Waving Hello

After a few months out of work, I am happy to announce that I started a brand new job today as an Assistant Editor with the Audience Network.

While the waiting was hard, and at many times I grew frustrated, this position was a blessing that could only have come from God. The commute this time around will not be quite as taxing, meaning I'll be able to catch up on rest and get home at a more reasonable hour. Being that I previously met the other Audience AE while I was on Playmobil, I was able to quickly form a relationship with the Post Team. Finally, as someone who loves to learn, getting to experience yet another side of Editorial has filled me with joy as I get to continue to broaden my Assistant Editing knowledge.

I'm greatly looking forward to what's to come as production ramps up in the next few weeks, and can't wait for the new adventures to be had!

In Motion

At long last, the day has finally arrived - I am now officially eligible to work as an Assistant Editor with the Editors Union.

Following the completion of my time on Playmobil, I gathered up my paystubs and began the 3 month trek that was the application and approval process for joining IATSE Local 700. It was a journey that not only pushed me to wait on God's timing, but also allowed me to complete tasks and explore new avenues that I never would've experienced otherwise.

Having recently gotten engaged, I was actually able plan out pretty much my entire wedding over the course of these past few months. Humorously, the date isn't for another year, but with the intense hours of post production, having this time off granted me the ability to check off the larger aspects of the big day without having to worry about trying to plan meetings around my busy work schedule.

In addition, I've begun teaching myself the Unity 3D game engine. Having heard great things about it from one of my mentors and school, I decided to give it a shot as I've always been fascinated by visual programming; more specifically in relation to video games. Thankfully, I didn't have to learn an entirely different language as scripting is done in C#. However, Unity's API and editor did take a bit to wrap my head around as game programming is built around triggers and manipulation of physical objects in space - a change of pace from the command prompt based programs I wrote in school. While I'm still continuing to delve more into the documentation and use of Unity, I'm hoping to eventually create a small adventure game to combine my love of coding with storytelling.

Now as I look forward, I'm nervous and excited to see what God has in store for me. Whether it be Union or Non-Union, I know my next job will be exactly what I need to discover, explore, and stretch myself both mentally and spiritually. Here's to this next chapter!

That's a Wrap!

This past Wednesday, March 22nd, I wrapped up my work on the Playmobil Movie before the production moves up to Montreal. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but I am so grateful for the relationships I formed and the experiences that came with working on this independent feature.

I unfortunately wasn't able to make a blog post last month as we were in major crunch time for February and March. Believe it or not, we put together a whole new movie for our second screening in about 9 weeks! It's a feat that should not be the norm by any means, but it was an impressive achievement for our team and I'm quite proud of what we accomplished.

Over these past few months I was definitely put through the ringer and stretched to and beyond my limits in Editorial. Myself and our 1st Assistant Editor wore a variety of hats and were asked to act outside of our job descriptions at times. However, because of this, I was able to truly push myself to be the best team player I could.

Not only would I run the scratch sessions and break down dialogue, I was also "talent" for a handful of characters. Because we lacked a script supervisor, I was in charge of keeping tabs on all the pick up lines the Editors requested as well as any new lines added by our writers. In addition, because we were pressed for time, I actually got to edit a short sequence and even went through the process of getting notes from the director and addressing them.

That's what I found to be the coolest thing about our production. Due to the fact that we were so small, everyone was asked to do more than what was asked of them on paper. Unlike a larger studio where there is a job for anything and everything you can think of, we became an interesting meld of various jobs all working together in order to make sure we made our screening on time.

It was an emotional day when our screening rolled around. After the hustle and bustle of getting the file set up with our screening room and setting up breakfast for our guests, we got to enjoy this near brand new cut of the film with an audience who had never seen the film. Suddenly all the long hours and late nights became worth it as our audience clapped and laughed at the appropriate moments and left the theater with big smiles.

I am truly going to miss this production as it moves up to Canada, leaving almost all of the LA group behind here in the States. From Editorial, to Story, to Production, they all inspired me to strive to be the best I could be at my craft and allowed me to experience a sense of camaraderie I hadn't felt since my time at Dodge. I am so thankful that God allowed all the pieces to fall into place for this opportunity to take place. It was the perfect first feature for me to serve on as an Assistant Editor.

As I get the necessary materials ready to apply to the Editor's Union, I can't wait to see where I am led next in this industry and beyond. :)

P.S. Hope you enjoy these pictures I took with some of the crew, as well as a snapshot of the half dismantled sound Cube we built.

Part of the Playmobil crew

The end of an era. The end of "The Cube"

A Sweet, Sweet Sound

One of the projects the team I'm working with took part in was creating a makeshift sound booth. Being that our production is working in a warehouse, we tended to get a lot of reverb whenever we recorded our scratch dialogue. As such, me, my 1st Assistant Editor, and our coordinator banded together to create a booth.

After throwing around a few ideas on how to craft it, we settled on making a 10'x10'x10' metal pipe cube covered in moving blankets. Excited to begin, we headed to Home Depot; a place we'd end up making more trips to than we would've liked over the next few weeks. With us being more versed in film and not DIY construction, we ran into some bumps in the road, including buying incorrect pipe fittings, misjudging exactly how high 10 feet truly was, and miscalculating the number of blankets we needed to cover the gigantic cube. However, after a lot of sweat, tears, and driving around town, we finally finished our beautiful cube.

Aside from the light chemical smell the blankets permeate the air with (don't worry, we've been airing it out and using Febreze), the cube has made a huge difference! Before we had our "booth" we had to be very cautious whenever we recorded. We couldn't bump the levels up too high and our editors weren't too thrilled with the nearly unusable, echoing scratch that resulted whenever our actors yelled too loud. Now when we record, you would've thought we were in a real booth! The sound is crisp and clear, with us only having to pause every so often when a particularly loud motorcycle plows down the street next to us.

I'm quite proud of our booth, loving dubbed "The Cube" by our production. Though our resources may be limited, our team continues to amaze me with their resourcefulness whenever a need arises.

(P.S. I would've posted a picture, but I wanted to err on the safe side since we're sharing the space with another company.)

Here We Are Again

As I write this, I still find it hard to believe that I've been in the working world for almost two years now, with school seeming forever away.

With every year, there comes a remarkable amount of change and growth. After a year and a half with my Pilot family, I set off to join a new one at ON Animation Studios. The confidence and skills I gained from Pilot allowed me to jump right in to the bustling animated feature world, unafraid and ready to work.

2016 saw me becoming more comfortable in my own skin, as well as with the strengths and weaknesses of my abilities. Going in to the working world I was convinced that I needed to know everything since I was brought on to a team that wanted me to work alongside them. Looking back, I realize that I put too much pressure on myself to have all the answers, when I didn't. The great thing about being "fresh meat" is that you're still learning. While you should of course harbor the skills that your employer hired you for, you don't have to be scared to ask questions. I've learned that not asking questions out of fear of looking inadequate can be dangerous in the long-run. Being inquisitive allows you to make new discoveries and have a place to jump off of the next time you come in contact with a similar dilemma. Communication is key to a team working well together, and it can't be done unless everyone is on the same page, bringing their various levels of expertise and knowledge to the table. Staying silent is not the way to go as it keeps you from developing those relationships that will provide you with new points of view, and ways of approaching problems.

With the new year just a stone's throw away, I look forward and up to what God has in store for this blank slate ahead of me. It may look overwhelming, but it's just another step in this journey. And to that I say, "2017, bring it on!"

Tinkering Away

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've begun working at ON Animation Studios as a 2nd Assistant Editor on an animated feature film. With starting any new job, it comes with it's own share of challenges that continue to beat the dents out of you.

Having worked in Television promos at my previous job, it was a big change of pace jumping back into the animated feature world that I had experienced at Pixar. Thankfully, because my Pixar mentors shaped the Editorial workflow for the film I'm working on, I was able to hit the grown running on tasks such as dialogue processing and recording with ease. However, learning how much Editors rely on their Assistants has been a rather eye-opening experience.

At Pilot, our Editors cut short-form pieces, which meant that if they ever needed any additional material or aid with their edits, it was in the form of me bringing in a piece of media here or there for them. This was the case as I would always organize and ingest all the media needed for the project before the editor even arrived at our offices. Pilot had this structure in place as I was often juggling the Post of multiple projects, and the speed of Television production was extremely brisk.

Working on a feature, I've had to learn to think quickly on my feet and in the moment while the Editor is cutting. For example, one day I was processing some dialogue, when suddenly one of our Editors asked me to get her a certain line that I hadn't marked up yet. While I wasn't too far off from processing the requested line, I switched gears to get it to them, as the dialogue I was currently working on was for storyboards that hadn't been delivered yet. Promo multi-tasking tends to be on a single project by project basis, while feature multi-tasking concerns itself with the larger picture.

While less of a lesson, because my team and I were in a bit of a crunch recently, the Editors actually let me cut a few boards, sound effects, and dialogue. I had no idea that the Editors would actually hand off some of their work to their Assistants, but in hindsight, it makes sense. An Assistant Editor is there to pick up any slack and help ease the Editor's burden. The willingness to be ready to lend a hand at all times is necessary for Assistants as it shows the ability to be flexible under pressure and be an active team member.

Transition

Last Friday was officially my last day with Pilot. It was a bittersweet goodbye as I had grown rather close to my co-workers at both the LA and New York offices.

I have Pilot's Post Supervisor to thank for pushing me to challenge myself to be an independent thinker and troubleshooter. With each network having its own set of unique delivery specs, it forced me to become more observant and thorough, as it was crucial that deliveries followed the post requirements to a 'T.' It was overwhelming at first since it seemed like every network had vastly different specifications, but as I did more and more jobs, I realized they were more similar than I had originally thought, with me only having to make slight changes here and there to adhere to a specific network's guidelines.

The next leg of my career journey began Tuesday of this past week. I am now serving as a 2nd Assistant Editor on an animated feature film with ON Animation Studios. One of my former Pixar mentors approached me about this position, and I thought it would be a great next step as I'd be able to serve as an Assistant Editor in animation editorial. I'm very excited for what these next few months hold (especially since the 1st Assistant Editor is another one of past my Pixar mentors!), and getting to really dig my teeth into this project.

Pilot, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for a fantastic first full time job. It was a great learning experience and a time of growth that improved both my post skills, and confidence in myself. You will be greatly missed.

Driving Along

A few weeks ago, a spot Pilot created for BBC America and Mercedes-Benz called the "Mercedes-Benz Social Adventure" premiered. It was meant to get viewers excited about the new C-Class Coupe through the posts of a group of hand selected Instagramers that captured fun pictures of the car in different areas around Southern California. I acted as Assistant Editor on this piece, and was so thrilled to actually see it be featured on the official Mercedes-Benz USA Facebook page and have it air on television.

The biggest challenge for this project had to be up-rezing for delivery and working with mixed video resolutions. When we shot the spot, the car we used was a dark navy blue. Unfortunately, the footage that Mercedes provided for us to cut with featured a black car. As a result, any shot of the car that we captured had to be color corrected to a matching shade of black. Because of this, I eventually had a mixture of 1080p and 2K shots of the car; some from Mercedes and the rest from our colorists. However, because we were cutting in AVID, the question became how to maintain the resolution of the new car shots. While I could have easily just imported them at a higher resolution such as DNxHD 145, I was worried about the 2K footage looking compressed.

To solve this, I AMA linked the entire sequence back to their high res source files and applied any LUTs and additional color corrections to match the original sequence. My initial course of action was to just export out an EDL and then link up and export the sequence from Da Vinci Resolve. However, the issue came down to having a proper Broadcast Safe Filter to apply to the footage in Resolve. My company uses a custom filter created in AVID to throw on top of all of our deliveries. With this in mind, I knew that even if I exported out of Resolve, I'd have to bring the file back into AVID to apply the filter. Being pressed for time, I was unable to work with my Post Supervisor to create a new filter in Resolve. As a result, I settled on over cutting the sequence with AMA linked HighRes footage. It did take a while, and I'll admit it didn't feel super efficient, but it allowed the spot to be delivered on time and at the best resolution possible.

This spot was a fantastic group effort and I'm honored to have been a part of it. Hope you enjoy watching the final product!

Puzzling

Recently, my family and I have started to spend time putting together puzzles. We began with one that was 750 pieces, but have since then graduated to 1000 and 2000+ sized puzzles. In constructing these puzzles, it got me thinking about the editing process.

Traditionally, you begin a puzzle by putting together all the edge pieces. They're easy to find and, once connected, show you how large the completed puzzle will be. While my family is able to pick out most of these pieces shortly after opening the box, we always end up missing a few here and there. Likewise, when starting to edit a project, you need some sort of blueprint or groundwork to build upon. This can be in the form of a script, or even some written down ideas or pitches. But, like constructing a puzzle's frame, these editorial foundations may be incomplete, with stories and concepts often tweaked later down the line.

If upon my initial sifting of the puzzle pieces I'm unable to pick out all the edges, I tend to jump into filling in the middle, knowing that as I push forward, the sea of jagged shapes will reveal the smooth, stray ones I need. Editing also requires a lot of moving forward and back. You construct each scene on its own, but continue to keep the overall story and motivations of the characters in mind with every cut. If you ever feel that an actor's performance in a previous scene is inconsistent with how the later ones are playing out, you can always go back and adjust for a stronger edit, and in turn, a clearer and more solid film.

One of the puzzles my family and I completed

When the last piece is finally placed in the puzzle, you get a chance to sit back and marvel at your handiwork. You take a few pictures, talk about maybe framing it, and, inevitably, start thinking about buying another one to begin the process all over again. The thrill of crafting something out of the seemingly incongruent is what draws me to editing, puzzles, and even programming. You're given building blocks that look insignificant and useless on their own, but, when mixed together, make a product that would buckle if even one of them was out of place.

New Creations

It's that season again! Time to refresh my Editorial Reels. It's out with the old, and in with some fresh, new material.

My most recent addition is a short animatic that I helped cut and mix for my sister. She decided to create a storyboard sequence based off of one of the comics in her "Nickel a Day" series where she recounts funny incidents from her daily life. I won't spoil the story for you, but I will say it has to do with a certain colorful, natural beauty in the sky. It was a lot of fun getting back to editing again, working on making my cuts tighter and more seamless to move the story along. I'm hoping to cut more sequences in the future and do more collaborations to keep my skills up.

Hope you enjoy viewing these updated reels!

Anniversary

It's here! At last I have made it to one year with Pilot. I know in a previous post I said that I had started on June 15th, but, much to my amusement, only a few days after I posted that did I find out that my start date had been bumped up to June 9th. Funny how life works.

This past year can be summed up into one word: learning. Fresh out of college with some internships and a degree under my belt, I thought I was aware of and could take on anything the working world threw my way. Needless to say this was wishful thinking, and I was in for a whirlwind year that would mold my skills as an Assistant Editor and a team player.

From day one, I was given the task of mastering our company's post workflow and becoming aware of how to aid our freelance editors with any issues that might come up. Our company has two branches, one in Marina Del Rey and the other in New York, with the majority of the company at the latter. Being the only post person at our West Coast branch, I quickly learned that I couldn't be a passive player, turning to my post colleagues to save me when things got hairy. This became especially apparent the first time I ran into issues with a digital file delivery.

In the days after my mishap, I swore to myself to never have that happen again. As a result, whenever we got a new job from a client, I immediately read up on and studied their delivery specs, asking questions about any sections that were confusing to me, even creating checklists of all the elements that needed to be uploaded. With the addition of mapping out more hotkeys to speed along my editorial process, new jobs became less scary and more of a puzzle that just needed the proper time to find the solution. Final deliveries to clients are already stressful enough, and if I can avoid any added stress just by being prepared, I'll take it.

Even writing emails, of all things, is not as daunting. When I started out, I tended to be very wordy, sometimes even asking questions I already knew the answer to. After much trial and error, and looking at how my coworkers wrote to clients, I figured out how to be direct with my inquiries, even learning the polite way to correct clients if there was a misunderstanding. With so many emails being sent and received every day, quick and concise message are a godsend.

Finally, this job has coaxed me out of my comfort zone. I'm more on the quiet side, and working at the Marina Del Rey office has had me make phone calls to various companies to place orders or ask questions, as well as communicate with shoot crews and freelance editors that enter Pilot for the first time. It was a bit of work to push myself to do so, but I'm so glad I did and my confidence has grown because of it.

Thank you Pilot for an amazing year, and I look forward to what the future has in store.

Application

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a shoot for one of the promos Pilot is going to be editing. The Creative Director on the project suggested I come along to see what the company does for these shoots. So, on an early Friday morning in April, I made the trek over to set.

The interesting thing about this particular shoot was that we were filming in the same place that the series we were making the promos for was shooting. During the show's shoot downtime, the talent would come over to our set for us to interview them.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the promo and series sets were run just like the ones I had been on at Dodge. Everything from the call sheets, to the communication the crew members had with one another, nearly matched that of the student film shoots I had been on. While things did get a bit behind schedule, just as Chapman sets were wont to, everyone remained patient and cooperative, working to stay helpful and positive through it all.

It got me thinking of how well Dodge did in fact prepare its students for the real world of film production. While set could not compare to my preferred home of the editing suite, being there allowed me to experience the realization of the Producing team's plans, as well as the camaraderie of the camera team. Dodge drilled into us from day one the importance of teamwork, and remembering that creating films was a group effort.

Even though I ended up taking a post route versus a physical production one, it's comforting to know that my Alma Mater taught me well and gave me a rounded education that will continue to aid me in my field of work for years to come.

Movie Time!

Grab some popcorn and a comfy seat everyone! I am very happy to announce that all three of the films I edited last year as part of my Senior Thesis (Prism, Doppelganer, and For Jacob) are now available online for viewing. I am very proud of the teams I had the pleasure of working with, and I hope you enjoy the collective fruits of our labor.

Dan Warner is a desaturator, tasked with sapping beauty from the world in a future where color is used as energy. (Directed by Jackson Miller)

-SEMIFINALIST in the 42nd ANNUAL STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS
-63rd ANNUAL MPSE GOLDEN REEL NOMINEE VERNA FEILDS AWARD
-SAG 2015 LA SHORTS SHOWCASE
-AUDIENCE AWARD for BEST SHORT NARRATIVE at PRESCOTT FILM FESTIVAL 2015
-JURY AWARD for BEST COLLEGE SHORT FILM at CINEQUEST FILM FESTIVAL 2016
-JURY AWARD for BEST SCI FI at LAGUNA FILM FESTIVAL 2015
-OFFICIAL SELECTION at HOLLYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL 2015
-OFFICIAL SELECTION at SKYLINE INDIE FILM FESTIVAL 2015
-OFFICIAL SELECTION at LONESTAR FILM FESTIVAL 2015
-COLLEGIATE SHOWCASE at NEWPORT FILM FESTIVAL 2016
-2015 DMA AWARD for BEST VFX (DODGE COLLEGE OF FILM AND MEDIA ARTS)
-Featured on Film Shortage 2016
-Featured on shortfil.ms 2016

A little girl’s relationship with her inattentive Father is changed for the better after an eerie and dangerous encounter at the neighborhood playground. (Directed by Carly Lambert)

-Los Angeles Cinefest's Official July Selection 2015
-29th Braunschweig International Film Festival Official Selection
-Official Selection Woman Up Independent Film Festival 2015
-Best Drama American Motion Picture Society Film Festival 2015
-Big House LA Entertainment Festival 2015

After his mother is arrested, a young man is forced to partake in a robbery in order to protect his little brother, Jacob. (Directed by MacMullin Freeman, password: jacob2015)

What's Up?

This past Saturday, February 27th, Prism was honored at the Motion Picture Sound Editors' Golden Reel Awards, being nominated for the Verna Fields Award in Sound Editing for Student Film Makers. I continue to be amazed by my team and the audience reception to this short. While the journey may have been rough to make this film a reality, the response has made it all worth it.

Production on AOI has begun to slow down a bit due to having to make larger story tweaks, as well as scheduling conflicts between myself and my sister. We hope to be back at it though soon enough, steadily working to piece together this fun project!

Photo Cred: MPSE Website (www.mpse.org/golden-reel-awards)

A Look Back

I'm a bit late, but happy 2016! I didn't realize just how fast 2015 passed me by until I pieced together my annual "Second a Day" video. I always enjoy cutting it since I'm able to take a trip down memory lane and reflect upon the various events from the past year. To think, just a year ago I was finishing up my AVID Certification course and preparing for the conclusion of Senior Thesis!

Flash-forward to present day. Now 8 months into working at Pilot, I feel that I've finally hit my groove. Heading deliveries and running freelancers through orientation no longer overwhelms me like it once did. I've come to realize the importance of strong communication, as well as taking initiative when you see a need. My confidence in AVID and Final Cut has been strengthened, allowing me to become more efficient in my work through the discovery of new shortcuts.

I look forward to the opportunities 2016 presents, and trust that God will continue shape and challenge me each day. This year's "Second a Day" is going to be wild!

And the Days Go By

Time for some updates! Prism received the Grand Jury award for Best SciFi at the Laguna Film Festival, and was also screened this past weekend at the Lone Star Film Festival. It's been six months since the film debuted, and it is still going strong in the shorts circuit.

AOI Title (Art by Karina McBeth)

My sister and I have decided to combine episodes 1-3 of AOI for a stronger opening to the series. While this means that our premiere date will be have to be pushed back, it will allow us to thoroughly address the story issues that came up in Editorial. You can check out the introductory animation I cut for AOI here to get a feel for the style and tone of the webseries.

Piece by Piece

Photo Credit: Karina McBeth

My sister and I have recently started collaborating on a webseries called, AOI. At the moment, it is slated to consist of a series of 13 animatic "episodes," with my sister providing the storyboards, and me doing the editing and sound design.

After creating and tweaking a rough outline of the story, my sister began boarding Episode 1. Once she completed her first pass, she handed the storyboards over to me to start editing in AVID. As I went through the cut, I made Editorial suggestions to my sister, such as removing whole scenes and adding in beats to help move the story along. My sister is currently working on revisions for Episode 1 as well as the storyboards for Episode 2. I will continue to post updates about our progress as the months go on. If you want daily updates about AOI however, you can also check out my sister's blog.

This week I was also added to PILOT's official website. I've been with the company for a good few months now, and am greatly enjoying it there. I am thankful for the challenges that have come my way, being stretched in my skills as an Assistant Editor and learning to be more observant in my work. Be sure to check out the rest of the team on the website as well. They're a fun bunch who are a joy to work with each day.

The Trek

(Left to Right: Matthew Rebong, Jackson Miller, Richard Andrews, Amy McBeth)
Photo Cred: Jackson Miller

On Saturday, August 22nd, Prism premiered at the HollyShorts Film Festival in Hollywood. It was the first film festival I've ever gone to, and was quite exciting! Especially since I was going to support a film that I had been a part of. Alongside Prism, my team and I got to view a handful of other great shorts before we briefly talked about our film in front of the audience. We received a lot of compliments from viewers following the screening, with many intrigued that the short was entirely made by students.

Recently, I also found out that Doppelgänger is going to Germany to be part of the Braunschweig International Film Festival. I will be unable to attend, but my director will be going, and I look forward to hearing how it goes!

Warming Up

Excited to annouce more news about one of the shorts I had the delight of cutting. Doppelgänger is currently part of this month's Los Angeles CineFest official selection. You can help support the team by voting at: http://lacinefest.weebly.com/july.html for the Audience Award until August 18th. I will continue to follow up about each of the three films (Doppelgänger, For Jacob, and Prism) I worked on as I receive festival updates from their directors. Thrilled to see where they all go!

Festival Time

With the rush of thesis over comes the next step in the student film process -- the Festival circuit. Recently, I received word that Prism has begun to make its rounds, and has been accepted into the Screen Actors Guild Foundation LA Shorts Showcase, the Prescott Film Festival (going on now), and the HollyShorts Film Festival. The film has also caught the attention of the Academy and is now a Semifinalist for the Student Academy Awards. It's been quite surreal and exciting to see the response and watch the film take off. I am extremely proud of the team and am thrilled to see what these next months hold.