A couple nights ago I watched the Olympics on my big HDTV at home. After my initial gawking at all the makeup caked on the figure skaters, I started thinking about goals and how they shift. See, there was a time when the one thing I wanted to do most was… edit for the Olympics. Now I’ve never been athletic – to this very day I become insecure the instant I set foot on a basketball court, pick up a baseball bat, or swing a golf club. I figured that even though I have no desire to put in the work necessary to be an Olympic athlete, I would achieve the next best thing by being one of the people who bring their stories to the world.
In 2003, NBC was crewing up for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. I was cutting for a daily entertainment news show on FOX, and I started asking everyone I knew about who I should contact to get on board with NBC. Well whaddya know, I started getting leads. A fellow editor from my previous job, also at FOX, had a friend who ran a post house in New York City who had also cut on location for multiple rounds of Olympics. I called the contact in New York, and he gave me the info for the Director of Olympic Operations at NBC. I kept asking around in Los Angeles for leads to the Olympics, and they pointed me to the same guy, who I emailed inquiring about how a young, fast, motivated editor could end up editing for the Olympics in Athens. Continue reading
Posted in History, Life in Hollywood
Tagged Amoeba Music, Athens, athletes, contacts, demo reel, editing, FOX, goals, Greece, HDTV, John Williams, Los Angeles, NBC, network, New York, Olympic, Olympics, regrets, Trojans, USC, VHS
So. The winner of the Random Acts of Free as detailed in the previous post, goes to… Katy from Cerritos, California. Congrats!! She will indeed be hooked up with Free Stuff from Editmentor.com, as can YOU, when you get on board with the Random Acts of Free that come down the line.
The Old Dead Guys in question, with their respective works: from medieval Italy, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, known as Michelangelo for short (and why not… talk about a mouthful – sheesh…), and his masterwork David.
From 19th and early 20th century Paris, the one and only François-Auguste-René Rodin, generally known simply as Rodin… and his mammoth, uncompleted Gates of Hell, which included miniatures of some of his most well-known works, including the most famous sculpture of all time, The Thinker.
So what does sculpture have to do with understanding editing? You might be surprised. Continue reading
Posted in History, On editing, Philosophy
Tagged 35mm film, Apocalypse Now, cameras, David, deadline, editing, editing additively, Francis Ford Coppola, Gates of Hell, graphics, Gutzon Borglum, Italy, Michelangelo, Mount Rushmore, multicam clips, Paris, producers, Random Acts of Free, Rodin, sculpture, sitcoms, skillset, storytelling skills, The Thinker, VHS
This is the first in a series of posts discussing some jaw-droppingly bad notes and directives some of us have dealt with through our careers. But first, an introduction to notes in general…
Virtually every film or TV project which you yourself don’t completely control will at some point go through the notes process. As in, the people who have creative oversight or general authority give comments and changes, a.k.a notes, to those whose job is to implement them. This can take many different forms…
- A production executive discussing the studio’s agenda for an upcoming film with a screenwriter who is forced to tweak – well, ok, completely rip apart – his/her masterpiece and make it more commercially popular… if it’s to be made by said studio. (Hint hint.)
- A story producer giving new interview soundbites to an editor to tweak the attitude positioning of a character in a reality TV show. (No, she didn’t actually really say that, but take this part, and this part, and it totally sounds like she did. Cover that one part where she’s wearing different clothes from the other day of shooting.)
- An executive producer taking another exec producer of a TV pilot out to lunch while discussing how to modify the pilot to make it more pleasing to the broadcast outlets who may consider taking the pilot to series. (Why not dress the host like a vampire? Vampires are HUGE at the CW!)
- A staff writer at a nightly/weekly comedy show taking suggestions from the supervising writer to make the jokes “more funny”. (Depending on who you ask, of course.)
- Examples abound. Thousands of different situations and roles.
Note-giving situations are as varied as the people who give them, and can differ wildly depending on levels of authority, trust, and likeability between involved parties. Reasons for notes can be rooted in brand identity, political philosophy, economics, ego, power struggles, or maybe even – gasp! – a genuine desire for artistic integrity. Those of us in creative positions would like to think that shared artistic integrity would be towards the top of the list for motivation for notes, but the sad fact is, that’s not always the case.
Sometimes you get notes that you just plain hate. They come down for reasons you may know full well, or have no clue. Sometimes they’re just plain dumb. And sometimes they’re outright hateful, like these:
THE BLACK LOCATORS
I (Jeff) was editing for a primetime, major network series which shall remain nameless. The executive producer (EP) had an Avid in his office and would review edits of different pieces every day. You always knew he had seen your cut when you saw little black locators in your cut, and you held your breath to see what he said. Because he would leave comments attached to said black locators like:
“What the hell were you thinking? You call this editing?” I believe an editor actually quit over a comment like that.
And a particularly notable one on a holiday special: “With this edit, you have single-handedly ruined Christmas.”
As you might imagine, none of us on that show particularly enjoyed seeing those little black dots. I truly do wish that EP well… can’t guarantee that many people want to keep working for him though.
To be continued…
Posted in History, Life in Hollywood
Tagged artistic integrity, bad notes, black locators, brand identity, broadcasting outlet, editing, editor, executive producer, likeability, pilot, political philosophy, power struggles, primetime, production executive, reality TV show, soundbites, studio agenda, vampires
I was trolling through the Avid L-2 list and saw the below thoughts from guanacaa58:
I think editing is directly analogous to writing. Here’s a couple of lines of writing that I consider art:
“When my love swears to me that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies.
That she might think me some untutored youth
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties”
Here’s some writing I don’t consider art:
5) floor cleaner
6) cat food
Sometimes when you edit you’re making sonnets, sometimes you’re making grocery lists. Those that make sonnets all the time (lucky folks) say “editing is art!” Those that make grocery lists most of the time (poor people) think of it as a not terribly exalted organizational craft. And of course, there’s all the stuff in between poetry and grocery lists, all the competent, expository stuff that grazes the edge of art occasionally.
Let’s just say, I’ve cut a fair number of grocery lists in my career. Speaking in terms of the above thoughts, one of the things I’ve always asked myself is, “how can I bring more Shakespeare to the shopping list?” There is almost always a way, and I know that the producers who have hired me over and over again appreciate people who search for that.