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.”