Cutting Room Confessions

POST SCRIPT

The Deuce editors Alex Hall, left, Kate Sanford and Matthew Booras. Photo by Sarah Shatz

by Tomm Carroll

The edit room becomes a confessional in a lot of ways; it’s a safe space,” says Alex Hall, one of the three picture editors on The Deuce, the forthcoming HBO series from writer-producer David Simon. Hall is describing to writer Steve Hullfish in our cover story how he works with former assistant (and now fellow editor) Matthew Booras on an episode of the series that Hall directed. “I always tell directors…they’re allowed to vent and speak freely, that nothing will leave that room. When you get two people who have been collaborating for a long time…let’s just say there was a lot of confessing.” For his part, Booras adds, “I took it as a compliment that he wasn’t jumping into the chair every minute!”

Aside from establishing the sanctity of the editing suite, the editors — who are joined by Kate Sanford, ACE, on the show — are also demonstrating that mentorship is still alive and well, even in the fast-paced world of television editing. The three also discuss their work on the new series and other Simon TV projects on which they operated as a team, as well as their “serialized loyalty” — as Sanford puts it — to the directors and producers.

Hullfish, who makes his CineMontage writing debut with this article, is also the author of a new book, Art of the Cut, featuring interviews with over four dozen film and TV editors. The tome is reviewed in this edition’s “Cut/Print” column by our book critic Betsy A. McLane.

Aside from establishing the sanctity of the editing suite, the editors are also demonstrating that mentorship is still alive and well, even in the fast-paced world of television editing.

McLane does some interviewing herself in this issue. She profiled documentary editor Lillian Benson, ACE — the recipient of the Editors Guild’s prestigious Fellowship and Service Award — for a special tribute book distributed at the award ceremony in April, and that profile, along with the accompanying testimonials from Benson’s colleagues (compiled by Laura Almo) that appeared in the book, are reprinted here in their entirety. Coverage of the event is provided by Guild Board member Jeff Burman with photos by our art director Wm. Stetz.

On the audio side of things, writer Mel Lambert examines the realistic-yet-otherworldly sounds of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones through conversations with supervising sound editor Tim Kimmel, sound designer Paula Fairfield, MPSE, supervising dialogue editor Paul Bercovitch, sound effects editor Bradley Katona, MPSE, Foley mixer/editor Brett Voss and re-recording mixers Onnalee Blank, CAS, and Mathew Waters.

Representing broadcast television, award-winning picture editor Kabir Akhtar, ACE, talks to writer and Guild Board member A.J. Catoline about TV editing, strategies for a effective collaborative process in post-production, and how it felt to be the first person of color to win an Emmy for cutting a comedy series (The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), as well as other diversity issues in the industry.

Meanwhile, television editor and Guild Board member Molly Shock, ACE, looks back at the Guild’s successful strike to unionize the reality series Swamp People four years ago, and the ripple effect it created — resulting in over 100 unscripted series operating under union contracts since.

In the feature film arena, music editor Mikael Sandgren sits down with writer Rob Feld to share his experiences working on indie films, like the early June release through Film Nation Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, Beatriz at Dinner. “I’ve been drawn to [the indie world] for a long time, and I think it has something to do with me finding my own voice,” Sandgren says.

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