The Secret History of Air Force One

This is part of a show I edited for the History Channel, to air on President’s Day 2019. We had to work very quickly on this one; this act was almost completely done in about 4 days. This isn’t the “final” version but it’s very close.

The first part of the act tells the story of John Kennedy’s involvement in rebranding Air Force One. Kennedy helped define the colors and visual treatment still in use for the plane today. That “look” generates a significant part of the plane’s iconic appeal.

I’d never told the story of the Kennedy assassination before, so it was interesting to get to look through the footage we had for it. This segment turned out well in no small part because the man who is our eyes on the event, Sid Davis, was a remarkable observer in the midst of a tragic event with historic consequences.

Gretchen Carlson: Breaking the Silence

This is an excerpt from a two hour special about sexual harassment in the workplace. Constraints here included a section where the host started an interview before cameras were really set up, resulting in coverage being very limited with the kids, and an interview with the subject which covered a lengthy and complicated story, with certain legal constraints on what details could be included. I think we ended up with a good balance, showing the impact of the harassment and the difficulties Lisa faced trying to resolve the issue within the system, while still making sure she didn’t feel like a bullet point in an outline, and allowing her personality and resolve to come through.

From the Boarding House to the Board Room

This documentary was commissioned by the Institute for Women’s Leadership, at Rutgers University. The school had its 250th anniversary and made a film to celebrate, but the IWL wanted another perspective on the history of the university. Director June Cross and I dove in again, and came up with a film that explores the ways women created, maintained and grew their own spaces, using Rutgers as a base to make real change around the world.

Diana: Behind Closed Doors

This is act 7 of a show for the REELZ network that I edited at Peacock Productions.  Three other editors and I created this 2 hour special in a month; we each handled 2 acts. It turned out better than we expected, to be honest. Act 7 covers the time period immediately following the tragic car accident, through Diana’s funeral. I got to use a lot of very sad music for this, decent orchestral score stuff that doesn’t seem to fit very often.

Wilhemina’s War: Viv and the Pastor, to Barbershop

This is a section from the middle of “Wilhemina’s War”, festival version. One of the activists we’ve been following goes to chat with a pastor, and then we go to a local barbershop to hear some men talk about how seriously they take HIV/AIDS prevention. We had so much great stuff from the barbershop, I swear there’s another film hiding just in the conversations there. Without spoiling anything, it turns out the men tell us what they think we want to hear when the activists are around, but it’s a different story later on.

As an editor, neither of these scenes felt promising at first, but there was some great stuff hiding in the footage. The scene with the pastor seemed stagey. But the pastor’s reactions are not staged, and really demonstrate the difference between hearing something and understanding it – you see him make that transition.

The barbershop footage seemed like a chaotic mess, and the audio was terrible – there are fans blowing the whole time. But after listening closely, we realized there was something instructive going on amidst the banter and bragging. The audio team at Splash Studios did some amazing work cleaning this up, and the result is a memorable scene that crystalizes the point that no matter what we know, we sometimes still do what we want anyway.

Sea Otters & Sea Grass

This is a video I edited for Yasmeen Qureshi and Lisa Desai, for the Al Jazeera English show “Earthrise”. Great camera work, and a story about interdependence.

Wilhemina’s War – open, festival version

This is the beginning few minutes of the ‘festival’ version of “Wilhemina’s War”. It sort of eases into the story, letting you meet several of our main characters in an evocative way.
We had an even longer version of the church service that was very pretty, but that kept us from really getting the film started for too long. We also had parts of this scene at the end of the film several times before we came up with the ending we settled on.

The Old Man and The Storm

This documentary follows a patriarch and his family as they try to rebuild their homes in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After several years of filming, it found a home on Frontline. This is the open to the film, which I like as it really sets the mood for what things were like down there for a while, and then we meet our main character organically, the way it really happened. I can still remember practically everything Mr. Gettridge said the first time June and the cameraman John Baynard met him. There was a lot of information in the grain of his voice.

The Old Man and the Storm – clip 2

“Leonard’s family” excerpt • This section of the film introduces us to one of Mr. Gettridge’s sons, and we begin to feel the extent of the family and community that was lost. I always liked this section because his sons and their families displayed the same tenacity as Mr. Gettridge, but expressed it much differently.