Where are you currently employed?
20th Century Fox Television.
Shots Fired, a scripted 10-hour dramatic event series examining the aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small Southern town. It is being produced by Brian Grazer’s Imagine Television. The creators of the series are the husband and wife team of Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees) and Reggie Rock Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, Notorious).
Describe Your Job.
As a a TV and film picture editor, I carefully watch and review the dailies that were shot on set the previous day; then I begin cutting the dailies into scenes. If it’s an eight-day shoot, I have eight days to cut dailies and then, typically, a couple days to finish putting my editor’s cut together. I then work with the director of that episode for four days making changes and shaping the show. When the director leaves, I screen the director’s cut with the producers.
After that screening, I work with the producers for about a week making changes, getting the episode to time. Then I send the producers’ cut to the studio and/or network for their notes and changes before finally locking the episode with the producer. From there, I spot sound with the sound team, visual effects with the VFX crew, and music with the music team before turning over the episode to be mixed on the dubbing stage. When that’s all done, I attend the playback of the episode with the producers to finalize the episode that is ultimately broadcast on TV.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I was signed by an agent as a child actor and made several commercials. Seeing behind-the- scenes at studios and hanging out on sets was a very unique and rare experience for an African- American kid back in the day.
Who gave you your first break?
Rick Berman, the executive producer for the Star Trek franchise, gave me that first real break. I had a conversation with him about my career path in the business and he picked up the phone and made it happen within a matter of minutes. That's what set me on my way.
What was your first union job?
My first union job was working the night shift digitizing dailies on sitcoms.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
The project I am most proud of is what I am working on now, Shots Fired. The series is groundbreaking, the producers have been excellent and I cut the episode directed by Jonathan Demme. He was amazing…and no ego.
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 dealing with producers who don’t let me be creative and just want me to be a pair of hands for them. The way I deal with that is by being incredibly patient and then showing them an edited scene or two in a way they haven’t seen before and that makes the scene better — thereby earning their trust.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Hearing and sharing personal stories with directors and producers.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
Producing and directing.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
Spending time with my family, playing basketball and travel.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
Do The Right Thing and Malcom X because sometimes controversy is the best way to start a discussion about a topic no one wants to talk about; The Godfather because it is just a classic film; Bonnie and Clyde because of the final scene; and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Magnificent Seven because my dad loves Westerns… I watched these two with him as a kid and realized how good they were.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Bourdain travels to interesting places and tells the story from such a totally different perspective that I can really relate to it.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
There is no one way to get started or to break in. What worked for one person may or may not work for you. But don't be discouraged.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Yes, and I still do. I am very grateful to our Guild.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
We need to be stronger as a group to make sure we are being compensated and recognized for our work accordingly. The amount of work that we are being asked to do is growing and the amount of time we have to do it in is shrinking.
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