Steve Rivkin on Getting Work

In episode 116 of “Fitness in Post”, Zach Arnold talked to Steve Rivkin who has multiple editing credits, while also being the president of the ACE (American Cinema Editors). The ACE is often confused as the guild for editors, but instead is a club founded to give recognition to the hard work of editing. This podcast was especially helpful in understanding how to land jobs in Hollywood and the film industry.

One of the main things I want to focus on throughout Rivkin’s talk is the drive and passion it takes to be an editor. Rivkin was one of the lucky film students who never had to take an assistant position. This is rare, but it was also because he took all the editing jobs he could get. There are so many approaches one can take to get an editing credit – some might be good short form projects or terrible long forms, but it’s important to get the most experience to build a career in this field. Most importantly, you must make your connections. When you go down the editing path, you will most likely be the assistant editor, syncing up dailies, but in order to get in the editing chair, you need to make connections with your editor who can push you farther into their position.

Keep a Flow and Be Delicate

While listening Episode 183 of The Cutting Room, Stephen Mirrione talked about his process in editing The Revenant. I think it’s important for filmmakers that work in post to listen to others who are working on bigger projects in order to grow as editors. That’s why I continue to reviews and comment on working editors in the industry now. Mirrione started off talking about creating a rhythm throughout the film and this is something everyone in post should understand and take examples of. The beauty of editing, is you can start wherever feels right. If you have a strong idea where to start, you can continue with that. It’s not just about working around that one scene.

Stephen Mirrione also talks about realism in your editing. The Revenant took on a very natural approach, so when it came to post, the music and cutting had to be dealt with in a very sensitive way. Mirrione mentions all the research that went into the bear attack and how handling something like this was almost like walking on eggs – making sure all the elements weren’t too much, but weren’t too little. I found his process with this movie to be something really sensitive and delicate, like most editors should be when delving into serious.

Time is our Superpower

This past week, I finally got up to watching Arrival (2016), which lived up to its critically acclaimed status. I enjoyed the movie and its use of time manipulation, which brought me to listening to The Cutting Room’s podcast with Joe Walker. Joe Walker is the editor of Arrival, who has worked with Denis Villeneuve a few times on projects like Sicario (2015).
In this podcast, he talks about the process of building suspense, but also brings out the films use of time. SPOILER: Amy Adams’s character in Arrival is seeing the future, but for what the audience knows, we believe she is seeing the past until the viewer’s discover it’s her new weapon. For editors, manipulating the truth through timing is one of the biggest influences we have.  Joes Walker repeatedly states “Time is our super power” in referring to the post-production process. It’s what editors have the most control over and it’s so powerful.

BlackMagic Design Updates

Around a year ago, The Cutting Room did a live podcast covering the NAB Show and some improvements and updates in the systems revolving around film and post-production. In Episode 191, Blackmagic Design sat down to talk to Gordon from The Cutting Room and talked about the new update of Davinci Resolve 12.5, which is still the latest version of this program. If you are unfamiliar with Resolve, it is a color grading/correction program, which in my opinion, is one of the most powerful tools in coloring today.

Davinci Resolve has been trying to move up into a complete non-linear editor for a while now – but still needs much improvement – and continues with this interface with over 1000 improvements and 250 features added in version 12.5. Their improvements follow all of their four steps being: media, editing, color, and delivery. Since they are building on their editing features, they added features such as speed ramping and improvements for HDR. They also went to add lens flares and single point tracking, now targeting other post softwares like Adobe After Effects. With all these new updates in Resolve, the system becomes more powerful and the best part is the free version option. I suggest for anyone who colors or is wanting to learn to color, to check it out.

Affonso Gonçalves

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The other night, I got to listen to the editor of one of my favorite Oscar nominated movies, Carol, in Episode 182 of the “The Cutting Room”. Affonso Gonçalves has worked in post production on many other projects, from Winter’s Bone to the series True Detective. If you’ve never seen Carol, it’s a beautiful piece of cinema that shows the love between Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) in those small in-between moments. With just one changing tilt of the head, chemistry is built, and the movie relies on Gonçalves to reveal this.

In the interview, Gonçalves talks a lot about “the look” the two main characters give each other. He praises his actors on their performance and has to decided when is the right moment to cut. Because of the performance, it is the editor’s job to enhance it. Finding the perfect moment of what and what not to show. He also tells of how important every little detail is. When Mara’s character sits down nervously, her chair squeaks – as a result the audio editors took it out. Gonçalves noticed it was missing, and demanded they put it back in because in just that tiny sound, it filled up the tension that Therese had toward Carol.

Post Depression

While taking my dog for a walk, I decided to tune in for my weekly Fitness in Post podcast. This podcast is usually very informative within the post-production world, but “When It’s Time to Hit the ‘Reset’ Button” touched on a more serious subject that not just the world of creators go through, but everyone. Depression is something that peers and colleagues in the workplace don’t often talk about, but it’s there, and sometimes even more susceptible to the creative minds.

Regardless of your profession, you need to take care of yourself and any mental illness that you might struggle with. Mental illness should be treated just like any other illness. Michael Kammes, who has struggled with his depression from a young age, explained how he dealt with his medication and depression while working at his job as Director of Technology at Key Code Media.

I thought it made interesting points on the post-production side, explaining how struggling with mental illness while being locked in a dark room all day may not be helping with your crisis. The answer is to give yourself a mental break. If you feel yourself not enjoying the job anymore, even when you know it is your passion, the lack of motivation may be the sign to seek help. And as I stated, this goes for all professions. Whether you’re a cinematographer or an accountant, the signs are there and should be addressed.