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Guerilla Editing

Updated on December 2, 2012
Ross edits TV show in Vegas 2010. (years after this blog, but who cares, right?)
Ross edits TV show in Vegas 2010. (years after this blog, but who cares, right?)

All in a Day's Work

The following story took place May 21, 2007.

On May 21st, 2007, I was to work for one day at a hotel in Century City, CA for this marketing company. The marketing company, Lights, Camera, Interaction, does one day team-building projects with salesmen and women from major brand advertising companies. The editor and assistant editor teams meet with the 12 or so sales people and the team as a whole comes up with an idea for a spec commercial. The team then goes out and shoots it. The assistant editor starts to prep the project as it's being shot. The editor puts it all together under pressure to finish the completed commercial by the end of the day. The idea is to get the salespeople to think on their feet and inspire them to be creative and think fast.

Originally I was supposed to be an editor, but there were now less teams so I remained on as an assistant editor and there was still room for my friend, Michael McLaughlin, to be an assistant editor as well. So, Michael and I show up thinking we'll be assisting other editors. I'm assigned to work for an editor who brought what looked like his whole studio with him on wheels. Most editors brought their bare essentials; laptop, speakers, headphones, etc. After a few minutes, I found out that one editor didn't show up and that my friend, Michael, was left with a sales team and no editor. So, I graciously left my comfortable position as assistant editor with the guy that had EVERYTHING to a team that had NO EDITING SYSTEM WHATSOEVER. The company provided mini DV cameras so the editors could use those as decks. We had to borrow one of the staff's Apple laptops that had FCP software. The initial thought was that Michael and I would work together so this turned out well in that sense. We were faced with a monster of obstacles.

I started by placing the titles and slugs in their places while Michael went around with our team playing producer/director. Eventually I received the first bit of footage to digitize into the computer. I couldn't hear my self think as another editor was working twenty feet from me with a whole team of 12 salespeople hootin' and hollerin' as they were playing music and watching their editor dazzle them with his magic and music coming out of his loud speakers. Meanwhile, I'm trying to hear the various clips and start putting the clips together without the use of headphones, a mouse or an extended keyboard. My knowledge of keyboard shortcuts is already somewhat limited. Without having my extended keyboard made things all that more difficult. Throughout the afternoon in between checking on the team's status with shooting around this hotel and running around trying to acquire different things like firewire cables I was getting a workout.

As some time passed I got my hands on some headphones and a mouse. At one point I really had to go to the bathroom (too much coffee) so I tag-teamed Michael and he took over as editor. He quickly realized what I was dealing with as he had to rethink how to edit without the usual keyboard shortcuts and comforts of having your own system. We got through it. It was a great experience. Had I known I'd be editing I would have brought everything like my laptop, Apple Cinema Display, Extended Keyboard, mouse, headphones, speakers. You never know where you're going to be or what you're going to need. I'll know to bring a few items next time regardless of my position.

The sales team wanted to use the Cheers TV show theme song to go with their tagline: 'Where everybody knows your name.' I had the crazy notion of hitting a bar afterwards. An apple a day...

Michael Reed McLaughlin

My good friend, Michael Reed McLaughlin, Acting & Directing in addition to Editing
My good friend, Michael Reed McLaughlin, Acting & Directing in addition to Editing

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