Q & A with a CCE Member
How long have you been an editor for?
I started working with video equipment back in the days of the Sony AV-3400 Porta-Pak, a black and white 1/2" reel to reel system, and continued through 3/4", 2", 1", and into digital tape formats. In the mid-eighties, I was asked to join the R&D team for the CMX-6000, a laser-disc based edit system, consequently assisting in introducing a reluctant Hollywood post-production community to the benefits of non-linear editing. It wasn't much later that I found the Avid Media Composer, where I've been happily editing since. You can do the math.
What genres have you worked on?
Name it! Daytime dramas, Commercials, Magazine, Reality, and Game shows, Music Videos, Documentaries, Feature films. Everything from PBS' "Nova" to ABC-TVs "General Hospital" to the first of Bravo's "The Real Housewives" which later branded that network. My current focus and recognition is in non-fiction, both TV series and theatrical documentaries.
What has been an interesting/favourite project so far?
An unintended but favourite benefit of my project choices has been the travel this career have afforded me. Between on-location editing and product support, I've been sent across North America, Australia, and Europe. But, working with Director Terence Malick and his longtime Editor Billy Weber for 18 months in Los Angeles on "The Thin Red Line" was a challenge and a privilege. Terry had already created two classic films - "Badlands" and "Days of Heaven". This was, after an 18 year silence, an unexpected return. Watching these two artists craft the Oscar-nominated film was life changing.
What are you currently working on?
I've just finished editing another feature length documentary - "BadAss Beauty Queen, the Story of Anastasia Lin" which follows the Chinese-born Canadian Beauty Pageant contestant as she spreads word of China's Human Rights abuses worldwide. It was really interesting editing this story while events surrounding Anastasia continued to unfold.
I am now looking for my next project.
Why did you decide to become an editor?
I majored in Creative Writing in College, where I was Editor of both the Newspaper and the Literary Magazine. I had hoped to grow up and become a writer.
After college, my best buddy bought the aforementioned Porta-Pak and later some 3/4" equipment, and started his own production company working with pioneering performance and video artists in downtown NYC. I wrote grant proposals for him, but grew enamoured of the technology he used in service of the creative. So, I applied for and received a grant from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to further study TV production.
I was fortunate to soon after find work in the broadcast industry. After working my way up from "go-fer" to Editor, I realized a) production is hard work and b) editing IS writing! Now in my work in non-fiction, I find this increasingly true.
“At each stage I reach a balance, a conclusion. At the next sitting, if I find there is a weakness in the whole, I make my way back into the picture by means of the weakness- I re-enter through the breach - and I re-conceive the whole. Then everything becomes fluid again.” Matisse