Written By: Bobbie O'Steen
EditFest LA was launched with great success last year by ACE (American Cinema Editors) – the honorary guild for editors – and this year they decided to have EditFest NY on June 12th and 13th at the Directors Guild Theater. This was the first event of its kind: two incredible days of panel discussions where many of the most respected and well-known editors analyzed their work and careers for an eager audience of up-and-coming filmmakers.
I moderated a panel called “Small Screen, Big Picture: Editing Television” and my panelists included Michael Berenbaum (Sex and the City, Nurse Jackie), Ken Eluto (30 Rock, Oz), Alex Hall (The Wire, The Unusuals), Meg Reticker (30 Rock, Big Love) and Kate Sanford (The Wire, Kings)
What I found unique about ‘my’ New Yorkers, having worked and lived among editors from both coasts, was a true intimacy among them, probably because New York has a smaller industry and the geography of the city is more compact. And because there are fewer jobs, New York editors end up not being pigeon-holed; at any point in time they may be working on a documentary, an indie feature, or a TV show. Considering how small the job pool is and how often they worked on the same TV series, you’d think they would be especially competitive but I found just the opposite. They were very supportive of one another.
My panelists started off by telling amusing and insightful stories about how they got their breaks; they also talked about the difference between cutting comedy and drama (there really isn’t any), the difference in whom they have to answer to (in television it’s the producer, in features it’s the director). When I asked them what they wish someone had told them when they were starting out, the truth is that, although talent is necessary, passion – and compassion – are essential ingredients for success.