American Cinema Editors Internship: Day 1: It Begins

Dear Diary,

On to the lecture series, last night’s panel of Sabrina Plisco, Tina Hirsch, Lori Jane Coleman, Diana Friedberg and Chris Cooke speaking about the unwritten rules of working as an assistant was extremely elightening.  For starters, let me say how honoured I felt to be in the midst of such reputable editors, and even more particularly, to be in such an exclusive position to be getting mentored by the amazing Tina Hirsch.  I felt enriched, educated and empowered absorbing the wealth of experience you and your peers had to offer.  Although it was enlightening, I can see how some facets of my character will have to be worked on and subdued to make me an ideal assistant in Hollywood – and my character development, as well as my professional development, is what I’m looking forward to working on with her over the coming months/years.

I must admit, I came to LA with stars in my eyes.  From the moment I made that pivotal decision in my life a few years ago to seriously pursue a career in editing I have been filled with an insatiable passion to cut, and everything seemed to be falling into place for me – from my acceptance into my film and TV degree at Bond University, Australia, to being 1 of 8 Australians to be accepted into the Australian Film Television and Radio School to specialise in the specific craft of Editing, to getting accepted as the international American Cinema Editors intern for 2012.  It has all been a very exciting adventure thus far – I mean 5 years ago I would have never thought I would be in HOLLYWOOD! – but my background has been in corporate video, TVCs, and low to no budget shorts which I have been the designated editorial head of department for so I have never been required to submit myself so much to someone else’s authority – my opinion was always valued and respected and I have always been the “decider of the cut”.  But the further I get out of school and into the real world, the more I come to acknowledge that there is no star-studded express lane to being an editor in Hollywood – no matter how special/or experienced you are, or think you are – and you have to really swallow your pride and spend the years working your way up from the bottom just like everyone else.  It is initially a little deflating coming to that revelation, but as was discussed last night – narrative, documentary and TV are worlds apart from each other and being successful and revered in one by no means means you will be successful and revered in another.  I’m glad I had the revelation sooner rather than later though, because now I can get rid of all my diluded perceptions of how my career would be and focus on what Chris Cooke said about determining where I want to be, putting in place a “5-step plan” on how to get there and spending every waking moment persevering to get there.

I completely understand the notion of not climbing on the back of your editor to make a name with the director as that is foundational respect you give to superiors, and on that same token, I understand why you would go see your editor in private to give an opinion about a cut [if asked for it, of course].  But one thing I would struggle with is biting my tongue when false accusations are being made against me and just saying, “Yes, sir/ma’am.  Right away, sir/ma’am.”

Another reality that is prominent in this industry and I don’t really know how to deal with is “staying on the radar of your peers”.  I’m really glad we spoke about that last night too because techniques like emailing them, especially when you may have never met them before, may seem a little awkward or “stalkerish” when done in the wrong way – but when the execution of the technique is refined and done in the right way, it comes across as really friendly and completely normal.  For example, cold-emailing asking for work when all of a sudden you need a job seems a little awkward – but emailing them on a monthly or quarterly basis just with an update on what’s happening in your life (even if you’re employed) and asking them what’s happening in their’s is much more appealing.

So essentially the main thing I got out of last night is that I really need to let go of preconceptions and humble myself in order to succeed on the road ahead.  I’m really glad I have a mentor like Tina Hirsch to help me on that path, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to write this journal to her on a daily basis – it feels very therapeutic to be able to give an honest account of what I’m learning and how I feel about what I’m learning without fear of prejudice.wechat spy, cell phone spy software, phone parental monitoring

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