Where are you currently employed?
I’m currently working on Chase. It’s an action-filled procedural drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Kelli Giddish stars in the NBC series as a US Marshal whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down violent criminals on the run.
Describe Your Job.
Editing is a mix of art and business. You get to create art by juxtaposing images, words, sounds and performance to evoke emotion and thought in those who consider your work. You discuss the meaning of this as you collaborate with others to refine the story you are trying to tell. The business is managing the workflow, the deadlines and the realities of television schedules and demands.
How did you become interested in this line of work?
After I graduated from University of California San Diego with a visual arts degree, I worked at various PA jobs trying to get set work to learn to be a grip and, eventually, a DP. A friend and fellow editor, Mitch Danton, helped me get a job as post PA on the series The Trials of Rosie O’Niell. This was a three-editor, three-assistant, three-Moviola show where I learned from a lot of talented people how the job was done. I have never left post, and it has been an amazing ride so far.
Who gave you your first break?
I’ve had a lot of people give me opportunities along the way. Mitch helped me get my first PA job in Post. Scott Vickrey was the first editor to give me scenes to practice cutting as an assistant. Mark Tarlov, the producer on Copycat, allowed me to cut I Love You, I Love You Not, my first film credit. Jim Page got me my first television editing job on Once and Again, which I consider my filmmaking grad school, because I was learning so much from Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick.
What was your first union job?
My first union job was Eerie, Indiana. While working for Scott on a movie of the week, his assistant Terry Blythe cut a pilot presentation on which I assisted him. The pilot got picked up by CBS. Terry got in the union as an editor, and I got in as an assistant.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
Once and Again was an incredible three years of making television. That dealt with real issues and explored emotion in ways that had not been done at the time. I also take great pride in the body of work that is all seven pilots I’ve cut so far for David Nutter, director of Chase, and Warner Bros. Pilots have their own challenges, but the reward is the sense of accomplishment and ownership from creating the pattern to follow.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
The biggest challenge in my job is the time it takes. I have spent the last eight seasons on first-year series. I have had to work a lot of 12-hour-plus days, a lot of weekends and a lot of overtime. I balance it out by having a really good time when I’m off. I also try to have a good time while I’m at work.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
I’ve had fun at all of my jobs. That’s part of the environment I strive to work in.
Maybe more satisfaction than fun, with the Chase pilot was definitely the hardest out of the seven I’ve done. Working with David and Jerry, the bar is obviously extremely high for what you’re doing. The title is Chase, so there’s a level of excitement and intensity we want to maintain...just to keep it moving, to get to the next shot. There’s a huge amount of footage, the most we’ve had on any pilot yet. There’s a lot of three- and four-camera stuff. There are 17 days of shooting. In terms of making an hour of television, it’s a large scale and a short amount of time in which to do it.
I didn’t get to process the enjoyment of finishing the pilot of Chase until three weeks later because I got a call from another pilot that needed some help. We finished the pilot of Chase at 10:00 p.m., preparing a print master. I started a new pilot the next morning at 8:00 a.m., and did that for three very long weeks. I get called in to do what I do. I use a more aggressive style of editing, more cuts. I like popping in and popping out, giving a texture and liveliness with images. Having said that, I would say I simplified it that other pilot and slowed it down. Too many shots and angles can interfere with locking into the emotional part of the story.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I hope to continue to cut material that I find interesting and challenging for people I respect. I hope to continue to love what I do and keep learning as I go.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
When not in front of an Avid, I love to mountain bike, backpack, ski, snowshoe, work in the yard and chill out.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
If you look at the list of top ten movies out now, I’ve seen none. When I’m doing 60 or more hours a week in front of three monitors, my time off is not going to be sitting in a chair watching more stories.
Favorite TV Program(s)? Why?
Deadliest Catch is a favorite because it’s real. Every aspect of it: man against sea, life and death, friends, enemies, history… Entourage is tied for favorite because it’s cool as hell and it works. I’m in. I go along for the ride and I have a good time.
Do you have an industry mentor?
My relationship with director and friend David Nutter has paved a pathway for the last seven years of my career. We do a pilot together each year and I stay on to do the series. I have been challenged and guided along the way and have met and collaborated with so many talented people. I have been given the opportunity to cut in many different genres and continue to learn.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Cut as much as you can and learn to collaborate.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
The Guild has been helpful in matters of being paid properly more than a few times in my career. I appreciate the help. It’s a phone call away.
Is there anything you‚ you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
I learn a lot from the people with whom I work. Thanks!
- Compiled by Robin Rowe
Editor’s Note: To recommend a member (including yourself) to be featured on the home page of the Editors Guild website contact firstname.lastname@example.org.