Where are you currently employed?
Level 3 Post in Burbank.
I do online and finishing work for Once Upon a Time on ABC, CW’s Arrow, the upcoming American Crime, which will also be on ABC, and several other television shows.
Describe Your Job.
I conform TV shows and get them ready for broadcast, which covers everything from onlining with HD camera master files and tape formats to doing visual effects work and titling.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I started making short films in middle school and knew immediately that I wanted to be an editor. I didn't know much about the online process when I started at Level 3. The concept piqued my interest; online is a whole other side of editorial with its own skill-set.
Who gave you your first break?
Darrell Anderson, who was Level 3’s managing director at the time, hired me as a vault clerk after I applied for an internship for college credit. My schedule was four days a week, but I ended up going in every day because I loved it here so much. After a month, Steve Vargas, the former vault manager, went to Darrell and said, "You have to hire this kid. He's showing up on his days off." I owe the two of them a lot for bringing me on board, since Level 3 didn’t have a formal internship program.
What was your first union job?
In the summer of 2008, about a year after graduating from college, Level 3 promoted me out of the vault and I started as a tape operator in the machine room and was able to join the Guild. Then, during the 2012 pilot season, I started doing more hands-on editorial work with clients. Now I'm a daytime editor with my own shows.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
Working on Fox’s 24 was a dream come true. When I was first looking for my college internship, I researched where 24 was edited and that’s how I found Level 3 Post. Out of the blue, I e-mailed Darrell Anderson, which led me to working on one of my favorite shows.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
It’s always a bit nerve-wracking trying new visual effects or implementing new plug-ins and software. I try a few different methods, talk to co-workers and read message boards to see what works and what doesn’t. Experimenting with new tools and techniques is a necessary part to being better at my job.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Working on the two-hour finale for season three of Once Upon a Time was like running a marathon — dealing with picture changes, dropping in VFX, titling, making sure the colorist had what he needed, making sure the QC files were good, creating the two-hour episode and the standalone versions, and more. At one point, I stopped in the bay where the client was camped out to congratulate him on the show’s just-announced fourth season renewal. He was so caught up in his work he hadn't even heard the news himself. It was a crazy night.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I really enjoy working in online so I hope to continue honing my skills and become better equipped to handle more VFX-intensive sessions.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
Spending time with my wife and our dog, as well as reading, writing screenplays and going to the movies.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
Oliver Stone’s JFK because of its sheer scope and the story it tells. The "main" film is interwoven with the re-created historical scenes and massive amounts of stock footage. I discover something new every time I watch it.
Another favorite is Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. After reading the source material, viewing countless documentaries on the subject and researching the actual event, I have the utmost respect for the people involved in the incident and the filmmakers who worked to bring the story authentically to the big screen.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and The Wire. These shows are all about the story and I enjoy the way the worlds are created, portrayed and infused with so much detail.
Do you have an industry mentor?
I really admire the work of Pietro Scalia, Dody Dorn, Chris Lebenzon and Christian Wagner, just to name a few. I'm a huge fan of their long-term collaborations with Ridley Scott and Tony Scott.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Be patient. You might not get your dream job right away, but every position is an opportunity to learn. Train hard and put in the extra effort. It paid off for me.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Yes. Looking to the Guild for guidance and support in our most recent contract talks, it was especially interesting being on the negotiating committee. And any time I have questions regarding health insurance, the Guild reps are always there to help.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
I'm so proud to be a part of Local 700 and it's amazing that I've gotten to do things like meet Carol Littleton and photo-bomb Michael Kahn.
Compiled by Edward Landler
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