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  • DAY 2 - Edit Fest LA 2010!

    DAY 2 - Edit Fest LA 2010!

    August 8, 2010, 3:18 am
    Edit Fest LA 2010!

    Today was the main events of EditFest LA. It was filled with great stories and even better advice – today’s panels were The Assistant Editor, What’s Real About Reality, A Tribute to Two Trailblazing Editors and The Lean Forward Moment.

    Lori Jane Coleman was moderating the Assistant Editor panel and those being interviewed were Jason Gaudio, Mark Hartzell, Tyler Nelson and Sean Valla. When the group was asked to discuss what’s made them in demand Assistants – Tyler mentioned he came from a strong technical background, he also proved early on that he was self sufficient which is huge when working with a team. Sean Valla mentioned that he worked for free for quite some time and proved himself that way; also if your goal is features he mentioned you should try working with shorts as much as possible – you never know who you’re gonna work for. Jason Gaudio set himself apart while working with teams of assistants – his advice was (as hard as it might be at times) to always put the movie first but don’t take the world on your shoulders. Mark Hartzell tended to try his best to know and anticipate all the needs of the editors, which set him apart from the rest.

    On the politics of the editing room all agreed that you should know your surroundings and who you work for so as to not say anything out of turn; it’s also better to avoid conflict whenever possible.

    In terms of advice to the crowd they pushed two main ideas: Always be honest about what you know, things can be taught to the assistant who proves themselves wanting to learn but not to those who lie about what they know, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – everyone learns sometime.

    Next up - Ken Bornstein moderated "What’s REAL about Reality" and the panel consisted of Paul Coyne, Sean Foley, Lorraine Salk and Heidi Scharfe. Each brought clips highlighting their own work, which they believed best described the environment of editing reality television. Paul Coyne brought a clip from "Shaq’s Big Challenge" – a show about Shaquille O’Neil battling child obesity. He said that this particular episode had 23 different cuts and the hardest part was structuring the characters out of the hundreds of hours of doc-style footage. His advice has to sit down and watch all the footage and take notes – the overall story will find you and always use any footage that "makes your heart swell". Sean Foley showed us a clip from "Whale Wars" – a show about Americans protesting Japanese whaling. He showed us that not all reality shows should be Narrative Bite’ dependant and that if you have emotion in the footage you should always use that to push the story along. Lorraine Salk showed us her work on "Double Exposure" – the episode had fashion photographers work with an 8 hours late Lindsay Lohan and the drama that ensued. When this episode was filmed, due to the time constraints, there simply wasn’t anything extra nor was there any possibility of any pickup shooting; so in the cut absolutely everything was used, some things more than once due to the circumstances – her example was to show us that sometimes the editor is forced to cut something out of very literally nothing. Heidi Scharfe showed us the beauty of creating a story where none existed with her clip from "DEA". The footage allocated for this particular episode had no real story arc or dramatic punch, so they created one by mixing two different drug arrests into one body cavity search. Her point was that sometimes with reality footage you get what you get and it’s not always ideal – in this case the original footage really had nothing so they created a dramatic punch.

    The next panel was A Tribute to Two Trailblazing Editors: Dede Allen and Sam O’Steen. The panel consisted of Jerry Greenberg and Carol Littleton who were moderated by Bobbi O’Steen. The panel begun with all three discussing Dede and Sam - what it was like working with them, how they were open to mentoring, and on working with the studios and their various directors. They also showed clips from Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate and discussed the editor’s contribution to the art form and how they influenced a generation of film makers. Honestly though this panel is quite hard for me to sum up, it was much like the Alan Heim/Bobbi O’Steen panel in NYC – you really had to be there to fully appreciate the stories and experiences that Jerry Greensberg, Carol Littleton and Bobbi O’Steen shared with the audience, there really is no way to sum it up here.

    The last panel was The Lean Forward Moment hosted by Norman Hollyn. The panel consisted of Zack Arnold, James Haygood, Lisa Lassek, Joe Leonard and Ken Schretzmann.

    The point of this panel is to discuss scenes from films that inspired these editors when they were first starting out. Zack Arnold showed a scene from "Memento", where Guy Pearce’s character is running down the alley then realizes he is the one being chased. He chose it because not only was it one of the scenes that made him want to get into film but because through the cuts it shows the subjective perspective which places the viewer in the mind of the protagonist. Ken Schretzmann chose the final scene from "The Graduate" – he chose it because this scene encompasses the entire tone of the film , and shows what happens in a perfect mix of editing and directing. Lisa Lassek chose the bar pick-up scene from "Out of Sight" - she chose it because it epitomizes the craft of editing, the cuts bring us into their heads as well as the scene completely changed from how it was scripted into what we now see in the final piece – it perfectly shows how anything can change in post. James Haygood chose the hotel room scene from The Conversation. He said that for him the scene was really a character study through sound design - the viewer’s imagination makes the story. Finally Joe Leonard chose the we need huggies’ robbery scene from "Raising Arizona". He chose it because of its nostalgia value – it was one of his fondest film memories.

    Well folks that wraps me at EditFest LA – Gordon Burkell will be posting some podcasts and sound clips from the event so please look out for those as well.

    Special Thanks once again to Gordon Burkell for allowing me to post a rundown of both EditFest NY and EditFest LA – the people I’ve met at both places are truly outstanding individuals, I totally encourage anyone interested in editing to check them out if they have the chance.

    Till next time!

    - John Nicholls
    jjn@digitallygone.com

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