My Year of Cutting Dangerously

My Directors: Zak Forsman (Down and Dangerous), Gary King (Unnerved), and Brian James Crewe (Uné Liberation).

No Fourth of July barbecue for this girl, I was too busy cutting a funeral scene that day. While you were setting your clocks back this fall, I was spending some quality time in German occupied France. As you were dodging buttered popcorn flavored jelly beans and spending time with loved ones, I was hanging out in the woods, where there might have been some supernatural forces at play. Christmas, all right, you got me. I took Christmas day off, but you get what I’m going for: weekends, holidays, you name it, since June 4, 2013 I have most likely been cutting… dangerously, very dangerously.

A look back on the numbers: 365 days, two features, one short, three directors, two NLEs, two chairs, a standing desk, and 375 large cups of coffee later, I’m still cutting. So what does it all mean? I’ve pretty much dropped off the map for a year, leaving very little time for much else. Sorry friends and family. It has also left me feeling exhausted and a little burnt out; a problem I welcome greatly. Finding ways to keep a little fuel in the creative tank has been a challenge this past year. But I did.

It took a long while before it occurred to me that this race I’m running is a marathon and not a sprint, so I’m currently learning not to torture myself as much. Now at the end of the day when I hit that point of pushing the same five frames back and forth, I know to call it a night. That huge obstacle that was taking hours to make sense of the night before, is easily resolved with fresh eyes the next morning.

Working with different directors has also been a tremendous learning experience for me this past year. Just as each story needs different things from the editor, so too, do the directors. What I bring to my relationship with one director, is not necessarily what I need to bring to my relationship with another. Yes, I am married to a director, and no I’m not talking about the obvious connotations here. But being aware of how I fit into each project and collaboration has been eye-opening. I have alternated between sounding board, guide, devil’s advocate, and on rare occasion, button-pusher. And through it all, I learned to bring as much humor and/or sensitivity as the process required.

As I focus on the differences of the past year, it only makes me more aware of the things that have remained constant: my natural rhythms, inclinations, tastes, and style as an editor. The traits that have remained the same over the last 365 days have helped me to focus my goals for the next 365 days: keep pursuing my passions, keep pushing, keep learning. Early on, there were some bumps in the road, some red flags I ignored, and I think in the long run, I’m a more discerning editor because of it. I’m grateful for all of these editing opportunities, collaborations, and friendships. In the year ahead, I hope to continue finding good projects with good people that stretch me creatively. All right, time to get back to it.

Third Feature, Uné Liberation, Unnerved