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What Our Members Do - Past Featured Members

MICHELLE INZUNZA - SECOND ASSISTANT EDITOR

November 2022

Q: Where are you currently employed?

The Walt Disney Studios.

 

Q: Current projects?

“Disenchanted.”

 

Q: Describe your job.

My job as a second assistant editor is to be there for my editor and first assistant editor. I bring in dailies during production, which means labeling and organizing them in digital bins for my editor and then sending them out on PIX [a post-production collaboration app] to whoever needs to see them, work on them, comment, etc. Once the editor puts scenes together, I do sound cleanup and temp sound design. Some of my other tasks include creating string-outs [assembling uncut shots from dailies in story order], exporting footage [getting scenes or reels out of Avid and converting them into QuickTime or audio files] to send to the director, cutting in music, turning over reels from editorial to other departments, light visual effects work, and the list goes on.

 

Q: How did you first become interested in this line of work?

Growing up, I loved TV and movies, and I knew I wanted to work in this industry. Throughout high school, I would change my mind about what I specifically wanted to do. I used to want to act, then changed my mind and wanted to become a screenwriter, but once I went to Chapman University to study film and took classes in everything, I was finally able to figure out what I wanted to focus on. After I took my first editing class, I was hooked. It’s funny, because I remember thinking I would never be an editor because it seemed too hard — but once I tried it, I had a lot of fun and wanted to continue learning.

 

Q: Who gave you your first break?

Shortly after graduating from Chapman, I got my first gig as a post-production assistant for the TV series “Ray Donovan” on Showtime. Two months in, I got hired to be the post PA on the movie “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.” “Ray Donovan” was wrapping up, so my bosses were totally fine with me leaving to do “X-Men.” Even though I technically started on “Ray Donovan,” I feel like “Dark Phoenix” was my big break because I was on it from the very beginning to the absolute end. I learned so much and made really great friends and connections, so I would love to thank [associate editor] John Lee and [first assistant editor] Pearce Roemer for giving me the opportunity to join their team!

 

Q: What was your first union job?

I was an apprentice editor for a Netflix rom com called “Resort To Love.” Someone I know who worked at Netflix told me they were trying to get apprentice editors hired on their lower budget films so there would be more opportunities to learn to be assistants. Apprentice jobs aren’t as common anymore, so Netflix and other studios are trying to bring them back with the Apprentice Program, which I think is amazing. I sent my friend my resume, and he told me that as soon as one of their movies needed an apprentice, they would call me. Very soon after that, I got a call from the post supervisor on “Resort To Love.” I chatted with him, then I spoke to the first assistant editor, and then to the editor — and they hired me! I am really glad I had the opportunity to be an apprentice before jumping into being an assistant because I was not yet comfortable with assistant duties.

 

What’s nice about being an apprentice on smaller films is that they aren’t as fast-paced and demanding, so it gave the first assistant editor time to teach me how to do literally everything! It was perfect — there was no pressure, and there was room to make mistakes and learn. By the end of the project, I was definitely comfortable with taking a job as a second assistant editor. I’ve sent along resumes of friends who were trying to find apprentice jobs, like I was, and they were hired and had successful experiences with their apprenticeships. They are now assistant editors in features and TV. I recommend that anyone who wants to be an assistant should try to get a job as an apprentice first. I believe it’s a very beneficial stepping stone for an editorial career.

 

Q: What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?

I’m still pretty new, so I don’t have many credits under my belt yet. I went from “Dark Phoenix” to “Resort to Love” to “Disenchanted.” I’m proud of each project because I learned a lot and met a lot of great people, but I would say my proudest project so far is “Disenchanted” because I’ve had more responsibilities and done harder work on it. It’s much more involved than “Resort to Love” because it has visual effects and animation and harder sound design work. We’re almost done “Disenchanted,” and it’s definitely a movie I will look back on and think wow, my team and I really worked hard and put love and care into it.

 

Q: What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?

In any job, a person can miscommunicate or make mistakes that cause issues, but to solve them, it’s important to take responsibility for your actions. Fix the problem or ask for help if you need to, and communicate better to others. Communication and honesty are super-key.

 

Q: What was the most fun you’ve had at work?

I enjoy having lunch with my coworkers. It’s nice to sit around the lunch table and have fun conversations. It’s also cool when we play our favorite music out loud in the office and communicate with each other using quotes from the movie we’re working on.

 

Q: Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?

I hope to be a first assistant editor on features, especially if there’s an opportunity to travel with production. I would love to temporarily work and live in a different state or country.

 

Q: What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

Outside of work, I enjoy hanging out with friends, traveling, trying new food and places to eat, working out, going to the movies, and going to concerts. I love listening to Reggaeton and K-Pop. I’m VERY into K-Pop. I love collecting albums, merch, and photo cards of members from my favorite K-Pop groups. I could talk about K-Pop for hours. Did I mention how much I love K-Pop?

 

Q: Favorite movie(s)? Why?

It’s always hard to answer this question because there are so many movies I enjoy, but the ones that come to mind right now are “Easy A,” “The Dark Knight,” “Step Brothers,” “Birdman,” “Babel,” “Rough Night,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Frozen,” “Spirited Away,” and “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” I can watch these over and over and always have a great time. They never fail to make me laugh or cry, no matter how many times I see them.

 

Q: Favorite TV program(s)?  Why?

My favorite shows are “Rick and Morty,” “South Park,” “Solar Opposites,” and several animes and old Cartoon Network shows I watched as a kid. I may prefer to work in live action, but I prefer to watch animation. Cartoons are so fun, and I find comfort watching them. My guilty pleasure, though, is “90 Day Fiancé”! I’m addicted to that whole franchise.

 

Q: Do you have an industry mentor?

From the time I graduated college, my mentor has been Shelby Hall. She also graduated from Chapman,  so one day she came to talk to the senior editing group, which I was then a part of. I reached out to her afterwards, and she’s been a great friend and mentor ever since. She was an assistant editor when we met, but now she’s an editor for TV. My first assistant editor, Josh Kirchmer, has also been an awesome mentor to me. While I was an apprentice on “Resort To Love,” he taught me to do everything an assistant does, and I continue to learn from him while on “Disenchanted.”

 

I recently got to know Alexandra Scratch (who is a first assistant editor), and she, too, has given me great advice. I know she’s someone I will be able to rely on for years to come, and I am so thankful to have met her. One last person I would like to mention is Craig Smith. He’s a first assistant editor who has been in the business a long time. He’s incredible at his job and works on the biggest projects. He always makes himself available when I need to talk or meet with him. He also has given me important advice, and anyone who gets to work with him is really lucky because he’s one of the best!

 

Q: What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?

Put in the effort to network. I know people say this all the time, but this industry is really about who you know, and it’s really important to reach out to people who are doing what you want to do. If someone comes to your class to give a talk, reach out to them afterwards and make the connection. Go to mixers and networking events, or cold-message people on LinkedIn. Most people are super nice and willing to answer questions or meet up for coffee. I am definitely happy to help anyone trying to get their foot in the door. I love helping people find work and pursue their passions.

 

Q: Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?

On one occasion, my coworkers and I weren’t being paid the proper amount for sick pay, so we contacted the Guild for assistance because we knew there were rules that accounting wasn’t following.

 

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?

It’s awesome to be part of a union and the post-production community. There are many talented,  hardworking people that I’m honored and excited to work with as we bring fun, impactful stories to audiences around the world.

 

Compiled by David Bruskin. 

If you’re a Local 700 member and want to be featured in this column, email SCollins@editorsguild.com. 

Interested in Being Featured?

Scott Collins
Director of Communications
323.978.1083
scollins@editorsguild.com