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MATT COLESHILL - ASSISTANT EDITOR

January 2023

Q: Where are you currently employed?

I’m currently on a WB show.

 

Q: Current projects?

The WB show I’m on is “Manifest.” I’ve been on the editorial team since the beginning of the second season. We spent a few years on NBC, and after we aired our incredible third season cliffhanger, the plug was pulled and suddenly it was over. “Manifest” had been cancelled. We all scattered, off to other projects, and the audience was left to wonder what could have been.

 

A few months after we departed the show, Netflix began adding our previous seasons to their platform.  The show’s devoted fans saw “Manifest” breaking records in the charts and they created a groundswell through social media, thrusting the series back into conversation. Fittingly, on August 28, 2021, Netflix made the announcement that the band was getting back together. Just a few weeks ago, we dropped 10 new episodes on Netflix!

 

Q: Describe your job.

My job is to be the editor’s right hand. Whatever they need to make their day easier, I’ll be there to help make it happen.

 

The position covers a massive range of line items. During production, we prep the dailies, making sure that all the listed shot footage is accounted for. Assistant editors will frequently add temp sound and music to scenes after they’re cut, do temp visual effects, and compile the scenes into acts. We’ll build the shows and export them to whoever needs them throughout the process. I’m often involved in taking notes and helping the editor as they work with directors and producers.

 

On the backend, once the show is locked, we help facilitate its delivery to all the different departments that need it and help push it along until it’s completed.

 

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

Growing up, I absolutely loved monster movies. I spent my summer days endlessly haunting the local video store, consuming as much cult and horror as I could. On the weekends, I would often use the family camcorder to try and recreate what inspired me. It was pretty common to see the neighborhood kids dressed up like ghouls on our front lawn and me running around with a camera in one hand and a bottle of fake blood in the other. I always dreamt of being a makeup artist like Tom Savini or Rob Bottin, creating ghastly sights out of liquid latex and foam.

 

I’d been working feverishly one semester to make a submission for our local film festival. I was editing it, tape to tape, in the high school television production lab when I realized that a bunch of the footage had been mangled by one of the VCRs. I knew I couldn’t reshoot the footage — my mom was still mad about the stains on her carpet from the week prior; no chance she’d let me do it again — so I had to figure out a way to solve it….

 

EDITING! I took my script, reordered some stuff, cut this and that, added a voiceover, and problem solved. Editing is awesome! After that, I was hooked. I used to think editing was just a way to put your footage together. I had never realized that editing could CHANGE the story! That was over 20 years ago, and I haven’t made up anyone as a zombie since.

 

Q: Who gave you your first break?

Phil Linson and Lynzee Klingman accepted me into the AFI Editing program in 2008. That was a life-changer. I had applied to a number of different film schools to continue my education, but AFI was just a shot in the dark. I’d first heard about the conservatory a decade earlier in “Weirdsville USA,” a book about David Lynch. Since I had nothing to lose except the $50 application fee, I applied and, by the grace of Eraserhead, got in.

 

Q: What was your first union job?

I was an assistant editor on “Zero Hour” in 2012. It was a TV series that aired briefly on ABC in 2013. I’m forever grateful to editor and AFI alum Jack Colwell for taking a chance on me. It was a fun show that unfortunately never quite found its audience, but it led to a ton of great things for me.

 

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

I’m proudest of the projects that connect with people. I’ve been fortunate to work on a handful of shows that have a really dedicated fan base. If the work we do can help someone overcome a bad day, that’s something to be proud of.

 

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

The biggest challenges on the job almost always come down to personalities, relationships, and communication. Early in my career, I worked on a show that was particularly intense, so I started taking meditation and mindfulness classes through UCLA’s MAPs [Mindfulness Awareness Practices] programs. This greatly helped me work with all different personality types. Many times, just asking questions and looking at something from someone else’s perspective makes all the difference and helps avoid challenges.

 

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

I’ve had SO MUCH FUN, it’s hard to list one thing. I really love to work on studio lots and spend my lunch breaks walking around. It’s even better when I’m on a show that shoots where we cut. Going down and seeing stunts and big moments orchestrated in real time on stage is fantastic. I once got to try on Arnold’s jacket from “Terminator 2.” He wore it during the middle of the movie, so it had bullet holes and all. That was pretty rad!

 

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

Picture editing. Having the opportunity to cut on some episodes of “Manifest” this season has been an amazing experience. I’ve greatly enjoyed shaping the performances, crafting the stories, and working with the incredible producers. I’m always excited about the future, but I tend to focus on the day-to-day. Honestly, I’m just happy to work in this field.

 

Q: What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I’m a big supporter of live events. I’ve always had a passion for music and try to get out to shows whenever I can. Live pro wrestling shows in VFW halls have a very specific form of contagious energy. Amusement parks are a great way to wash away the stress of the work week.

 

Los Angeles is the greatest place on Earth to indulge my cinematic obsessions, so I frequently go to screenings and horror conventions. I also like to track down filming locations from my favorite movies.

 

Most nights, though, I’m watching movies with my wife and cat.

 

Q: Favorite movie(s)? Why?

There are so many movies I absolutely love. I try to watch one movie a day whenever possible.

 

My favorite movie ever is probably John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” I originally became aware of it when Blockbuster Video offered it for sale next to the cash register as a “Blockbuster Presents” VHS tape. Standing in the checkout line to rent “Congo” or “Hackers,” I’d stare at the cover of a man in a white mask standing behind Jamie Lee Curtis and wonder what that movie was all about. Eventually, they could barely sell the “Halloween” tapes — they had manufactured way too many — and marked them down to a quarter. Who knew that for the same price as a pair of vending-machine vampire teeth, I could change my life forever?

 

The music, the cinematography, the slow-burn editing — it was all perfect. The creepiest moments took place during the day! I had never seen that before. These characters were realistic high-school kids instead of being the ‘80s horror caricatures we’d all grown accustomed to. Every piece of it worked so brilliantly, and it felt so effortless. I love it so much, I often try to watch it randomly throughout the year,  much to the discontent of those around me.

 

Q: Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

The latest show at the top of my favorites list is “This Fool” on Hulu. It’s fantastic, especially the way it effortlessly balances gritty realism with comedy. I’m really looking forward to Season 2!

 

I’m also a big “Star Wars” nerd, so I watch all of those shows on Disney+.

 

Q: Do you have an industry mentor?

I’ve had many great people as mentors throughout my career. When I was a post PA on the movie “Everything Must Go,” Sandra Adair, ACE and JoAnne Yarrow, ACE mentored me really well on the ins and outs of the editing room, from assistant editor duties to cutting room etiquette.

 

When looking for an assistant editor spot, I always specifically seek out editors who are willing to nurture and mentor. I’ve learned something from every incredible editor I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. Ray Daniels, ACE, and Marc Pattavina on “Lucifer” taught me so much creatively and were instrumental in helping me shape my editing. Over the last three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work under the tutelage of the incomparable Mark Conte, ACE. Mark’s constant support and insight have been invaluable, and his mind for the craft is next-level.

 

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

“Don’t be a jerk” is probably my most important piece of career advice. People will only work with you if they like you being around. Be nice to every single person you can.

 

Don’t turn down work just because it’s something you’re not into. It’s good to try different types of projects, and solid storytelling is possible in all different genres.

 

Always ask questions; it’s ok to not know something. We are all learning each and every day.

 

Every editor is looking for an assistant with a specific strength (usually sound, music, or visual effects). Pick one and excel at it. When looking for a potential job, make a point of letting people know what you can do for them.

 

Keep at it. As long as you stick around, good things will happen. It’s like riding a bike; you will fall off sometimes and scrape your knee, but it’s all about dusting yourself off and getting back on.

 

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

There’s no specific instance where I’ve reached out, but it’s fantastic to know they’re there. The Guild is an amazing resource, not just in regard to labor but for education, events, and networking.

 

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

Keep up the amazing work — it never goes unnoticed! The projects you’re on not only inspire the rest of us, but also the storytellers of tomorrow.

BRIAN GING - ASSISTANT EDITOR

December 2022

Q: Current projects?
I’m working freelance, editing two episodes on a non-union television show called “Snap.” It’s a psychological thriller anthology series for AMC/ALLBLK network and Swirl Films. Prior to this, I wrapped up being a first assistant editor on “End of the Road,” an action-thriller movie for Netflix starring Queen Latifah and Ludacris.

 

Q: Describe your job.
First and foremost, my job is to support the creative process between the editor and producers/directors as best I can. That includes assuring that nothing slips through the cracks when we send or receive anything to or from other departments or outside vendors.

 

Creatively, key things I do on my television shows and features include creating the first pass of sound design, giving the soundscape shape, spotting and choosing sounds that support the story, smoothing out audio levels, and patching in room tone. Sound should enhance the viewing experience and help the editor’s picture cuts work even better. I will sometimes temp in visual effects shots such as compositing a video clip onto a television in the scene (often recorded on set as a blank green screen; we add the TV image later). I help find stock footage to use as exteriors or b-roll shots, and I often record temporary new lines of dialogue that are used as placeholders until we re-record them with the actors or with a loop group team.

 

Logistically, I’m the conduit for footage and information going to post-production. When we receive the dailies, I prep them for the editor. When we lock the cut, I turn over the materials to all the teams such as sound (mix stage), visual effects companies, and post-production houses for online editing and fine-tuning color and for many small outputs such as closed captioning and marketing clips.

 

Lastly, the editors I work with will let me cut a scene or two, supervising my work and mentoring me toward becoming an editor.

 

Q: How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I was a directing major in college but always edited my own films. I found many people liked my editing, and I was hired to edit other students’ projects. I fell in love with the creativity and storytelling of editing and have been doing it for over a decade now in various roles.

 

Q: Who gave you your first break?
Honestly, I gave myself that initial break by writing and directing my own features and paying myself nothing to be my own editor! But doing something yourself is different than breaking into the industry as a professional. As for getting into the Editor’s Guild and working on a union show, I had a film professor,  Dana Wilson, who let me pick her brain over coffee. She suggested I enter the union as an assistant editor in television, and she helped pass on my resume. It landed at Disney where I got my first union job: assistant editor on a scripted TV show called “Kirby Buckets.”

 

Q: What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?
I loved working on “Veep.” While I didn’t have much creative input (I didn’t get to cut any scenes because I was the night assistant editor), I LOVED watching dailies and seeing how they shot that show. I’m very proud of “Pose” because it leveled up my sound design game exponentially. I’m incredibly proud of my work on “Shameless” because of what an amazing mentor Nathan Allen was and how much creativity he shared with me during that process. We did the series finale, and it was a beautiful experience.

 

Q: What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
Early in my career, I was quite intimidated by visual effects. I tended to avoid doing visual effects and would always pull in outside help. I knew I needed to grow, so I took a job as a visual effects editor on “Supergirl” and threw myself in head first. We had an in-house visual effects artist, but I took the opportunity to learn After Effects and Avid’s effects much better and levelled up considerably in that year. Now I’m known for my visual effects talent, and it adds to my abilities as an editor and assistant.

 

Q: What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Something that was unfortunately lost during COVID: I love lunch with my coworkers. It’s a great time to connect, learn more about each other, and share our creative experiences on the show. I love to work on shows with teams that eat together.

 

Q: Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I hope to be an editor regularly working on a scripted television series. I also hope to find an opportunity to direct an episode or two.

 

Q: What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I love karaoke. I meet monthly with a fantasy-based LARP (live action role-playing) group. And I love travelling with my wife.

 

Q: Favorite movie(s)? Why?
“Léon: The Professional” – the filmmaking, writing, and acting are extraordinary. ANY films by Krzysztof Kieślowski, but particularly his Three Colors trilogy.

 

Q: Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?
“Ted Lasso” – it’s just the greatest space to be teleported to, with wonderful characters. And “Shameless,” which I fell in love with while working on the show.

 

Q: Do you have an industry mentor?
I have several that mean a great deal to me. Alan Heim, Nathan Allen, and a handful of other wonderful editors that have invested their efforts in me and helped my career.

 

Q: What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Talent is important, knowing your job is important, but what will get you hired and rehired is being a lovely person no matter how hard things get. Don’t complain or gripe, just be there to support the team, and if you’re the coolest head in the room, you will undoubtedly be noticed for it. Lastly, take people to lunch or coffee and ask for advice, not directly for jobs. That’s how you create mentors.

 

Q: Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Thankfully, no, but I like to think the contract is there so that I won’t have to.

 

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
We are all here to support each other. To support our coworkers’ pay rates, to support them getting paid overtime just as you or I would want to be paid overtime. As you rise up the ladder, remember to support those below you, making sure they are taken care of, and to appreciate those above you who have your back and take care of you. We are a brother- and sisterhood!

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

Want to be featured in this space? Email: scollins@editorsguild.com. 

MICHELLE INZUNZA - SECOND ASSISTANT EDITOR

November 2022

Q: Where are you currently employed?

The Walt Disney Studios.

 

Q: Current projects?

“Disenchanted.”

 

Q: Describe your job.

My job as a second assistant editor is to be there for my editor and first assistant editor. I bring in dailies during production, which means labeling and organizing them in digital bins for my editor and then sending them out on PIX [a post-production collaboration app] to whoever needs to see them, work on them, comment, etc. Once the editor puts scenes together, I do sound cleanup and temp sound design. Some of my other tasks include creating string-outs [assembling uncut shots from dailies in story order], exporting footage [getting scenes or reels out of Avid and converting them into QuickTime or audio files] to send to the director, cutting in music, turning over reels from editorial to other departments, light visual effects work, and the list goes on.

 

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

Growing up, I loved TV and movies, and I knew I wanted to work in this industry. Throughout high school, I would change my mind about what I specifically wanted to do. I used to want to act, then changed my mind and wanted to become a screenwriter, but once I went to Chapman University to study film and took classes in everything, I was finally able to figure out what I wanted to focus on. After I took my first editing class, I was hooked. It’s funny, because I remember thinking I would never be an editor because it seemed too hard — but once I tried it, I had a lot of fun and wanted to continue learning.

 

Q: Who gave you your first break?

Shortly after graduating from Chapman, I got my first gig as a post-production assistant for the TV series “Ray Donovan” on Showtime. Two months in, I got hired to be the post PA on the movie “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.” “Ray Donovan” was wrapping up, so my bosses were totally fine with me leaving to do “X-Men.” Even though I technically started on “Ray Donovan,” I feel like “Dark Phoenix” was my big break because I was on it from the very beginning to the absolute end. I learned so much and made really great friends and connections, so I would love to thank [associate editor] John Lee and [first assistant editor] Pearce Roemer for giving me the opportunity to join their team!

 

Q: What was your first union job?

I was an apprentice editor for a Netflix rom com called “Resort To Love.” Someone I know who worked at Netflix told me they were trying to get apprentice editors hired on their lower budget films so there would be more opportunities to learn to be assistants. Apprentice jobs aren’t as common anymore, so Netflix and other studios are trying to bring them back with the Apprentice Program, which I think is amazing. I sent my friend my resume, and he told me that as soon as one of their movies needed an apprentice, they would call me. Very soon after that, I got a call from the post supervisor on “Resort To Love.” I chatted with him, then I spoke to the first assistant editor, and then to the editor — and they hired me! I am really glad I had the opportunity to be an apprentice before jumping into being an assistant because I was not yet comfortable with assistant duties.

 

What’s nice about being an apprentice on smaller films is that they aren’t as fast-paced and demanding, so it gave the first assistant editor time to teach me how to do literally everything! It was perfect — there was no pressure, and there was room to make mistakes and learn. By the end of the project, I was definitely comfortable with taking a job as a second assistant editor. I’ve sent along resumes of friends who were trying to find apprentice jobs, like I was, and they were hired and had successful experiences with their apprenticeships. They are now assistant editors in features and TV. I recommend that anyone who wants to be an assistant should try to get a job as an apprentice first. I believe it’s a very beneficial stepping stone for an editorial career.

 

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

I’m still pretty new, so I don’t have many credits under my belt yet. I went from “Dark Phoenix” to “Resort to Love” to “Disenchanted.” I’m proud of each project because I learned a lot and met a lot of great people, but I would say my proudest project so far is “Disenchanted” because I’ve had more responsibilities and done harder work on it. It’s much more involved than “Resort to Love” because it has visual effects and animation and harder sound design work. We’re almost done “Disenchanted,” and it’s definitely a movie I will look back on and think wow, my team and I really worked hard and put love and care into it.

 

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

In any job, a person can miscommunicate or make mistakes that cause issues, but to solve them, it’s important to take responsibility for your actions. Fix the problem or ask for help if you need to, and communicate better to others. Communication and honesty are super-key.

 

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

I enjoy having lunch with my coworkers. It’s nice to sit around the lunch table and have fun conversations. It’s also cool when we play our favorite music out loud in the office and communicate with each other using quotes from the movie we’re working on.

 

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

I hope to be a first assistant editor on features, especially if there’s an opportunity to travel with production. I would love to temporarily work and live in a different state or country.

 

Q: What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

Outside of work, I enjoy hanging out with friends, traveling, trying new food and places to eat, working out, going to the movies, and going to concerts. I love listening to Reggaeton and K-Pop. I’m VERY into K-Pop. I love collecting albums, merch, and photo cards of members from my favorite K-Pop groups. I could talk about K-Pop for hours. Did I mention how much I love K-Pop?

 

Q: Favorite movie(s)? Why?

It’s always hard to answer this question because there are so many movies I enjoy, but the ones that come to mind right now are “Easy A,” “The Dark Knight,” “Step Brothers,” “Birdman,” “Babel,” “Rough Night,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Frozen,” “Spirited Away,” and “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” I can watch these over and over and always have a great time. They never fail to make me laugh or cry, no matter how many times I see them.

 

Q: Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

My favorite shows are “Rick and Morty,” “South Park,” “Solar Opposites,” and several animes and old Cartoon Network shows I watched as a kid. I may prefer to work in live action, but I prefer to watch animation. Cartoons are so fun, and I find comfort watching them. My guilty pleasure, though, is “90 Day Fiancé”! I’m addicted to that whole franchise.

 

Q: Do you have an industry mentor?

From the time I graduated college, my mentor has been Shelby Hall. She also graduated from Chapman,  so one day she came to talk to the senior editing group, which I was then a part of. I reached out to her afterwards, and she’s been a great friend and mentor ever since. She was an assistant editor when we met, but now she’s an editor for TV. My first assistant editor, Josh Kirchmer, has also been an awesome mentor to me. While I was an apprentice on “Resort To Love,” he taught me to do everything an assistant does, and I continue to learn from him while on “Disenchanted.”

 

I recently got to know Alexandra Scratch (who is a first assistant editor), and she, too, has given me great advice. I know she’s someone I will be able to rely on for years to come, and I am so thankful to have met her. One last person I would like to mention is Craig Smith. He’s a first assistant editor who has been in the business a long time. He’s incredible at his job and works on the biggest projects. He always makes himself available when I need to talk or meet with him. He also has given me important advice, and anyone who gets to work with him is really lucky because he’s one of the best!

 

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

Put in the effort to network. I know people say this all the time, but this industry is really about who you know, and it’s really important to reach out to people who are doing what you want to do. If someone comes to your class to give a talk, reach out to them afterwards and make the connection. Go to mixers and networking events, or cold-message people on LinkedIn. Most people are super nice and willing to answer questions or meet up for coffee. I am definitely happy to help anyone trying to get their foot in the door. I love helping people find work and pursue their passions.

 

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

On one occasion, my coworkers and I weren’t being paid the proper amount for sick pay, so we contacted the Guild for assistance because we knew there were rules that accounting wasn’t following.

 

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

It’s awesome to be part of a union and the post-production community. There are many talented,  hardworking people that I’m honored and excited to work with as we bring fun, impactful stories to audiences around the world.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

If you’re a Local 700 member and want to be featured in this column, email SCollins@editorsguild.com. 

LUCY DONALDSON - ON CALL PICTURE EDITOR

October 2022

Q: Where are you currently employed?

I’m not working as of this writing, but I’m starting a feature in the fall. I can’t say what it is, but it’s very exciting! My last job was a Chinese/US co-production feature called “Unspoken,” produced by Court Five and CMC Pictures. Before that, I worked on two Mike Flanagan horror projects for Netflix: “Midnight Mass,” a limited series, and a regular series called “The Midnight Club.”

 

Q: Describe your job.

As a feature picture editor, during shooting, I cut dailies. I usually receive them the day after they are shot. It’s preferable to keep pace with production because the editor’s cut is due a week or so after shooting wraps. During the director’s cut, I work with the director, doing their notes and ironing out kinks. This stage can sometimes involve significant restructuring and experimentation. After that, we work on producer’s notes together. Once there’s a cut that is generally well-regarded, there are usually screenings for a test audience. After a while, depending on time and budget, someone finally declares picture lock, which means post-production sound people can start to build dialogue, music, and effects tracks that will be in sync with picture for sound mixing.

 

Picture editorial not only handles picture. We are the first to set the tone with temp music, temp sound design, and temp visual effects to get the cut to work and communicate story points. It’s a lot of crucial work that is often overlooked when describing the editor’s and assistant editor’s jobs.

 

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

After working in all sorts of jobs, including being a production assistant at a multimedia company that made CD-ROMs (it was the 90s!) and teaching English in Italy, I decided I needed a proper life plan and went back to education as a mature student. I found editing through a general art and design degree, and I immediately knew it was what I wanted to do. I played the piano from ages 6-18 (I find most editors are musical) and obsessively rewatched certain films as a teenager (excellent preparation for editing!). I also loved jigsaws and studying images of all kinds. So I really felt like I’d found my calling when I discovered there was a job that combined so many audio, visual, storytelling, and analytical skills.

 

Q: Who gave you your first break?

My first break came via my film school, The National Film and Television School in the UK. I worked on “Return to Cranford,” a period extravaganza starring Judi Dench. I was the cutting room trainee/second assistant editor, and it’s where I first learned assistant editing skills. After I graduated from film school, I pounded the pavements for a bit. Then a post house in West London, Coach House Studios, introduced me to my first editor, Dave King, who was about to start a BBC production of a series of classic children’s books called “Just William.” To my incredible luck, the series won a BAFTA.

 

A special mention in the break-giving category goes to Tim Alverson. He was pivotal in my getting the opportunity to cut “Ma,” which opened a lot of doors for me. He also taught me a lot of tricks of the trade that I still use todayTotal mensch.

 

Q: What was your first union job?

It was a film for Blumhouse called “Curve.” I worked in some capacity for Blumhouse on 10 of their movies. I was there at a time of great expansion for them, which was very exciting.

 

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

I love all my babies! I think I have a soft spot for “The Choice” — a Nicholas Sparks adaptation for Lionsgate — as it was my first main title credit. I love “Ma,” also. We had a lot of fun on that, and it had something of a cult-following meme life on Instagram.

 

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

There have been many times when restructuring a movie seems insurmountably complicated, but I actually really enjoy that process. With a good scene-card wall and a method of organizing alternate cuts, it can be very satisfying to reach an optimal scene structure. My most recent movie, “Unspoken,” contained scenes in English, Mandarin, and American Sign Language (ASL). My incredible assistant Melanie Kuan and I came up with a killer system of locators and script line numbering that enabled us to work pretty smoothly despite neither of us speaking Mandarin or ASL!

 

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

I was at Blumhouse working on “Happy Death Day” with Greg Plotkin when “Get Out,” his previous movie, was screened at Sundance. I had almost no involvement in “Get Out,” but to follow the growth of that movie was incredible. I saw it properly at an internal screening and loved it, of course, but had no idea what a hit it would be. To see the awards campaign gather steam was really fun. I was so happy for Greg and glad such a good movie was recognized.

 

Another time was an “all hands on deck” moment when I was at Blumhouse. “Truth or Dare” dailies were coming in thick and fast, and my friend and great editor, Sean Albertson, literally said at the lunch table, “Anyone wanna cut dailies? I’m drowning!” Sean, Kurt Nishimura, and I each cut different scenes that were then pieced together to form the basis for the editor’s cut. I had a blast working like that. It helped that everyone involved was fun and collaborative, too.

 

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

I’d like to cut a historical drama limited series — naturally with a great cast and high production values!

 

Q: What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

Apart from the obvious ones of watching oodles of movies and television shows, I do a lot of personal development activities. I love LA for that; I’m originally from the UK where no one talks about anything! I’m always trying to be mentally and physically healthier and happier.

 

Q: Favorite movie(s)?

“I, Tonya,” “Love and Mercy,” “Milk,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Margin Call,” “The Social Network,” “Maria Full of Grace,” “Young Adult,” “Eighth Grade,” “The Assistant,” “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

 

Q: Favorite TV program(s)?

“The Queen’s Gambit,” “A Very English Scandal,” “Fosse/Verdon,” “Chernobyl,” “Winning Time,” “The Offer,” “Normal People,” “The Act,” “Mare of Easttown,”, “White Lotus,” “The Morning Show.”

 

Q: Why?

I love any sort of story about the arts or business, workplace dramas, historical period dramas, and most things based on a true story. As well as watching for entertainment (and escapism), I have always looked to television and movies to learn about life. I find the most incredible stories are ones that have actually happened. I like suspenseful dramas and dark comedies that make the audience and filmmakers think.

 

Q: Do you have an industry mentor?

The Great Ms. Tatiana Riegel! She has been an incredible guiding light, support, and now friend. I am extremely grateful for her guidance and wisdom.

 

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

I enjoyed film school for the opportunity to be really creative, but it didn’t help me get work. During the period I was working as an assistant editor, I tried to keep the creativity alive by working on shorts. You have to take responsibility for managing your own career. Agents help but can only do so much. Work hard, be humble, be ready.

 

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

I am extremely grateful to the Guild for the healthcare and pension plan benefits and for those who negotiate on our behalf. Generally speaking, editors can be solution-based to a fault, and without the Guild backing us, I fear we’d be continually taken advantage of.

 

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

Working in editorial can be magical, but it’s also a very tough business. I try to help people as much as I can and collect good people as I go. I hear terrible stories of how editors are treated and have walked through some very difficult times myself. Without my friends and supportive co-workers, it wouldn’t be half as much fun. In difficult times, I try to remember these two things: ”Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence,” and “Fortune favors the brave.”

 

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

EMMA DUPELL - ASSISTANT EDITOR

September 2022

Q: Where are you currently employed?
I just wrapped on a show in July with Paramount Animation. I was on the project for two and a half years!

 

Q: Current projects?
I completed work on a cute animated musical feature film called “Under the Boardwalk,” which is based on, and in, the Jersey shore. Our main characters are hermit crabs. It’s a family film, good for all ages, but currently does not have a release date.

 

Q: Describe your job.

I work as an Associate Editor, which is a title mostly used in animation. It means I work as a secondary editor. I work closely with my editor, David Salter, cutting in storyboards, sound effects, and dialogue. Once our film moves into the production stage, I cut in Previs/Layout (first stage of animation, focused on camera and blocking), Animation (where the roughly animated Previs characters come to life with lip sync and acting), and Lighting/Final Render shots (those beautifully finished, lit and fully textured shots you see in every animated show).

 

Q: How did you first become interested in this line of work?
When I was a child, I was obsessed with anything animated. As I got older and technology advanced, I was able to find more animated content online — shows that I would not have been able to find on TV — and I realized how vast and advanced animated storytelling is. There is so much you can do using animation as a medium, and I always wanted to be involved with it.

 

Q: Who gave you your first break?
There are a few people who gave me my big break, the first being Sharon Smith Holley for allowing me to intern at the Editors Guild and help with the 75th Anniversary celebration. She then invited me to all Editors Guild and ACE events, and I met Richard & Collen Halsey, who hired me as their assistant editor. I worked with them on a few live action feature films that enabled me to accumulate enough non-union work days to get on the union roster. Lastly, John Venzon hired me for my first animated feature, “Storks,” where I had temped for a few weeks while one of his assistants was on vacation. I had zero animation experience, but John believed in me. Thanks to him, I was able to get my foot in the door.

 

Q: What was your first union job?
My first union job was a CW TV show, “Beauty & The Beast.” Laughably, I did not last very long on the show, but it was a valuable lesson, and I am still grateful that I was able to work on it so I could finally get my union card.

 

Q: What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?
There are a handful of films I take pride in, a mixture of both live action and animation. The two live action films were “The Invitation,” a drama/horror film where I was an assistant editor under Plummy Tucker, and “Dragged Across Concrete,” an action thriller I worked on as assistant editor to Greg D’Auria. The two animation shows were “The Lego Batman Movie,” the animation action hit on which I assisted Garret Elkins, and the animation comedy “The Addams Family,” where I worked as first assistant to David Salter. Although these shows range from thriller to family films, they have commonalities: my editors were fantastic, they each mentored me, and we were always able to talk about the story and dissect scenes together. I am forever grateful to each of them for hiring me and making me feel like a part of the team.

 

Q: What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
The biggest challenge I face with any job is the politics. How do you handle an upset producer? How do you handle a moment when the director and editor have conflicting viewpoints? It’s taken me a while to learn how to become diplomatic and stop myself from responding reactively or defensively (although sometimes I still fail!). During those times, I have learned it is best to listen, take a step back, and give yourself a moment to come up with a solution to whichever problem arises in that moment.

 

Q: What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
I’ve had a lot of fun on all the animated shows I’ve worked on. In animation, editorial is the hub. You are involved every step of the way, from pre-production through post-production. How is editorial involved in pre-production when we’re clearly post-production? This is the magic of animation. When we’re in the storyboard phase, we’re reworking the story over and over again. Editorial is heavily involved with the storytelling process; it’s very collaborative and a lot of hard work, but I absolutely adore it. It certainly helps that everyone I have worked with in animation has been so great.

 

Q: Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I hope to continue moving my way up the editorial chain and one day become a lead editor on a feature.

 

Q: What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
Work from home has really changed my lifestyle. I now walk my dog every day during my lunch breaks. It brings us both joy. I love reading, playing video games, cooking new meals, and learning more about Los Angeles history.

 

Q: Favorite movie(s)? Why?
Naturally, I feel I have to pick movies from both animation and live action. “Beauty and the Beast” will always be my favorite animated film. Belle heavily influenced my childhood, including reading because she loved it. “Kiki’s Delivery Service” is a very close second – really, any Miyazaki film because of his brilliant storytelling and animation. For live action, it would be “Run Lola Run” and “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.” My European mother introduced both of these films to me as soon as I turned 18, and I had never seen such storytelling! Both films are so intense, and you get so invested with the characters. Of course, I can’t leave out my all-time favorite comedy, “Blazing Saddles.” Mel Brooks is a genius. Other honorable mentions go to a few Bollywood films that bring me pure joy: “Dil Chahta Hai,” a feel-good road-trip-with-friends movie, and “Singham,” a cop movie with such intense over-the-top action, it nearly puts our action films to shame.

 

Q: Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
This may sound scandalous in the golden age of television, but I’m not the biggest series viewer. I enjoy watching “Dr. Who” because it’s silly, and sometimes I need a quick pick me up after a long day. I like watching any shows that are on the comedic side and don’t take themselves too seriously, like “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

 

Q: Do you have an industry mentor?
I have two mentors: Sharon Smith Holley, who is my biggest supporter, someone I can always come to with questions or concerns; and David Salter is always there for me, whether it’s to discuss a scene or be an advocate for me in the cutting room.

 

Q: What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
My advice echoes those who came before me: network, network, network. If you are passionate about a certain medium, find people who work in that area and offer them some coffee! Your enthusiasm will win people over and you will get in. Just keep doing it.

 

Q: Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
I have reached out to our field reps several times over the years, once for a Tier 1 project that never paid on time (and I finally did get paid!), and other times with time-card questions (meal penalties, vacation/days off). Never hesitate to reach out to our reps. They are extremely helpful and they are here for us! I am so thankful we’re able to turn to our reps for help.

 

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
Always feel free to reach out to the union with questions or concerns, I’m always surprised how many Guild members don’t do that. We’ve got to stick up for ourselves and look out for each other because studios won’t. You are your own best advocate.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin.

BEN INSLER - ASSISTANT EDITOR

August 2022

Q: Where are you currently employed?

I’m currently assisting Kirk Baxter on David Fincher’s next movie, “The Killer.”

 

Q: Current projects?

Just the one above. Everyone always talks about what they’re doing on the side. My wife and I have four-year-old twins. There is no “on the side.”

 

Q: Describe your job.

Overall, the job is to make sure the editor has access to everything they need to work effortlessly with their footage so that they can focus creatively on building the story and not have to get distracted with technical or organizational details. This usually begins before the movie starts by supervising the build of edit systems to ensure they support the needs of the project. During production, the workload is heavy on receiving, processing, and organizing dailies each day so that the editor can review the footage and start building scenes quickly. Once production is over, the assistant editor role transitions more to fielding requests that support the editor and the completion of the movie. This can run the gamut from doing initial sound design or pulling and auditioning music, to recording temp ADR lines and hunting through takes for alternate performances.

 

As the movie progresses, assistant editors help the music, sound and visual effects departments get what they need to work in parallel with the edit. We also receive deliveries from these departments and cut them back into the edit for the editor and director to review. On Fincher’s projects, we also do a lot of temp visual effects – splitting together different takes, compositing green screen, stabilizing camera movement – right in the timeline so they stay live as the edit changes. All of our assistant editors are seasoned in these techniques. And while it’s not officially the assistant editor’s job, I do a fair amount of coding. There are magnitudes of efficiency that come from having the computer do repetitive manual work for you. Everyone should at least be willing to explore it.

 

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

I’ve always loved movies. Even bad ones. If I started watching a movie, I had to finish it. I think I’ve only turned off one movie in my entire life… it will remain nameless here to protect me from the retaliation of those who worked on it. (I didn’t even turn off “Good Burger”… caught on TV by accident… with ads!) To this day, I’m captivated by the way movies transport us into their own world. You don’t even have to put in any effort and you’re somewhere new. That never gets old for me. I also love computers and tech — things like setting up video systems, digging through a tangle of wires, and making everything work. It just sort of comes naturally to me. I’d honestly say that, for this particular line of work, it’s where all my interests melded naturally.

 

Q: Who gave you your first break?

This is a tough question. My story isn’t so cinematically satisfying as a lifelong career of success and mentorship that blossomed out of one momentary spark of a relationship. I think it’s more that I’ve found myself at a number of forks in the road and approached them with a willingness to take new risks, even though it meant shaking up my world a little bit. I’ve always told myself that I want there to be a 5% chance on every project I do that I will completely fail, but also to be 100% confident that I can overcome that 5%. If that 5% risk isn’t there, I’m not pushing myself or taking any risks to grow, and I need that. It definitely informs how I make decisions at those forks.

 

But if I had to credit someone, it would probably be my friend Toby Louie, a producer I met while we were both working in commercials. Toby knew people whom I could only dream of working with, and his generosity with introductions made those dreams a reality.

 

Q: What was your first union job?

First assistant editor on “Mindhunter,” season 2.

 

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

I’m really proud of “Mank,” “The Batman,” and a commercial for a videogame called “Battlefield: Hardline” that I assisted on a number of years ago. “Mank” was my first project where I was first assistant from the start of the project. It was also my first time starting a Fincher project from the beginning. And literally days after we finished filming in early 2020, a pesky global pandemic collided with humanity. From the start of that show, I was determined for it to go smoothly, and COVID didn’t change that. We were actually ahead of the curve and had already begun work-from-home protocols a few days before California instituted them statewide. We weren’t caught off guard by the transition from the office to home, but it was still a fast transition and it had to go smoothly. We’re a very tech-forward team but we still had to invent a lot on the fly. I didn’t want anyone on our team to compromise how they work because work from home couldn’t accommodate it, and for the most part, no one did. We finished on time. The movie won awards. “It worked out,” as Mank himself says in the film. The editor, Kirk Baxter, mentioned to me that he was asked how the pandemic changed the way we had to work, and he answered simply, “It didn’t.” That was the biggest compliment I could have received.

 

“The Batman” was so much fun. It’s the kind of movie that made me want to make movies. Big on spectacle. Big on action. All-star cast. Huge audience anticipation. It was such a thrill to see fan interest and speculation evolve outside while watching the movie evolve inside. Working on a film like “The Batman” was always a dream, but an opportunity I wasn’t convinced I’d ever actually encounter. I’m very proud to have had the privilege to be a part of the team that made it. “Battlefield: Hardline” was a 360-degree immersive interactive experience that was created to market the game. You’d watch it online from the perspective of a bag of money being stolen by bank robbers. You could point the camera in any direction at any time as you were whizzed down city blocks on a motorcycle, thrown over people’s shoulders, tossed from car to car… super crazy fun stuff. In addition to the 360-degree experience, the advertising agency wanted to create more traditional media to run in commercial ad spaces. This meant that the director (Nicolai Fuglsig) and editor (Eric Zumbrunnen) could essentially choose any angle from within the 360 degrees to tell their story. They could cut. They could whip pan. They could do whatever they wanted as if they were operating the camera.

 

My job in the edit suite was to figure out how to actually do this — and this was still a few years before virtual reality editing tools were a thing. We created super-wide tiled media that allowed Nicolai and Eric to rotate the camera anywhere in real time. But the biggest fear was that Nicolai and Eric’s work wouldn’t translate to the finishing artists adding visual effects. I wrote some code that took all of their work from Premiere, collected the keyframes, and translated them into camera rotation data that let the finishing artists exactly match every decision that Nicolai and Eric had made. It was incredibly satisfying. With that project, it felt like we had actually brought something new into existence that had never been done before.

 

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

The biggest job challenge was definitely making the decision to leave where I was comfortable for the opportunity to grow. It’s scary, but necessary. In this industry, everyone fills a role that someone next to them, or above them, relies on. They need you there, so they want you to stay where you are and keep doing that thing you do better than anyone else. You have to step out of the box yourself. It’s the biggest challenge because it never became any easier to overcome – it was a leap of faith every time.

 

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

A friend and I were working on a movie in Winnipeg, Canada with one of the producers of “1408.” Our hotel, the Fort Garry, was rumored to be haunted – specifically, Room 202. When we mentioned this to the producer, he marched over to reception and booked the room for the two of us to stay in that night. We had no choice. This was not the kind of thing my friend was into. Every sound was an event. Every minute was an hour long. We heard and made up all kinds of things that didn’t exist. A room that is rumored to be haunted becomes haunted when you’re in it. We brought camera and recording equipment to the room with us and all it recorded were his screams and our laughter.

 

Q: What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I like tinkering with electronics and robotics, things like that. I don’t really know what I’m doing, so when the robots attack, blame me. I also love camping and skiing.

 

Q: Favorite movie(s)? Why?

“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” Final answer.

 

Q: Favorite TV program(s)? Why?

Currently? “The Boys.” It’s dark and gritty and unexpectedly brutal. I love it. I’m also very much into “Raised By Wolves.” I know exactly what side I’m rooting for when I watch this show, and I’m continually impressed with how the other side continues to lure me in. Everyone has their own turn being a hero and a villain. It’s great. “Righteous Gemstones” is just a joy that I hope never goes away. And I just got hooked on “Outer Range.” Wow… it suddenly sounds like I have a lot of time to watch TV. I do not. All time favorites? “Seinfeld.” “Halt and Catch Fire.” “Deadwood.”

 

Q: Do you have an industry mentor?

Not really, but I think everyone should. It’s a relationship I wish I had. It’s easy to lose perspective of one’s own value, and we all need someone in our corner to remind us that we do good work. Someone we can ask questions. Try things out with. Be dumb with and not suffer judgement. A phenomenally talented editor once told me he worried every job he did was going to be his last – that he wasn’t sure why people would hire him after this one. I like to think that we were building a mentor/mentee relationship that would have matured if we had been able to continue working together, and that we were both creating a safe space for each other to be honest and dumb, because, in truth, his worry couldn’t have been more absurd.

 

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

Say yes. You’re entitled to nothing. Be patient.

 

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

Not yet, but I’m immensely thankful for the Guild. Without the Guild and what it has fought for on our behalf, it would be much harder to enjoy working in this industry.

 

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

I think we’re all too competitive and should focus less on that. We’re all way too good at faulting ourselves for missing out on opportunities we believe our peers are getting, and using that to define what our success should look like. This makes us competitive even though we haven’t necessarily defined what success means for ourselves. I find I’m much happier being proud of what I’m good at than frustrated by what I haven’t achieved yet.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

 

BARI WINTER - ASSISTANT EDITOR

July 2022

Q: Where are you currently employed?
Sony/Netflix

 

Q: Current projects?
“Cobra Kai,” season 5.

 

Q: Describe your job.
My job as assistant editor starts with project organization and dailies. I will talk with the post producers and post supervisors, editors, and assistant editors about workflow so we can plan the rest of the post process. On “Cobra Kai,” my editor, Zack Arnold, likes to use the app Trello to organize the paperwork. It’s a virtual version of old-school looseleaf binders or index cards on a bulletin board. We also use it to keep track of where we are on each episode. Since we’re all working remotely, it’s a really great way to collaborate. After organizing the dailies, I help out on cuts with sound effects, music, and basic visual effects. Other parts of my job include attending edit sessions with the director and producers and taking notes. I create exports of cuts to send out to the director or producers or the network and studio for their notes. After picture lock, I handle turnovers of the locked cut to our vendors handling the on-line, color, sound, music, and visual effects. Since I’m working towards becoming an editor, I’m also cutting scenes. We workshop the scenes I’ve cut. It’s more than just notes; I have to dig in deep to find the meaning behind the scenes, character motivations, and why I made my editorial decisions. I value this feedback to help me grow as an editor.

 

Q: How did you first become interested in this line of work?
When I was 16 years old, I went to Usdan, a performing arts camp in New York on Long Island. They had a new video program I thought would be fun. I loved it and thought this could be great to do for a career.

 

Q: Who gave you your first break?
I got my start in reality television, but I had dreams of working in scripted. My first big break in scripted television was “Quarterlife,” an hour-long drama for Myspace/NBC. I landed this job because I was on the available list. (Yes, being on the available list does work!) They needed a night assistant editor. I am so grateful to the associate producer who took a chance on me. After the show wrapped, we stayed in touch. She hired me a couple of times to fill in on shows that needed an assistant to cover for a week or so, and then she recommended me to a colleague for an assistant editor position on an HBO show, which led to many more opportunities.

 

Q: What was your first union job?
In 2007, I became an online assistant editor on “Watch Over Me,” a one-hour drama on MyNetworkTV.

 

Q: What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?
I’m most proud of my current show, “Cobra Kai.” Zack Arnold, whom I mentioned earlier, is a great mentor and editor. He was instrumental to my earning a co-editor credit on an episode in season 4 and two more on season 5, which is currently in post-production. I’m also very proud of the work I did as an editor on a short film called “My Dead Roommate.” It was created and produced entirely by women during the height of the pandemic, and it was really fun to do!

 

Q: What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
My biggest challenges involve how to effectively communicate my needs or the needs of the show. Sometimes politics are involved, so then I turn to my editor or trusted colleagues for advice.

 

Q: What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
“The Middle,” a half-hour comedy on ABC. I worked on the show for five seasons and became friends with not only the whole post team but also some of the on-set crew. Every aspect of “The Middle” was done on the Warner Bros Ranch Lot. The writers room, post, and sets were all there, and we all got to know each other. We usually had our lunch break when the crew broke for lunch. I was invited to join some of the crew to do yoga in the last 15 minutes of their lunch break. It was a great way to get in a little exercise during the workday as well as a way to build camaraderie with the crew.

 

Q: Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I’ve been working toward the career goal of getting hired as an editor for the past couple of years now. I worked on these goals in the Optimize Yourself program (optimizeyourself.me) that Zack created. The goal I came up with in the spring of 2020 was to be hired as an editor by the end of 2020. That goal changed because of COVID-19, so my goal for 2022 is to be hired as an editor before the end of the year. My goal for five years from now is to be a regular working editor on shows that speak to me.

 

Q: What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I love to go hiking and to spend time with my husband, our daughter, and dog Mabel. I also love the discussions my husband and I have about film and tv. He is a member of the Guild, too, as a supervising sound editor. I’m also the Slack community manager for Optimize Yourself.

 

Q: Favorite movie(s)? Why?
I watch more TV than movies. Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of movies with my husband, who is a member of the Academy. So far, my favorites have been “West Side Story,” “Belfast,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Tick, Tick… Boom!” and “King Richard.” Some of my all-time favorite movies are “Steel Magnolias,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Almost Famous,” and every Indiana Jones movie.

 

Q: Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
Comedy is my favorite genre because I love to laugh. Some of my favorites are “Cheers,” “The Golden Girls,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “Ted Lasso,” “Working Moms,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Grace and Frankie,” “The Good Place,” and “30 Rock.” I also love good drama such as “The Crown” and “The Queen’s Gambit.” There’s so much great content out there and not enough time to watch it all!

 

Q: Do you have an industry mentor?
I’ve had many mentors over the course of my career. While attending film school at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, my mentor was my editing teacher, Gary Cooper. We are still in touch today. While I was working on “The Middle,” the editors became mentors to me. Before each team sent out an editor’s cut, we screened it for each other. Listening and participating in those screenings really helped me understand editing comedy. I’m happy again to mention that my current editor, Zack Arnold, has become a mentor to me. He has a program called Optimize Yourself that I took at the beginning of the pandemic. I learned so much about myself, my goals, and how to achieve them through the program. As his assistant editor on “Cobra Kai,” I’ve been learning so much more about editing, the why behind the edits, and the politics of the industry.

 

Q: What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
No. 1, have patience. Your career goals may not happen according to your timeline. I would also say to be kind, work hard, stand up for yourself, and network effectively and consistently. Even if you are employed on a show or movie, keep up with your networking so when you are ready for your next gig, you already have a network ready to help you. And because you stayed in touch with your network, when you hear about a job, you’ll know who’s available and who might be a good fit for the position. Paying it forward is rewarding.

 

Q: Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
I recently had a question about the current rates, and the field reps were very helpful in getting me the correct information.

 

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
Our careers in this business are very busy. Take time to take care of yourself and it will show in your work. When you feel good, it shows in all aspects of your life.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

STACI PONTIUS - ASSISTANT EDITOR

June 2022

Where are you currently employed?

I’m in between projects at the moment.

 

Current projects?

The last movie I worked on was “King Richard,” and I’m starting on the “Untitled Bob Marley Biopic” later this year.

 

Describe your job.

I’ve been Pamela Martin’s first assistant for over 10 years. I’m responsible for making sure the cutting room runs smoothly with a focus on providing everything Pam needs to do her job efficiently, i.e., organized dailies, scene cards, lined script, temp sound effects, temp music, etc. I also communicate regularly with all of the other departments (sound, music, DI) to provide what they need throughout the post process.

 

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

I had a friend who was an assistant editor and thought that my attention to detail and love of numbers would make me a good candidate for the job. I was open to the idea so I started taking film classes and got an internship to learn more about filmmaking in general and editing specifically.

 

Who gave you your first break?

The same friend helped me get my first internship and eventually gave me my first P.A. job.

 

What was your first union job?

My first union job was apprentice editor on “Waterworld.”

 

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

“King Richard” — I loved the movie and that Pam’s amazing work was recognized by her peers.

“Battle of the Sexes” — Our cutting room felt like a home away from home, and I still enjoy watching the movie after seeing it so many times.

“Waterworld” — It was my first credit and first experience on a big studio feature.

 

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

One big challenge was about 20 years ago when I needed to learn the Avid in order to keep working as an assistant editor. I was nervous about it but I overcame it by saying yes to a job with an editor who was willing to teach me how to translate what I knew about working on film to working on Avid.

 

Another challenging situation was when I was told I would have to share a room on “Captain America” with another assistant editor. I’m particular about my work area and process, so I didn’t want some strange guy in my space. I worked it out by getting to know him. Now he’s my husband.

 

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

There are a few people I’ve worked with who manage to make me laugh on a regular basis by making up songs or repeating favorite quotes out of context. I have the most fun when I’m laughing a lot at work.

 

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

I try not to plan too far ahead these days, so for now, I’ll just keep doing what’s next.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I really enjoy hiking, traveling, music, food, and sports.

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

“Remains of the Day” — It’s such a moving and beautifully crafted film.

 

Favorite TV program(s)? Why? 

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”– I’m inspired by his curiosity, kindness, and empathy. He had an amazing ability to communicate with both children and adults in such a comforting way.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

I’ve worked with many talented and generous editors and assistant editors. Pam has taught me so much over the years that I’ve worked with her. Greg Perler taught me the Avid so I’m eternally grateful to him. Audrey Evans taught me how to sync dailies on film!

 

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

Get to know people who are working on the types of projects you want to work on, and be ready to jump right in when the call comes.

 

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

When I was still new to the industry, I called the Guild for help navigating a complicated political situation.

 

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

I’ve learned something on every job by staying open-minded about new situations or the people I’m working with at the moment.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

CHARLES SHIN - ASSISTANT EDITOR

May 2022

Where are you currently employed?

20th Television / ABC.

 

Current projects?

I’m currently doing a pilot for standup comedian Jo Koy.

 

Describe your job.

I do the regular duties that all assistant editors are required to do, like organizing dailies on the whole project, designing sound effects, temp visual effects, and turnovers. I did have a chance to cut a couple of scenes and got feedback from my editor, which was very helpful, especially during a pilot that, due to its nature, never afforded the time to cut scenes and get feedback. So that was nice.

 

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

I used to edit reality shows. My heart was never into cutting reality, but I was tempted by the dark side —  the money. Because I’m a big cinephile and living in this golden age of great television, I decided to make the big sacrifice: I took a step back and became an assistant editor so I could eventually cut on a scripted show.

 

Who gave you your first break?

I found my first scripted job on Facebook. Hahn Cho was the first post supervisor who took a chance on me. My first scripted gig, “Alive in Denver,” was for a streaming platform that went defunct. But my good friend Saleem Aziz, an editor, really helped my career take off when he got me an interview with what became my first network show, “New Girl.” I had previously interviewed for the show five years earlier, but I got beat out by someone with better connections, so it was a full-circle moment for me when I got the job for the show’s last season.

 

What was your first union job?

My first union job came from a reality stage show called “Superhuman,” which my friend Joe Gonzalez helped me get on. Actually, I had to jump from the non-union show I was cutting to do “Superhuman” because it was a union show, and I hoped it would change my life to start working on union shows. Turns out it was worth burning the bridge at the job I’d left behind.

 

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

So far, “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Pen15,” and this Jo Koy Pilot I’m on now. I’m Asian and working on a show with great Asian representation, but I’m the only Asian working in post on a show about Asians, which is cool/funny/nice all at the same time. It’s even more special because “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Pen15” are such game-changing cultural-breakthrough comedies – and they’re big hits. Another project I am also very proud of is “Naomi” because that was the first pilot I worked on, a drama/comic/action show that got picked up. You feel invested in the show because of all the long hours you put into it, and seeing it go out into the world is also special. Plus, I got to work with Gina Hirsch whose dad is Paul Hirsch, an editing legend who won an Oscar for cutting the first “Star Wars” movie. I’m a big “Star Wars” fan, so it was cool to work with someone who was there when it happened and tells great stories about it.

 

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

One of the two biggest challenges was doing the pilot for “Naomi.” There were some things I wasn’t familiar with, like working with a conformed sequence and the workflow of doing a pilot. Luckily, I brought along someone I’d worked with before who had more experience than I did and could show me what I didn’t know. We were a great team because we had each other’s backs down in the trenches. The other challenge was learning what it’s like to work on a big theatrical feature. You get thrown into the fire and try to make sure not to mess anything up.

 

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

That would be on “New Girl” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” Both crews were laid back and knew how to let you do your work, but they also had parties, made sure your birthday is celebrated, Mardi gras celebrations, going-away parties, etc. Also, on both of those shows, if I was done with my work, I was able to go on set and meet the production crew or go to the writers room. They would let me explore anytime I wanted. It was a great experience to get to know the cast and production crew, especially after COVID. Post had been work-from-home and imposed various restrictions, so I felt I made the best use of my time when there was no pandemic.

 

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

Directing! I got into editing to become a better director. I just finished shooting my first short, which was self-funded, and had an issue because I wasn’t going to make my day. I was renting a location and running out of time to shoot two more scenes that were needed. Thanks to my experience in post, I was able to combine two scenes into one, and it made the film work better. I solved the problem by thinking like an editor: how things could cut together, shot selection, what was most important to get and what was okay to miss. But I still love editing and would like to do both.

 

What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I have two kids, Leo and Ellie, who are my hobbies, activities, and passion! So I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I do, I’m watching movies in a theater as much as possible. I especially like going to retro theaters like the New Beverly (which is four blocks from where I live) or going to an American Cinematheque screening and watching films I’ve never seen or maybe haven’t seen on the big screen. I’m a cinephile, and I want to be a knowledgeable one, so I see as many films as possible, anything and everything. I’m prepping myself in case I ever get stuck in a room with Quentin Tarantino and Guillermo Del Toro, talking about films. I also love to see a movie without seeing a trailer or knowing anything about it, even whether it’s good or bad — that’s even more exciting!

 

Favorite movie(s)? Why?

The first “Star Wars” movie, which is now subtitled “Episode IV – A New Hope,” is now my favorite movie because of the great story, its technical innovations, and the backstory and history of getting the film made — like George Lucas not sticking around for opening day because he thought the movie would fail, so instead he went to Hawaii with Spielberg over  opening weekend to talk about Indiana Jones. Also, that he invented not just a world but a whole ever-expanding universe is quite ingenious! That happens maybe only once in a lifetime. It would be a dream fulfilled to work on any “Star Wars” project. I’ve fashioned my whole career to prepare for the chance that one day, if I did get called to work on a “Star Wars” project, I would have solid credits that proved my abilities. Another personal favorite is “Snatch.” It’s just a great movie. I always use lines from that movie in my personal life!

 

Favorite TV program(s)? Why?

“Seinfeld” is one of my favorites. Like with “Snatch,” I often repeat lines from the show. But “Breaking Bad,” “The Sopranos,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Mandalorian,” “Fleabag,” “What We Do in the Shadows,” “Game of Thrones,” “Vikings,” “Summer Heights High” [Australia], “and five shows from South Korea: “My Mister,” “Reply 1988,” “Vincenzo,” “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay,” and “Squid Game.” I love these shows because of the stories they tell and the clever ways they tell them. It’s shows like these that help make this the golden age of television we’ve been experiencing for the past decade! There are other shows I love for nostalgia reasons. They inspired me to go into television and movies as the career I want to be in for the rest of my life. That’s hard to do, considering the challenge of being regularly employed in this business.

 

Do you have an industry mentor?

Yes, I have a few. Saleem Aziz is not only a good friend – he also gives me a lot of good advice about career decisions and paths to take. And he’s been a bridge for me to get into the ACE diversity program where I have three mentors (Lillian Benson, ACE; Jacques Gravett, ACE; Rosanne Tan, ACE) whom I go to with questions or seeking tough career advice. Despite their busy schedules, they find time to reply — and reply quickly — which is nice because sometimes you need to make a decision by the end of the day.

 

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

Be prepared to make sacrifices. Some people might not need to make ones as big as I did because it’s also part luck. For example, I didn’t work for six months because I turned down reality gigs so I’d be available to work on a scripted show, which meant taking a huge pay cut — even with a new baby to feed! Have the self-confidence to believe that when you do get called for a show, you’re ready and won’t mess up the opportunity you’re being given. I even took a two-day course from Moviola on how to be an assistant editor, and I interned there so I could get some free classes.

 

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

I have been lucky to work on shows that treat everyone well. Even with shows that didn’t pay well, I never felt like I was being taken advantage of.

 

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

The greatest thing about the Guild is the more you involve yourself and really learn about your craft, the more people are willing to help you, even with this business being so competitive. There may be certain groups that are hard to break into, but when you try to get to know people and are genuine about yourself and not primarily trying to get a job, then things may open up for you very easily. Say out loud what you want. Will it into existence. If you keep at it, there are people who will help you get there, which is why I love working in post: the whole system has been based on the Mentor and Padawan [an apprentice to a Jedi knight], and eventually the Padawan will become a Mentor and pass down what they learned, and so forth. This is one of the few careers where this is expected to happen because your mentors want to see you succeed.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

 

Interested in being featured in What Our Members Do? Send your name or that of a friend to SCollins@editorsguild.com. 

ASHLEY MCKINNEY - ASSISTANT EDITOR

April 2022

Q Where are you currently employed?
Paramount studios.

 

Q Current projects?
I’m a second assistant editor for a feature at Paramount. Before this project, I worked with editor Josie Azzam on a short film for Netflix. Through the pandemic, also for Netflix, I was an assistant on season two of “Never Have I Ever” and part of the assistant team with Matt Latham on “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal.”

 

Q Describe your job.
As an assistant editor, I anticipate various needs – technical, creative, and anything in between — to help make sure the editorial staff runs smoothly. This can include temp sound clean up, exports, and turnovers to various other departments. Sometimes there is troubleshooting involved in trying to figure out what the hell that Avid error message means, or even some creative troubleshooting like how we can help the editor sell a visual idea with graphics, temp visual effects, or creative brainstorming.

 

Q How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I’ve always been fascinated with the craft and skill that goes into filmmaking. When I was in about sixth grade, we had to write a report on a career we might be interested in. I chose the film industry, but my teacher wanted me to be more specific, so after poring over a bunch of lists and reading up on all the different credits behind the scenes, I discovered what editing was. I’ve always been obsessed with figuring out puzzles, and that’s how I see editing: they’re giant story puzzles that sometimes fit together super-easily, sometimes not, but they can be played with until you reveal the emotion, even if the continuity is off. Ever since then, I’ve been working to become an editor.

 

Q Who gave you your first break?
From the time I left non-union reality work, I’ve been very fortunate to find my way into union work. Assistant editor Alan Mackulin recommended me for several things. Many other assistant editors have helped along the way and taught me so many things—Chris Visser, Monica Daniel, and Shiran Amir, to name a few. Editor Matt Friedman gave me my first union job on a low budget independent feature called “The Boy Downstairs.” Since then, I’ve networked and got to work with editors Phillip Bartell, Kristina Hamilton-Grobler, Waldemar Centeno, Jonathan Angus, and assistant editors Jessica Sisk and Josie Azzam.

 

Q What was your first union job?
That low-budget independent feature, “The Boy Downstairs.” It’s a sweet New York romantic comedy about a young woman who moves into an apartment that happens to be above her ex.

 

Q What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?
Two for Netflix—the film “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and the TV series “Never Have I Ever,” both for pretty much the same reasons. They have beautiful stories filled with representations of independent and strong women learning how to live in this world, and underlying themes about how we can cope with grief and mental illness. I lost my grandmother right before starting work on “To All the Boys…”, and it helped me through that time because one of the sub-plots involves the main character learning how to process and deal with the loss of her mother. When I watched season one of “Never Have I Ever,” in which the teenage main character’s father dies, my husband and I were in lockdown and his mother was very sick, ultimately passing away. When I got the call that I would be working on season two, I cried. After dealing with intense dark moments, it was nice to work on such light and fun but also poignant stories.

 

Q  What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
It’s hard to nail down one challenge that’s bigger than another. Assisting on TV and features can often be like herding cats. If anything, I’ve learned how to manage my time better and anticipate priorities. I’m a trauma survivor and deal with PTSD, so some of my greatest struggles come out of managing triggers. I have a service dog, Xander, that comes to work with me. I utilize white boards and a bullet journal to keep track of tasks and the like. But I think the greatest help has come from opening up and being honest with my co-workers about my PTSD. It’s not for everyone, but the way to correct misconceptions and destigmatize mental illness, PTSD in particular, is by giving it a face and a name. Once I stopped trying to hide it or pretend it was something that could not be named, things became a lot easier.

 

Q What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Lunch time with the crew of “Shooter,” season three. We had this GIANT table where we would all take a break and talk for an hour. In the office, there was a giant cutout of the show’s star, Ryan Phillippe, that someone would hide around a corner, or do something else to get a jump out of someone.

 

Q Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I am not a five-year planner. I tend to take things one year at a time, but I hope to be working on more fun and important stories. Maybe as an editor, or at least starting to cut more.

 

Q What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a MASSIVE St. Louis Blues fan. I try to watch or listen to every game during the season, and I’ve been known to be very vocal when the team makes poor decisions. I am also an avid crafter and baker. For the car paints [during negotiations with the AMPTP, the Guild painted supporters’ car windows with pro-union statements], I made keychains for all the volunteers (if you didn’t get one, please reach out!) as well as gooey butter cake for the office staff.

 

Q Favorite movie(s)? Why?
“Silver Linings Playbook.” The way disassociation and obsession scenes were portrayed really spoke to my experiences with PTSD. It helped me express what was going on inside my head when I couldn’t find the words.

 

Q  Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
Historically, “Gilmore Girls.” I always watched with my mom or grandmother. Seeing flawed but well executed female characters on the screen, big or small, has been rare, unfortunately. As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to relate differently to each of the characters, and the performances are fantastically layered. It’s often like sitting down and getting a nice warm hug. Currently, “Ted Lasso.” As a Midwesterner in a big city, I find it nice to get a dose of wholesome Kansas-boy logic. The show is so well written, acted, and edited. I remember seeing the clip at virtual EditFest 2020 and instantly feeling the need to watch.

 

Q  Do you have an industry mentor?
I have a lot of mentors for different things. I consider them more friends than official mentors. Monica Daniel is someone I’ve gone from looking up to, to having weekly game nights and ongoing conversations about Marvel movies. Richard Sanchez has been a huge resource for questions about assisting, puppies, and sometimes life in general.

 

Q What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
First, be yourself. You can learn the gig, but if you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, it can be unhealthy for you and for the people around you. Second, be kind to yourself and to others. It costs you nothing but you gain so, so much.

 

Q Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
In my case, I didn’t need assistance for anything specific. When I was starting out, the low budget features contract I was working under allowed for a field rep to visit the work site, say hi, and see how we were doing. I was fortunate to have the same field rep every time, Karen Greene. She answered my questions and, after the third time or so, brought dog treats. She remembered who I was. That early attention and education helped me to be more comfortable about coming to the Guild with bigger issues and also to become more involved with the Guild. Our community can seem daunting to break into, but this early one-on-one time with a representative made an especially positive lasting impact on me, personally and professionally.

 

Q Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
You are going to make mistakes, but don’t let the fear of that prevent you from learning something new; now THAT would be a mistake. Not knowing something because you were afraid to make a mistake could ultimately hurt your career more than making the mistake would. Working in editorial can be overwhelming. It’s okay to not know everything. We all start somewhere, and we learn new things with every project. Try to be kind to yourself, and remember: as you learn, things get easier, faster, and more creative.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin.


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