Where are you currently employed?
20th Century Fox.
Describe Your Job.
I evaluate content for the feature film divisions.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
When I was working at Fox as an assistant in the mid-1980s, I got to know the readers. I thought that they were cool, pretty interesting people, and I was drawn to what they did and partly to the somewhat monastic aspect of the job.
Who gave you your first break?
Jon Sheinberg was the first person to hire me in the industry and I worked as his assistant for several years. Through him, I became a junior development executive at Orion Pictures. Several years later, it was Orion’s president of production Marc Platt who helped me get into the story analysts local—then we weren’t part of the Editors Guild.
What was your first union job?
My first union job was at Orion.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
Projects that I’ve covered or worked on over the past several years that I’ve enjoyed being an unobtrusive part of include Master and Commander, Unfaithful, The Devil Wears Prada and the forthcoming The Descendants. We’re such an anonymous part of the process that I almost feel hesitant and/or uncomfortable mentioning this…
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
The biggest challenge was that, having received a graduate degree in film studies from USC, my early coverage read too much like a term paper. I had to realize that coverage is simply a tool to assist the executives in their evaluation of content and the development of projects.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Not to be banal, but reading really good scripts—and manuscripts, I might add.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
Competently still doing what I do now.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
Attending theatre and classical music concerts, particularly the LA Philharmonic at Disney Hall.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
Favorite movies include Rosemary’s Baby, Carrie, Shampoo, Days of Heaven, Night Moves, Magnolia and pretty much anything by David Cronenberg. I love horror movies—they’re cathartic and I like to see how much edge-of-the-seat tension and discomfort I can endure. Recently, I was blown away by The Tree of Life.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
Breaking Bad, Justified, Southland, Fringe and The Good Wife, the latter a consummately well acted, scripted and directed network show. I believe Robert King, the show’s creator/writer/producer was once a reader.
Do you have an industry mentor?
Jon Sheinberg, Marc Platt and Rosalie Swedlin.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
It’s tough to become a union reader. Take some non-union gigs, persevere and try to find someone able or willing to shepherd you into the union.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Not that I can think of.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
It’s a privilege to work in this industry, despite the changes it’s undergoing, and it’s reassuring to know that IATSE and Local 700 have my back, so to speak.
- Compiled by Edward Landler
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