Where are you currently employed?
I’m currently on a WB show.
The WB show I’m on is “Manifest.” I’ve been on the editorial team since the beginning of the second season. We spent a few years on NBC, and after we aired our incredible third season cliffhanger, the plug was pulled and suddenly it was over. “Manifest” had been cancelled. We all scattered, off to other projects, and the audience was left to wonder what could have been.
A few months after we departed the show, Netflix began adding our previous seasons to their platform. The show’s devoted fans saw “Manifest” breaking records in the charts and they created a groundswell through social media, thrusting the series back into conversation. Fittingly, on August 28, 2021, Netflix made the announcement that the band was getting back together. Just a few weeks ago, we dropped 10 new episodes on Netflix!
Describe your job.
My job is to be the editor’s right hand. Whatever they need to make their day easier, I’ll be there to help make it happen.
The position covers a massive range of line items. During production, we prep the dailies, making sure that all the listed shot footage is accounted for. Assistant editors will frequently add temp sound and music to scenes after they’re cut, do temp visual effects, and compile the scenes into acts. We’ll build the shows and export them to whoever needs them throughout the process. I’m often involved in taking notes and helping the editor as they work with directors and producers.
On the backend, once the show is locked, we help facilitate its delivery to all the different departments that need it and help push it along until it’s completed.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
Growing up, I absolutely loved monster movies. I spent my summer days endlessly haunting the local video store, consuming as much cult and horror as I could. On the weekends, I would often use the family camcorder to try and recreate what inspired me. It was pretty common to see the neighborhood kids dressed up like ghouls on our front lawn and me running around with a camera in one hand and a bottle of fake blood in the other. I always dreamt of being a makeup artist like Tom Savini or Rob Bottin, creating ghastly sights out of liquid latex and foam.
I’d been working feverishly one semester to make a submission for our local film festival. I was editing it, tape to tape, in the high school television production lab when I realized that a bunch of the footage had been mangled by one of the VCRs. I knew I couldn’t reshoot the footage — my mom was still mad about the stains on her carpet from the week prior; no chance she’d let me do it again — so I had to figure out a way to solve it….
EDITING! I took my script, reordered some stuff, cut this and that, added a voiceover, and problem solved. Editing is awesome! After that, I was hooked. I used to think editing was just a way to put your footage together. I had never realized that editing could CHANGE the story! That was over 20 years ago, and I haven’t made up anyone as a zombie since.
Who gave you your first break?
Phil Linson and Lynzee Klingman accepted me into the AFI Editing program in 2008. That was a life-changer. I had applied to a number of different film schools to continue my education, but AFI was just a shot in the dark. I’d first heard about the conservatory a decade earlier in “Weirdsville USA,” a book about David Lynch. Since I had nothing to lose except the $50 application fee, I applied and, by the grace of Eraserhead, got in.
What was your first union job?
I was an assistant editor on “Zero Hour” in 2012. It was a TV series that aired briefly on ABC in 2013. I’m forever grateful to editor and AFI alum Jack Colwell for taking a chance on me. It was a fun show that unfortunately never quite found its audience, but it led to a ton of great things for me.
What credits or projects are you proudest of, and why?
I’m proudest of the projects that connect with people. I’ve been fortunate to work on a handful of shows that have a really dedicated fan base. If the work we do can help someone overcome a bad day, that’s something to be proud of.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
The biggest challenges on the job almost always come down to personalities, relationships, and communication. Early in my career, I worked on a show that was particularly intense, so I started taking meditation and mindfulness classes through UCLA’s MAPs [Mindfulness Awareness Practices] programs. This greatly helped me work with all different personality types. Many times, just asking questions and looking at something from someone else’s perspective makes all the difference and helps avoid challenges.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
I’ve had SO MUCH FUN, it’s hard to list one thing. I really love to work on studio lots and spend my lunch breaks walking around. It’s even better when I’m on a show that shoots where we cut. Going down and seeing stunts and big moments orchestrated in real time on stage is fantastic. I once got to try on Arnold’s jacket from “Terminator 2.” He wore it during the middle of the movie, so it had bullet holes and all. That was pretty rad!
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
Picture editing. Having the opportunity to cut on some episodes of “Manifest” this season has been an amazing experience. I’ve greatly enjoyed shaping the performances, crafting the stories, and working with the incredible producers. I’m always excited about the future, but I tend to focus on the day-to-day. Honestly, I’m just happy to work in this field.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I’m a big supporter of live events. I’ve always had a passion for music and try to get out to shows whenever I can. Live pro wrestling shows in VFW halls have a very specific form of contagious energy. Amusement parks are a great way to wash away the stress of the work week.
Los Angeles is the greatest place on Earth to indulge my cinematic obsessions, so I frequently go to screenings and horror conventions. I also like to track down filming locations from my favorite movies.
Most nights, though, I’m watching movies with my wife and cat.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
There are so many movies I absolutely love. I try to watch one movie a day whenever possible.
My favorite movie ever is probably John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” I originally became aware of it when Blockbuster Video offered it for sale next to the cash register as a “Blockbuster Presents” VHS tape. Standing in the checkout line to rent “Congo” or “Hackers,” I’d stare at the cover of a man in a white mask standing behind Jamie Lee Curtis and wonder what that movie was all about. Eventually, they could barely sell the “Halloween” tapes — they had manufactured way too many — and marked them down to a quarter. Who knew that for the same price as a pair of vending-machine vampire teeth, I could change my life forever?
The music, the cinematography, the slow-burn editing — it was all perfect. The creepiest moments took place during the day! I had never seen that before. These characters were realistic high-school kids instead of being the ‘80s horror caricatures we’d all grown accustomed to. Every piece of it worked so brilliantly, and it felt so effortless. I love it so much, I often try to watch it randomly throughout the year, much to the discontent of those around me.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
The latest show at the top of my favorites list is “This Fool” on Hulu. It’s fantastic, especially the way it effortlessly balances gritty realism with comedy. I’m really looking forward to Season 2!
I’m also a big “Star Wars” nerd, so I watch all of those shows on Disney+.
Do you have an industry mentor?
I’ve had many great people as mentors throughout my career. When I was a post PA on the movie “Everything Must Go,” Sandra Adair, ACE and JoAnne Yarrow, ACE mentored me really well on the ins and outs of the editing room, from assistant editor duties to cutting room etiquette.
When looking for an assistant editor spot, I always specifically seek out editors who are willing to nurture and mentor. I’ve learned something from every incredible editor I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. Ray Daniels, ACE, and Marc Pattavina on “Lucifer” taught me so much creatively and were instrumental in helping me shape my editing. Over the last three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work under the tutelage of the incomparable Mark Conte, ACE. Mark’s constant support and insight have been invaluable, and his mind for the craft is next-level.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
“Don’t be a jerk” is probably my most important piece of career advice. People will only work with you if they like you being around. Be nice to every single person you can.
Don’t turn down work just because it’s something you’re not into. It’s good to try different types of projects, and solid storytelling is possible in all different genres.
Always ask questions; it’s ok to not know something. We are all learning each and every day.
Every editor is looking for an assistant with a specific strength (usually sound, music, or visual effects). Pick one and excel at it. When looking for a potential job, make a point of letting people know what you can do for them.
Keep at it. As long as you stick around, good things will happen. It’s like riding a bike; you will fall off sometimes and scrape your knee, but it’s all about dusting yourself off and getting back on.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
There’s no specific instance where I’ve reached out, but it’s fantastic to know they’re there. The Guild is an amazing resource, not just in regard to labor but for education, events, and networking.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
Keep up the amazing work — it never goes unnoticed! The projects you’re on not only inspire the rest of us, but also the storytellers of tomorrow.