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What Do Our Members Do?



ADAM PEARSON - ASSISTANT EDITOR

November 2021

Where are you currently employed?

ABC Television / eOne.

 

Current projects?

“The Rookie,” Season Four.

 

Describe your job.

Assistant editing is really dualistic. There’s all the technical stuff: dailies intake, media organization and QC, prep for the editor, spot checks and vendor turnover, but it also requires the ability to flip and do a lot of creative work. Preliminary sound design, temp visual effects, temp ADR, watching scenes with the editor and being a second set of eyes on cuts… you have to be able to flip between right brain and left brain pretty often. It’s one of my favorite things about the work.

 

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

When I was in middle school, I saw a rerun of a show called “Movie Magic.” That was the first time I realized making movies, television, all these stories and worlds that were so captivating to me—that was an actual job a person could have. From that moment, I was doomed to pursue it.

 

Who gave you your first break?

My path has been pretty winding, so there’ve been quite a few breaks. I started training and working as an actor and fell in love with production through that. Started freelance producing and directing, which led me to editorial. At each step in the journey, I got huge breaks thanks to people I will be grateful to for the rest of my life. The break that brought me here (after deciding to leave unscripted editing for the scripted world, grinding night assist shifts, scraping together qualifying hours anywhere I could) came from a wonderful and talented scripted editor named Kurt Courtland.

 

What was your first union job?

Assisting on a BET drama called “Games People Play.” I was working as a swing for two unscripted shows and six ongoing development projects in the same building where “Games” was posting. I had gotten to know the “Games” team around the building, and they knew most of my story. Kurt’s assistant (yup, the same Kurt) got bumped up about a month or so in. When he did, Kurt knocked on my door and asked if I was interested in assisting him for the rest of the season. He doesn’t know this, but the second he left my office, I jumped up out of my chair and actually danced. He’s a fantastic editor to work with, and I will be forever grateful that he took a chance on me.

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

I’m extremely proud of the most recent show I worked on, “Dopesick.” It’s an immensely powerful story about something that has absolutely decimated the entire country. I have people from my life who bore the fallout from the obscene greed and despicable lies that fueled the opioid epidemic in this country. Being part of telling that story has been one of the highlights of my career, so far.

 

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

One of the hardest parts of the job, in my opinion, is respect. It’s much too easy to find people who don’t respect your work. I have been fortunate to work with people who not only understand the job I do, but who respect what it takes to do that job and do it well. I have also encountered a large number of people who, whether intentionally or unintentionally, commoditize assistants and, frankly, don’t give a damn. The only way to overcome this is simply to find those people you respect who, in turn, give a shit about what goes on behind your bay door. Anyone who acts differently – learn to spot ’em early.

 

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

Hands down, the most fun I’ve had on any show was on the second season of “The Rookie.” That post crew is one of the best groups of people in the world. I think the most fun I’ve ever had on that show was for an episode with a scene that took place in a crowded bar where karaoke was going on in the background. Of course, they didn’t shoot the karaoke audio on set, so we needed temp ADR. The entire post team packed shoulder to shoulder into my tiny bay (this was pre-COVID, in case anyone’s toes curled up just then) and proceeded to belt out “Don’t Stop Believing” with the most amazingly over-the-top energy we could muster. It was absolute magic.

 

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

My focus is to do the best work I can as an assistant and work my way into editing I’ve been fortunate to find magnificent editors who have been extraordinarily generous with their experience and given me not only the opportunity to cut, but the benefit of their feedback and guidance. I aim every time to make the most of those opportunities and put them to use in furthering my craft.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

Oh, man, so many things. I love reading, the outdoors, learning languages. I was a low-level competitive gamer for a minute. It’s less a question of passions and hobbies than it is a question of having time to engage in those things in a meaningful way. Even now…I’m finishing up writing this at the end of a 14-hour day. I ate dinner in front of my computer. The work requires so much from us that when it comes to what we do outside of it… a lot of the time, the only answer is to get whatever sleep we can.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

  • “Jaws” is a clinic in pop structure and pacing. So is “Jurassic Park.” (“Jurassic Park” is also the prime standard of being judicious and effective with your CGI.)
  • “The Conversation” is an exceptional example of editorial craft (and don’t forget sound design).
  • The original “Ghostbusters” is seamlessly written.
  • “Ikiru” is a marvel of stillness and depth of emotion.
  • “The Lord of The Rings” Trilogy is a soup to nuts example of movie magic: the miniatures and bigatures, set construction, perspectives, visual effects, makeup, production design… it’s an astonishing piece of work.
  • “Paprika” is a masterpiece of visual storytelling.

 

Favorite TV program(s)? Why?

  • “Hannibal” is one of the most beautifully designed and shot series I’ve seen recently.
  • “Legion” was bold AF and I loved every second of it.
  • I tie “Archer,” “Ted Lasso,” “Mythic Quest,” and “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as the tightest writing around right now.
  • “Big Mouth” adeptly and honestly tackled subjects other shows wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, or would butcher in the attempt.
  • “Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood” is a beautiful example of balancing deep intertwining character arcs in concert with an epic overarching plot.
  • “PEN15” is a spectacle of amazing performances and pure heart.
  • The fearless simplicity of Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Primal” should be required viewing for any story-teller.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

Since I began my union journey, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with several talented editors. Each of them has shaped me as a professional and as a person. For me, there has been a very “village” feel, and it’s one of the things I love the most about this union and this work.

 

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

When you’re starting out, be diligent, be dedicated, and don’t be intimidated. Ask questions and commiserate with peers you respect, let people know you’re passionate about pursuing the work, and prove it to them through your actions.

Once you get in the door, it’s extremely easy to get a bad case of imposter syndrome. Just relax, be patient, do your job, take your time, and ask for help. Don’t let people who try to squeeze you break you down. You made it here, so you belong here. You know what you need to. What you don’t know, you can figure out.

 

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

Oh yes. I won’t name names, but I worked as an LA local on a remote location show that, among other things, skimmed my per diems and tried to gaslight the whole post team out of two weeks’ pay and relocation transportation costs when we moved post back to LA at the last minute. It was a wall-to-wall trash fire. After approaching the producers directly didn’t work, we got 700 on the phone. They got that straightened out real quick.

 

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

Joining the union changed my life. I am grateful every day for the knowledge, the opportunities, and the kinship, not just within 700 but industry-wide. We are different locals, but we are one union, and we are standing together now in a way that’s never been seen before. We have the power and the opportunity to reshape this industry forever and for the better. And if we are bold enough to dare, I believe that we can.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

 

Want to be featured in What Our Members Do? Email scollins@editorsguild.com.

JASON BROTMAN - ASSISTANT EDITOR, BOARD MEMBER

October 2021

Where are you currently employed?

I’m currently working for Sony Pictures Television.

 

I also serve as an assistant editor representative on the Editors Guild board of directors (not a paid position).

 

Current projects?

Season 3 of Amazon’s “The Boys.”

 

This is the last year of my first term on the board.

 

Describe your job.

As an assistant editor, my priority is to maintain a well-organized and technically sound Avid project. Clean and disciplined media management is key. The modern duties of the position include temp sound effects and scoring work as well as rough visual effects. We refine and refine the show until it’s in its best possible form. That’s lock. From there, I do turnovers, which essentially means taking the show apart and sending the pieces out to third-party vendors (sound editing and mixing, picture online, and visual effects) for the final polish.

 

As a member of the Board of Directors, I attend monthly meetings that include the Guild officers and our National Executive Director, Cathy Repola. We oversee some administrative duties, but most of our time is devoted to examining issues our members face and working on ways to address them; planning social and professional enrichment events; and long-term initiatives to strengthen and prepare the Guild for the future.

 

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

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for entertainment of all kinds, particularly TV/film and video games. My grandfather and I used to go to the movies on a regular basis, and there was nothing like the elevated experience and escape it would give me. I would be totally engrossed. I was very fortunate to attend a middle school and high school with video production classes, so I actually began editing at age 11, first with iMovie and then later on Final Cut Pro. I realized I had a knack for it and I was off to the races.

 

I’ve always been very politically active and concerned with the circumstances facing average Americans, especially workers’ rights. So when things were heating up during the 2018 Basic Agreement negotiation, I discovered the Guild community online and got vocal. After I attended a general membership meeting, a Board member suggested that I come to a Board meeting as a guest, which any member can do. I didn’t even know about the Board of Directors prior to that, but it felt like a place I would have something to contribute. So I ran for election that fall and won an assistant editor seat.

 

Who gave you your first break?

My very first gig was a travel show called “Drinking Made Easy” on HDNet (now AXS TV). I’m grateful that the host, Zane Lamprey, took a chance on a kid literally two days out of college and hired me directly to the assistant editor position.

 

What was your first union job?

Assistant editing for Nona Khodai, ACE, on season 2 of NBC’s “The Night Shift.” I am forever grateful that she gave me a leg up to the union world.

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

Easily, the thing I’m most proud of is my work on “The Boys.” It’s the most technically challenging and ambitious show I’ve ever worked on. It’s the show I’ve spent the most time on, every season pushing me in ways that have improved my craft and confidence as an editor. I’m also very happy to say that, pound for pound, it’s the best group of people I’ve worked with, from our showrunner Eric Kripke on down. Respect abounds and it’s truly a family.

 

As for my work with the board, I’m proudest of creating and co-chairing the Local 700 Young Workers Group with my fellow board member, Shiran Amir. The work we’ve been doing to engage and educate young and new members has been extremely gratifying and inspiring.

 

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

So far, the biggest challenge I’ve found in my career has been to create and preserve a work-life balance that maintains my mental health and personal commitments to loved ones. The reality is, if you’re experienced enough that the work is not too hard or stressful, what can get in the way of a healthy work-life balance is if people don’t treat you with respect. The way I’ve solved this is to make gig decisions based largely on whether a crew has a reputation for being good people. I pride myself on working with some wonderful human beings and purposely avoiding those who would make my job, and subsequently my life, a nightmare.

 

The biggest challenge on the Board is learning to have patience. It’s a deliberative body of roughly 50 people and, like any deliberative body, getting major things done can be a slow process. Being assertive but respectful is key.

 

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

For season 2 of “The Boys,” the Aquaman-like character, The Deep, has a hallucination on mushrooms where his gills talk to him about his love life, and they do a duet of “You Are So Beautiful.” The gills ended up being voiced by Patton Oswalt (which was phenomenal!), but until that happened, we had to do temp ADR for the scene. We weren’t sure who was going to sell it best, so we ended up recording about five different people in the office. It. Was. Ridiculous.

 

The most fun I’ve had at a Guild function is the annual installation dinner. It’s a formal affair  where we celebrate the new members of the board and honor those leaving. Good food, great conversation, free drinks. ‘Nuff said!

 

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

I’d very much like to be editing full-time. I have an Additional Editor credit and a shared Editor credit under my belt for, respectively, “Home Before Dark” and “Resident Alien.” I’ve been assistant editing for 10 years, and I really feel like I’m ready for the next stage in my career.

 

In five years, I’d also love to be on my third term as a board member!

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I’m an information geek of all kinds, so I have a long list of podcasts that I’m learning from all the time. I’m a big gamer and think it’s very much an underappreciated artform. I love trying new restaurants, cooking, hiking, and I’m a BIG political junkie.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

One of my all-time favorites is “Good Will Hunting.” Growing up in the Bay Area suburbs where the focus is much more on sports and business than the arts, I often felt like the black sheep. Will’s experience of seeing things through a very different lens than the people around him really resonated with me. It’s also got Robin Williams’ Oscar-winning performance and a fantastic soundtrack.

 

I’m also a huge fan of sci-fi (“Interstellar” and “Arrival,” to name a couple), and I’m a fan of basically everything David Fincher has ever done.

 

Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

“Breaking Bad” because, come on. “Lost” will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first serial show that I deeply got into. And “The Office”—endlessly re-watchable and just pure joy.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

I’ve been very fortunate to work with a number of brilliant editors over the years. Each of them left an impression on me and helped me hone my craft, so I don’t have a single mentor per se. I actually prefer it that way. I love that I’ve received a number of different perspectives from a diverse array of editors, all with different goals and individual paths that got them where they are.

 

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

Work hard, be curious, pay attention, and try to achieve a certain level of speed. As soon as possible, find the most efficient but precise way to do something. It makes the job easier and your day shorter. More time at the office does not automatically equal better quality work. It’s vital to set personal boundaries. Let your professional performance speak for itself and trust that people on the other end will honor that. If they don’t, those aren’t the kind of people you want to be working with going forward. There is plenty of content out there. Don’t waste your time and energy working with people who are abusive or selfish.

 

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

I was on a show that had a luxurious schedule, so there were a couple weeks where very little was going on in editorial. I was told by the associate producer that the teams would be staggered so one editor and their assistant would take the week off and then swap the next week. This didn’t sit right with me, so I reached out to the Guild for clarification. It turns out this is a little-known part of the contract called a “hold call” or “relay call” and it’s not allowed. Post jobs by nature are of long duration, so an employer who tells you not to work one week is essentially preventing you from having a paycheck from anywhere that week, because chances are highly unlikely that someone in post would be able to find and fill one week of availability, particularly on short notice. The Guild reached out to labor relations at the studio and the plan was scrapped. No missed paychecks for us!

 

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

This business can be brutal. The hours can be long. The treatment can be harsh. The work can be tedious. There’s no shame in being affected by this. It doesn’t make you less good at your job or less deserving of your position. If you’re struggling, open up to your colleagues about it. We need to be there and support one another. If you’re working 12-hour days on a regular basis and it’s taking a toll on you, no one should view you as weak. You’re human. Don’t let anyone, whether it be a producer or a fellow union member, make you feel like you’re acting entitled simply for wanting some level of normalcy in your life. It’s exploitative, abusive, and toxic, and we have to weed it out wherever we find it.

 

Never forget that being in a union means we are part of a large family of fellow members, and we have the Guild standing behind us. We have a commitment to each other that, at its best, protects and advances all of us.

ALEX ROMANO - FINISHING EDITOR

September 2021

Where are you currently employed?

Stampede Post Production, Hollywood, Calif.

 

Current projects?

Trailers and commercials for theatrical, broadcast, and social media distribution for numerous studios, including Amazon Prime and Lionsgate.

 

Describe your job.

After receiving the turnover from the offline creatives, I conform the final sequence from feature footage and clips, perform a color grade and add necessary graphics. Once our audio mixer finishes a proposed mix, these are married and sent to the studio representatives for approval. Once approved, distribution files are created with various release versions (release date, “In Select Theatres”, “Now Streaming”, with or without continuous logos, etc.), and each are converted into various social media aspect ratios. One original sequence can result in dozens of distribution files.

 

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

In high school, we had a student-produced TV news show that was broadcast to the school during homeroom each week. Students performed all aspects of news production: shooting, reporting, editing, anchoring. The part that was always the most enjoyable for me was the editing, even on the primitive equipment available at the time. It was at that point that I learned that I love collaborative creation through the art and craft of editing.

 

Who gave you your first break?

I used connections made through my time at USC. Through working as a student at the Interactive Television Network in the School of Engineering and as a student in the School of Cinema, I created relationships with co-workers, fellow students, staff, and faculty. After working at USC for a number of years after graduation, I was able to use these relationships to help me be “in the right place at the right time” to establish myself in the industry. Rik Breniser, a co-worker at the time, helped me get my first job. From there, each job change became an opportunity to grow into new technology and different aspects of editing. Every job I have held in this industry has been the result of networking with my connections made through the years.

 

What was your first union job?

My first job in “The Industry” was as a union videotape operator at Consolidated Films, Inc. (CFI), but that only lasted a few months before I started as a videotape operator/supervisor at VidCom Post, a non-union facility. In my next job, at 525 Post, I was able to transition to working as an online editor, finishing music videos and commercials. That work transitioned to movie trailers and then to Digital Intermediate conform.

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

The credit I am most proud of is “The Hurt Locker,” which won Best Picture in 2010; I received credit as Online DI Editor and as Visual Effects Artist, finishing over 70 visual effects shots. In the execution of the feature, I was called on to add muzzle flashes, explosions, debris, remove crew and bystanders, and in some cases, help re-envision the look of some scenes. I also lead the team that augmented the explosion near the beginning of the movie, to make sure it was convincingly lethal. Through all of this, I was able to approach the work with confidence in my craft and the tools at hand, so that most of the shots were approved on first presentation to the director.

 

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

The credits that were the most fun were those at my previous (union) job at Level 3 Post. I worked as Online Editor for the first seasons of “Ted Lasso” and “The Flight Attendant.” Second to that were the Marvel TV shows for Netflix (“Daredevil,” Jessica Jones,” etc.). In every case, I have the most fun when everyone works together providing their own contribution to the final product. The job of creation is best accomplished when it is the work of a team of collaborators.

 

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

Contemplating plans for a comfortable retirement.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I love creating, whether that is model railroading, woodworking or home renovation. I also love the satisfaction and meaning that comes from volunteering.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

Most of the movies I have worked on have been lasting favorites, especially those that have a meaningful message that helps improve society, like “The Hurt Locker” and “Dreamgirls.”

 

Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

I have always been a fan of the “Star Trek” TV series, all versions.  The optimism for humanity that is portrayed strikes a chord with me.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

I have always looked up to Steve Scott as a model for my work. We worked together at 525 Post, mostly doing high-end commercials. One such commercial, for Mercedes, won the Clio for Best Visual Effects. Steve’s work ethic has always been to strive for perfection and to never let compromise affect the final product (or at least as little as possible). He has a keen eye for color and composition which has helped him become one the top colorists in the world. He also has an eye for imperfections, sometimes down to the pixel, that, if left, would diminish the final product.

 

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

Every job I have had in this industry has come about through the assistance of people I have met and formed relationships with over the years. My advice to anyone looking to thrive in this industry is to create close relationships with everyone you come in contact with. You never know who will be the person that provides the lead to “being in the right place at the right time.” I would also advise to always remain humble and willing to help others. Very rarely is arrogance and narcissism beneficial.

 

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

Not yet.

 

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

I learned a very important lesson during my first full-time job in this industry from an editor named Marcus Weiss. He was working freelance, filling in for a vacationing staff editor, while I was supervising the videotape room. The relatively new tape op working with Marcus had just been yelled at by one of the staff editors for not being fast enough at her job. And as luck would have it, the work demands reached her limit and the editor was left waiting for her to complete a series of tasks. Marcus came into the tape room, and the tape op cringed for the yelling that was sure to come. Instead, Marcus said he was there to help and could teach her to be more effective at her job. At the end of the day,  Marcus came back to the machine room to thank her for all her hard work. She was amazed at his grace and said so. This was Marcus’s response, which has stayed with me: “This is a small town and we are sure to work together in the future. If I can do something now that will help you be better now, you’ll be that much better when we meet again.” I find it encouraging that there are Marcuses out there, and I strive to be one myself. Maybe you’re one of them—or could be.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

MARILYSE VEGA MARTINEY - DIGITAL OPERATOR Y-16

August 2021

Where are you currently employed?

The Walt Disney Studios

  

Current projects?

Disney+ content and shorts. Also features and theatrical media distribution.

 

Describe your job.

For theatrical releases, I assist with asset prep by requesting the media needed to create DCPs [Digital Cinema Packages].

 

For Disney+, I take subtitle files created by vendors and sync them up with the content. Sometimes the timed text files line up perfectly, but a lot of the time (particularly with old titles) we need to do frame rate conversions, remove reel breaks, or reject a file due to issues such as corrupted data. I enjoy the subtitle work—it’s a great opportunity to use editorial techniques, and also because I love the content. When “Fantasia” (1940) and “Fantasia 2000” (1999) were re-released earlier this year with lots of never-before-seen bonus features, I spent a solid three days watching more of the content than exporting subs!

  

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

It’s more like I fell into the work than became interested in it. I had been working in filmmaker client services at the Digital Media Center (where all the digital operators work), which gave me a lot of facetime with their team. When I was ready to find my next career adventure, it just so happened they were looking for a new operator specifically to help with Disney+ work. As soon as I could, I scheduled one-on-one meetings with pretty much all the digital operators to learn more about what they do to see if it could be a good fit. Once I realized the work would be way more technical than the job I had and would make me a part of the pipeline versus waving from the sidelines, I knew this would be the perfect next step for me. Joining the media distribution team opened so many doors for me, and I’ve learned so much. Joining the union was an added bonus.

 

Who gave you your first break?

Craig Tanner has given me my first break to get into editing. He will be my new boss when I start as an apprentice editor with Marvel!

 

What was your first union job?

This one, Digital Operator!

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

I’m proudest of being a part of the team that helped launch Disney+. I adore all the content Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and all the other sister companies produce. It has always been very important to me that I care about the content I’m working on; otherwise, what’s the point of working for a specific company (besides paying bills)? Watching the world erupt with excitement over Disney+ was the most amazing magical moment. Words truly cannot express how elated and proud our team was. My co-worker said it best: now he understands how musicians feel when they drop a new album.

 

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

One of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had was when I got furloughed last year because of COVID. Before that, I’d only ever had to look for a job, so it was a total gamechanger when I realized I had no control over when I could go back to it. At that time, I told myself it would be a good brain break; but after two or three months turned into six months, I was nearing a breaking point. I started to look into other jobs, but I didn’t want to derail the career plan I had mapped out in my head, so I was hoping and hoping I could return to work soon. As much as I loved being able to relax and watch limitless movies and binge TV, I would never want to experience that again. I was able to get through that time by doing lots of personal editing projects, learning to knit and play the ukulele, staying closely connected with family, and lots and lots and lots of puppy cuddles! Also special shout-out to my partner, Brad Rude, for being my rock every single day during such a hard time.

 

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

At Disney, we work hard and we play hard, so I’ve acquired a lot of fun memories and had amazing opportunities working on the lot. Just to name a few: volunteering at the Christopher Robin premiere and being able to see legendary Disney songwriter Richard Sherman; the awesome Halloween parties where high-level executives judged the costume contest; shadowing sound engineer Doc Kane (another legend!) on the ADR stage and watching a loop group perform; and calling out my co-workers on their Dad Jokes. But the most fun I’ve had at work is watching everyone’s inner kid come out during these fun events. I’ve learned that being able to let loose and have solid fun while still being respected for your hard work is a very important factor in career success and enjoyment.

 

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

Even though COVID has taught me to focus more on the now, I guess that in five years, I hope I’ll be an assistant editor kicking ass in the industry and loving every second of it. But circumstances change so quickly, sometimes without choices or options, and staying adaptable and relevant might become more important than the master career plan I dreamed up during my college days. Actually, I’ve had to alter every step of my plan along the way, yet I’ve still ended up being exactly where I’ve dreamed of being. That just goes to show there’s truly no one way of making it—and also that I’ve been very fortunate.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I grew up dancing ballet, which I still do today.  I dance with the LA Unbound dance company twice a year during non-COVID times. I love the performing arts, and LA Unbound is a wonderful community to be a part of. We still dance because we love it, not to be competitive or judgmental about choreography or technique. I’m going to hold on to dancing for as long as my body and work schedule allow. It’s a terrific outlet for stress release, stimulates creativity, and pushes personal boundaries. Ballet is my go-to dance type, but before COVID, I was cast in a heels piece—think hip hop dancing but in high heels. It felt amazing to learn a new style that challenged me. Dance has also ingrained in me so many great work habits that I use every day.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?  Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

I don’t like answering this question because I don’t have favorite movies or TV programs. Each new production I see adds to my experiences and broadens my scope. I can’t compare or favor one cinematic effort over another. I can tell you what movies I don’t like: films directed by Quentin Tarantino (sorry not sorry).

 

Do you have an industry mentor?
No… but it’s something I’ve been working toward. I like getting different perspectives on situations, so I’ve made an effort over the years to have one-on-ones with as many people as my shyness would allow. I never approach those conversations wondering if this one person could be my sole mentor. Instead, I think about what I might learn from this one piece of the giant puzzle that is the industry.

 

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

“Being adaptable” and “staying relevant” are phrases I’ve heard so many times since I started working full time at Disney, especially from folks in technology teams. My advice would be that it’s incredibly important to have or be willing to learn new skills. I’ve always loved post production because of how much the process and technology evolves, but the importance of my evolving along with it had never crossed my mind.

 

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
As a young one, I feel so honored to be a part of the MPEG. The union fights for—and the members benefit from—a stable foundation for making a living in the film industry. I had only been on the corporate side of jobs and job benefits before this, so I didn’t really understand what being a part of a union meant, let alone this specific union. So sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone for what you do to make this community and support possible.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

CHAD LITTLEPAGE - FINISHING COLORIST

July 2021

Where are you currently employed?

I’m at Electric Entertainment, an independent studio. Dean Devlin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson, and Marc Roskin are co-founding partners . What an amazing company with a great support team. Every show is created in-house Hollywood style, from script to screen. They also have their own streaming platform, Electric Now.

 

Current projects?

I recently finished coloring the third season of “The Outpost,” a fantasy-adventure series that airs on The CW, and “The Deal,” a feature film set in a dystopian future. I also completed the series “Almost Paradise,” starring Christian Kane, about a former DEA agent in the Philippines. I’m currently working on “Leverage: Redemption,” a re-boot of the original “Leverage” drama series, this time starring Noah Wyle, and with Aldis Hodge and Gina Bellman who were in the original show. It’ll be one of the first original series to premiere on IMDb TV.

 

Describe your job.

First and foremost, my job is to understand the vision and tone of the director and director of photography of a project. I start by watching a few scenes to get into the story and then get to grading. First I balance all of the shots within one scene then I adjust the color for mood or style while also managing color for consistency with the rest of the project. I find it helpful to listen to the sound during this process to get a feel for mood, blocking, and the action in the scene. I grade everything in a Color Managed Dolby Vision workflow, creating both HDR (High Definition Resolution) and SDR (Standard Definition Resolution) versions simultaneously. This was a little daunting in the beginning, but now it’s just second nature to me. From the QC (quality control) approved Dolby Master, any requested deliverable can be created. I’m always finding ways to refine the grading process. The more efficient I can be, the more time I’ll have to be creative. I spend a lot of time reading, trying new techniques, and bouncing ideas off of other colleagues in the industry.

 

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

In high school, I took all the advanced science and art classes. A buddy and I would finish our six-week projects in one week and would end up disrupting class by playing paper football. One day, our teacher finally got fed up. She grabbed her entire set of her college books on Color Theory, slammed them on the desk in front of me, and yelled “Here, read these!” These books changed my perspective on everything. Thank you, Miss Dandridge.

Early in my career, I was editing TV commercials when the director I was working with, Robert Williamson, took me to my first grading session. I had never seen images with such clarity! By my third session, Robert liked my vision and trusted me to work with the colorist, Steve Franko, on my own. I asked Franko if I could come up to the console. He gladly walked me though the process, and I couldn’t believe how much control he had of the final image. This was an experience I’ll never forget.

 

Who gave you your first break?

I knew I really wanted to make movies and TV series. A good friend of mine, Matthew Spradlin, gave me a chance when I asked to work on his short. He literally showed up with a shoe box of bare, full-sized hard drives and his wadded-up shooting script. He said, “Here, make a movie.” I edited, scored, mixed, and graded the film “The Social Contract,” which went on the be accepted into multiple film festivals — most notably, Festival de Cannes.

 

What was your first union job?

Sound designing and mixing hour-long TV shows, such as “Attack of the Show!” It all had to be done in real-time, laying and mixing effects tracks for a scene that had already been mixed for dialogue. I only had two passes, then the producer would come in for the third pass to make changes on the fly. From there, it went to the online editor for a final pass before airing. So, no pressure. It really sharpened my multitasking skills.

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

Every single frame of every project. I’m just truly thankful to work in such an amazing industry with incredible, creative, and respected people.

If I had to pick one, I would say I am proud of the grading results on “The Outpost.” This was the first series where I got to help shape the look of the show. I pushed the HDR boundaries, and trimming the SDR in Dolby Vision resulted in a beautiful show. But what was most valuable to me was to see how others’ trust in my skills resulted in my own growth throughout the series.

I would add that I can’t wait to see “Leverage: Redemption” streaming.

 

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

Every project brings its own challenges, which I look at as opportunities to learn something new. I received one project where they decided to “save time” on set by shooting straight to ProRes with the color baked into the original image data. [Apple ProRes is a high quality lossy video compression often used as a final format delivery method for HD broadcast files.] The problem was that it was a two- camera shoot with each camera balanced to a completely different color temperature. My solution was to build a pre-clip node tree to offset one of the cameras. [I don’t have enough space here to explain it, but Google should help.]

 

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

The first time I graded “The Outpost” in Dolby Vision at 2000 nits, it was unbelievable. [A nit is a measure of brightness relative to image area.] If a fire comes across the screen, it looks so real, your brain tells you it’s hot and you practically feel the heat. I also really enjoy being able to watch down (beginning to end, with a critical eye) the final version on the 4K stage with the directors and producers. Making a TV series or feature is a collaborative process; the more input you get, the better the final results.

 

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

As a colorist, I will always have the goal to work on at least one mega-blockbuster film — a Marvel, Disney, Universal, etc. I want to continue learning as best I can the industry’s evolving state-of-the-art color technology so I’ll be ready on the day I get hired onto that mega-blockbuster film.

Beyond that, I can’t state enough how much I love my job.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I work in a dark room all day with no windows [I keep getting my request for a skylight kicked back], so I love to be outside as much as possible. I mountain bike, snowboard, skateboard, boogie board, and — looking to add that last board in there —I’m learning to surf this summer. I also like to hike, camp, ride motorcycles, and take road trips. I’ve always been very passionate about music and have a home studio where I’ve scored some shorts and put out some tracks. [Have you heard of a little film called “Blade” with Wesley Snipes?] I’m a creative, so I also love going to art galleries, openings, museums, movies, and concerts. Ultimately, everything I do outside finds its way back into the grading studio with me.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

There are way too many to list, but I love movies with great storytelling and that break barriers. After I saw “The Matrix” on opening day, I proceeded to see it two more times that same day and then two more times not long after that. It forever changed how we perceive visual effects. I also love “Deadpool.” The concept of breaking the fourth wall isn’t new, but the way they did it was so well done. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is also a great movie, and the Dolby Vision version has to be seen to be appreciated. It looks almost like 3D without the glasses. “Mad Max: Fury Road” in HDR is another incredible-looking movie.

If I’m at the house and anything Adam Sandler or Harry Potter comes on, that’s what I’ll watch. I love just about every genre of film.

 

Favorite TV program(s)? Why?

There have been so many high quality TV series over the last ten years or more, it’s hard to choose from that amount of amazing content. I’ve really been enjoying the series “Hacks” that stars Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder. For light and fun, I’ll most likely never stop watching “Big Bang Theory.” It’s very much my “Friends.” I’m also looking forward to season four of “Westworld.” This show is visually incredible, and the storyline is infinitely imaginative.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

Multiple. I’m a firm believer that it’s imperative to have someone to pitch to: ideas, techniques, processes, and general information, someone who’s been doing it far longer than you have. It’s equally amazing when you’re able to give them something new, as well.

There’s my GMA [grandma]. Though she’s not in the industry, I’m not sure where I would be without her. I wouldn’t have the drive I have without her constantly pushing me from the day I was born. Steve Franko and Shane Mario Ruggieri, CSI, have been instrumental in mentoring me on grading processes. When I really get stumped in a challenging situation, both of these guys have opened me up to a completely different perspective so I can solve the problem in a completely different way. Tom Graham and Aby Mathew at Dolby Laboratories have also become integral in making sure my color managed workflow is the best it can possibly be for every project.Being a part of Dean Devlin’s creative process and getting his feedback — and just seeing the world of storytelling though his eyes — has been indispensable. I can’t forget to mention Dwaine Maggart at Blackmagic Design. I cannot think him enough for his time. There are so many more. You are all rock stars!

 

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

You must be really passionate about color grading and the art of storytelling and never give up. There will be many challenges. Not unlike learning to play an instrument, it can be frustrating to get past all the technical stuff — but once you do, you get to be part of an amazing process of creating stories that will hopefully one day inspire others to do the same. Put in the time to learn the skills you need on a professional level, because even then, the learning never stops.

 

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

The Guild is always there to answer my questions. I have even texted my representative and they’ll get right back to me to answer any questions. The union’s healthcare and retirement benefits improve lives exponentially, so I’m very happy to be in the union. We also hope that “Colorist” will someday be its own classification, for the sake of compensation and also credits.

 

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

We all know this industry is tough, but never give up. Stay the course. Find mentors. Talk to others in the Guild, push yourself to the next level, and keep pushing. Lastly, make sure to have fun while being a part of telling amazing stories.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin.

RANDY THOM - SOUND DESIGNER

June 2021

Where are you currently employed?

Skywalker Sound

 

Current projects?

Recently finished “The Midnight Sky,” directed by George Clooney, and “The Witches,” directed by Bob Zemeckis.  Currently working on ”Vivo,” an animated feature directed by Kirk DeMicco.

 

Describe your job.

I’m a sound designer, supervising sound editor, and re-recording mixer. I work with the director and other colleagues to develop a sound style for each film, to collect and fabricate sounds to aid in storytelling, and to mix all of the sound elements into a cohesive flow.

 

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

I began sound work as a volunteer at a public radio station. My work in collecting and editing sounds for radio pieces led me to think about doing film sound.

 

Who gave you your first break?

Walter Murch. I called him, asking about getting into film sound. He invited me to spend a day with him, watching as he remixed the sound of “American Graffiti” into stereo.  At the end of the day he asked me to write an essay about what I had seen and heard. He liked what I wrote, and he hired me to be one of his assistants on “Apocalypse Now.”

 

What was your first union job?

“Apocalypse Now.”

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

“The Revenant,” “The Incredibles,” “Contact,” “The Right Stuff,” and “Apocalypse Now” are all films in which the sound made a huge difference and I’m proud to have worked on them.  I could name many more, but those are the ones that come to mind first.

 

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

On “The Midnight Sky,” we had to figure out how to make George Clooney’s voice sound 30 years younger. He plays the older version of his character in the movie, and Ethan Peck plays the younger version. Ethan’s voice sounded too different from George’s voice to be credible. Attempting to solve the problem, we tried all the usual options… pitch-changing George’s voice, recording voice-alikes, etc. We were all quite frustrated about not being able to come up with a younger sounding George that also incorporated some of the qualities of Ethan’s voice.

 

We decided to do an experiment with bleeding-edge technology involving artificial intelligence in analyzing the two voices, George’s and Ethan’s, then melding the two into one voice which would have some of the characteristics of each actor. After lots of tweaking, it worked, and worked amazingly. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

 

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

It would be hard to beat my first film job, “Apocalypse Now.” I worked on the film for a year and a half, and it was like the film school I never had. In the trenches, literally (we dug six-foot-deep trenches outdoors to record soldier foley in), and metaphorically, it was an exhausting and deeply rewarding project. We all felt like we had been to war together.

 

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

I will probably be retired, but I could still be working on the occasional special movie.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I’m a landscape painter, and I’m fiddling with writing screenplays, ones that use sound to its full potential.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

“Dr. Strangelove” is one of the best ever. “The Conversation.”

 

Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

I don’t watch TV.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

Walter Murch, Ben Burtt, and Alan Splet were all my mentors.

 

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

First, figure out how to be a good person, a nice person, and one who knows how to communicate well, because those things are what will get you hired again and again more than any other “skills” you have. Then pursue it passionately and resiliently, because frustration and failure on many levels will be with you throughout your career, along will success.

 

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

No.

 

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

One thing we as a Guild need to do is to make our profession more diverse, racially and in terms of gender. One of the things that prevents us from making progress in this effort is the idea (the myth) that only the “most highly qualified” applicant should be hired for any job.

 

First, it has never been the case that the most highly qualified person was always going to be the person who got the job. Most often, it has been the most highly qualified person who is also similar to, or previously known to, the person doing the hiring… same race, gender, background, etc.

 

Second, given the current lack of diversity among those doing the hiring, and the lack of diversity in the pool of job applicants, the likelihood that the most qualified person for the job is going to be a white male is extremely high, so the lack of diversity is self-perpetuating.

 

I encourage anyone doing hiring to not always do the lazy thing and the “safest” thing, which is to automatically hire someone with the most impressive resume who you also happen to “click” with personally. Look deeper, for potential in job applicants, not just obvious qualifications. That’s what Walter Murch did when he hired me. I was far from the most qualified person for the job.

 

If you do look deeper, and search more widely, I guarantee that there will be more women and more people of color out there who have the potential to succeed way beyond what their resumes might suggest.

 

–Compiled by Jeff Burman 

 

Interested in being featured? Email Scott Collins at scollins@editorsguild.com.

ZACH CHASSLER - STORY ANALYST

May 2021

Where are you currently employed?

Universal Pictures

 

Current projects?

“The Chain,” “The Tommyknockers,” “Cocaine Bear,” “Don’t Go in the Water.”

 

Describe your job.

Remember those book reports you wrote in grammar school where you’d read a book, then write a summary, and then write a bunch of stuff about what you thought? That, mostly. But in a professional capacity, so I don’t really base my opinions on whether I “like” the material or even think it’s “good” so much as its potential to be a great movie. Sometimes these two things intersect, and sometimes they don’t. There can be other mitigating factors as well: A director or cast attachment can turn chicken shit into chicken salad under the right circumstances.

If a submission is bought by the studio and developed, it becomes a project. At this point, if I’m put “on” the project, I write more detailed summaries, identify changes from draft to draft, and give specific notes directed at making the best version of the movie everyone has agreed we’re doing.

 

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

Someone told me I could get paid for reading things and offering my opinion on whether they would be good movies. I like to read, and I grew up in New York City going to movie theaters where, in certain instances with certain movies, yelling at the screen was accepted and even encouraged. It turns out, all that heckling is invaluable because it teaches an analyst what an audience will and will not go for. It makes it very easy to spot “deal breakers” and false story beats or cheats.

 

Who gave you your first break?

Cathy Tarr at CAA. As soon as I found out there was a thing called a “reader,” I got a couple of screenplays from people in the business and bought “Clockers” at the Bookstar across the street from where I was living. I wrote some “coverage” (not really knowing how) and, using the old Hollywood Creative Directory, sent my samples out cold. I must have sent out twenty of them, and Cathy was the only one who responded. But she loved the coverage – I remember her saying “this better really be you.”

 

What was your first union job?

Universal Pictures. First and only union job. My second big – huge – break, came from Romy Kaufman at Universal. It’s a story in and of itself I’m writing for another column.

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

There’s actually a movie that just wrapped. When I first read it, it had some racial dynamics that were a bit off. Not conscious stuff – the script wasn’t racist – but it had a pretty tone-deaf ending. I basically said: “This story can’t end this way,” and now it doesn’t. The different ending isn’t all that different, and it doesn’t change the action of story much, even though it fixes a pretty big problem. I’m not saying I was a canary in a coal mine on this thing – for all I know, 50 other people probably had the same thought – but as an analyst on the project, I have the first eyes on it and go on record, for better or for worse.

 

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

Like I said I “go on record – for better or for worse.” Sometimes this aggravates people, and all that yelling at movie screens from my youth comes through in my coverage and notes. I don’t know that I’ve really managed to overcome this, but I try. I’m also lucky in that my co-workers and the executives at Universal know that I’m always working toward a positive end—to make movies people will cheer for and not jeer at, and that no offense is ever met. Also, the story editors I work for—particularly Adam Torchia, who has been at Universal as long as I have—know my strengths (and weaknesses) and aren’t likely to pair me with a project better suited to another reader, so I don’t often run into challenges.

 

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

There isn’t much that’s not fun at work (except sometimes the actual “work” part of it). We get to do all the studio stuff like watch dailies and see rough cuts – go to the occasional premiere and so on, without being involved in studio politics. Since we’re employed at least partially because we have opinions, we can speak openly and honestly (on or off record) with executives about the strengths or weaknesses of a given project, without anyone thinking we’re trying to undermine it. It’s very free, and freedom is fun.

 

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

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I like going to the movies and, I don’t know, building stuff in the yard. I’m pretty passionate about honesty, which I think is an integral part of being a story analyst. If you’re going to work in show business, you need a good bullshit detector in general, and it’s invaluable when dealing with narrative.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

“Blue Collar,” “Dawn of the Dead” (1979 version), “Casino,” “The Night of the Hunter.” I can’t answer why. I’m also not a person who plays favorites. I have a ton of different movies I love that I could go on about.

 

Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

I don’t even know what we’re talking about anymore when we talk about “TV programs.” Now everything is on a screen. I mean, all these epic shows with multi-million dollar episode budgets, is that TV?

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

I do not. No one can be blamed for me.

 

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

Read a lot and be well rounded about it. Pay attention to story trends, which doesn’t just mean box office and movies and books and comics and all that; it means being aware of current events and history, too, because it’s all narrative. And if you know the stories we happen to be telling ourselves at any given moment, you’ll have a better idea what audiences will respond to when they go to the theater.

 

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

Nope. I guess I’ve been lucky.

 

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

Do they need encouragement? This is a good gig, folks.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

ANEDRA EDWARDS - VISUAL EFFECTS EDITOR

April 2021

Where are you currently employed?

Marvel Studios and ABC Studios.

 

Current projects?

I recently finished the Marvel Studios series “WandaVision” and will start another Marvel Studios production at the end of this year. I will also be a part of an ABC pilot that will start post production later this spring.

 

Describe your job.

As a visual effects editor directly employed by the production, I’m often the link between picture editorial and our producing team for visual effects needs. I facilitate the process of getting assets back and forth between the visual effects studios/vendors and the production. When working with picture editorial, I collaborate with them — similar to a visual effects artist — to create temp visual effects when fleshing out ideas for look, timing, etc. I’m also often in the driver seat for spotting when effects are needed and maintaining their continuity. Tracking visual effects shots also falls under my duties; I keep track of which visual effects shots are in the cut, which version is used, and I maintain the current status of shots from our visual effects vendors as they create the final product. I have a number of other responsibilities, but the examples I’ve given here cover the gist of it.

 

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

My passion for editing sparked in high school when my mother bought me my first video camera, and my teachers would let me do video projects for my assignments. Of course, I was a complete novice at the time and Windows Movie Maker was all the rage, but it was enough to light a fire inside me that fueled my interest in this art. When I got to college, my school of choice, Dickinson College, would allow students only to minor in film, so I pursued the film minor along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business. While a student, I was still discovering all the positions in film and TV production, so at the time, I thought I wanted to be a TV producer. However, through internships with large studios such as BET Networks and NBCUniversal and my work as a TV production assistant, I quickly decided that my career path would be in editorial.

I’m originally from Washington, DC, so after college, I started to work at my local news station — WRC-TV, which is NBC4 in Washington – as an editor and associate producer in the News Promotions and Advertising department. I also edited freelance on the side. Because of the heavy documentary and news market in DC, an editor acquires a highly diverse skillset. Part of the wide variety of content on our reels includes visual effects, and my background in news, reality tv, and commercials provided me with strong skills in motion graphics and small-scale compositing. After I received my Master of Fine Arts degree in Film & Electronic Media from American University, I moved to Los Angeles where, because of my diverse background, it was a natural progression for me to move into the visual effects world for scripted editorial.

 

Who gave you your first break?

I’ve had several first breaks. Every phase of my editing journey has required help to make that “first step.” I’ll list the three that I think were the most important. My first break into professional editing was my position at NBC4 Washington News as the editor in the Promotions and Advertising department. My first break into scripted editorial was my position as an assistant editor on season 2 of the HBO comedy “Crashing.” A mentor of mine, Joi McMillon, ACE, sent my name to several of her colleagues at HBO when they were in search of available assistant editors. I worked with an amazing editor on “Crashing”, Tim Roche, whom I worked with again doing visual effects for “WandaVision.” My first break into visual effects editorial was the DC Comics superhero show on The CW Network, “Black Lightning.” Executive producers Salim Akil and Charles Holland were extremely supportive of me joining the show and allowed me to grow with the series. I started as visual effects assistant editor for seasons 1 and 2 and moved up to visual effects editor by season 3.

 

What was your first union job?

Assistant editor on the reality show “Naked and Afraid” on Discovery Channel.

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

I am most proud of my visual effects work with superhero content. Working with “Black Lightning” on The CW was so rewarding because of the impact of the character as an African-American superhero with his family. I saw many of my own friends, relatives, and even myself in the series characters. I am also proud of my work on Marvel’s “WandaVision.” It’s the first MCU content among my credits. There were a lot of challenges to get the show out the door, the biggest of which involved working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Audience reception for the show has been awesome and made the tough times worth it. I also learned a lot on the show in terms of different types of pipelines and workflows.

 

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

One of my biggest professional challenges has been making the jump from reality tv to scripted in editorial. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I continued to work in reality tv as a night assistant editor for the company World of Wonder Productions. During the day, I hustled to network and to shadow editors and their assistants in scripted. I joined several mentorship programs that help editors and assistants of color further their career goals. On weekends, I also filled in as a post PA for scripted shows. I was pretty much working around the clock and was extremely exhausted at times. However, I knew that if I could tough it out, the payoff would be so sweet, to finally get my first scripted union position. During this tough period, I learned how to strategize in a way that was different from how I had networked on the east coast. I learned how to maneuver to different projects and promote myself to other editors and producers in this landscape. After 11 months of this hectic schedule, I got my first union AE position and then a month later, my first union scripted AE position.

 

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

This didn’t happen at work, but the most fun I’ve had with my co-workers was attending 2018 Comic-Con International in San Diego to see the “Black Lightning” panel, which included our executive producers and cast. Editorial was given complimentary passes on behalf of the production. It was a great experience to see the fans up close and observe how intensely they supported the stories being told in the series. It helped give inspiration when we were back in the cutting room, knowing there are a ton of people that appreciate the content coming out the door. It was also my first time at Comic-Con, so I took in the excitement of it all.

 

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

I hope to have transitioned back to picture editorial and to be cutting an episodic series. I feel that my experience in visual effects is helping to prepare me for that transition because I would like to work on visual-effects-heavy content.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

Outside of work, I enjoy being outdoors. I love running, hiking, and playing basketball when possible. I also like extreme sport activities such as riding ATVs and jet skiing. I adore traveling. Of course, the pandemic has altered that type of activity, but I look forward to visiting some of the places I have on my bucket list once it’s safe to do so.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

“Love and Basketball” (2000). I know the dialogue word for word all the way through, even if I watch it muted (haha)! I related to the coming of age story so much, and it’s ironic that my career path would eventually lead me to call its editor, Terilyn Shropshire, ACE, a friend and mentor. I was 11 years old when I first saw the movie in a theater with my Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team. The main character, Monica, inspired me and my friends at the time, and we were determined to have experiences like she had.

 

Favorite TV program(s)? Why?

That’s a tough question since I have so many faves. I’ll list a few that I’ve really enjoyed recently. HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” and “Watchmen” are definitely on the list for their amazing black leading characters. I was engrossed the entire time while watching, and the supernatural elements and effects were spectacular. I also really like the British series “A Discovery of Witches,” currently on Sundance TV (formerly the Sundance Channel) in the US. I enjoy its take as a fantasy series and its interpretation of vampires, daemons and witches. It’s also quite the love story and has got me interested in reading the source novel for the show, which is the first book in the “All Souls” trilogy. I also enjoy the STARZ series “Outlander,” which is another love story involving time travel and magical folklore.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

Mentors! Very much so! Terilyn Shropshire, ACE, Shannon Baker Davis, ACE, Joi McMillon, ACE, Brett Hedlund, James Wilcox, ACE, Mary DeChambres, ACE, and many more.

 

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

There are a million pathways to your end goal. Your path will be unlike any others because it is yours, with all its uniqueness. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s in a way that deters you. Be encouraged that the journey is all a part of the experience. Visual effects is definitely an onion of a world, so have an open mind as you experience all the layers.

 

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

Yes, there have been many times when I turned to one of the Guild field reps, Jessica Pratt, for assistance and guidance when working with the larger studios. She has been an incredible help, and I am so happy that she is a resource for Guild members.

 

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

As a Guild member who is a black woman, I encourage my fellow members to look at how they can play a part in continuing the initiatives to create a diverse and inclusive editorial environment. Mentorship is key for allowing underrepresented groups a chance to flourish in editorial. So if you have the time, consider mentoring someone from these groups. Our industry is all the better for it.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

CARLOS SANCHES - RE-RECORDING MIXER

March 2021

Where are you currently employed?

Warner Bros. Sound

 

Current projects?

“All Rise” (CBS)

“Arlo the Alligator Boy” (Netflix)

“Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans” (DreamWorks Animation / Netflix)

 

Describe your job.

I am first and foremost in the service of the directors and producers. I try to help them achieve their vision of the soundscape of their movie/show. I take all the elements of the sound mix — dialogue, music, effects and foley — and balance them to create a realistic, believable, and transparent soundtrack. When I say transparent, I mean the audience doesn’t realize we’ve done anything. If the sound serves the story and is well balanced, our work is seemingly “invisible.”

 

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

I’ve been a musician since the age of 10 and I fell in love with movie sound while in college. This seemed to be a way to meld those two passions into a career.

 

Who gave you your first break?

Phillips Raves was my first mentor who helped me understand what this job was all about. Later, sound supervisor Otis Van Osten hired me to mix for his company Audio Circus which was then folded into Warner Bros. While here, I owe a lot of my success to Todd Grace who has been an incredibly supportive advocate for me.

 

What was your first union job?

My first union gig was when I arrived at WB. I mixed a set of 3D Looney Tunes animated theatrical shorts. They were extremely fun and challenging. I’m very proud of them to this day.

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

Nice segue there, huh? One of the projects I’ve truly loved is “Tangled: the Series” [retitled “Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure” after Season 1] by Disney. It involved all the same cast as the original feature and music by Allan Menken. I made lifelong friends with the creators of the show and loved every moment on it. Gerry Gonzalez provided sound design and his work is phenomenal. I’m also very fond of “Tales of Arcadia,” the Netflix animated series that I’ve worked on for DreamWorks and Guillermo del Toro. Very challenging mixes that end up sounding amazing thanks to a fantastic crew. Matt Hall and James Miller are amazing sound designers and I loved working with them.

And I can’t fail to mention the latest movie I both supervised [sound for] and mixed for Netflix: “Arlo the Alligator Boy” is fantastic, and I can’t wait for it to be released in April.

 

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

My biggest challenge so far in my job has been learning when to move on from one phase of my career to another. I’ve recently moved away from mixing television animation to live-action primetime TV and also to supervising and mixing feature animation. It was a difficult decision to make. I left a stable job to try and focus on what I have more passion for. It’s been almost like starting over. But so far, I’m loving it and hope to continue to progress.

 

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

I have fun every day at work! Ok, that’s not always the case, but I get to watch TV and make it sound good for a living. What’s not fun about that?!

 

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

I hope to be supervising and mixing top animated feature films for all the major studios.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I love to play guitar with my WB band of brothers. I’ve played since I was a kid. I also love to travel with my family. I hope we get to do more of that soon. I love Broadway shows and going to the ballet with my wife. And our whole family are huge Disneyland fans. We cannot wait to go back to our happy place.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

 “Three Amigos” — does that really require an explanation? 😉

 “The Matrix” — that’s what got me into sound in the first place.

Anything “Star Wars”!

 

Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

“24” — loved the whole concept of the show.

“Better Call Saul” — just gripping TV.

“New Girl” — it’s just funny!

“The Office” — Bears, beets, “Battlestar Galactica”

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

Not officially, but as I mentioned above, Phillip Raves and Todd Grace have been instrumental in my career.

 

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

First, learn the history and language of film. You need to be able to talk with filmmakers about what their influences are and have a frame of reference for the work you are doing. Then, learn Pro Tools as in depth as you can. Find someone who will let you sit and watch them work. Ask good questions and always strive to learn more.

 

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

No, not really.

 

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

There is a lot of content out there that needs good sound! Be the person creatives can count on to take their projects to the next level! Stand up for the importance of sound in film and TV. Be passionate about it and maybe some of that will rub off on those you associate with.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin.

MATT DAVIES - FOLEY ARTIST

February 2021

Where are you currently employed?

I’m a co-owner with Studio Unknown and part of Sound Department LLC as a Foley artist and supervising sound editor in Burbank

 

Current projects?

Some of my current projects include an animated feature film called “Lamya’s Poem,” a few unannounced features for Netflix and others, and a massive cinematic podcast for Audible. It’s been a surprisingly busy fall (under the COVID circumstances) and it’s not letting up taking us into 2021.

 

Describe your job.

As a Foley artist, on paper, I perform sound effects synced to picture based on movement portrayed by characters, subjects, creatures, and inanimate objects in films. My Foley mixer acts as the direct ears for the film, guiding the sessions and making sure things are being recorded and mixed in a way that translates to the esthetic of the film at hand. From my specific perspective, though, I obsess night and day over the MOST mundane things audiences (and sometimes filmmakers) have no clue about. How much more paper scrap do I need to collect to find the perfect paper to illustrate this character’s commitment to writing poetry? Do these footsteps embody the struggle this character is going through? Should I do a sharp U-Turn to go pick up that “FREE” green metal chair I saw down the street? We have an infinite palette of sonic materials to work with, and there are opportunities to discover the best new prop around every corner.

 

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

I think, on some level, I’ve been interested in Foley long before I knew it existed. Growing up, I was always into film, art, and music: I sculpted, collected, played with instruments. I ended up in a Fine Arts College, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, and started to explore sound design. Early on, a lot of what I was doing was recording sounds available to me or those I could find in the field. Foley appeared as this perfect blend of all the art forms I loved. It’s performative like music, physical like sculpture, and narrative like cinema. And as a Foley artist, you are always at the core of the work you do, because YOU control the sounds. By the time I had put in a few professional years as a sound designer, post-college, we (myself and my studio) realized building a Foley stage was the next step to be able to offer better sound… and it snowballed from there.

 

Who gave you your first break?

I think of becoming a Foley artist as more of an evolution than a designation. However, prior to professional post work, I was a sound mixer and boom op for independent documentaries. I made the decision to jump into the world of post because I naturally gravitated toward it. I wanted to create, to make things with the sound I was recording. I called a number of places in Baltimore, where I was living at the time, and found a studio that was cinematically focused and, like me, happened to be in a transition period. This boutique studio, Studio Unknown, had a new position opening up, and I joined the team. Happy to say that was close to 10 years ago. I became a co-owner with the folks who gave me a shot. I  started to supervise, built our first Foley stage, trained and added more team members, and we started doing it all over again in 2019 in Burbank. You really have to appreciate every step, big or small, that gets you where you are, and I’m certainly thankful for how things have grown over the years.

 

What was your first union job?

An indie feature called “Pink Skies Ahead,” written and directed by Kelly Oxford and starring Jessica Barden, Henry Winkler, and Michael McKean and acquired by MTV Studios. It’s a great coming-of-age drama-comedy set in the late 1990s. It’s made good rounds on the festival scene and will be released shortly. They did a fantastic job with the film and gave us the fun task of recreating the sounds of translucent corded phones, gel handbags, and platform shoes.

 

What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

I try to put something special into every project — which I know sounds corny, but let’s face it: Some budgets are not always inspiring or don’t give you the flexibility to let the creative process breath. So I’ve tried to make it a mantra to be proud of the work I do, regardless of those factors. There have been ultra-low-budget gigs I’ve done where we’ve figured out a technique that will get used on a massive union gig in the future, so without those opportunities, your creative R&D doesn’t have as many chances to shine. That being said, I have two upcoming films I’m immensely proud of. One is an insanely creepy horror film that gave us the freedom to detail everything and, being sparse with dialogue at times, the space to hang a creepy soundscape on those details. Another is “Werewolves Within,” a super fun horror-comedy that we poured ourselves into. I co-supervised and designed the creature for the show. We took a different approach to werewolf creature design and made the effects as visceral as possible. Super fun film.

 

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

Recreating biological/organic sounds is always challenging. A character in a recent film needed to have demonic stomach growls. After experimenting with all kinds of weird setups, I ended up using a pneumatic plunger in a silicone gallon bag filled with loose slime. It makes the most gnarly, growly gurgles and fit the film perfectly. We submerged a hydrophone in the slime to reproduce the internal sound of digestion and combined it with an external mic.

 

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

There is something so fun about doing things indoors that aren’t indoor things. Bringing in crushed ice or snow for snow Foley is super fun because it’s a massive mess and feels almost wrong on some level. For “Werewolves Within,” we filled up the 4×4 dirt pit with 200-300 lbs. of crushed ice and “movie snow.”  Getting ice-chapped legs while wearing shorts and a t-shirt indoors — in Los Angeles, in JULY — is wacky when you think about it. I also have great fun making gore or gross sounds for films and immensely enjoy when my mixer is grossed out. That’s when you know it’s working.

 

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

All I can hope for is doing more of what I’m doing now, after five more years of growth. That’s one of the most rewarding things to look back on — improving your craft in ways you couldn’t have imagined.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I’m a HUGE bird nerd. Birding is a somewhat meditative process, and also free ear-training to learn calls and songs before you see the bird. When I’m not using my hands for things like prop-building or Foley, I tend to keep them busy either building things like a wooden fish smoker or learning new instruments. I’m currently learning how to play the banjo after my wife gifted me one for Christmas this year. I’ve been playing the electric bass for about 20 years now, so that has provided a nice new challenge.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

I’m a massive fan of the “Alien” franchise. Before sound, I was (and still am) obsessed with creature design for movies. That was my original track, sculpting creatures for films. These days, I do a lot of sonic creature design, which fulfills the same desire. I’m super into Edgar Wright’s films like “Hot Fuzz” and “Scott Pilgrim.” They’re such focused, lean films that are SO realized in their style… and let’s not forget about the sound work, which is always absolutely top notch and exciting. I always walk away inspired and refreshed. I’ve loved watching the Safdie brothers grow as filmmakers. “Uncut Gems” was the last film I saw in theaters before COVID-19 hit, and it’s now one of my all-time favorites. Incredibly raw, immersive filmmaking. I could talk about it for hours.

 

Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

TV has been outstanding over the last couple of years. The gap between film and TV seems to shrink to almost nothing, depending on what you watch. I’ve loved “Watchmen,” “Twin Peaks: The Return,” “Game of Thrones”… but most recently I’ve been massively bingeing “The Crown.” We crushed through four seasons in just over a month. Each season plays like a long film, and the sound work is phenomenal. Much love to the Foley team who just made the show insanely satisfying to watch after a long day of Foley.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

One thing I’ve come to learn about this industry is that mentors are everywhere. Specific to the Foley community, the “Foley Artist” Facebook group has been a big part of my life. It’s opened doors to chat with Foley artists all over the world, and everyone is so open and supportive. It’s a great “pay it forward” model, because while I might need advice about one thing or another, I’m also able to act as a mentor for someone else. Ultimately, we all want to make sure the craft is being supported properly, done with integrity, and is growing. Getting advice from legendary artists like John Roesch, Alyson Dee Moore and others is more than you can ask for as an up-and-comer.

 

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

The running joke among Foleys is “Foley is great, you guys just play around all day!” And yes, some days the absurdity of coming up with bathroom sounds and getting paid for it isn’t lost on me, but that’s a small percentage of the time spent on the stage. Start simple. Like I mentioned, I started doing Foley as a necessity when I found certain sounds were better to perform than copy from a library. It was a gradual evolution from there as our resources accommodated. When you really start doing full Foley passes, endurance starts to become a key strength because Foley exhausts you both creatively and physically. Take care of yourself because YOU are the instrument. Get to know how long it takes you to shoot a typical gig; examine if that’s appropriate, seek counsel and advice, and check that ego at the door. Every opportunity to stick your neck out and get honest criticism or advice from trusted pros is a blessing.

 

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

Because I joined the union within the last year, I had a ton of questions. They’ve been super helpful from day one with any question that comes up, from determining positions on projects to information to forward to other prospective union members. It’s a great resource to have.

 

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

It may be overplayed, but 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone. What’s given me encouragement has been to see our community of sound-makers not let it get the better of them and to see them be resourceful with the technology available. Crowdsourcing recording projects like Tim Nielsen’s, John Roesch’s and Charles Kohlmyer’s Foley workshops on Zoom, and the large supply of resources and support that people throughout the community have given each other, have kept up morale and inspiration enough to weather the storm. Talk about silver linings, the community is closer than I’ve ever experienced, despite our physical limitations during this pandemic. I’m excited to see how things will bloom once we’re all able to move freely again. I think great stuff will happen.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

Recommendations for future profiles: scollins@editorsguild.com. 

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