"Don’t be shy to reach out to anyone you really want to connect with" editor Christopher S Capp

Mandy News talks to Film Editor Christopher S. Capp who is known for his work on The Hunger Games, Honeymoon and Strange Angel. 

15th March 2019
/ By James Collins

Christopher S. Capp Christopher S. Capp

What got you involved in film? 

My cousin Dixie’s mother was a singer and dancer in LA in the 20's and 30's.  My Aunt June was one of the dancers on the planes, and they used to take me and my brother to see old movies, something that me and my brother would also do together at home.  One of my first big impression was the original ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Kevin McCarthy, that’s the movie that made me think “I want to do this”.  The reason I did ‘Honeymoon’ was that it involved so much of what Body Snatchers had, it was a lot of fun.  

What made you choose to be an Editor?

I started working on a low budget film with a friend.  I was the on-set PA, the cook, helped with the lighting and rigging and a lot of other things.  One of the guys on the film got a paid job on an after-school special and so I went to try to get that.  I did that for two or three weeks and became good friends with the Assistant Accountant on the project and he recommended me for a film he was working on and that ended up being ‘Hoosiers’.

I thought directing would be a lot of fun but if not, I thought editing would be good. I admired a lot of great editors that had evolved into directors.   

Out of the gate, I was cutting all the mags and going to all the masters, all the things I shouldn’t be doing.  Things I never thought I would do that early.  I became a first before going through the process of assisting and so I went backwards and became an apprentice.  I wanted to learn it all again and I fell in love with editorial, it really is the final stage of directing. 

**** Read our guide on what does a video editor do ****

What is it like working on something like ‘Final fantasy’?

It’s sort of like shooting a feature film in reverse in some ways.  You’re building everything and it’s all ready and then you put the actors into it.  We do all the read-throughs with the actors and choose the takes we thought were the best and then we would go and motion-capture.  We had a full feature before we started putting the charters in there.

I was the third Editor and was working on the production for two and a half years.  They didn’t think they wanted an American editor and I was the last chance for that.  I felt like Bill Murray in ‘Lost in Translation’.  There were times I would be in meeting and Motonori Sakakibara would give a dissertation for 3 mins and my translator would turn to me and say two sentences; I would say “That’s impossible; there must be more”.  It was the best experience I ever had in editorial.  I love animation but it made me realise it wasn’t the world I wanted to be in.  

What are you working on next?

Series 2 of ‘Strange Angel’. It’s Mark Heyman who wrote ‘Black Swan’ and has worked with Aranofski for years.  He created ‘Strange Angel’ based on the book by Jack Parsons who, without any training at all, became a rocket scientist and got his friends' college in Pasadena to fund them to build the first ever Rocket.  Sadly the government pulled their credits as they were pen pals with Wernher Von Braun who was considered a Nazi at the time.  Incidentally, he ended up working for the USA helping to create NASA and helping us beat Hitler. 

What advice do you have for up-and-coming Editors?

Don’t be shy. Reach out to anyone you really want to connect with, editors whose work you love… find a way to reach out to them and talk to them.  I mentor an autistic kid in New York and he is the most courageous person and he reaches out to people he finds inspirational and he gets to meet them.  The kid is brilliant.  

I suggest; don’t be afraid. Social media is the best way to reach out and befriend someone, and hopefully become an associate somewhere down the line.

You can apply for UK editor jobs here & US editor jobs here.