WHAT OUR MEMBERS DO: Elizabeth Berganza Pozzi, Assistant Editor

Elizabeth Pozzi, assistant editor. PHOTO: Courtesy Elizabeth Pozzi.

Where are you currently employed?

I’m freelancing on a documentary film project.


Current projects?

I’m assistant editing on an unannounced documentary that will hopefully make the festival circuit. Prior to this, I was an assistant editor on the first season of an unannounced Netflix show, on a Sundance feature called “Birth/ Rebirth,” and on “A Black Lady Sketch Show” on Max/HBO.


 Describe your job.

My job as an assistant editor is to organize and prep the project for my team of editors. I work with the post house and production to confirm that all of the footage received has no issues on the post end. Then I prep it so my editors can begin watching footage for the scene that was shot the previous day and they can begin to build out their cut. The most important part of my job is making sure my editors are supported in every way possible so they can do their best work. Other aspects of my job include assisting with sound design, doing temp visual effects, creating continuities that include noting music cues and timing scenes and acts, and doing final turnovers of the full cut to our finishing house when picture is locked. Although the job has many technical aspects, it’s also creative and requires great communication, not just with my editors but with the entire post team, from other assistants to post producers.


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

When I was in middle school, my cousin took a film course and asked me to be in her short film. I was fascinated by the process, from storyboarding to editing. I began to research what editors do and started making little videos with friends and piecing them together.


 Who gave you your first break?

I got my first entertainment job through a friend and former classmate, Tori Weller, who’s now a great editor. She helped me get my first job in unscripted television as a logger; I watched raw footage and gave a brief description of what was happening in a shot so that whoever received the footage could get a quick overview of what they were about to watch and could find a specific moment more easily. From there, I was able to work my way up to assistant editor. I got my first big break into scripted television from Bradinn French, ACE, who so graciously messaged me on Facebook (thank God I looked at Messenger) to ask if I was available for an opening on “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” which was a hugely positive experience, in part because the people were so wonderful.


 What was your first union job?

“A Black Lady Sketch Show.” I was a huge fan from season one and even met up with editor Stephanie Filo, ACE, to talk about the show and to network. Sometime after that, I got a message from Bradinn (whom I had worked with on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion”) asking if I was available to fill an assistant editor spot on the show. It was an amazing feeling as I had really challenged myself to break from nonunion and into union.


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

I’m extremely proud of working on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion,” “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” and “Birth/Rebirth.” “The Fresh Prince” reunion was my first big show as a lead assistant and it was cut on Adobe Premiere. I had primarily worked on Avid most of my career, so it was a challenge to navigate an edit team on a high-profile reunion, especially one that was so nostalgic.


“A Black Lady Sketch Show” will always hold a special place in my heart because it signified the change in my career path. I was moving from reality/docs to scripted content, and I was proving to myself that I could navigate the workflow. I learned to be more creative and confident with my skillsets.


“Birth/Rebirth” was my first indie feature. It was just my editor and me, and I had to navigate setting up a remote workflow along with turning around a longer format since I’d mostly delivered 30 to 45 minute shows, which are set up differently from a movie that runs longer than an hour. I’m really proud of working on that movie, which ultimately got into Sundance.


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

I worked on a show that was using Premiere Pro until they decided mid-run to switch to Premiere Pro Productions — a whole new workflow that I had not yet tested or been acquainted with. The challenge was to take the entire project offline and migrate it all into a new Premiere Pro Productions project — overnight — so that the edit team would have a project and media to continue working on the next day. The turnaround was tight on this particular project, so my second assistant and I discussed the best practice to complete the task — and late into the night, we were off on a race against the clock. When it was done, it did have its kinks, but the project was a success. I’m extremely proud that I was able to complete that challenge.


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

Being in the office when I worked on “The Real World: Mexico City.” It was the greatest time because although that project was very fast-paced, it was also filled with some of the greatest post people I’ve ever met. It was the first time in my life that I was surrounded by a team that shared a similar cultural background to my own, and it felt like being at work with family.


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

I hope I’ll have the confidence to be editing. I think my biggest setback is not feeling like I’m ready to level up because I’m always learning or don’t feel up to par with my peers. But the best thing would be to take a chance.


What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?

I love spending time with my husband Jacob watching movies, walking our dog Athena, and playing Scrabble. Besides time with my partner, I love to frequent Disneyland with friends. It’s a great escape from my environment (when the crowds aren’t terrible), and it’s nice to feel like a kid.


Favorite movie(s)? Why?

I don’t like favorites of anything. It depends on what I’m in the mood to watch, and I’m constantly changing my mind. Some movies that I could never tire of include:


“The Wedding Singer”— it’s nostalgic and always reminds me of my dad. I could quote a lot of that movie.


“Everything Everywhere All at Once” — I cried in the theater when I watched it. I felt such a connection to the story of the mom and daughter, and it was all so well done.


“Ever After” — this is my favorite version of Cinderella, and I love Drew Barrymore in the role.


Favorite TV program(s)? Why?

My current TV obsessions are “Severance” and “The Night Agent”:


“Severance” – I love the way each episode of this show always ended with a cliffhanger. The story is so well thought out that I can’t wait for season two! Please call if you need an assistant editor!


“The Night Agent” — I love a mystery and romance. The cheese in this show was just enough for me, and I was hooked.


 Do you have an industry mentor?

Everyone I have ever met who has helped get me to this point is a mentor, and I am beyond grateful. I’d like to give a special mention to Taylor Mason, ACE, who has really helped me blossom into the assistant editor I am today and allowed me to feel confident with editing. Thanks, Jack-to-my-Rose partner.


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


Don’t get comfortable in one spot. I was feeling comfortable in one area of entertainment that I knew,  and I was scared to try other things. It’s important to open yourself up to other opportunities, whether it’s working on different shows, learning new crafts, or changing the work environment all together. The greatest thing for my career was to shift from reality to documentaries to scripted. I gained more knowledge on workflows, networked with more people, and learned from other assistants.


I also think it’s important to strengthen your skillset by learning other software, like Photoshop and After Effects. These two apps have been the most beneficial in my line of work. They especially help me to stand out among other candidates for a job. Visual effects are a big part of the job in entertainment, and knowing how to use templates or create temp visual effects from scratch allows you to be helpful in the edit, not only to the post team but to your editor.


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

I’ve been very fortunate not to have needed extra assistance from the Guild, but it’s reassuring to know they are available for support.


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


This past year has been extremely difficult for many of us — I know the impact it’s had at my home — but I hold out hope that we can all resume work soon. Here’s to hoping that in 2024, we all get back on our feet and hit the ground running, doing what we love. I’m extremely proud to be part of a Guild full of such talented individuals. Every time I meet a member who tells me what they do on their project, I am fascinated. As someone who is still new to the Guild, I find it inspiring to see how so many members have come so far and regularly get to work on talent-rich projects.