Hello there and thanks for your interest! I figure first off, you’d like to know who I am. Currently, I am a video editor living in the Los Angeles area. I also work on freelance projects and local films or contests whenever possible. I love bright hair colours, as you can see. Why? Well… you have to have some way to spot me in the dark #editcave, right!?
I feel very lucky to have been introduced to the awesome post communities of the Blue Collar Post Collective (BCPC) and #PostChat, where I’ve met and made some great networks and friends in the industry even when I lived in Indiana, a not-so film centric area.
I am the Mental Health Coordinator for BCPC’s “How Are You Doing?” mental health group, a sub-community within BCPC. Along with other wonderful peers, I help manage our Facebook group hosting a mental and emotional health support community for post production pros. I feel it’s an important component that was missing. It is all about making sure we take time to take care of ourselves and not being afraid to speak up. Having dealt with this personally, I can’t tell you how helpful it is to talk to someone else experiencing the same feelings, and many find comfort in just being able to read about other experiences.
Mentoring new video editors is something I am very passionate about. I did not have a mentor growing into this industry, though I desperately would have benefited from having one. I know what it feels like to be a bit lost trying to sort advice on things like freelancing or quarterly taxes, or having someone with experience to help guide you through the ups and downs of this industry. My door is always open. Reach out.
A few years ago, I got to attend NABShow out in Vegas and had the most amazing time, and it was a huge goal of mine long ago. I attended many informative classes, met some of the top best people in our industry in person and was able to even chat with some for a time. It was awesome exploring some of the newest technology to assist us better in post (and production!) I won’t go into all the details, except to say this experience only reaffirmed I’m heading the right direction.
Why do I enjoy editing? When I have that blank time line in front of me, I see possibilities. I see a story that has yet to be seen by others. I suppose I am suited most of all as an editor because I can watch and re-watch scenes over and over again, cutting and puzzle solving until that story comes to life. I enjoy the process of seeing it come together, piece by piece.
It’s important to try to keep our mind open to changing it up to see it from another perspective. You’d be amazed how easily a story changes with one teeny tiny cut. Once I start editing, it is quite hard to stop myself.
The first time I cut a short film, I often times would stay up until the very late hours or the whole night, and I would ride out these waves of energy. I’ve become a lot smarter about taking breaks, but I knew it was for me. Being involved in film production from it’s script to it’s edit makes me feel alive to my very core. It is quite true that not everyone feels this when watching a movie as the end result – some people just either like or hate a movie without thinking twice more about it. But I’d also like to hope and think that I’ve sparked a deeper interest in my friends and people I meet who cannot resist the energy and passion behind my words when I talk about anything related to films.
Where did my love of movies come from? They have always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I remember attending Sci-Fi and Star Trek conventions with my mom. I actually remember the first time I saw an anime being screened there, which sparked my love for animation today. Sure, I played a lot going up and down on those big fancy glass elevators, too.
At one point, movies were my friend of sorts. They could evoke all sorts of emotions – from laughing my head off, tearing up, scared out of my wits, or hopeful beyond imagination. I developed favourite ones I would watch over and over again, every time with a renewed interest or scene I just had to see again. I loved everything about them and would often wonder, how did they make this? Curiosity grew into a passion that I had yet to realize for many years to come.
I grew up in the era where it was completely normal to be on the computer at age 12 playing Mudd and getting on BBS’es, and I still recall the sound of our modem as it progressed in numbers… I spent a great deal of time exploring websites, people, games, books, movies, and being a lover of “useless information” I would scour the net seeking answers to all my questions.
Some of my favourite movies include: Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, Studio Ghibli films like Howl’s Moving Castle or My Neighbor Totoro, Pacific Rim, Deadpool, Hunger Games, Fight Club, Catch Me if You Can, Warcraft, The Matrix, Django, Captain America, Hidalgo, Hot Fuzz, Zombieland, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, District 9, The Last Unicorn, Amelie, The Big Sleep, Pieces of April, Army of Darkness, Nothing to Lose, and Trading Places, Batman, X-men, Inception, Back to the Future series, Memento – among many many endless others. You’ll notice I like a mishmash of fantasy, sci-fi, film noir, animation, independent, comedy, etc. as I enjoy a wide range of stories. I particularly enjoy adaptations and animations from books, a combination of two loves of mine!
My “AHA” moment as I call it didn’t occur until I was in my second year of college. I’m not exactly the typical film student. I did not grow up filming or knowing what I wanted to do exactly. But, I liked creating! There was a period of time that myself and my twin sis put together sketches, plays, and theater-like things together and act them out with friends as our “cast” for anybody who would watch. Perhaps it was in our nature to create and see things come to life, but I never guessed it at the time.
An influential and fun time exploring something once is all it takes to ignite a passion. I was taking a class in high school called Commercial Art. For a portion of the class, we got into groups to make a commercial. I was grouped with two of my good friends back then and really looking forward to the whole process. This was the first time I tinkered with every button on the camera, explored angles, made blooper reels, edited everything together, and became a primary voice in the scripting.
Of course this all sounds formal, back then it was much less, and I didn’t quite know that was what I was doing if you follow me. They gave us cameras and tapes, no DSLR’s back then. I had to script plus act in our commercial. While writing this I still recall how we dubbed ourselves “Magickal Toad Productions” and had so many more bloopers than actual footage.
We decided to pit two sodas brands against one another, Sippy Cola vs. Slurpy Cola, with Slurpy being the ‘top dog’ soda star. Using music from And Justice for All by Metallica and a Warhammer figurine, we thought it was the most awesome video ever. I remember sitting in that room with the special keyboard and old school way of editing – nothing like it is now. I even added in a bit of voiceover with a nice “KEE-YAH” sound for us kicking somebody in one part. This whole thing was only for class purposes, and it lives on some old VHS gathering dust. But oh, the memories. That class sparked the passion in me that still is here today. It was the first day I dreamed about editing real movies.
Back to my story! Setting: College, Year 2005, primarily over summer. Originally, I had been interested in the story-telling/animation track with interest in possible 3D or CGI. There was several game trailers I had in mind that I dreamt I could be doing some day.
After working on project with some editing using Director (yes, it does not exist anymore lol) and receiving high praise in regards to my style and cuts, I was told I had a knack for editing. Me? An editor? To be really honest, I didn’t even feel I’d put in my full efforts on it looking back. What if I had? How far could I go with this editing? That thought grew into a persistent wonder. I had already taken a basic video course and enjoyed it greatly. I tried editing more things, and before long, I made up my mind to switch tracks to Video & Sound production.
I took the plunge. I’ve never looked back.
To say I’m passionate about every single aspect of movies is putting it lightly. Once all the pieces came together, it’s comparable to a slow burn igniting into flames. Admittedly, I didn’t start out being an expert. I was quite wet-behind-the-ears as we all who start new adventures often times have. I frankly won’t ever stop learning new methods or stop improving on cuts. If you recall, I did not shoot lots of little short films or gain a lot of experience on my own with it while growing up. I hardly think half my old friends from back then would ever guess what I’m up to now. I knew I loved movies, art, books, games, and storytelling and here it could all combine into ONE!? I only wish I’d done it sooner.
So I started really taking a good look at behind the scenes, in particular the Lord of the Rings paired with taking a few film study courses. I kept researching my favourite directors and watching interviews of them. I started recognizing reasons behind a shot or why they used a particular tint, etc. while truly appreciating the hard work it takes to make a film – whether good or bad. I listened to countless behind the scenes interviews to get inside the heads of everyone involved to better understand their motivations and struggles on set and in post. Any time I ran across a new video showing the process of building a game or shooting for a film, I was excited.
When I think back on my years during college and the giant leap I took into the world of cinema, I have come a long way from barely knowing how to operate a camera and thinking Premiere Pro looked impossible to master. I gained so much experience in all sorts of mediums with video, starting with our little Mentos commercial, working our way through a film noir (our first longer project), interviews, documentaries, live events when I interned at Nuvo, as well as our finale experience doing the television episode for our capstone project. I participated despite fears in 48 hour film contests.
All the skills I’d gained by making myself uncomfortable and diving into new waters helped give me the courage to tackle freelancing and editing a feature film “Ingenue” in Avid for the first time.
Now, fast forwarding my future to editing broadcast advertising spots in a very tight deadline arena! I found the bull and grabbed it by the horns, working my buns off. I’ve experienced most of the hats throughout production and post – from casting actors to scripting to directing to editing, grading, and sound work. I’m proud of where I’ve gotten, but I’m humbled too.
I am of the mindset that age will never dictate who I am, where I go, what I like, or what I do. I’m a night owl by blood. I love to read books, including authors such as Neil Gaiman, Roger Zelazny, the magnificent J.R.R. Tolkien, Poppy Z. Brite, and Lilian Jackson Braun. I’m an avid gamer. I am also a fellow animal lover. I got my first piercing, my lip in the center, one day when my twin sis came back to Indy to visit after many years apart. Yes! I have an identical twin, she’s 4 minutes older than me. I dream of visiting places like Japan, New Zealand, Ireland, and England, among many others. I want to see old castles, smell new air, and see the world from different perspectives. I still laugh out loud while watching cartoons and bloopers. My favourite director is Peter Jackson, because he brought LOTR to life.
Hopefully I’ve now answered all your curiosities about me and more!
Before a write a mini-novel of sorts, I’ll end with a thought-provoking quote from a quite awesome man, Oscar Wilde – “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”Never stop dreaming. And when you’re done dreaming, it’s time to LIVE IT!
PS: I owe my awesomeness and amazing experiences to: My Mom (RIP, cancer sucks!!) + Mandy, Kylee Pena, Sian, Monica, Meaghan, Deb, Jamie, Kate Chaplin & Amy Pauszek, La-wen Ewing, Evan & Tony, Ross “DangeRoss”, Bryce Nargi, “Martin Fort”, Nuvo, Oranje, and my fellow video peeps, etc. Also, I’d like to give a special shout out to the wonderful editors of #PostChat and Blue Collar Post Collective community who take time to answer questions and interact, making me feel like I belong. You know who you are. These people and experiences shaped who I am today.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know me. I’m sure I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m ready for it!