Unscripted - The story so far...

Everyone's "How'd you Break In" story is different... here's a quick version of mine.

I went to BU's College of Communication and graduated in 1999. I made a bunch of student films while I was there but I quickly learned that my love for filmmaking was behind the camera... way behind the camera... in the editing bay. I'd always enjoyed editing. I even had a tape to tape Hi8 controller setup for editing Hi8 movies while I was in high school.

At BU we shot our films on 16mm. First I edited reel to reel using a splicer. Then we upgraded to a Steenbeck flatbed and we edited with sound. I still remember an all nighter trying to finish one of my student films the day before it was due in a rented out editing bay in Allston... and trying to tape back a couple of extra frames back onto an edit that I wanted to undo. Welcome to the world of destructive editing. I'm really glad I don't have to do that anymore... the frame f-er that I am.

But I think the nail in the coffin for me where I decided that I didn't want to be on set or "in the field" was one all night shoot I helped a friend out with. It was long... exhausting... and frankly boring as everything took forever. My all night bender cutting my film was certainly long and exhausting... but I was never bored - I was fully engaged.

My first forays into the glorious world of nonlinear editing was on an Avid Xpress and a Media 100. Avid Xpress was a dumbed down version of their infamous industry standard Media Composer.

Avid happened to be headquartered around 30 miles outside of Boston so I applied for an internship there during my senior year. That internship led to me being employed in tech support there for 2 years after graduation. I basically used that time to absorb everything and anything about the Avid. I became a certified instructor and technician. I got to know that program inside and out.

Then in 2001, I drove out to Los Angeles. Before I got here I sent resumes to every post house I could find in the LA411... (does that exist anymore?). For weeks I called places and didn't get much of a response until one day the post house I called seemed very excited that I called and asked me to come in. They also had Avid troubles that day so I was able to use my connections to get them help quick... and then I was hired as an assistant editor.

I later found out that the guy I replaced was fired for accidentally erasing an original tape. Yeah - don't do that.

This post house happened to be a music video house and I was quickly sucked into that world. I worked hard and assisted for a bunch of editors. Soon editors began to request me specifically... One of those editors brought me to another post house where I soon began to do changes for editors on music videos and also to cut the free and no budget videos that came through. Soon lower budget videos came through and then all of a sudden this happened and I had a pretty steady editing career and I stopped assisting.

Through other contacts I had I did some independent films and then somehow I stumbled into unscripted TV.

Unscripted TV is a blast to cut. You're usually given a pile of footage... and then you have to make a scene out of it. Often you're making things happen that didn't really happen or if they did happen of course the cameras weren't rolling. The editor in unscripted basically writes the "screenplay" for the show and it is a lot of fun.

I did find the short documentary I did in film school the most enjoyable thing I did so maybe that has something to do with it. Unscripted TV can be like a documentary... at least the shows I try and work on. Thankfully no Kardashians yet.

So that's a quick rough and tumble story of how I got into editing. I think if I remember correctly I arrived in LA in 2001 and was able to edit full time and stop assisting around 2004?. So it took 3 years for me. I know some editors in LA who never ever were assistant editors. So they're many paths to breaking in.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments.



There are no comments to display.

Blog entry information

Chris W
Last update

More entries in Filmmaking

More entries from Chris W