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What Do Our Members Do?

MARQUITA "LYRIC" RAMSEY - PICTURE EDITOR

September 2018

Where are you currently employed?

I recently wrapped a Viacom show for the 2018 BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards.

 

Current Project?

The project was called 2018 BET Experience: Acoustically Speaking.

 

Describe Your Job.

Acoustically Speaking was a live taping of the BET Awards concert at the LA Convention Center. This was the first year the awards show aired on TV and included interview segments with the R‘n’B artists who were performing. As the supervising editor on the show, I was responsible for creating a fresh new style and managed a team of talented editors. Along with reformatting the live show for a TV audience, I also oversaw the mixing and editing of the music to fit the one-hour airtime.

 

How did you first become interested in this line of work?

I attended Howard University for Television and Film. When I arrived in Los Angeles with zero contacts, I landed a production assistant job on a reality show. Then I hustled at a post company called Rocket Science and began to see how TV was created. The editors were the members of the team who really held the driving keys. I wanted that power and a position where my work spoke louder than my race or gender. As a young editor, I idealistically thought that my work would get me into doors that my race wouldn’t and, mostly, this has been accurate.

 

Who gave you your first break?

I’ve been beating down doors in this business from day one and I’m still looking for that career- and life-changing break. But I am thankful to post supervisor Ryan Abbott, who advised me to learn Avid, and post supervisor Ralik Rachman, who gave me my first job as an editor. I was a lead assistant editor, lacking confidence to make the jump, and he believed in me from day one.

 

What was your first union job?

For my first union gig, I was honored to cut on two seasons of Project Runway Junior.

 

Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?

On Tour with Meek Mill is a documentary film where I could really flex my artistic skills. A lot of companies hire me because I’m a style and music editor, but rarely are you allowed to push the art in unscripted. Still, I’m very proud of Project Runway Junior. My editing partner and I worked on the finales for both seasons, and that was some of my best work.

 

What was the most fun you’ve had at work?

Attending the runway shows for Project Runway Junior. Since we were responsible for cutting the finale, the show runner thought it would be great if we attended. In general, the most fun is when I can get out of the edit bay. On the second season of Sisterhood of Hip Hop, as a supervising editor I was brought into the field as a producer (considering myself a “preditor”). Bridging production and post, I crafted story and heightened my effectiveness leading in post. 

 

What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?

Time is a huge challenge, with schedules for episodes getting shorter and shorter. I think it’s key to be honest with producers and post supervisors — if you’re drowning in material and feel you need extra support, say it! Another challenge was working on a reality project and cutting dailies while on location. Most days they didn’t set up a “video village” on set, so I had to cut from “hot sheets” (daily summaries from the set) in a hotel room for 15 hours a day!

 

Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?

I need to win a personal Emmy for editing, and I promised my late mother I would work on a western, which was her favorite genre. Also in the next five years, I hope to be out of unscripted, and directing, producing and editing my own content for networks or streaming services.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I have a passion for giving back, especially to gay and lesbian youth and people of color. It’s important to show my community that we exist in all areas of media. I also work on content for “(blak)•Unicorn,” my own production company, feeding my soul and keeping me hungry. I recently finished Shakedown, a documentary that premiered at Outfest this summer.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

The movie that blew my mind as a kid was Gone with the Wind. It shocks people when I say that, but I remember this epic story of a way of life vanishing, my first taste of movie magic. Other favorites are The Color Purple, Imitation of Life, Schindler’s List, Kill Bill and The Descent. And Set It Off, a great underrated film; when the lesbian Cleo (Queen Latifah) is gunned down by the police, I felt it!!! Growing up black and lesbian, I had never seen images of myself on the big screen. Later, The Celluloid Closet, a great doc about how movies portray queer men and women, brought my feelings full circle.

 

Favorite TV program(s)? Why?

TV shaped me. As the baby of three kids, I watched All in the FamilyThe Jeffersons, Sanford and Son and Good Times (thank you, Norman Lear). Taking over the remote, I loved The Cosby Show and A Different World (a major reason I attended Howard University). As a young adult, The Real WorldTrue LifeBuffy the Vampire Slayer and Saved by the Bell. Now, favorites are Stranger ThingsHow to Get Away with MurderNoisey, Insecure and The Good Fight.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

Joining the Guild’s Diversity Committee has given me a great resource for meeting so many talented men and women. Among them are people I admire who may not know they are mentors, like Mary DeChambres. I can always reach out to her and she’s always open to give sage advice.

 

What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?

I’m still learning that the best advice is to network. Editors spend all their time making others look great on the screen, but we need to be advocates for ourselves. It works to be visible on social media. And it’s important to stay working! Remember that you are only racing with yourself. Keep working, keep meeting new people and trust that your time to shine will come!

 

Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?

Being part of the Editors Guild is a source of pride and has helped me continue my education as an editor. There are always activities or seminars that allow me to network and learn to be not only a better editor, but a better individual.

 

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?

I would strongly encourage the Guild to continue to reach out to POC (people of color) and to create a mentorship program so we can really get to know more of the talented men and women who share the title “editor.” Lastly, thank you for opening so many doors for me since joining. I hope to continue working with many of you in the future.

 

Compiled by Edward Landler      

Editor’s Note: To recommend a member (including yourself) to be featured on CineMontage.org, and the home page of the Editors Guild website, please contact edlandler@roadrunner.com.

SETH GLENNIE-SMITH - MUSIC EDITOR

August 2018

Where are you currently employed?

I am currently working as a music editor for composers Brian Tyler and Keith Power on Hawaii Five-Oand the upcoming Magnum P.I. reboot, premiering this fall.

 

Describe Your Job.

When people tell you that they are music editors, it’s fair to say they could be wearing any number of different hats. It really varies gig to gig. The main goal is to streamline, expedite and generally help the composer and filmmakers achieve their creative vision through the various stages of production. For me, the most exciting part of the job is taking music written by the composer and finding sneaky ways to reintegrate it into different parts of the show. This not only establishes thematic continuity, but also helps speed the process along.

 

How did you first become interested in this line of work?

Growing up in a creative, musical family who nurtured my interest in music inspired the career path I’ve taken. I caught the bug for writing and was on a mission to be a composer, working at it for years. Honestly, I didn’t even know what a music editor was or did before becoming involved in bigger projects, and I certainly had no idea that I was on the path to becoming one.

So, music editing sort of found me, and I’ve run with it. I’ve found that having the perspective and insight of a composer in an editorial context has been very empowering and rewarding. It’s given me the opportunity to work with some really stellar composers, and I’ve enjoyed the creative problem solving and teamwork that I get to engage in as a music editor.

 

Who gave you your first break?

Brian Tyler hired me as an intern in 2013, which quickly turned into an assistant role. Right off the bat, I was thrown into the deep end with three concurrent projects: Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe Expendables 3, and an NFL rebranding gig for ESPN. Brian gave me license to make mistakes, learn from them and really get hands-on with awesome projects for the next three years.

What was your first union job?

Power Rangers in 2017.

 

Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?

Two projects come to mind. Criminal, co-scored by Brian Tyler and Keith Power. It was super cool to do some additional synth programming and arrangements in addition to assisting with conforms and delivery. That movie rocked! The second was being an assistant music editor on Power Rangers. It was a great experience to work on the Sony dub stage with Brian, Dean Israelite and so many incredibly creative professionals to realize original creator/producer Haim Saban’s vision. And we did!

I’ve found that having the perspective and insight of a composer in an editorial context has been very empowering and rewarding.

 

What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?

A tricky scenario that happens occasionally when the higher-ups will dislike a scene for one reason or another, and try to fix the issue by changing the music. While it can be frustrating, I get it, because it’s faster and cheaper to have the music team throw together different solutions rather than going back several steps in the process. However, these problematic scenes or cues can take serious time and put you in the weeds. The challenge lies in finding a balance of what is feasible and reasonable to do in editorial versus sending it back to the drawing board altogether. With close coordination between the composer and the filmmakers, we always find a happy solution.

 

What was the most fun you’ve had at work?

Going to Brian Tyler’s recording sessions for films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Furious 7. It was so cool to hear his top-notch music brought to the next level with all the life and sheen that the best session players in LA bring to it.

 

Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?

More music! Whether it’s editorial or composing, I just hope to continue working with great collaborators.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I love fiddling with hardware synthesizers. For whatever reason, I find them completely intoxicating and can spend hours patching cables and turning knobs to find a fun sound or texture. When I am not in the studio, I try to get out of the chair as much as possible. Surfing at Palos Verdes and San Clemente and climbing at Hollywood Boulders are some of my favorite things to do.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

Three movies I love. First, No Country for Old Men. There is basically no music in this. It’s not lazy; it works. And when there is music, it’s great. I love Carter Burwell’s sensibility on this one. The second and third would be Inception and Interstellar, both with music by Hans Zimmer. Jam-packed with so much rich emotion that when you listen to the soundtrack, you are transported back into the film.

 

Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

Love the ’80s synth style that Stranger Things helped re-popularize.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

Without a doubt, Brian Tyler, Keith Power and music editor Joe Lisanti, who essentially taught me everything I know; I’m lucky to call them friends.

 

What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work? 

The best advice I can give is to never accept failure as an option, network your butt off and maintain connections with others in the industry.

 

Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?

Fortunately, I have not had a reason to rely on the Guild for help; however, it is very comforting to know that should something ever come up, I have a team to wage war on my behalf.

 

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?

Get out of the chair. Deep breaths and stretching are nice ways to decompress.

Compiled by Edward Landler      

Editor’s Note: To recommend a member (including yourself) to be featured on CineMontage.org, and the home page of the Editors Guild website, please contact edlandler@roadrunner.com

RITA SANDERS - PICTURE EDITOR

November 2017

Where are you currently employed?

I work on the Paramount lot, which is great because my last two shows have been in the same building there.

 

Current Project?

I am one of the editors on a new thriller, You, for Lifetime Television. Get ready, because it’s going to be an incredible show!

 

Describe Your Job.

I generally work in one-hour television on shows with three editors, each one taking charge of every third episode. I endeavor to take the roughly four hours of footage shot daily for my episodes (prepared by my excellent and talented assistant editor, Erin Wolf) and sculpt it into its most compelling form.

I try to make creative choices that will align as closely as possible with the writer’s and director’s intentions, trusting my instincts and personal tastes as my guiding principles. Choosing when and where to cut, I shape performances, pacing, tension and comedy; then I sprinkle in some temp music, sound effects and (sometimes) visual effects After my initial editor’s cut, working with notes from directors, producers, showrunners, and studio and network executives, I polish the show into a tight 42-minute masterpiece (hopefully) of storytelling.

 

How did you first become interested in this line of work?

I’ve been editing since my parents let me set up two VCRs in our living room as a teenager. I would try to cut trailers or funny mash-ups from VHS movies we owned. I was also part of a team that wrote, shot and edited my high school’s daily announcements on an Amiga Video Toaster; it was incredible how much fun we had with it. I entered the University of Texas, Austin film school wanting to direct but, by the time I left, I knew I wanted to be an editor. Of all the elements of filmmaking, editing still seems like the most fun and most important to me.

 

Who gave you your first break?

I worked about eight years editing TV news, indie features and documentaries in Austin before I moved to Los Angeles. I qualified for the union because of my documentary experience, but when Terry Kelley, ACE, helped get me a job as his assistant editor on a union TV pilot, I felt like I got my big break. It was a chance to show my stuff at a higher level, and I was better able to find my own jobs afterwards as a union assistant editor and, eventually, editor.

 

What was your first union job?

Before that, my first union job had been as assistant editor on a feature, Breathe In, edited by the patient and talented Jonathan Alberts.

 

Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?

I am very proud of The Horse Boy, a beautiful 90-minute documentary I edited from hundreds of hours of footage shot mainly in Mongolia. However, getting to cut on the first two seasons of the SyFy show The Magicians was also truly incredible. That show is so complex, so funny, so stylish and so scary, I feel I came out of it a better and much more confident editor.

 

What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?

Back in Austin, I edited a documentary in a building that almost burned down in a four-alarm fire. We lost all of our computers, some of our tapes and a lot of our digitized footage. Fortunately, I had backed up all our project files and taken them with me when I left the previous night and we could re-digitize almost all of what we lost. That was a big lesson — always back up your project!

 

What was the most fun you’ve had at work?

My last show, Chance (for Hulu), was an incredibly fun show. Our post department was the nicest, chill-est group of people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. We were always trying to get more exercise because we all sat all day, every day. One day, our whole editorial department took over the Paramount editorial building break room to exercise to a fitness dance video. A lot of people got a big laugh when they saw us dancing so intensely and awkwardly.

 

Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?

I am a big science fiction fan and I want to work on shows that tell difficult stories in fantastical ways. Like most people, I also crave being represented in the stories I see. I really want to work on shows that are not only wildly entertaining but will also contribute to women’s understanding of themselves and the world. These goals are not mutually exclusive but sometimes it feels like our industry believes they are.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I enjoy nerd stuff like cosplay, sci-fi novels and Dungeons and Dragons. I am constantly listening to podcasts and spend a lot of time with my cat; she tells the best jokes.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

Children of MenThe Witch28 Days Later and Fast, Cheap & Out of Control are films I love because they elevated their genres to a higher level of quality and entertainment. The Jerk and Clue remain two of the funniest films ever made.

 

Favorite TV program(s)? Why?

Y’all, I need to remind you that Xena: Warrior Princess was the best television show ever made. Comedy, action, swords and sandals — and a beautiful depiction of female friendship. What else could I ever need? I accept FireflyThe ExpanseMisfitsAre You Being Served?Steven Universe and 30 Rock as runners up.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

I would not be where I am today without Terry Kelley. He taught me how to be a better editor and a better person. His friendship and career guidance have been invaluable. He has a long history of mentoring young editors and he taught me the value of taking an interest in the people working around me; we can all teach each other something. I want to pay his mentorship forward to other young people who need a mentor like I did when I was starting out.

 

What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?

Honestly, if you can be happy doing anything other than this, go do that thing! This can be a brutal line of work, but if you have that fire and passion for the work, then give it your all because it will enrich you and nourish you. I wouldn’t trade this job for anything in the world.

 

Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?

I haven’t needed to go to the Guild with work problems, but the training classes the Guild offers and the opportunity to better my skills on equipment at the Guild has been very valuable!

 

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?

It’s rough out there but we are very lucky to be in one of the few industries left with strong unions. I try to stay involved by participating in union-related social media pages to keep up to date with what is happening with our membership. We are all better off when as many of us are as involved as possible.

Compiled by Edward Landler

 Editor’s Note: To recommend a member (including yourself) to be featured on the home page of the Editors Guild website, contact edlandler@roadrunner.com.


Interested in Being Featured?

Tomm Carroll
Publications Director
323.876.4770, ext. 222
tcarroll@editorsguild.com