I'm working on Anger Management for FX.
Describe Your Job.
This show is definitely unique in its workflow. We shoot two episodes a week during shoot weeks, so efficiency is the name of the game. We use Cinedecks to shoot tapeless directly to our
Avid ISIS so that I can be grouping footage minutes after they call, ‘Cut.’ The pace of the show can become a challenge — keeping on top of incoming footage, script synching, making sure internal cuts are going out on time, coordinating deliverables — there's a lot happening simultaneously.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I was majoring in Theatre at UC Irvine and I had to take a studio course as a requirement for my major. I was set to take a black-and-white photography course when, on a whim, I took a friend’s advice to try the video art class. While I wasn't a big fan of video art, I loved the process of editing. Even though the class wasn't necessarily about editing narrative, I knew I wanted be an editor.
Who gave you your first break?
My first job was an animated show called Afterworld for Sony International, but what I really consider my first break would be UFO Hunters, a reality show. The supervising editor, Jeff Tober, hired me as a night assistant editor on the first season. Prior to that, I was a wide-eyed kid making music videos to my favorite anime shows for practice. He showed me how to operate tape decks and how to format shows, and was patient and friendly throughout that process.
What was your first union job?
My first union show was Warren the Ape for MTV. It was a spin-off of Greg the Bunny and I still keep my fingers crossed that MTV will bring it back. It was an absolute blast to work on and it was hilarious.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
Warren the Ape is the project I am most proud of. It was a silly show, irreverent but still touching at times. It also poked fun at ‘70s action films and sci-fi, which hold a pretty special place in my heart.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
My biggest challenge has been hopping across different worlds of post. I got my start in reality, but in the past couple of years I've been making more traction in scripted television and in the last year I've expanded into features. Working in reality for several years, I became very comfortable with the process. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but that caused my ego to occasionally get out of control. Jumping into scripted presented its own nuances that were both challenging and foreign from what I was used to in reality.
Likewise, in features, there were important steps that I hadn't dealt with in scripted television that I had to learn quickly. The fact is I love technology and the post process, but there is so much to know and so many different ways to do things, no one person has all the answers all the time — with a little perseverance and the occasional panicky phone call or forum post, though, it will get done.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
The most fun I ever had at work was on Warren the Ape. It was a scripted show masquerading as a reality show that followed a puppet ape on his road to recovery. He was once an actor who threw away his career due to drugs and other vices. A large part of the show was highlighting his "previous work." We made a hilarious Death Wish parody trailer, and one episode was supposed to feature clips from one of Warren's previous films, Escape from Space Prison. At first, they were only going to shoot a couple of shots for the episode, and one of the producers said, "I want to see the full trailer of Escape from Space Prison." Without much time to put it together, they shot some elements on a green screen and asked me if I'd be interested in cutting the fake trailer. It was a lot of work and some fairly tricky compositing, but it was an absolute blast.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
Five years from now, I'd like to be editing feature films. I've only worked on a few so far and I still feel like I have a ways to go, but features have always been my goal.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
Outside of film, I'm a big fan of musicianship. I've played the bass for many years and play in an old-timey jug band around town. I've also been getting into cycling over the past year.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
My favorite film is Sunrise by F.W. Murnau…such a simple and timeless film about flawed characters, forgiveness and perspective. I'm big fan of German Expressionist films, with their distorted reality and macabre feel. Sunrise and The Last Laugh, also by Murnau, have affected me more than any other film.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
My favorite TV show is Breaking Bad. As the stakes continued to rise, I never doubted the urgency of the situation or the justification of the characters’ crimes. I cared about all the characters deeply, despite how despicable some were and some became. The moral dilemma presented in that show was phenomenal.
Do you have an industry mentor?
I never had an industry mentor per se, but the two editors who I would credit with having the most profound effect on me in my editing career are Jeff Tober, who gave me my first assistant editing job, and Peter Devaney Flanagan, my editor recently on Favela, the first feature film I worked on. Both are ferociously talented editors and were extremely generous in giving me advice about cutting and also about managing time and expectations.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
To anybody interested in assistant editing and ultimately editing, my best advice is to never stop learning, never get too comfortable and, especially, never fear or avoid technology. I hear a multitude of perspectives as to how technically savvy one must be as an editor and whether the technical work should be the job of the assistant editor or the job of an engineer or technical consultant. Technology changes daily. Learning a new tool can certainly be cumbersome, but I see the continued mastery of technology as furthering the editor’s ability to tell stories.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
I've been very fortunate not to have had any significant emergencies that required me to seek help from the Guild. I have had moments of confusion about the specifics of contracts that required a call to a field rep, and they've been on point in getting me the information I've needed.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
Solidarity, brothers and sisters. We're all in this together!
- Compiled by Edward Landler
Editor’s Note: To recommend a member (including yourself) to be featured on the home page of the Editors Guild website, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.