EditFest LA is coming and you can help me out

3 08 2010

This weekend — Friday and Saturday to be precise — a whole boatload of editors are going to meet in Los Angeles, at Universal Studios for a networking/learning/celebratory experience all focused around what we do.

That is, put images together to tell stories.

Some of the panelists this weekend include Ed Abroms, A.C.E. (The Sugarland Express, Blue Thunder), Matt Chessé, A.C.E. (Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland), Sally Menke, A.C.E. (Ingourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction), Pam Wise, A.C.E. (Transamerica, The Dancemaker), Jerry Greenberg, A.C.E. (“The French Connection,” “Apocalypse Now”), and Carol Littleton, A.C.E. (“E.T: The Extra Terrestrial,” “Body Heat”). For those of you who attend (there is a fee, which is discounted for pretty much anyone who is a member of practically any editorial organization ever created) you’ll get to hear some amazing speakers as well as have lunch, cocktails and pizza — over the two days, not all at once — with some of the top practitioners in the business.  For those of you who come, it’s really a great opportunity and tickets are limited, so I’d hop on over to the American Cinema Editors home page and learn how to sign up.

But that’s only part of the reason why I’m writing today. I am asking you a favor.  I am moderating a panel titled THE LEAN FORWARD MOMENT, in which I’ve asked five amazingly diverse and talented editors to talk about a scene from a film that they did not edit but which inspired them in some way. (For a review of the New York version of this panel, where  Michael Berenbaum, A.C.E (Nurse Jackie!, 2009), Joe Klotz, A.C.E. (Junebug 2005), Andrew Mondshein, A.C.E. (Cold Souls, 2009) , Susan Morse, A.C.E. (Editor of Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986 and Manhattan, 1979) and Andrew Weisblum, A.C.E. (The Wrestler, 2008), just hop on over to the Kirsten Studio blog. It also talks about the other fantastic panels that were at EditFestNY.)

As I said, I’m having five really diverse editors on the panel.  They are:

  1. Zack Arnold (TV, feature and web video editor – “Burn Notice” and “The Bannen Way”)
  2. James Haygood, A.C.E. (feature and TV editor – TRON: LEGACY, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, PANIC ROOM and FIGHT CLUB)
  3. Joe Leonard (TV editor – “Glee”)
  4. Lisa Lassek (TV and Web editor – “Pushing Daisies” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”)
  5. Ken Schretzmann (feature editor – TOY STORY 3)

The films that they have chosen are THE CONVERSATION, RAISING ARIZONA, OUT OF SIGHT, MEMENTO and THE GRADUATE. So you can see just how diverse a group this is.

Now, here’s where the favor comes in. During the panel I’m going to be asking for questions for the panelists on Twitter from the audience. But I’d also like to go into the event with some of your questions. So, if there’s some burning questions that you’ve wanted to ask the creative brains behind the editing of features, television and web video, please add them in a comment below. I’ll try and work those questions into the panel on Saturday afternoon.  So even if you’re not there — you’ll be there.

Sort of like INCEPTION, eh?



Help Me Interview 5 Great Editors

7 06 2010

This coming Friday night (June 11, 2010), I’m going to be running the opening night panel at EditFestNY enititled “The Lean Forward Moment” (try and guess where we got that title from) during which I’m going to be interviewing five great editors: Michael Berenbaum, A.C.E. (Sex and the City 1 and 2), Joe Klotz, A.C.E. (Precious, Junebug),  Andrew Mondshein, A.C.E. (Remember Me, Chocolat, The Sixth Sense),  Susan Morse, A.C.E. (Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters), and Andrew Weisblum, A.C.E. (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Wrestler).

Now, here’s where you can get involved.  First off, if you’re in the area, register for this two-day event.  It’s going to be well worth your while and, honestly, with the discounts for students, or many user groups (both FCP and Avid) you’ll more than get your money’s worth — cocktails on Friday, pizza and beer on Saturday, along with some great panels.

But here’s another way that you can involved.  I am going to ask each of the panelists to show a scene from a film that influenced that filmmakers, and then all six of us are going  to talk about it. Here is a preview (the first look — never before announced) at what you’ll see if you’re there:

  1. Michael Berenbaum is showing the opening sequence from ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, directed by Sergio Leone and edited by Nino Baragli in
  2. Joe Klotz is showing an early scene from DOG DAY AFTERNOON, directed by Sidney Lumet and edited by Dede Allen in 1975
  3. Andy Mondshein is showing the last scene from BONNIE AND CLYDE, directed by Arthur Penn and edited by Dede Allen (again!!  how fitting) in 1967,
  4. Sandy Morse is showing the opening of THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, directed by Julian Schnabel and edited by Juliette Welfling in 2007,
  5. Andrew Weisblum is showing the “birth of the hula hoop” scene from THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, directed by Joel Coen and edited by Thom Noble in 1994.

Whether you’re going to be at EditFestNY or not, what I’d love for you to do is submit questions for these editors.  I’ll select a few and ask them for you.  What is it that you’d like to know about that scene or how it affected each of these editors.  You can submit the questions here, or tweet them to me on Twitter.  My name there is @schnittman.



Web Video With Attitude

3 02 2009

I don’t know how I’ve missed this series so far, but the web series You Suck At Photoshop is a web based tutorial with an attitude.  Any tutorial that starts off by saying that this is “Basic to Intermediate but, for you, this will be hard” has got my love.  Donnie, who is the tutorial, gives an example of what you could do to a picture of your wife’s old Vanagon if you, for instance, “Had a restraining order that prevents you from getting close enough to do that kind of shit to it [for real].”

Using stand-up comedy, each episode gives you a real tip on how to do something with Photoshop (use the warp and distortion tool, for instance). It’s the perfect way for some people to get taught and, at four or five minutes, not very difficult to watch.

It may not exactly be the Future of the Interwebs, but it certainly isn’t dry and it does point to good ways to distinguish yourself from the other media makers in the crowd.



Wordle Tells All, Sees All

12 07 2008


Jonathan Feinberg, over at Wordle, has created an intriguing device (he calls it a “toy” but I’d use that word only in the sense that people once called computers “toys”) which creates a word cloud that includes most of the words from any text you input (you can paste in text, give it a URL of a web page, or put in a del.isio.us user name). [To the left is the Wordle for my blog without this new post.]

It then creates one of those frequency cloud pictures that shows what words you’ve used, with the size of word reflecting how often it was used in that text.

At first glance, you might think it was a toy — someone posted one called love iphone/hate facebook — but already a few interesting clouds have turned up. There’s one called “Things i want to say to you, but can’t” which features such words as chance, life, don’t and (of course) love.” That one feels almost as revelatory as PostSecret.

There’s another one on today (so many get posted that you’re never going to find these easily unless I give you URL, since Jonathan doesn’t give any sort of databasing search tool), called “What did YOU wear today?’ and another one which was put up by Wired on people’s thoughts on the iPhone.

The possibilities are tremendous — as a way of visually representing the way people are thinking at any given moment. Here, for instance in the Wordle for an article on today’s Huffington Post about Karl Rove (the link to the original article is here). The largest words seem to be Obama, government, money and Shiite. A recent Washington Post column by Dana Milbank on Rove creates a different Wordle with the biggest words being Rove, Karl, House and travesty (the original article can be found here). An article from conservative blogger, Michelle Malkin, has this Wordle, with the biggest words read, rest and post.

Helpfully, Wordle will remove common words (like “the” and “and”) if you ask it to, so you can straight for the content and you can get deeper into the text’s actual meanings.

The holy grail of marketing on the Web is measuring its readers. The next step after that is making sense of what you measure. Wordle is an interesting way of making that “sense” more visible.

By the way, you can click here to see the Wordle for this blog with this new post.



What Film Production Is Like

10 07 2008

So, this is what happens if you don’t take good care of your film.



Editing Kicks Directing’s Butt

4 06 2008

For those of you who haven’t played with Google Trends yet, let me tell you — it’s a cool time waster. The deal is you type some typical Google search terms into its search box, each one separated by a comma. It then returns the number of searches found for those terms, graphed against each other.

As you can see above, articles with the term “film editing” in them have consistently beat out ones with the term “film directing” in terms of number of searches. What this MUST prove, of course, is that more people are interested in editing than directing. Right?

Well… I suppose there is another explanation. Like more people use the term “directing” than “film directing” in their searches? Sure enough, look at where the orange line is in the graph below.

Statistics don’t lie. People using them do.



Amazing Flash Animation

30 05 2008

Thanks to Alan Miller, over on the Avid L2 board, for sending along this link to this amazing Flash Animation page for the Dutch store HEMA. It’s worth watching a few times.



South Park and the Internet

4 04 2008

This is so completely NOT a serious post that I hesitate even talking about this but…

On this week’s SOUTH PARK episode, the series took potshots at Internet Instant Celebrities (let’s call them IIC). I remember in 2001 when the video “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” became an Internet hit. This was, at the time, much harder than it is today, now that we’ve got YouTube et al to help distribute silly videos. The video, which took the fractured English translation in the Sega video game Zero Wing, and turned it into a music video, spread so far and so ubiquitously (is there such a word?) that even staid newspapers reported on it.

Now that we’ve got YouTube all over the damn place, we’ve also got a new IIC every month. Think the Numa Numa Guy, the Coke and Mentos videos, and Bree (lonelygirl15).

Now, the Internet Instant Celebrity craze has gone full circle. The South Park video parodied the phenomenon as only they can. In it, the boys, in an attempt to get Canada to stop running repeats of the Terrence and Phillip Show, create their own IIC (Butters, doing a brilliant version of Samwell’s “What, What (In The Butt)“) and then try and cash in at an Internet Celebrity Bank (and, in the process, manage to take on the recent WGA strike). While in the waiting room they witness a celebrity shootout, in which a host of IICs end up killing each other over whose celebrity is more… well… celebritacious.

You can see the section from the show at South Park’s own site. See if you can spot the celebs, among them:

  • The Chocolate Rain Guy
  • Star Wars Kid
  • Laughing Baby
  • Afro Ninja
  • Sneezing Panda (actually, though they call it that, it’s not, but never mind that…)
  • Leave Brittney Alone Guy
  • The Numa Numa Guy

and more.

It’s fascinating when a mainstream show like South Park (who have, admittedly, often bit ahead of the rest of the mainstream media) picks up the memes of the web.



A Tip For Up-And-Coming Directors

20 03 2008

If you want to look like a Real Director in a publicity shot then do one of the following:

  1. Point off screen
  2. Hold an object that is doing the pointing for you
  3. Do something (like the shot of Wim Wenders off there to the right) that involves an activity that may or may not be pointing but is, without a doubt, something that Real Directors do.
  4. Don’t be afraid to look into the camera, or to ignore the camera. In fact, just point and let the camera do the rest.

That’s the way it will look like you know what you’re doing.

[Image of Wim Wenders courtesy of Confessions123 blog]



It Was Bound to Happen

26 01 2008

The surprise is that it took a week.

Two enterprising buyers of URLs, purchased “manilamac” and are selling, tongue planted firmly in cheek, a “Manila folder notebook sleeve for MacBook Air.”

It’s actually a pretty cute site, with links to an ad for one of the designer’s band.

My favorite part of the site is in their FAQ sections where they ask the question “Have you made anything before?” Here is there answer:

Well, yes, no, sort of. Claire hacked a sweatshirt into a skirt and got some blog attention, Jona and his friend Flint created FlickrBlockrs to protect privacy on the internet, and Jona has some really nice t-shirts he designed for his band for sale here.

Don’t forget to pre-order yours today!

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