'Editing is the final rewrite' Cutting TV with Kidding and Lodge 49 editor Jennifer Van Goethem
Jennifer Van Goethem is one of the editors of comedy drama Kidding, starring Jim Carrey as a children's entertainer who struggles to stay sane as his family falls apart, as well as AMC dramedy Lodge 49, following Wyatt Russell as an ex-surfer who joins a fraternal order after his father's death. Here Jennifer shares how she first started editing, her editing equipment preferences and what aspiring editors can do to succeed in the industry.
Please introduce yourself and tell us how you got into Editing, and how that took you in to the Television and Film industry.
I was a bit of a theatre rat in high school and once I inherited a stills camera and dark room set up my fate was sealed. I studied film and theatre in undergrad and then moved to LA for grad school at USC. After finishing at SC, I had a sizeable student loan debt to deal with, and the best paying job I could get was editing in reality television. A few years of that and I decided to make a move into narrative.
A friend hooked me up with an assistant editor gig for a half-hour show. I learned as much as I could and cut whatever anyone would let me. After a few years assisting, circumstances dropped an opportunity to bump up to editor in my lap, and I grabbed it.
How did you become involved in Lodge 49?
My agent set me up with an interview and executive producer Peter Ocko and I hit it off.
What was the process of editing the show like?
All 10 scripts were complete before production started. That's a luxurious rarity in television, and gives the show a wonderful novelistic style. Although it's set in Long Beach, the show shoots in Atlanta with an additional month of shooting in Long Beach at the end of production. This schedule allowed editorial to work on the entire season as 10 chapters seen in total, rather than the usual TV grind-it-out and move on to chase the next air date method.
Do you have a preference with regards to cutting equipment and what do you think of the advances made in editing technology, over the last few years?
All the non-linear editing systems are just different tools to do the same thing. My preference is Avid, mostly because of familiarity, but the editing happens in the brain before any button gets pressed, so at the end of the day, they are all the same.
As far as the technological advances, I think they are both a blessing and a curse. The things we are able to do now are amazing and I love the flexibility. The ever rising bar of expected polish on offline visual effects, colour correction and sound mix, do add a lot of labour to an already heavily burdened editorial department.
What are you currently working on, that you are allowed to tell us about?
I just finished up Kidding for Showtime, created by Dave Holstein, starring Jim Carrey and with Michel Gondry as producing director. It's a half-hour dramedy.
What advice would you have for young editors?
Watch movies. Watch everything. Think about why they made the choices they did. Nothing is ever arbitrary.
If you're just starting to get into the business, take advantage of whatever position you're in. There's always something to learn wherever you are. If you're a post PA, ask the assistant editor to show you how they do dailies. If you're an assistant editor, ask your editor if you can cut some scenes and get feedback from them. Find people who will support you and mentor you.
Finally, I'd say, read books. Editing is the final rewrite, and a solid understanding of how structure, character development and dialog work is just as important as understanding when and how to cross the line, or how to cut on action.
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