beautifully by Ronnie Rowe, who goes through an entire work shift interacting with people and choosing to treat white civilians that he encounters the way that black people are often treated by the police.

Shonna Foster:

The film incorporates archival footage, as well as dash cam, body cam, and cell phone footage to tell the story almost entirely from the POV of Black Cop. What I most appreciate about this film is how

unapologetic it is and how it’s strategic and unconventional in the way that it handles insular moments of Black Cop. Just a black man, in general, moving to the world, whether he’s in uniform or not.

Shonna Foster:

I love that Black Cop truly takes up the space in this film, and that it’s us, like we’re invited to live in his head and in his car and in his space and experience his life through his own vantage point as we go on this journey with him. I guess we can start there, a kind of two-part question. So a lot of the film is internal dialogue and monologue. Those are several moments where he’s speaking directly to camera and I guess I would like to know what challenges did this present in the editing process?

Shonna Foster:

In discussing that, did you craft the story around the running monologue when you were in the cutting room and how did that all go down?

Jeremy Harty:

Really, this is Cory’s vision, so I went with his lead. There were times where we were doing little bits and messing around on certain sections, because he had a copy of all the footage and I had a copy of all the footage. We came to certain things that maybe my perspective being a white male, being out of the process I could ask him things, because I haven’t lived the life of a black person in these troubling times and stuff. I had to like fall back on him.

Jeremy Harty:

I’d like to think, maybe, that sometimes I could bring a different perspective to certain things too. It was a good collaboration though, I think. I’m not really great at answering questions, because I don’t get out much. I stay here behind my desk and I’ve got a wall of monitors here and a desk that rises, so when people come in the room they can’t see me and this is new for me.

Cory Bowles:
That’s true about the wall. There’s a wall just behind you.

Jeremy Harty: Yeah.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. It was a really good collaborative process. I find it when I’ll explain certain things to Jeremy and I have a hard time articulating exactly what it is that I want. So, a lot of times we’ll play around and he might say, “Well, why don’t you show me kind of what you want with an edit?” Then, he’ll take it and sort of tighten it, flip it, turn it, give me some things, and then I find a lot of the discovery of the piece, obviously, for anyone that’s interested in making films, a lot of the movie is built, that’s your third part, basically, your edit is making sometimes a whole new movie.

Cory Bowles:

So, with this one it’s always surprising and we really push each other to get something new. It always changes as well, because we had such good performances by Ronnie, we were like, “How do we

enhance his performance and pull it out even more?” It can get frustrating, because you have all these great options when you have-

Jeremy Harty:

A lot of great options. This is the first dramatic piece that I’ve done that’s been this long, and seeing Ronnie on camera and seeing all the dailies and stuff, it was really nice to have the options that we had. Even when he’s not speaking his face is just speaking volumes. He’s just got that presence of him. It’s really strong, really strong. Amazing casting, so lucky to get him. But Cory has that ability of… He’s worked with enough different people in all the aspects of his life that he can bring them in when he has a project and this was the big first one. Hopefully, not the last.

Shonna Foster:

Not at all. Off that note, Jeremy, so Cory, he described your relationship as one where you both push each other as much as you can in the process. He shared with me that you are a cinephile who will often use references from classic movies to inform your process, and that you also do research on films that a director likes. What were some of the references you may have used for this film and from those references, what are the elements that would have influenced cutting this film?

Jeremy Harty:

Really, Cory’s the lead for that. I like to watch a lot of different films, and basically, because I’m cutting comedy all the time, I find that watching more and more comedy, so it doesn’t really relate to this, but when Cory says, “Okay. There’s this film, there’s this scene that I’d like to talk about. They did this and that film.”

Jeremy Harty:

I would go with him and whatever library of stuff he was talking about, I tried to watch them all again just to get a refresher of what’s going on. There’s so many things you can cherry pick little bits from other films that are out there and stuff. I really just look to him for that kind of stuff.

Jeremy Harty:

Then, I like to noodle things in the suite and mess around. I’m trying not to curse here. I tend to curse like a sailor. But I’m pulling it back as best possible. There’s certain things… One memory I have is I was listening to different songs on iTunes one day while I was cutting and looking through dailies and stuff, and a song was recommended in my iTunes list, and I really gravitated towards it.

Jeremy Harty:

Then, I played it to Cory and he was like… You should tell the story, man, because you got the connection there.

Shonna Foster: Yeah.

Cory Bowles:
Which one is it? You had a lot of songs lined-

Jeremy Harty:
Well, it’s the Zeal & Ardor stuff.

Cory Bowles:
Oh, yeah. Well, I loved Zeal & Ardor too. It was like-

Jeremy Harty:

But I’ve never known about them that like from you and I just heard them by chance in my iTunes stream.

Cory Bowles:

Right. Yeah. They ended up basically almost soundtracking the whole movie. I just reached out to them and asked if I could use a song, and then Aaron took over, our producer, and was like, “Let’s get a jam.” All of a sudden we had… His whole album was ours for free almost. I think we made them take money from us. They were giving it to us for free.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. I guess was that [inaudible 00:08:00]. I mean there’s so many music stories, I didn’t even know that one. I just remember when you were throwing me like beans and cornbread, some other tunes like-

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. Well, how did I get that in my head? I don’t know. It’s been a while like the Zeal & Ardor stuff is really what struck me, and then we’ve had… There were other sections that we tried some of their other songs and they stuck into. Then, you had some other songs that you were working on because you write and you do your own stuff too.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. It’s funny because I remember going after Charles Bradley song for the very first part. It was how long for the… I remember not being able to let go of that song. I remember calling up, at that time, we were so excited, because we were just calling up people out of the blue and being like, “Can we use your songs?” Explain in the thing.

Cory Bowles:

People are like, “Yeah. Sure, man.” Publishing is going to be cool with it. If anyone makes a movie, and it’s really hard to secure music. We didn’t have the time or the money to actually like… We had a music supervised. We didn’t really have the time or money to go through these insane label contracts. We were just like, “Look, can you like… We will give you kit back, whatever you need, but can we use the song?” I remember that how long song at the beginning, I was so married to it-

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. You had it in the cut for a while, man. You were like not letting go. You’re like, “Oh, we’re going to get it. We’re going to get it.”

Cory Bowles:

Then, they-

Jeremy Harty:
Let’s have an alternate.

Cory Bowles:

… they stayed shape. They’re like, “Yeah. We want 35k for the song.” I was like, “Well, that’s more than my lead actor is going to make and that’s like one third-“

Jeremy Harty:
That’s more than the post budget.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. He’s like, “[inaudible 00:09:30] part of my movie?” I was like, “Take a hike, man. Give it to us for free if you’re going to be like that much. I’ll give you some…” They were like, no. Then, I was… Zeal & Ardor to the rescue. It actually ended up being a stronger song with black spiritual death metal. It was really nice. It’s always fun when we lay music in to tracks. We always experiment quite a bit.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. Like in the workout scene, just like changing the cuts a few frames here to land on certain beats and stuff like that. Sometimes I’m not 100% sure whether or not my system is perfectly in sync. I’m looking to Cory saying, “Does that seem like bang on to the beat for you and, or on the offbeat?”

Jeremy Harty:

I’m not musically inclined, but Cory was like, “Dude, you got that on the offbeat.” I’m like, “I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about, man. I just cut it because it kind of worked for me. That’s it.” But that was a fun scene. Yeah. I also have a copy of the film here if you want me to pull up anything too, Cory. We can show people or two.

Cory Bowles:
Oh, yeah. Oh, you know what? If you want to show the workout scene, that’s great.

Jeremy Harty:
Yeah. We can show anything, man.

Shonna Foster:
We could show the whole movie.

Cory Bowles:

This was right after he gets profiled. So, this is like the sort of triggering incident in the movie where a Black Cop gets profiled, if anyone hasn’t seen it. Then, after he stands for… We have a two-minute scene where he’s just standing and he’s recollecting, and it’s everything coming to a head, and then the next scene we show him venting out his energy and we put it on…

Cory Bowles:

Actually, the first song we got for Zeal & Ardor, which is the Devil is Fine. Which we even named our company after the song. Yeah. This was a fun one to cut and play music to. It was a really strong scene.

Jeremy Harty:
I have it kind of queued up here.

Speaker 12:
[crosstalk 00:11:14] (singing)

Speaker 13:
My dad used to say that a change in attitude is due to blacks-

Shonna Foster:
Can we talk a little bit about the scene before the one going, the one where he gets profiled?

Jeremy Harty: Yeah.

Shonna Foster:

Can you talk a little bit about cutting that process? What’s very interesting about this scene is you don’t really see the cops who… We never see the cops who stop him in full, and can you talk a little bit about that choice and what it was like cutting that? Because there’s focus on elements of them, but we never get to experience who those men are, we’re really focused on just Black Cop himself, and so how did you choose, Cory, the things you were going to focus on in that scene?

Cory Bowles: Okay.

Shonna Foster:
Like hands and radios and these sorts of things.

Cory Bowles:

Sure. That whole scene is an example of the collaboration of the whole team. I had a certain way that I knew what I wanted going into that scene, and the main thing I wanted was to focus on his confusion, the frustration, the fear, and what it’s like in that moment and how where someone is like, “Oh, you’re just being pulled over by the police.”

Cory Bowles:

It’s like, no, what’s really happening to you at that moment and what’s that, so many things. So my original way I wanted to shoot it was just basically never seeing the cops. I always just wanted to keep it on him. I wanted to do the thing where I pushed in close. The cinematographer, Jeff Wheaton, who had come with this scene. We need to do really extreme close-ups. We need really hard stuff.

Cory Bowles:

He’s like, “I want to slow down the frames. I want to like really pop in.” Then, we were able to sort of… Once I knew what he was trying to interpret, I was like, “Okay. We went with him and we just played that night.” It was a lot of times where I’d be like never put this person in focus. We’d be like pop into the mouth, get the car.

Cory Bowles:

Then, I think we ran the scene quite a long time. It was really challenging. When it came time to cut, that’s where it was like, “Okay. We’re going to from a nice free scene into something really claustrophobic and something panicky.” We played with that, actually, in different cities. Yeah. We spent a long time-

Jeremy Harty:
There was a lot on that one. Yeah.

Cory Bowles:

It might have been the first scene, the first actual thing we really spent time on cutting in the movie, I think, when I went to Calgary.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. That was one of those scenes that kept on getting reworked, because there was certain elements that we’re just missing the focus here or you want to make the tension a little bit more, so you want to use this shot and insert something else. Man, I just remember the last shot of him just putting the earbuds on. That was a conversation you and I had a lot of times about keeping that one shot for the whole way.

Jeremy Harty:

I was like, “No, man. It’s killing me. It’s strong. But it’s like so much time where nothing really changed.” That’s a different decision that really pays off when you’re in the theater. The uncomfortable silence and awkwardness of that long shot, but I had digitally pushed in on parts of it, try to change it up, try to jump cut parts just so that one shot, the top of that whole scene is like mostly Cory coming back with a note here.

Jeremy Harty:

Then, we try something else or trim a few frames here and there. There’s a lot of messing with frames just to get it where it is now I guess.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. I learned a lot. I learned so much just on that scene alone. I still have the old cut of it and comparing to what I built and was like, “Here, I want something like this.” I’m looking at it now I’m like, “Oh, my god. I should never make a movie again.”

Jeremy Harty:
No. It’s a team effort, man. It’s a team effort.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. For anyone watching the long scene, if you haven’t seen what Jeremy’s talking about, it’s after the profiling scene which is tension, tension, tension. We just have a shot where we linger on him and it’s the aftermath of the scene, and we hang there close to… Almost two and a half minutes. We just use a build of music and Ronnie’s acting, he made a choice.

Cory Bowles:

I said, “Take your time with what you want to do in this.” He took his time. He played it real. He didn’t do what I was expecting to do, which I thought he was going to freak out or something or do some sort of… He went so far away from that, that it was actually perfect, and that scene that we did, there was a lot of big debate on it.

Cory Bowles:

It was one of those things where it was so real and raw, I didn’t want to change it, but I was really scared. I remember being worried about that shot, because I was like, “How are people going to watch this for two minutes?” But then the reactions came in and Chicago, there were some men crying during that scene because they had that experience as well. That’s when I was like, “Okay. We made the right choice.” It was a risk, like Jeremy said that paid off.

Jeremy Harty:

That’s an example of what I was saying earlier where I don’t have those experiences, so I have to fall back on Cory for that to really understand how impactful that will be to the black community or people that have been racially profiled, because I’m a white male. I’ve been blessed in that regard. I just haven’t had to deal with that, but that long awkwardness and his brain just processing what just happened.

Jeremy Harty:

Then, he just kind of like switches and jogs off, but then, obviously, it’s still affecting him because that’s the rest of the whole film, right?

Shonna Foster:
Jeremy, do you go on set?

Jeremy Harty:
Did I go on set? Yeah.

Shonna Foster:
Do you go on every day?

Jeremy Harty:

Ah, no. Not every day. I think I was still working on this other show at one point. I can’t remember, but they were shooting in my neighborhood because Halifax is relatively small. I think I walked down from my house, one or two days on set and just checking it out, make sure they’re going to get it all. Like I have any power there, but I did it. Show the team that we’re in it together, because most people don’t see the editor, right?

Shonna Foster:

Cory, do you guys work in that you’ll take the pass, and then Cory will give notes or are you in the room together in the end? Can you talk a little bit about your process, how you work together?

Jeremy Harty:
It’s kind of all of it, right?

Cory Bowles:
Yeah. I think there’s a question here that is on that vein as well.

Jeremy Harty:

Yes. Cory was in the edit suite sitting like two feet from me. That’s not going to happen now with COVID. We were working, and then at some points he was working wherever he was traveling around the world doing his thing. I was locked here in my little room and sending files back and forth. I’d tweak a scene or whatever, send it off to him see what he thought. Got his notes, take another crack at it and stuff, and then he’d come in and we…

Jeremy Harty:
Did we sit and watch the whole thing a few times here in Halifax?

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. By the building when I watched cuts, so I remember pacing and Jeremy’s all being like, “It’s going to be fine and-“

Jeremy Harty:
Cory is like that in general though. He’s got energy that I just don’t have, so.

Cory Bowles:

Well, I’ll tell you with Jeremy, as a director, I will say I’m really, really fortunate because most directors want to be involved in the edit, for sure. I want to be right in there, but you have to give trust to your editor as well. He presents you something, he always has to explain to me like… I always have to explain to other people when I’m mentoring at CFC or something. It’s like, “Never worry about your first cut.” Because he’s like, “This is just an assembly pen. This is to show you what you have and we’re going to work through from there.”

Cory Bowles:

A lot of times what I find Jeremy does, which is a natural thing that I don’t really get from another editor is that he’ll say, “Why don’t you have a crack at cutting the scene?” It’s not judgmental on how I’ll cut it, because I cut it terribly. I don’t know how to use the software so good and I’ll send it back and he’ll be like, “Okay. Let’s now let’s tweak it. Let’s work it.” Me takes that and adds in something, and then we really start to cook. A lot of times by him allowing me that freedom to sort of explain what I’m looking for, really helps, because a lot of times as directors, we can’t articulate like an editor.

Cory Bowles:

We can think about the edit, but to actually specifically articulate something to someone, and then someone to present it back to you, you can get locked in just sitting down and going, “Well, I’ll settle for it because I don’t know.” But Jeremy’s always like, “What do you want?” Let’s look at what you want and let’s see what you can play with. I really appreciate [crosstalk 00:20:28]

Jeremy Harty:

Thanks, man. But it’s really hard… I can relate. It’s hard to convey a thought sometimes, just articulating it with words. I really enjoy the process of just noodling stuff, throwing it around, and if Cory has the same access to the same footage as I do, and he can put it in an order that I haven’t thought of, why would I get upset, right?

Jeremy Harty:

It’s his project. It’s his vision. I’m there to help with other stages that maybe he has some difficulty with, and at the end of the day, it is a team effort. If he comes away after cutting something feeling self-conscious about it and I go, “No. No, man. That worked.”

Jeremy Harty:

But I have the same problem too. There’s scenes I cut and I was like, “I don’t know about this, man.” He goes, “No. It’s great.” Or that, “No. That’s it. That’s it.” Then, we work from there.

Jeremy Harty:

Another thing that we did was he shot a lot of little stuff in the black box, the mic drop is what I’m thinking of Cory. You had the footage of the mic being picked up, him using the mic, dropping the mic. I think at one stage, it wasn’t fully finished. It just didn’t feel like it was its own thing. Then, I was like, “What if he dropped the mic?” Correct me if I’m wrong because I’m going by memory and it’s a little ways ago. I’ve had kids since then and all sorts of stuff, brain just gets mushy at some point.

Cory Bowles:
Yeah. You were talking about when you move the mic scene around.

Jeremy Harty:
Yeah. Because we tried to like bookend that into the film its own way.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. Well, I mean you did that a lot. You did a lot of little things that really sort of popped. I mean some of the other things too was I’m really about having a lot of space in the scene. I want to have space and I want to have time and I want to have beats, but we also have to keep the scene moving. I found that I would…

Cory Bowles:

This is where things I don’t know as the directors are so good at going, “Okay. We could keep your space, but we can tighten up this.” We like to work on an intensity graph through a scene that kind of has ups and downs and a lot of slopes in it and I find that I can cut a sort of dynamic scene, but the meat’s not there and that’s where when we get together and we start digging things and Jeremy will

suggest something, move something around and we solved a lot of problems in the edit room, because the other thing about shooting a movie like this, and Andrew to your question about spending time.

Cory Bowles:

I spend a lot of time as much as I can with Jeremy, and it’s so exciting when you go away from a room and you see us, you get something back. That’s like one of the… Regardless if it’s good, it’s just exciting to get something back, because you live with it and it’s daunting. It’s really hard, but I find… I was going to say one thing that happens when we play, we solve a lot of problems in the set that we… There’s a lot of things that aren’t necessarily going to work in the movie and you have to build it from scratch in the edit.

Cory Bowles:

That’s what I think we do. We’ve always done well together was create things when we just had no scene at all, like nothing was going to work and we made it work.

Jeremy Harty:

There are still examples of things where, because it was only shot within what? 12 days. There was one shot I was like I really wish we had, but we just didn’t have the opportunity of when a white cop gets his uniform taken, you remember that, Cory? I was like-

Cory Bowles: I sure do.

Jeremy Harty:

I just want to see him in the garbage naked or in his underwear, whatever, but I just wanted to see that visual. We just… One, you’re asking a lot for the actor to do that, and the time frame to do that and would it have been the best use of our time to get that one shot or to go out and shoot an insert or whatever? But, yeah, you can get bogged down by those kind of wish lists, but then you start thinking of other things to help solve that problem. That’s one of the reasons why I like editing, because you really do get to shaped the whole film. I also color correct. We’re tweaking stuff and trying to make things punch and fix issues.

Cory Bowles:

What did we have for the first kind of the movie was like, an hour? Like 66 minutes or something like that, right?

Jeremy Harty:
Yeah. One shortcut and it was like, “What else is going to go in this film, Cory? I don’t know…” But you-

Cory Bowles:
I was like, “My career is over.”

Jeremy Harty:

No. But that was a problem solving… You had to solve that problem, so you were forced into it. You already had the idea of having the radio through stuff, but then some of the narration, some of the black box stuff, doing a little montage helps pepper that in throughout and it helps too.

Jeremy Harty:

Then, those cards with the white text, you had two or three different versions, different quotes, at one point it’s like, “No. We can’t go with that quote. We’re going with this quote.” I’m like, “All right. Does that work now or does that make it better? I’m lost. I don’t know anymore.” Spending so much time in the edit suite too, at some point, I could see Cory’s point about being away from the edit, coming back and seeing something that’s like fresh eyes.

Jeremy Harty:

I think that’s important too. We did have a little break here and there where we were busy with other things, and then came back to finishing Black Cop or working on another scene or-

Shonna Foster:

I know the film started as a short. Cory, did you make it with the intent to make it into a feature? Did you know making the short that you were going to make a feature film?

Cory Bowles:

Yes and no. Originally, I conceived it as a feature back in 2014 maybe, and then I did the short in 2015. I kind of just thought that was it. It was a very… But the thing I was like, “I need to do now.” I think I went and shot it at a weekend that we were doing [inaudible 00:26:01] boys went home, shot it, and then grabbed the GoPro.

Cory Bowles:

I think it was the following year, coming through the following year when I figured… I was actually told by a few people that, and a friend of mine, Nelson, Nelson McDonald who said, “Yo, I think they should be actually expanded. So if you know what you think you want to say.” Because I talked about it. I talked about the character and why he did what he did in the short film.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. It kind of came back around to the feature, but I didn’t expect it. It was kind of an unexpected thing to happen. Suddenly, I was paired up with Aaron and we were going to write a movie… I was going to write this film, we were going to go after it, and suddenly, we were doing it. I had another project that I was trying to do too, actually, and then this one just swept everything else away.

Shonna Foster:
Yes. Is your project’s still going to get made?

Jeremy Harty:
I’m hoping these projects get made. Maybe I can hang out with him again. I don’t know.

Shonna Foster:

I’m going to pull a question from the Q&A. Did you have test screenings with friends and family and crew before picture lock?

Jeremy Harty:
I think there were quite a few people watching it, weren’t there?

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. We are like a tight-knit group. I’m really afraid of that. This is going to sound really funny, but I only showed it to, personally, myself. I only showed it to a few people. I tend to not believe what my team says, and that’s not that I don’t trust them. It’s like Aaron, the producer is like, “It’s looking good.” I’m like, “You’re lying.” I don’t like-

Jeremy Harty: He does say that.

Cory Bowles:

I shout to my partner or you show it to a couple of close friends. I think I showed it to my friend, Mark Claremo. I sent it to Clark Johnson as well, but that’s generally about it. Mostly because I’m really afraid of it. So, even like I’m so afraid to do it. I don’t want to know. I don’t care if they show it, but I’m like I don’t-

Jeremy Harty:

I’m a little different with my assistant editors or people I’m working with in the building. I’ll show them scenes, but I won’t show them the whole thing, mostly because we’re not there yet, and when we were close to picture lock, I don’t know if I showed them the whole film then, because there’s still things that were going to be worked out or the color timing would be done.

Jeremy Harty:

I felt strongly that if we had too much input from people who weren’t in the whole part of the process, it might get watered down or there might be weird notes that come out of nowhere. Dealing with broadcasters, and then broadcaster goes, “Yeah. Do you have any takes where they say these lines?” You’re like, “What do you mean these lines? Like now? We’ve already locked the picture. Like you want to rework a whole scene? No. We don’t.” That’s what we got to work with so… That’s the fear that I have by bringing in a bunch of people and saying, “Okay.”

Jeremy Harty:

They’ll watch the cut, and then they’ll be like, “Yeah. What if you had this shot? What if you had that shot?” This a small budget, 12-day shoot, and this is what we got. We’re making it work and it worked with this one I think.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. I’m of two minds of that. I think in some cases you need to have test screenings and you need to do those things, but in some cases when you’re doing a project that’s like, it’s you’re doing a different thing, you’re doing something that’s like… In one case, it was like, “We really couldn’t care. We had to actually be like…” It just has to be really good, it has to flow well and it has to be honest.

Cory Bowles:

We tried to stay away from anything that was like, “Well, this doesn’t work because the rule is…” Sometimes, if you get into too much of that type of viewing, that people don’t understand rules. We were doing something that, at the time, we were like, “We don’t want this to be conventional in any way. We just want you to be affected by it when you see it.”

Cory Bowles:
It’s a challenge, but I do believe in testing. Just that was a tough one for me. I’d give-

Jeremy Harty: [crosstalk 00:29:45]

Cory Bowles:
It was so hard to even hit the send button when I showed someone the link.

Shonna Foster:

It does seem like a challenge though because the film is unconventional, because you both seem to work that way. Navigating notes from producers, how do you go about that when you’re getting… Did you get a lot of notes back from producers as you were going and-

Jeremy Harty:

We got notes. I get notes from a co-worker, and then I found myself saying, “Well, you’re not really seeing it from Cory’s perspective, right? It was the confrontation, the Skittle scene or however you want to refer to it with the big fence that shot. There were a lot of people in my shop they were like, “That shot so long.”

Jeremy Harty:

I was like, “Oh…” That’s why I did other versions, because I was so listening to them, and at some point I just had to step back and go like, “You got to trust Cory and Ronnie. That they did that shot, they want that length, and everyone else their perspective is valid, but we have to push something.

Jeremy Harty:

To me, that’s one of those shots that’s really pushing that urge of an editor to cut. There’s some people that just cut every three seconds. It doesn’t matter. It’s like cutting cut, cut, cut, angle, angle, angle, angle, angle. And to fight those urges of just cutting the shot, it’s hard. It’s a hard thing to do. Trusting the process and getting people’s notes is important.

Jeremy Harty:

I want to know why I have to defend it sometimes, but then with this project, I’m kind of just along for the ride with Cory.

Cory Bowles:
Oh, stop. That’s funny. Because I trust so much of what he does… But I’ll tell you on top of that-

Jeremy Harty:
We got so much history too. That’s probably why. We’ve known each other since ’99, ’98, ’99.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah, and we had on top of that, we have one producer with Aaron. Aaron was always in the room, but Aaron as producer was totally like, he totally trusted us too. He’s just like, “Yeah. I think this…” Any time he did give a note, it was… It’s like one of those things where you… He’s like that player, you bring him to take the shot right at the buzzer who knows that they’re going to hit the shot at the buzzer.

Cory Bowles:

He’s one of those note givers. He drops the note when the note really needs to be given. It’s usually one that’s just like… For example, in that scene that we did in the fence, his note… I was ready to, because we had to send it off to Tiff, because we’ve been in at that time, but we had to give them the actual version.

Cory Bowles:

I wasn’t happy with the music we’d scored. We’ve done the improv score with the band. I just threw a piece in and Aaron had said, “I don’t think you’re happy.” I was like, “It doesn’t matter if I’m happy, we have to get it.” He goes, “Well, you’re not happy and this isn’t what you said you want to do.”

Cory Bowles:

I was like, “What am I supposed to do?” Then, he goes, “You’ll figure it out.” He left. [inaudible 00:32:30] I’m so mad. I was just like I wanted to go hit him. I was so angry I was like, “I can’t do this. We’re never going to do it in time.” Then, I ended up taking two pieces of different versions of the same song, flipping them, making stuff go backwards. I put up a mic and started doing my own vocal things in it.

Cory Bowles:

Then, I came back and he comes and listens. I show him the scene. He just goes like this. He’s like, “Yeah.”

Jeremy Harty:

Why didn’t it occur to me why you did the reaction? No one wants to see me watching you do the reaction.

Cory Bowles:
Oh, sorry. Anyway-

Jeremy Harty:
That’s bad editing right there.

Cory Bowles:

[crosstalk 00:33:02] you just did a head nod, but those notes, he would give us both. He was really trusting. It’s really important.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. He’s in the building where I am and I’ve been cutting and stuff. He could drop in any time. See what I’m working on, and see what it is. I could go to him and say, “Okay. I’ve retackled this. What do you think?” We’re not really hung up on a power struggle or anything, which is good. I think there’s too many people that get bogged down by that, and that’s the really great thing that Aaron brought to the project.

Jeremy Harty:
Ego could just put you in such a bad place. I don’t want to have a big ego, but I do sometimes.

Shonna Foster:

I’m going to pull another question from the Q&A. How did you time the scene where the student is in the distance and Black Cop shoots him with his finger as a gun? Very good question.

Jeremy Harty:
I was not on set that day so I don’t know how it was done, but I suspect I do know how it was done.

Shonna Foster: Share your secrets.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. That’s my dance background, timing, rhythm, and two really good actors with experience on stage and experience in blocking and timing where I could say, “Hey, you’re going to take… You’re going to run till you get to there.” Ronnie’s going to watch him go. He’s going to take a deep breath and shoot.

Cory Bowles:

That was sort of a thing that they were pretty linked up and you can, they felt it. We just ran it. They nailed it, and yeah. There was no sound effects or anything like that. It was one of those things where you… It’s so hard to say to an actor like when you get around this area, you have to feel like when you get hit.

Cory Bowles:

Then, the person shooting the person in the back, but they were on the same wavelength. That’s very much how dancers work, right? Dancers work with instincts and trying to feel each other’s time as you spread out. They just nailed that. Lots of rhythm. I like to work with-

Jeremy Harty:
I thought you had someone out on the side just waving them down to fall like an AD?

Cory Bowles: No.

Jeremy Harty:
You didn’t yell behind camera, fall?

Cory Bowles: No.

Jeremy Harty: No?

Cory Bowles: No.

Jeremy Harty: No?

Cory Bowles: No.

Jeremy Harty:
All right. That was what I was guessing.

Cory Bowles:

To be authentic you got… I mean sometimes if we were in TV, we would have to and AD would come over and be like, “Nope. You’re doing it this way. I have someone here. They’re going to get queued. Go back to the monitor. See you later.” Like by that. No. For this it was just the whole movie is as organic as possible, so.

Jeremy Harty:
What was the crew size? How many people were on the crew? I put you on the spot there.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. I want to say 20, maybe 22 max. Yeah. Because we had two camera assists, we had two electric, we have… We basically have two of everybody, except the hair and makeup, wardrobe, there’s three, and so I would say just around 20 max maybe.

Jeremy Harty:

What gets me is with all the different camera formats too, we had to worry about frame rates, aspect ratios, all that stuff, just the file formats themselves bringing them in to the system, I can only imagine how much pain in the butt it was on set having to chase cameras, getting them all set up with a smaller crew.

Shonna Foster:
What kind of camera did you shoot with?

Jeremy Harty: FS7, wasn’t it?

Cory Bowles: Yeah.

Jeremy Harty: Yeah. Sony FS7.

Cory Bowles:
Yeah. Then, GoPros. GoPro Hero. Was the Hero 5 or 4?

Jeremy Harty:
I think it was 4 at that time. Yeah.

Cory Bowles:
Hero 4 and my iPhone.

Jeremy Harty: iPhone.

Cory Bowles: Yeah.

Jeremy Harty:
Did you have like a Samsung in there too or some other phone?

Cory Bowles:

No. I don’t think I used the… I thought I’d just use my phone. I might use something else, but, yeah, I think just those three. Then, yeah, the GoPros were all the dash cams as well.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. We tried to muddy up some of them to look a little bit different even though they were shot on some of the same cameras.

Shonna Foster:
I have a question for Jeremy.

Jeremy Harty: Oh, no.

Shonna Foster:
Did you go to film school?

Jeremy Harty:

I went to a community college taking radio and television broadcasting for two years. I was originally going to be in radio production. I was going to do commercials on tape to tape. That was my plan. Then, I asked one of the guys working at the local radio station how much they made per year, how long he’d been there. At that time he was there for maybe 15 years and he was making 38,000 a year. I said, “Okay. Screw this shit. I’m out.”

Jeremy Harty:

Luckily because of my program, we did journalism. We did radio, and we also did television. I just gravitated halfway through my first year into the television side of things, which really pissed off the radio teacher, because he thought he had another radio convert early on in the process, because that’s how I came into the program.

Jeremy Harty:

I’m just one of those guys with a blessed mind for tech. I started learning all the tapes and the systems. We had a non-linear system. It was a light wave I believe. It was just after the EditDroid. It was on an Amiga. It was cumbersome. Painful as hell, but it was dead when I got to the school and we resurrected it when I was there.

Jeremy Harty:

Then, I never used it because it sucked. I just really enjoyed the creative side of editing, taking different footage. One of my major projects I got a bad mark on, but I loved it. I took a song by Stone Temple Pilots to Return of the Jedi. It’s the song Tumble in the Rough. I took that song that was cutting it to the walkers being crushed. Oh, so cheesy. I wish I had it soon.

Shonna Foster: Okay.

Cory Bowles:
This is pre YouTube, so that’s the stuff now that will get like [crosstalk 00:38:31]-

Jeremy Harty:

Oh, god. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I’d probably have 100 million easy, easy views on that, right? Probably had some take down notices. Probably would have put it up somewhere else, still got another 100 million. Would have been DMCA, got in trouble for that I’m sure, but that’s when I really thought, “Okay. Audio editing was great in a sense, but video editing is so much more, because you have audio, you have picture, just twice as good.” That’s how I got into working in the biz.

Shonna Foster:

In biz, and what advice would you have for any upcoming editors and now everything’s digital and software and things can be very expensive, and so what are some tools that you use?

Jeremy Harty:

Oh, now is amazing. Now’s an amazing time, because you can get the DaVinci Resolve for free. You can edit, you can color correct, you can do some special effects and some audio editing in there too. If you were starting out and you’re in high school or junior high or something like that, if you got like an AV

Club or something extracurricular that you can do like that, you should watch as many movies and TV shows as you can get your hands on.

Jeremy Harty:

You got to watch some of the really bad stuff to realize what not to do sometimes, but try to watch the really classic stuff, so that you can really appreciate and get into that mindset, but with YouTube and all the other platforms of people offering tutorials on everything out there. I would kill, kill to be starting my career at this point being much younger because there’s just so much more to learn.

Jeremy Harty:

Film school is good for certain people. I don’t know if I could gone through film school and be where I am now. I think I’m one of those people that has to do it, has to have my hands on, and suffering through it, and working long hours, and getting punched in the arm when the director wants me to make an edit. That’s not Cory. That was another director I worked with early on in my career.

Jeremy Harty:

Every time he wanted me to cut was [inaudible 00:40:26] right in the arm. You have to go through that stuff. I think that will shape you into it, but don’t be afraid to work long hours and research and watch as much as you can.

Shonna Foster:
A question from Andrea. What is your preferred editing platform?

Jeremy Harty:

I use Final Cut Pro. I’ve used it since it was beta. Before that, I used the Media 100. Oh, my god. That was painful. We only had two tracks of video and a graphics track and we used to cheat the graphics track to be a third layer of video by exporting all our footage, and then re-importing it and putting it in this graphics, but then when I made the move to Final Cut, it was the beta version and I’ve been on Final Cut or Final Cut X ever since.

Jeremy Harty:

Now, I’ve dabbled in Avid and Touched Premiere. When we finish our shows, we generally use DaVinci Resolve to do the final color and send it back to Final Cut for our export and our mastering.

Cory Bowles:
Andrea, he is a Final Cut snob.

Jeremy Harty: I am.

Cory Bowles:

I mean it in the sense that when the Final Cut came out and it was like a glorified iMovie. He was raving about it and I was like, “Yo, man. This is kind of like what’s up?”

Jeremy Harty: Whack.

Cory Bowles:

[crosstalk 00:41:34] taking the old Final Cut style and this is awesome. He was just like not having it. He’s like basically Final Cut could have been just like… It just could have been like one [inaudible 00:41:45] it would be okay. He’d be like Final Cut, he’d find the… He would find the positive in it.

Jeremy Harty:
I’m a Mac snob what it really comes down to, so, just straight up Mac snob.

Cory Bowles:
He taught me how to use the new Final Cut very well.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. I suffered greatly when they switched from Final Cut 7 into Final Cut X. I was doing a short film and I was trying to do all these multi-layer stuff and it was crashing, and then I was just… But I found that having a project to do in it, I learned it, and if I was forced to use another software, I’d just be like, “Oh, I want to go back to Final Cut,” because it’s what I know.

Jeremy Harty:

What it comes down to is go with the tool that you feel strongest in, but be aware of the other tools, because they all have their advantages and disadvantages. One of the things I really like about the Final Cut is being able to create roles where you assign different things, and when I go to output, I can output five or six different versions of the same timeline with just a few keystrokes.

Jeremy Harty:

It’ll do export of different files like if I had a German language and a French language on the same thing, I could do two exports. So a German one and the French one, but only have to have one timeline if you prepared your project properly and stuff. That’s why I stick with Final Cut. Sorry.

Shonna Foster:

Another question. What is your decision-making process in approaching pacing in your edit? I guess that’s for both of you actually.

Jeremy Harty:

Well, for me, I generally slap together everything dialogue based in the order of per script or whatever, and re-watch it, and then see if there’s duplicate thoughts being said or expressed, and then looking at how to pepper in the coverage over top of that. So, if I want to go to someone’s reaction and stuff. That’s how I tend to build it. Worrying about the actual script first, and then worrying about coverage and all the other angles or the timing of things, but as of late, in the last year or so, I’ve been working on Trailer Park Boys animated series.

Jeremy Harty:

It’s totally different. You do your audio cut and you send it off, and then they do the storyboards and all that stuff. It’s like four or five months later, it comes back to you and you’re like, “Oh, that’s how they drew that. Okay. Well, let’s maybe cut these lines out now that I thought I needed.” Tossed. So, different experience, but interesting. Cory, yourself?

Cory Bowles:

Oh, for me, rhythm is really important. I like to try to find a natural emotional rhythm and everything and if I can’t find it in the scene, I don’t want the scene, but if I really want the scene, I have to find the rhythm. I believe in a lot of space and a lot of time, but I don’t want anything to be sluggish.

Cory Bowles:

I guess it’s always hard to find the right balance and you kind of know… Actually, we played a lot with the pacing and there’s a scene where Black Cop is stopped by a rookie cop in the movie. We played a whole… I think we have like six different versions of that scene or just-

Jeremy Harty: Yeah. There’s a lot.

Cory Bowles:

… [crosstalk 00:44:52] what we were cutting, what we’re dragging out? What are the most tense? One of them was like snappy and one of them was like boring. One of them was like exciting and hype. Then, we were like, “Okay. Well, how do we find the right balance of each one?”

Cory Bowles:

Again, we really try to find peaks and valleys as much as possible in a scene. If something ramps up, you find the ramp up and if something is supposed to have the, just hold you there. We make sure we build it with a hole or we might pull out when you don’t want to get pulled out. It’s kind of things like that.

Cory Bowles:

On Jeremy’s other point about, it’s different in television. I get to sit on the edit, I do a lot of the edit, the Director’s Cut for Diggstown. I show I work on, Diggstown. I’m really adamant about sort of not doing a cut that the network is necessarily going to like. I always try to find and I cut it as tight as possible. I shouldn’t say this because… I cut it as tight as possible so they can’t make very many changes.

Jeremy Harty:
You just told a trade secret, man.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. Usually, you give a long cut and give it, so the producers can have their cut. I’ll cut it really tight. Then, they’ll have some things they can change, but usually the essence is there. Then, it usually shifts some… There goes my dog. I got to just pause.

Jeremy Harty:

To further Cory’s point there, there’s a thing when you’re working with a broadcaster where certain broadcasters after you’ve worked with them for a while they might trust you, but other ones you know they’re going to just need to make a note, even if it’s not a note that should be made. They just have to be part of the process.

Jeremy Harty:

You kind of have one obvious bad scene or edit or line and you kind of just leave it there for the first pass where they see it, and then that’s going to be the thing that they focus on. You go, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Great note. We’ll take that out.” You cut it out. Then, they look like a hero.

Cory Bowles:

[inaudible 00:46:51] networks in there, but sometimes [inaudible 00:46:54] and sometimes in some cases it’s like I would try to keep a little bit there, but I also want to make sure that they hire me to direct the show and they hire me to put my touch on it. I want to make sure they get what is my touch, and if they go, “Okay. Well, this isn’t what we want.”

Cory Bowles:

Then, I’m like, “Well, then, I’ll learn what you want, but this is… I want to make sure you get the most that I can give you in an edit. I always will push, push, push as well for that.” It usually turns out well. Everyone is happy at the end. There’s some things that may work or may not, but I think that’s important to experiment there as well.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. In regards to what I was saying with the note process that I’m used to. I’m used to working on a series that has been going for so long, has the same director, and Cory’s coming from it from he’s the hired gun. You’re hiring him for his perspective. You should get his perspective. You should get what he thinks and feels is best.

Jeremy Harty:

I’ve worked with other directors on other series where that’s what they do. They do their thing, and of course, the producers and everyone else overrules them at some point and things get changed, but at least you know where that person’s come from and their vision is there, and generally you hire them because you want their vision.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. In a show like Trailer Park, I direct Trailer Park and Jeremy edits that. I’m not actually involved in the edit. I’ll shoot for the edit to give him options, but really it’s about… In that case, I’m trying to get as much dynamic and as much good material in the scene, so then they can play with everything they want.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. There’s not complaints in that regard because Cory’s been in the family or the show for so long. He knows the characters and knows the crew and everything. It just works. It’s so easy. He just walks in, bangs it all out. We’re done. Right, Cory, no pain?

Cory Bowles:

Yeah, but you’ve also given me some lectures about things that I may or may not have gotten or things that-

Jeremy Harty:

I choose not to remember those moments, but, yeah. I’m sure they’d happened. In that regard, that series, I cut in a trailer near the set. It used to be the point where I’d come out to set and everyone would go, “Oh, shit. Jeremy’s here.” Because I guess I’m just that big a dick when I come out on set or something’s gone wrong and I caught it in the suite and I’m coming out to say, “It’d be really nice if you shot a color chart or you gave us a few more seconds when you say cut, like this really sucks to be in this room over there.”

Cory Bowles:
Jeremy is known to come out to set, stand there, and then leave. If he does that, you know something

that like… Everyone’s like, “What did we do? We did something.” Jeremy Harty:

There’s always a department going, “Something went wrong. Was it our department? I don’t know.” Sounds messed up-

Cory Bowles:
[crosstalk 00:50:04] everyone sees it.

Jeremy Harty:
Did we have a continuity issue? I don’t know. He didn’t talk to me so I think we’re good. Okay.

Shonna Foster:
Jeremy, do you have an agent? How do you get gigs?

Jeremy Harty:

I do not have an agent. I get all my gigs word of mouth. Luckily, I keep busy just because of that, but I haven’t been out there doing… I don’t sell myself. I don’t peddle my wares. I’ve just been blessed to be able to be working Trailer Park stuff and working on Cory’s stuff and working with people who were with Trailer Park and moved on to other projects at some point and said, “Hey, yeah, let’s bring Jeremy along.”

Jeremy Harty:

But Nova Scotia is hard to get some gigs sometimes. It’s really painful for other editors out here and teams. Especially now with COVID, it’s tough for everyone.

Shonna Foster:

For both of you, is there a genre that you haven’t worked in that you want to? I know Jeremy you’ve done animation shorts.

Jeremy Harty:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s going to make you sound like the biggest wimp ever. I don’t watch horror movies. I don’t think I could ever cut a horror movie. I don’t know. For me, I would like to do more dramatic stuff. I really enjoy the dramatic stuff. I find it sometimes a little bit more restrictive though than comedy. Comedy just have such… There’s so much more we can mess with.

Jeremy Harty:

That’s why Black Cop really worked for me is because even though it was so dramatic, there was a lot of freedom. There’s a lot that could be reshaped and juggled around. It wasn’t so fixated on shot by shot by shot as per his list or the script. It was a little bit more free-form.

Cory Bowles:
I would trust Jeremy with any genre of film. I would trust him with horror. I would trust him with-

Jeremy Harty: No. Horror.

Cory Bowles:
I would trust him do a Hallmark movie. I actually think [crosstalk 00:51:55]-

Jeremy Harty:
Oh, Hallmark movie [crosstalk 00:51:57]

Cory Bowles:

I actually think Jeremy is an absolute gifted editor. I think that he is one of the very few editors, and I’ve worked with really good editors and I love my relationship with everyone, but I think there’s something that Jeremy taps into that I find very rare and I find really special that I think that he has an extremely open mind.

Cory Bowles:

He’s not afraid to go away from his comfort zones and just try something. That’s one thing that I’ve always noticed is that he never approaches it by rule. He approaches it, but this is what’s in front of us, this is what we can work with, and let’s start from there.

Cory Bowles:

I find that that’s great when you have your toolbox and you have your methods and you have your go-to’s. I don’t like to work that way myself. It’s like we have our toolbox, we just go for it. I feel that is one of Jeremy’s strengths is that once he understands what the pacing is or gets an eye for something, then he pulls out stuff that I hoped for, but also wouldn’t have been able to think of. I think he’d be good at anything really.

Jeremy Harty: Thanks, bud.

Cory Bowles:

That’s why he’s on my team.

Jeremy Harty:
Cory loves me so much he named his dog Jeremy.

Cory Bowles:
Well, her name is Peanut.

Jeremy Harty: Oh, damn.

Cory Bowles:
She’s named after Peanut [inaudible 00:53:15], Shannon.

Jeremy Harty: I don’t know.

Cory Bowles:
Actually, a choreographer I love so very much.

Jeremy Harty:
Okay. Maybe your next dog, right?

Cory Bowles:
Maybe, yeah, my fish. Maybe.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. I have to say over my career I’ve been very blessed to work with people that are very creative types and are kind of on the fringe, not that mainstream. I think that’s helped me mold myself into something where I am now, but I definitely can’t do horror. I don’t think I can do horror. I could maybe do a slasher, but not like the jump scares.

Jeremy Harty:

I don’t know. I’d be probably curled up in a ball in the edit suite crying after seeing some of the footage. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just all in my head because I haven’t been forced to do that.

Cory Bowles:
[crosstalk 00:54:01] to trigger something then, hey, don’t ever do horror.

Jeremy Harty:

But, yeah. But comedy and drama and even maybe action, stuff like that. I think I could do a half decent job. Just haven’t had that many opportunities. I don’t know if Cory and I have done anything really action driven. Maybe the lightsaber battle between Leahy and Ricky.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. No. I mean besides those little things like, no. I mean because most of my stuff is satire drama and it has a bit of comedy, but we’ve… No. Not really, but I also, again, like it would just be… I would just expect it of you, because we will be doing it. It’s like, if I’m doing an action movie, you’re right, you’re cutting it.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. If I’m there I’m doing it. If I say I’m going to be on the project, I’ll give it 110% and I’ll watch a movie I’ve never heard of before or-

Cory Bowles:

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people will sort of like you look at a Trailer Park is a sort of mock or a dog or things like that. Like a mock dog or that… That show even is full of action. We explode cars. There’s guns. There’s [crosstalk 00:55:09]-

Jeremy Harty:
Oh, yeah. That’s true.

Cory Bowles:
The only difference is as if a live camera crew was there so, yeah.

Jeremy Harty: Yeah.

Cory Bowles:
Action is timing and energy and pacing. I think that’s something Jeremy is really, really good at, so.

Jeremy Harty:

But that said, I don’t tend to watch my old work, even though like it’s been so many years ago that we worked on Trailer Park and stuff like that. I have re-watched some things and I don’t want to get bogged down into this like, “Oh, I wish I did that.” Now, that I know this, because at the time, that is where I was as a creative type. That’s where my skill set was. That’s where the gear and equipment and technology was.

Jeremy Harty:

I have to live with what that is. It can help mold me to the next stage. Maybe there’s a moment where I go and say, “Oh, yeah. That scene I cut years ago, that really worked.” Maybe that kind of thing we could discuss or do again. I don’t know what else to say.

Shonna Foster:
Well, Andrea’s asking how about documentary? Good question.

Jeremy Harty: Oh, yeah.

Shonna Foster:
Cory, what about you, would you do docs?

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. I mean I think that’s more about what type of things you’d edit. But I personally I’m going to… The way Jeremy is with horror movies, I feel like I’m not sure as much… I’ve wanted to do a couple talks. I’ve been tapping them and I’m afraid I would just ruin everything. I think I would do it, editing wise, if this was an editing question, I think Jeremy would do it well, because he understands story.

Cory Bowles:

I mean which is essentially what doc is. It’s story and engagement and understanding that. I think that’s a whole other art form that as personally as a director or filmmaker, writer even, that’s just a whole different unique beast that I just didn’t… In awe of all the time. Personally, I don’t think I’d be good at it. Maybe I would, I doubt it.

Jeremy Harty:

In my early career I did do some doc stuff. I worked on a series that was for Vision Television maybe, where a bunch of people were on a ship, a tall ship sailing across the world, and that was really one of the first doc style things that was truly doc because they were just documenting what happened on the ship, but I’ve never done like a biopic dock or anything like that.

Jeremy Harty:

Basically, just building the story from whatever is available is what Trailer Park kind of was from the beginning too. It wouldn’t be far stretch for me to jump into doing a doc series or something.

Cory Bowles:

I’d tell you, I would want to do something like McMillions or The Last Dance. Any type of drama doc series, those things are next level. That would be like-

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah, but getting all that footage and access to that archives and stuff, that’s what makes your edit, man. You could be, you really have to have the production team behind you and access to all that to really make those rock.

Cory Bowles:
Yeah. Well, I think there’s-

Jeremy Harty: You could do it.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. There’s something to be said too about depending on… I guess I was called recently or last year to do a doc to be part of a doc series of hip-hop. I had a lot of really… That I actually saw. I had a real vision of how I wanted it to be or what I thought I could do with it. That would have been fun. Something like

that I think would have been fun because I would have been able to play with the elements of hip-hop and how that worked.

Cory Bowles:

I think one of the most recent things, our friend, Jason, who really sort of took the dark side of the ring and he has such a childlike mind that he made this incredibly dark series, but had the sort of the mystique and the wonder of what it was like to be a kid watching wrestling. That’s like doc, filmmaking has that sort of blend that’s like a win for me, which [crosstalk 00:59:11]-

Jeremy Harty:

He just knows that content too, right? When you know the subject matter and you’ve lived and breathed it for so long, I think that kind of storytelling just comes so naturally, right? I could see you doing hip-hop from your days back in the hip-hop community.

Cory Bowles:
Yeah. We’ll move on.

Jeremy Harty:
All right. Any other questions? I guess not. I must have covered everything in the world.

Shonna Foster:
We’ve covered everything. Everything. We did it in an hour and 20 minutes.

Jeremy Harty: Record-breaking, right?

Cory Bowles:
Are we that long, really?

Jeremy Harty: Yeah. I think so.

Shonna Foster:
This is great. Let’s see if anyone else has any questions. Feel free to pop them into the Q&A chat.

Cory Bowles:

I’m going to say something because I think that Jeremy is such a good resource and I’ll say one thing I really appreciate about him that he does, that he did with Black Cop. I think I told you this Shannon is that he would send me scenes to look at and see what I thought, and they were scenes that he would give to… If you asked if he had worked with assistants, as I guess he has assistants and people he works with at Digiboyz, his company.

Cory Bowles:

He would give them a crack, cutting a version of my scene, a scene in my movie. I would get a version from each of those people and they would have their own crack. He was teaching them as well. They were learning how… I’ve said notes back and do cut, that used elements of each one or we do things like that. I found that was a really… I really strongly believe the mentorship, obviously.

Cory Bowles:

I think that that’s imperative of people in our position that we use that position that we have to be able to share. I feel like we’re in such a constrained time to make this movie that we did in 12 days and we had under a year to get it ready for TIFF. It was just a few months. The fact that he’s going to give that time and that space for them to get those cuts, hear those notes, do all that.

Cory Bowles:

It’s really and I’m all for it too, because I learn as well, because I’m seeing other perspectives as well as ones that we have ourselves. I feel that that’s really important and a really great quality in Jeremy. I think he’s really strong-

Jeremy Harty:

I definitely picked that up by my early days editing and stuff, giving opportunities like first Trailer Park film, the Black and White was cut in a week. We just had 13-hour day straight, but I was given that project because no one else at the company felt comfortable and didn’t really want to jump into it and commit that much time in such a short time to it. I was keen, but mentorship is definitely important.

Jeremy Harty:

I try to take interns from the community college and the other schools locally for a few weeks to get them into our environment and feel comfortable and put them through some paces. I’m not going to shove them in the room and make them paint a wall. I actually give them footage and say go to town. Like here sink a whole bunch of stuff, start cutting the scene, noodle it, and try to go from there, because I don’t have all the answers to every cut.

Jeremy Harty:

Like Cory said, it’s nice to see different people’s perspectives too, because you might get something that you just couldn’t see because there’s just so much footage and you couldn’t process it or wrap your head around. It’s nice to… I want to give them more opportunities and stuff. Right now we don’t really have many opportunities, for me, so, maybe I’ll give them some old projects and tell them to recut Black Cop, the Assistant Editor’s Cut.

Shonna Foster: Let’s do it.

Jeremy Harty:

I don’t know what that would be, man. I mean pretty gnarly I think. They wouldn’t have the elements that Cory put into it or maybe they get married to the cut.

Cory Bowles:

That’s a cool idea. We did a lot of shorts together too. I mean I think that would be really a fun project to be like, “Here’s our footage of our other short. Here’s the 10 tracks and the music we had and here’s the music we use. These are the music tracks like cut it. That’d be kind of fun. I mean, of course, it’s a lot of work though, but-

Jeremy Harty:

I remember decades ago when GarageBand first came out. That put up a whole song and all the elements for the song and let people remaster the song in GarageBand. That’s been done before, but it would be definitely interesting to see the content produced by it. Maybe we’ll do that with Righteous or something or your next film.

Cory Bowles: Yeah.

Shonna Foster:
Speaking of which, we have a question. What’s next? What’s next for both of you?

Jeremy Harty:

Oh, well, my answer’s going to be shorter than Cory’s. I’ll go first, Cory. Right now I don’t know what’s next. I was on a project. It’s on hold for a little bit now. There’s some other things because I’m affiliated with the Trailer Park boys and their web components and stuff that they do, I supervise some of that, putter around on some of their stuff, but there’s nothing really set in stone. So, summer’s almost over and I don’t know what the next gig is.

Cory Bowles:
I’m going to be his agent and try to get him to work.

Jeremy Harty:
Thank you. I need it for now. For sure. But what’s your answer, Cory?

Cory Bowles:

Well, I’m, of course, we were all on hold because of COVID up here in Ontario and Diggstown was delayed for a while. So, now that’s not going in until actually a year from now. Actually, a little earlier, thank you. Yeah. I’m about to do a show called Nurses. I’m about to direct an episode of that. Then, I’ll move on to a new show called Lady Dicks, which is knock on wood if [inaudible 01:04:46] I’ll be going back to Nova Scotia to do something through the winter, otherwise, I just finished another feature that I’ve been working on for a bit and we’re trying to get Aaron and I in the same team.

Cory Bowles:

We’re trying to get the team together to do that. We’ll see how things work as time goes. Now, I actually had another project that was very contained, which now seems to be a good idea with two people. Now, it’s like we’ll see. I was also working on an animation, developing an animation called… Well, it’s called Spacism now, which is like a play on racism, but it was called Maze in Space, but now it’s Spacism.

Jeremy Harty:
That is a project I’ve heard about, how many years now, bud? You got to get it off the ground.

Shonna Foster:
Did you change the title [crosstalk 01:05:32]-

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. It’s maybe 2000… I don’t know, ’10. But I’ve had it for a long time. Yeah. It’s basically, it’s a social commentary in space. It’s a satire, but it’s a cartoon that takes place there. Yeah. Been noodling with that.

Jeremy Harty:
Yes. You chose to change the name, which Shonna asked about.

Shonna Foster: Yeah.

Cory Bowles:
I like Spacism. I think Spacism is a cool name, but-

Jeremy Harty:
Oh, no. I think it’s a good name. It definitely works better I think than the other one for stability.

Cory Bowles:
Probably, yeah. Probably.

Shonna Foster:
We have another question from Andrea. Technically the long distance showing of scenes to Cory for-

Jeremy Harty:
Oh, how did we do the technical side for showing?

Shonna Foster: Yeah.

Jeremy Harty:

This was before Frame.io. Cory could correct me if I’m wrong, but I think at the time I was using Sony Media Share, Sony CI at one point it was branded, where you just dump it out, password protected, and then they could access it or we were using Dropbox. It was one of those two, but now all the shows that I’m working on… Sorry. Was working on, we were using Frame.io.

Jeremy Harty:

We would push out our cuts, the producers and the other writers or whoever else was involved in the process would leave all their notes there and we reimport them into Final Cut, right onto the timeline, and it makes note taking and giving way easier for me, because nothing sucks more than getting four different emails from different people and trying to figure out, one, what they’re talking about because there’s no time code stamp, two, just in general what they’re talking about like they say, “Yeah. Ricky says this line.”

Jeremy Harty:

Okay. Where? You’re searching for it and you got four other people saying, “No. I like that.” You’re like, “Uh.” So who overrules who? But I think we were doing Dropbox, submitting the whole scene, and then you just… Did you call me and we talked about it on the phone most of the time?

Cory Bowles:

Sometimes we’d have a chat and we would chat on Messenger too, by Message or Messenger or whatever it’s called now. I’ll tell you, Andrea, that Jeremy and I have been working remotely for years and when I see years, I mean like a decade. We were figuring out how to do iChat. I used to teach you-

Jeremy Harty: Oh, yeah.

Cory Bowles:
Yeah, man, because [crosstalk 01:07:47]-

Jeremy Harty:
Oh, my god. Yeah.

Cory Bowles:

We were cutting my movie Heart of Rhyme while I was… I’ve finished class. I’d go home. We’d be on iChat and we’d be working remotely like figuring out… You bring up how we share screen and we’d be just doing it that way. I didn’t know that wasn’t a way that you worked so suddenly it’s like when I got to other places like in the Canadian Film Center, it was like I would go home and I’d be like, “Well, there’s no reason why I can’t do this remotely?” Which we would set up, set up with my, the person I was working with there to do the same thing, which wasn’t happening at the time.

Cory Bowles:

It’s been a thing for us to be able to do that and just be able to chat or talk on the phone and see how things work. We were pretty on that ball for 10 years.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. I totally forgot, which is funny, because there’s other things too that one thing, to my own horn. I developed doing dailies that were a podcast, but they’re password protected. You just use iTunes. You had one little link that I’d emailed to each user, and they would access that link and subscribe to the iTunes podcast and all the dailies would just get pushed out right to their phone or their iPad or whatever they were using at the time.

Jeremy Harty:

They could watch the dailies, and at one point, Technicolor, called me up, and they’re like, “How are you doing this? How are you building it into a website?” I’m like, “I don’t know if I want to tell you without getting money.” They’re like, “Ah, don’t worry about…”

Cory Bowles: We’ll figure it out.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah, and they did. They figured it out. They did it differently, but for a time. But, yeah, the iChat video thing was… Yeah. It was just screen sharing and pushing that out to Cory through iChat, so he would see full screen, whatever we were cutting. We’d talk about it. I could scrub through a little bit. It worked really well. Then, at some point it kind of just chunked. It just got chunky and it wasn’t working as well.

Jeremy Harty:

Then, they changed the software a little bit and it was gone. Now, we have Zoom and other systems that took over. That’s how big a nerd I am.

Cory Bowles:
I was thinking back, and again, trying to get a cut to finish a stronger cut [inaudible 01:09:55] we wanted

a better cut. It’s like we would be working on… Yeah, straight through the- Jeremy Harty:

Well, there was a time where I was on set of another series as the data management tech and I was cutting… Was it righteous? Yeah. It was righteous I think at the time. Another short of Cory’s that it was on hold for a long time. Why was it on hold? What was… We were waiting for one shot.

Cory Bowles:

I didn’t get the most important shot in the movie. We were so excited about we did, we forgot to get a single shot of a handshake, which is the actual crucial point of the movie. We shot it in another town 100 kilometers away. We’re never going to get that store again that we shot inside and we were driving home and we were like, “I think we forgot the shot.” They did zillion cuts, and finally, I just shot my brother’s hand. We finally did it. Yeah.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. Cory is like, “Yeah. We’ll get it done. We’ll get it done.” I was on set doing data management stuff, processing footage all day and I brought the footage from that out on set and just started cutting. At one point, I had directors and producers come in and they’re like, “What are you working on?”

Jeremy Harty:

I’m like, “Ah, another short film. Sorry.” I kind of forced Cory’s hand and said, “We’ve got to get this done, man. Seriously, this film has to be done.” It turned out great.

Shonna Foster:

Are these shorts available?

Cory Bowles: Sorry?

Jeremy Harty:
Yeah. Are your shorts available?

Cory Bowles:
some I think are, but most, no. I think-

Jeremy Harty:
If you were smart, you would release them somewhere maybe on YouTube.

Cory Bowles:

Well, there’s a couple, there’s a few of them online, but I am… You know what? I probably should just put a bunch up online like this week and I have a Vimeo, just my name is at Vimeo. I should… Yeah. I’ll just put them up online. They’re done… I mean Righteous was released back in 2014. It’s not like that’s… All those movies are… Some, I think CBC has the rights to one and they still show it once in a while, but I think I’m allowed to drop it out now.

Cory Bowles:
Yeah. You know what? That’s a good idea. I’m dropping out all my shorts this week and there you go.

Jeremy Harty:
You should. You really should, because-

Cory Bowles:
I should say our shorts because we all worked on them, so.

Jeremy Harty:
I didn’t work on all your shorts.

Cory Bowles: Well-

Jeremy Harty:
But I worked on the best ones.

Cory Bowles: Oh.

Jeremy Harty:

Oh, no. There’s some really nice shorts that Cory has never shown me, so I’d be interested to see some of those.

Cory Bowles:
This is true. I was really-

Jeremy Harty:

I don’t know if I ever saw the Heart of Rhyme short. Not the Heart of Rhyme. Sorry. Black Cop short. I don’t know if you ever showed it to me.

Cory Bowles:
Oh, because I was worried you’d judge me, because I edited that.

Jeremy Harty:
Yeah. I think so. I think that’s why you never let me see it.

Cory Bowles: Yeah.

Jeremy Harty:

Which may have been a blessing, it may have been a curse. I don’t know. Maybe I would have been on page one with you like right away, maybe it would have taken a little while for me to fight-

Cory Bowles:
Yeah. I don’t know.

Jeremy Harty:
… through in edit. It’s funny.

Shonna Foster:
Derek is asking where to see Black Cop. I know it’s available on CBC Films.

Cory Bowles:

Yeah. It’s on CBC here. If you’re in Canada, yeah. At CBC Gem right now showing it. It’s also on iTunes I think. It’s like 99 cent rental or something now. It’s on Google Play. It’s on Hulu if you have that. It should still be on Amazon Prime. It’s an Amazon movie so I think it’s there.

Cory Bowles:

It’s not [inaudible 01:13:15] any bell anymore, but I think it’s actually on YouTube Movies now for free right now, I think. It’s a special thing I guess because they’re doing all that. Let’s bring these type of movies back for free for a bit. Yeah. It’s on Apple too. Yeah. I said iTunes, Apple TV, whatever it’s called now. I don’t know. It’s always different.

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. Awesome. Thanks, Cory, because Cory didn’t come here I probably wouldn’t have done this, just because I’m so shy of cameras and being in the public eye.

Shonna Foster:
Jeremy, you keep saying you’re shy, but I have yet to witness the shyness.

Jeremy Harty:

This is something my wife’s told me for years. She’s like, “You hate going to social gatherings, but when you’re there, you’re fine.” I’m like, “Yeah. Maybe, but I dread going to it. I dread the concept.” But when I’m in it, I just push through.

Cory Bowles:
Well, Snuffleupagus no more. He’s out. There you go.

Jeremy Harty:
That’s a weird reference, man.

Cory Bowles:
You’re like the invisible letter.

Jeremy Harty:
Yeah, but do people even know who Snuffleupagus is anymore?

Shonna Foster: Yes.

Jeremy Harty:
Our age group, sure.

Cory Bowles:
Everyone knows Snuffleupagus.

Jeremy Harty: Our age.

Cory Bowles:

But I had the editor I was working with at the Canadian Film Center wanted to meet you and you were just nowhere. Because you get to choose your mentors, right? He was like, “Go and talk to Jeremy. I want this guy.” I don’t know what happened, but he just like disappeared.

Jeremy Harty:
He came here to Halifax?

Cory Bowles:

No. No. He wanted to talk to you because he chose you to be his mentor, but you were like MIA somewhere.

Jeremy Harty: When was that?

Cory Bowles:
I don’t know. It was 2013.

Jeremy Harty:
I must have been deep into Trailer Park or something.

Cory Bowles:
You know what? I think you were in the middle of, it was the movie.

Jeremy Harty: Oh.

Cory Bowles: It was in-

Jeremy Harty:

Yeah. Getting into the middle of the film is different than cutting the TV series. Yeah. That’s probably, but I can still meet that person. I still live. I’m alive.

Shonna Foster: He exists.

Cory Bowles: [crosstalk 01:15:05]

Shonna Foster: [inaudible 01:15:05]

Jeremy Harty:
He moved on. He’s on the bigger, better editors out there and hobnob [crosstalk 01:15:13]-

Cory Bowles: [crosstalk 01:15:13]

Jeremy Harty:
I missed out. I missed out.

Cory Bowles: Oh, stop it.

Jeremy Harty: It happens.

Shonna Foster:
Hey. Well, I guess we’ll wrap it up. This was great.

Jeremy Harty:
Thank you very much for-

Shonna Foster: You’re welcome.

Jeremy Harty:
… being the host.

Shonna Foster:
This is my first time doing this.

Jeremy Harty: The moderator.

Shonna Foster: This was fun.

Jeremy Harty:

I think you did lovely, but, again, this is my first time too, so I don’t know. I have no reference, but I’m sure it was great.

Shonna Foster:
Same time next week, Jeremy.

Cory Bowles: It’s awesome.

Jeremy Harty:

Hell no. No. Look at how I’m blushing. That’s how out of my comfort zone I am, but this was way less painful than I thought it would [crosstalk 01:15:47]-

Shonna Foster:
Would you do it live if it was, I don’t know, in a theater or stage?

Jeremy Harty: I’ve talked once.

Cory Bowles:
He did a live chat with me here during TIFF.

Jeremy Harty: Yeah. I did.

Cory Bowles:
For Penshoppe College. It was great. He was awesome too. I think you should [crosstalk 01:16:03]-

Jeremy Harty: I think-

Cory Bowles:
… more. I think it’s important. I think that he has a lot of good and valuable things to say.

Jeremy Harty:

Thanks, bud. Well, you have a lot to say too. You got to make your next film or TV series or short, whatever. Make what makes you happy.

Cory Bowles:
Whatever we’re doing, we’ll be back soon. We’ll be back soon.

Shonna Foster:
Thank you very much for offering me this opportunity, Cory, as well. I appreciate it.

Jeremy Harty:
It was nice to meet you.

Shonna Foster:

It was nice to meet you, Jeremy, and everybody thank you for tuning in. Have a good rest of your evening and-

Jeremy Harty: Bye, everyone.

Shonna Foster: … bye, everyone.

Sarah Taylor:

Thank you so much for joining us today and a big thank you goes to Jeremy, Cory, and Shonna. Special thanks goes to Jane MacRae. This episode was edited by Malcolm Taylor. The main title sound design was created by Jane Tattersall, additional ADR 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​ c​ ceditors.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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Credits

A special thanks goes to

Jane MacRae

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Sarah Taylor

Edited by

Malcolm Taylor

Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

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Categories
The Editors Cut

Episode 041 – Edit Chats with Ken Filewych, CCE

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

Episode 41: Edit Chats with Ken Filewych, CCE

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

TEC_EP041_MS_Edmonton_Ken_Filewych_CCE-WEB

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

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

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

This episode was sponsored by Annex Pro/Avid

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

 

Sarah Taylor:

This episode was generously sponsored by Annex Pro and Avid.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

[show open]

Sarah Taylor:

Welcome, Ken.

Ken Filewych:

Hello, all.

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Good one.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Pretty much.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

Yes.

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, no.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, no.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Oh, dear.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

When to bite your tongue.

Ken Filewych:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

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

 

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Good old days.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

 

Sarah Taylor:

[Laughing] Oh.

 

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

The worst line.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

[Laughing] “You have a personality.”

Ken Filewych:

Yeah, yeah, “Get away.”

Sarah Taylor:

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

If that was who we are, yeah, right?

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

That’s interesting.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

That’s so cool. Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, word of mouth feels like the biggest-

Ken Filewych:

It’s everything, because-

Sarah Taylor:

It’s how I get my work, too.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

A minute.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah. Guilty.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Speed is important.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yup!

Ken Filewych:

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

 

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

[Laughing] Hey, Matt!

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

Yeah.

Sarah Taylor:

I don’t know.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

That’s a whole Zoom call.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

I think so.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

A lot of films are-

Ken Filewych:

So-

Sarah Taylor:

So many films, you’re right, right.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

On that note, let’s learn about editing.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Totally, yeah.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Or your keyboard.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

“I need my safety bubble.”

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Show dialogue:

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

Ken Filewych:

And I keep doing that.

Show dialogue:

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

Show dialogue:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

I get it.

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

Correct.

Sarah Taylor:

Or do you have a workaround for that?

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Do you always go?

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

So, it’s a lot of your instinct?

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Good for you.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

That’s okay. That’s the reality.

Ken Filewych:

I wish-

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

That’s right.

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

Like, “This is how we do it.”

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

Exactly, hey.

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Yeah, yeah. Small market.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

Before they happen, yeah, absolutely.

Sarah Taylor:

Any advice for working with actors as a director?

Ken Filewych:

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

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

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Cool.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

Awesome.

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

Ken Filewych:

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

Sarah Taylor:

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

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

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

 

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

 

[Outtro]

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

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Credits

A special thanks goes to

Jane MacRae

Malcolm Taylor

Hosted, Produced and Edited by

Sarah Taylor

Main Title Sound Design by

Jane Tattersall

ADR Recording by

Andrea Rusch

Mixed and Mastered by

Tony Bao

Original Music by

Chad Blain

Sponsor Narration by

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Categories
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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