I recently completed work on Dragonheart 3, a direct-to-video production for Universal. While looking for my next assistant editing job, I’m editing an indie feature called Saturn Returns, logging the hours to move up to being a union editor.
Describe Your Job.
I'm an assistant editor. My most important job is to make sure the cutting room is organized and running well and that the editor and director have everything they need to keep working. I help with workflow decisions, get the dailies into the Avid — organizing them into what works best for the editor — and get script notes in order. Once we get the cut going, I work on temp sound effects and any temp visual effects.
Eventually, I do the turnovers for visual effects, composer, DI and sound finishing. I work closely with the post super and vendors to make sure everyone has what they need to move forward. Every job is different and the demands are different for every job.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I went to University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and started to take film classes because I thought it would be a fun. The more classes I took, the more it seemed like a viable career, I switched majors from business to film. When I moved to Los Angeles, I worked on set and quickly realized that it wasn't the place for me. I remembered how much I enjoyed editing in school and decided to pursue post-production.
Who gave you your first break?
Brian Anton. I met him at a production company where I was answering phones and he was cutting a movie we were producing. I would come by the cutting room and ask him about editing when he had a free moment. A few months later, I was jobless and called him up to ask him for advice. It was perfect timing. He said that if I wanted, I could come assist him on a feature he was about to start and he would teach me everything I needed to know about the cutting room.
What was your first union job?
It was an Amy Heckerling film called I Could Never Be Your Woman. It was my first Final Cut Pro show, too!
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
Being involved with Her was amazing. I felt in awe every single day; it was so satisfying to be part of such a great film. Don Jon was pretty great, too. Working really, really hard for awesome people makes it worthwhile. Also there was an indie I worked on called Super Hybrid. I was given a lot of responsibilities and I was really proud that we got through it so smoothly.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
Staying on top of all the technical stuff — there are new programs, shooting formats and workflows every day. If you're not a total gearhead, it's hard to keep abreast of it all. I rely on brother and sister assistants, a great network of friends in the biz who share info and experience. Sometimes you get some really random errors and, if I just throw it out to fellow assistants, someone else is bound to have had a similar problem and figured out a solution or work around.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Working on Her was really fun. It was just a great environment and we had a good-sized crew working out of a beautiful house, so it was like a family. From producers to PAs, everyone that worked on that movie was awesome. Curse of Chucky was fun too because I got to know all the other shows that were working on our floor at Pivotal Post. I had great neighbors and I'd hang out with the other assistants and bake cookies for everyone. It was like dorm rooms.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
When I have time for outside activities, I'm a meditator — it keeps me grounded and sane — and I volunteer at my Buddhist center. I also love making things — crafts, sewing, cooking — and I love baking… And hiking! So it was ideal working on Saturn Returns on location at Mammoth Lakes; it's a hiker's paradise!
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
The Usual Suspects is the movie that got me interested in making movies, just a really nicely crafted film. It was my first film school. Magnolia is one of the best films ever made, so emotional and beautiful, and it inspires me every time I see it. I also love The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. And I love any movie by Wong Kar Wai; he takes my breath away.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
Game of Thrones is spectacular. You love it and then you hate it, but really you love it. Everything about that show is captivating and I love multi-storyline movies and shows. Finding the balance between storylines and characters is very interesting from an editing point of view. I'm also watching House of Cards. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are amazing. I love BBC shows; Sherlock is written so well and the visual language is so interesting. I'm a nerd for science fiction. A friend got me into Dr. Who and I can't wait to see the new Doctor in action.
Do you have an industry mentor?
I don't right now but I have some amazing editors to whom I occasionally go to for advice.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Work hard. Be nice. When I was in film school, every guest speaker would always say, "Make sure this is what you want." It's cheesy but it is true. You'll get some tough shows that will just test you and you gotta decide if it's worth it or not. You work a lot of hours and you'll get lots of tough deadlines, but if you love it and need to do it, then go after it.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Thankfully, I've never had to, but every time I get to work union I'm thankful that the Guild exists and I have someone to rely on in case things go wrong.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
I am always looking up to and am encouraged by many other Guild members. I don't know what else I could possibly say except, “Keep up the good work. You all inspire me and push me to keep working harder.”
- Compiled by Edward Landler
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