ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

No Country for Old Cutters

Updated on September 8, 2017

No Country for Old Cutters

We’re a strange lot, we editors…especially the older vets. And guess what? We get as tired of hearing our own bitching about things as you younger cutters must be — you pups raised on desktops and digital. But we have a right and a reason for our cantankerousness: we’ve fought in the Big One…Analog Tape.

And we lived to tell about it.

Our blood, sweat and tears paved the way for you whippersnappers to adroitly drop your glow filters and feedback wipes, nest your effects, and make revision number 30…or 40…or 200 in the blink of an eye….you think you’re so clever! Why… when I was younger I had to Color Frame my edits!!

The things you take for granted — and the things you’ve never heard of — sticktion, tip penetration (not what you think), Turbo-Trace, tweaking pots, eight inch floppies, 409…. Something called generational loss… (nothing to do with kids and parents) were our Pork Chop Hill, Iwo Jima, or (in some cases), Pearl Harbor. Surviving these edits was the stuff dreams and legends were made of.

Yeah…we’re weird and disturbed. Nonlinear made us this way.
Here it is: There are two moments in time that I’ll remember forever: The day in 1963 when JFK was shot, and I cried and we were all truly scared…and the day in 1987, when, in a room on Lankershim Blvd., I first saw a wise-ass editor lasso a group of edits on a thing called a timeline and move them from the front to the end of a sequence — my heart skipped a beat: I knew my life as I knew it (ok, career) was over. The writing was on the wall and, once again, I was scared. I tried to tell myself it was gimmicky, that it would never catch on…that this weird proselytizer from some company called Avid was a crackpot.

But in my heart I knew. I knew that everything I had spent the last decade learning was changed with that one crashy, hiccupy demo…no longer could I harangue a producer not to move that soundbite from the beginning of the cut to the end, desperately listing the reasons not to: it’ll take hours!...It’ll be down too many generations!... It’s OK the way it is!!! “ Oh God!!”, (I’d look at them with desperate eyes, tears almost welling, sort of hyperventilating…) trying to say, without really saying it: “Yes…I can do it…but if I do I will die!!!” Or if a slight change in a graphics build was suggested, (like changing the border color of the fifth layer) I felt like bringing out the Harakiri knife and plunging it into my midsection…

But, being the pros we were, we’d sigh, make our calls home to our spouses to tell them where the wills were located (or that we wouldn’t be home and tell the kids I love them and don't let them forget me), pull out the list management programs, brew some coffee, have a somber talk with our tape ops, and pray we had kept our lists clean, that our disciplined approaches would save our butts again…

And as the sun rose on the hills of LA, we’d emerge, brain-dead, like an army of zombies from our electronic catacombs. We’d leave editing rooms festooned with real expensive equipment, dozens of radiation-spouting CRTs, cool joysticks that could move pictures around… and more buttons than a Space Shuttle…the end product on this thing called tape now safely secured in libraries, copies being made by our half-asleep tape ops.

We’d squint in the morning light, say goodbye (sometimes muttering murderously, sometime hugging, emotionally bonded for life — a fellow survivor even if it was just a producer).

In each case we were now soul mates, for better or worse, having lived through this night together…we’d manage to get home without driving off a cliff or hitting a truck head on, sleep for 3 hours and do it again!!!

(And while we recovered in restless sleep, our million dollar rooms sat lonely, waiting for us to caress it’s buttons and thread its machines and make the money back our bosses threw into them like water through a sieve).

Why did we keep torturing ourselves this way? Because we were Gods.

Being an editor in the ‘80’s and early ‘90’s BD — before digital — was heady stuff…We weren’t nerds (ok, some of us were), we were heroes — like fighter pilots going into combat, only instead of a cockpit with our name painted on, it would be Post One, Edit 5, or just CMX…We didn’t need our name on the damn door, because only We could fly this thing and everyone knew it! We were rock stars — or so we believed.

And then non-linear came along.

And every kid with a Mac or a PC thought they could edit. (and most everybody could edit…sort of).

Making changes that took hours before now took seconds, list management became a lost language, like Sanskrit, huge switchers with a thousand colorful buttons that did cool things was now so much junk that was donated to community colleges. That was just the equipment — it was our skill sets that were truly trashed...

Effects that we had spent hours, days, weeks perfecting, effects that were our unique signature looks, (marking our genius and creativity!) now were simply icons dropped on clips that immediately were overused, and unappreciated.

(I hate filters. I use them every day…)

And luxurious, sumptuous edit rooms became cubicles, joysticks disappeared, ADOs and Kaleidoscopes were thrown into dumpsters…and none of us were really special anymore…

Worse than that, there were no more rules. MTV saw to that. Things we avoided like the plague, like jump cuts or color shifts or mismatched video, crappy signals, were now de rigeur...they wanted messed-up video...and we sure gave it to them!

Producers became editors…editors became preditors. Some gave up altogether, unable to adapt and opened comic book stores, or invested in the next big thing (something called the Internet, for God’s sake), or entered “management,” where they would never have to look at an edit system again.

Life would never return to the way it was supposed to be when technology only belonged to the select few. (Me? I bit the bullet…over the last few years I’ve bitten enough bullets to keep working as an editor that I must have lead poisoning by now).

And you wonder why old editors are so bitter.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)