Aspects of Editing – ACE Internship 2020


1st Qtr, 2020

The goal of the ACE Internship Program is to open a door to Hollywood for recent college graduates who want to pursue a career in editing. All of the interns in the last 10 years are now either working as assistant editors or have already moved up to editors. Chaired by program alums Carsten Kurpanek and Tyler Nelson, the program involves spending time in editing rooms and touring post-production facilities while being mentored by experienced ACE editors.

The most recent interns are Serena Allegro, a grad of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and Marco Andres Gonzalez, an alum of Boston University. The four-week program gave them their first look into the professional post-production scene across both scripted and unscripted work.

Boston born and raised, Allegro finished college with a B.A. in Cinema and History and planned to work at a nonprofit for a year before pursuing editing. “I applied to the internship with no expectations,” she says. “To my surprise, I was selected as a finalist. I decided to move to L.A. and shift everything I had expected for my future up a year.”

Allegro visited the cutting rooms at HBO comedy series Insecure and the feature Clifford the Big Red Dog. She explains, “During my first week, I was lucky enough to go through a lot of the technical work of an assistant editor – everything from dailies to temp VFX. I was also allowed to sit in on a tone meeting.

This gave me a deeper appreciation for the vast number of artists who work on a single project. “The second week was so much fun,” she continues. “It was incredible to see how much a family the post team becomes. They kept reminding me that when you work long hours in small quarters, it’s hard not to become close.”

At Shed Media she gained insight into cutting a reality show and a deeper appreciation for the need to stay extremely organized. “When there are two assistant editors for over 40 editors, there is no choice but to keep on top of everything.
It was so different from the previous three weeks. They could be working on four shows at once at any point in the process. I was so in awe of each assistant editor’s speed and passion for the work they do.”

Gonzalez from Chino Hills, Calif., graduated with a B.S. in Film and Television and attended some ACE events as a student where he first learned about the internship. “During my first week, in editorial for Jumanji: The Next Level, I learned about the workflow of features from Chris Jackson, an extremely skilled first assistant editor,” he explains. “He is a master of temp VFX. This skill was my biggest takeaway from the week. I had never seen them done before, and after seeing their importance I knew it was a vital skill.

“During my television week, I was fortunate to have shadowed another highly skilled and experienced [editor/assistant editor], J.D. Sievertson, ACE. The show was in dailies, so he showed me the workflow of receiving and organizing them. J.D. offered me so much fantastic advice throughout the week, all of which I wish I could share. However, the best lesson was to always be ready and willing to adapt to your editor’s requests. This was important as we organized dailies, and vital to keep in mind throughout any show.”

Gonzalez gained his first exposure to the world of reality in the cutting rooms of The Floor is Lava. “I could not have asked for a better opportunity. The team was incredible.

Being a reality assistant editor requires one to be technically skilled and extremely organized. In addition, they need to be able to keep calm through the busier times. Technically, I learned the important skill of grouping. Organization-wise, I was able to note how their Avid projects were structured. They were clearly formulated and allowed for an easy workflow.”

Gonzalez continues, “If there was one piece of advice that was consistently given by all of the people I met, it was to always stay positive. Being positive has a multitude of positive impacts. It makes work easier, it makes tense environments calmer. It is also important for getting a job. People want to hire people they’ll enjoy working with, and having a positive attitude definitely helps one’s chances!”

Having finished a Post PA job on the feature, Antebellum, edited by his internship mentor, John Axelrad, ACE, Gonzalez is looking to begin his career as an assistant editor. Allegro is now looking for an assistant editor position to start her career. “I take away from my experience that everything is possible if you are willing to put in the work,” she says. “In an industry where so much is based on relationships, I understand the importance of being someone everyone wants to be around.

It is not easy to reach your dreams, but if it’s what you love, all the work and long nights will be worth it.”

Both interns express their thanks for being part of this program and vow to continue to volunteer at every ACE event they can. Kurpanek and Nelson both express deep appreciation to ACE and the previous directors of the ACE Internship Program, Lori Jane Coleman, ACE, and Diana Friedberg, ACE, for entrusting them with it.

They also wish to thank everyone on the ACE Internship Program committee. ACE sends its gratitude to Adobe, which sponsors this vital program. “Our program provides information and networking opportunities that guide participants through the milestones of their budding careers – getting into the union, finding jobs as a union assistant editor in features and television, maintaining a career and hopefully moving up to editor,” says Kurpanek.

“A great side effect for ACE and its members is that the program creates a pool of talented, hard-working and knowledgeable assistant editors that they can hire.”

IBC 2019


4th Qtr, 2019

The IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) has always been a showcase for the latest products and developments for content creation but this year’s event doubled down by attracting a number of established artists to present masterclasses or public interviews. Chris Dickens, ACE, an Oscar® and ACE Eddie winner for Slumdog Millionaire, shared insights into how he helped Dexter Fletcher’s biographic musical Rocketman about shy piano prodigy turned international superstar Elton John.

“The film is about Elton’s battle with himself and moving away from who he was as a child,” Dickens said. “In one scene he swims underwater and is confronted with himself as a boy but by the end of the film he has come to terms with who he is.” Presenting clips including a sequence that appears early in the film accompanied by John’s “The Bitch is Back,” Dickens described the script as a heightened version of reality. “It had two sides, this real-life drama and a fantastical story of his success with musical sequences which tell his life through song.

It gave us a license to play around visually but I couldn’t quite unify the two dramatic tensions in my head. The biggest challenge was finding a way to combine all the elements to give the film tonally the same feel all the way through.”

Elsewhere, there were sessions devoted to the VFX behind Avengers: Endgame and insider looks at the cinematography and grading of Netflix series Mindhunter and Black Mirror interactive episode “Bandersnatch.” Attendees were treated to a special showing in Dolby Vision and Atmos of Game of Thrones’ season 8 episode “The Long Night,” the episode which landed Tim Porter, ACE, the Emmy® for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series.

HBO executive producer Greg Spence and Steve Beres, HBO’s senior vice president of Media and Production Services were on hand to talk about the show’s production. The virtual production of Jon Favreau’s The Lion King was another highlight as explored by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, ASC, and VFX supervisor Rob Legato, ASC.

New ways of working were also a theme on the exhibition floor. Aiming to find new ways to create, produce and distribute content on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, Avid announced its participation with Disney in a five-year partnership with Microsoft. The partnership will be run through The Walt Disney Studios’ StudioLAB, Disney’s technology hub, and will be aimed at delivering cloud-based workflows for production and postproduction or from ‘scene to screen.’

Microsoft has an existing strategic cloud alliance with Avid and the companies have already produced several media workflows running in the cloud, including collaborative editing, content archiving, active backup and production continuity.

“By moving many of our production and post-production workflows to the cloud, we’re optimistic that we can create content more quickly and efficiently around the world,” said Jamie Voris, CTO, The Walt Disney Studios. “Through this innovation partnership with Microsoft, we’re able to streamline many of our processes so our talented filmmakers can focus on what they do best.”

The announcement was separate but related to a wider move by major studios to rethink production workflows in the cloud. During the IBC conference session titled “Hollywood’s vision for the future of production in 2030,” tech bosses from Paramount, Sony, Universal, Disney and Warner Bros. gathered to discuss a 10-year blueprint for the process, as outlined by non-profit research initiative MovieLabs.

“There’s been a massive increase in content production and brand extensions, and we need faster production cycles and more rapid iterations,” said Universal CTO Michael Wise. The MovieLabs report suggests assets need to be created and ingested straight into the cloud. Any tools used on content assets in this new workflow must come to the cloud, rather than the  other way around. “We need the entire industry to come together on this,” said Bill Baggelaar, senior vice president of technology, production and postproduction technologies at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“We don’t want to build our own tools to manage cloud solutions but would require the ability to plug into our own preferred vendors.” MovieLabs is working toward the creation of a standard, a big part of which will be security.

A common ID system would be critical to identify the thousands of workers interacting with studios’ content, the speakers related. “This would also formalize protocols for crew members who wish to use their own devices or plug their own kit into studios’ production networks,” noted Daphne Dentz, senior vice president, mastering & production technology, Warner Bros.

Adobe used the IBC platform to unveil Auto Reframe, a new feature for Premiere Pro that uses the company’s Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence and machine-learning platform. Slated for availability later this year, Auto Reframe is developed to reframe and reformat video so that the same project can be published in different aspect ratios, from square to vertical to 16:9 versions, the company said.

Like Content-Aware Fill for After Effects, which was introduced in the spring, Auto Reframe is designed to “accelerate manual production tasks, without sacrificing creative control. “For broadcasters, or anyone else who needs to optimize content for different platforms, Auto Reframe will help you get there faster,” Adobe writes in its blog, citing tools designed to “analyze, crop and pan footage to prioritize the most compelling parts of your video.” The company also demonstrated new Best Practices guides, which include ones for working with native formats, using project templates, using Motion Graphics templates; mixing audio with the Essential Sound Panel, exporting video and using third-party tools with Adobe tools.

Blackmagic announced Blackmagic RAW 1.5, a new software update with support for Premiere Pro and Media Composer, plus Blackmagic RAW Speed Test for Mac, PC and Linux,  so customers can work on a wider range of platforms and editing software with their Blackmagic RAW files. Blackmagic RAW 1.5 is now available for download. “Blackmagic RAW is now available for editors working on all major professional nonlinear editors,” said CEO Grant Petty.

“You can now edit native Blackmagic RAW files in Premiere Pro and Media Composer and then finish them in DaVinci Resolve without needing to create proxy files.”