Last week I edited this interview between @walterisaacson and @sarahelizalewis which gives an interesting perspective on the current lack of visual documentary…in the context of the history of photography during other times of crisis.
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.
I just spent three days last week at the offices of PBS NewsHour Weekend. It’s been a little while since I actually worked directly for a PBS property, and it was great to spend a little time in such a professional environment. The shop is cutting on Premiere, which I did not expect, but I always have fun when I work in Premiere. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about the app that is very manipulatable to me even after working on Avid for nearly 20 years. It was great to get to take a fully tricked out Premiere edit system for a spin.
The piece I was hired to cut was a short segment about everyone’s favorite jazz musician, Louis Armstrong. The Queens, NY home where he lived for years has been a museum for quite some time now, and reporter/producer Megan Thompson spoke with the new director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. I’d visited the museum years ago, and it’s a blast – the kitchen is amazing, and Louis’ study, with dual reel-to-reel machines installed, is a trip as well. We got to show a little bit of the house to folks that might be more than a subway ride away.
The story also highlighted some audio clips from those reel-to-reels, which you wouldn’t get to hear if you visited the house in person, but which are now being digitized and put online. Louis taped everything – records he listened to, himself practicing, and the conversations he had in the room. Some of them are pretty funny, and we got some surprisingly spicy language onto the air for PBS.
You can see the whole piece here along with a formatted transcript:
It’s really a bit of a valentine, and I was glad to be able to help out with it. Ten more minutes of Louis Armstrong in your day is always good, right?
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.
I was lucky enough to get some great projects in 2018. During the summer, I worked at Cakehouse Media on a brand new series – ‘Buddy’s Big Bakedown‘, which will air on Discovery International. We were editing in the same building as the bakery where all the heavy lifting for the retail shop and custom orders got done. It smelled like cake, and it was fun to see the folks from Cake Boss just doing their jobs on the floor when cameras weren’t rolling.
For the fall, I managed to get onto a documentary at the new A+E Originals division. ‘Breaking the Silence, with Gretchen Carlson’ profiles women across the country who faced workplace sexual harassment, from a nurse to a firefighter to fast food workers, to another news anchor. The story connects #metoo to #timesup and the #fightfor15, and explores the ways each woman has dealt with her experience.
Gretchen is a thoughtful interviewer with women who suffered harassment, and smart and aggressive in interviews with people in positions to create change when they haven’t. She may have spent years at Fox, but she put in good work on this film. The producers on the show were also tireless, and made sure the show has impeccable journalistic integrity. The show airs on Lifetime on January 14th. A trailer was just posted.
Following that project, I landed something a bit lighter – a biography of Joan Rivers, for Reelz as part of the ‘Behind Closed Doors‘ series. Joan’s life had dramatic peaks and valleys, and she was way ahead of her time. Those early TV appearances are incredibly funny, it was such a treat to spend time learning about her. Here is a photo I found of her with Laurie Anderson and Suzanne Vega.
Behind Closed Doors:Joan Rivers will likely air in 2019 around the anniversary of her death.
And Wilhemina’s War was rebroadcast on PBS this month. Initially airing on December 3rd, the film is viewable online until the beginning of January. This year, the Trump administration tried to take money used for one of the programs Wilhemina’s family relies on – the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program – and redirect it to ICE. This is a struggle that still very much continues.
I’m wrapping up the year with another documentary project – a show about the most well known aircraft in the world, Air Force One. I can’t say much more about that one yet, but I’m looking forward to it.
This is a scene from Friday Night Tykes that I cut. It’s an introspective moment with one of the coaches which starts off feeling kind of silly and then takes a sharp turn along the way. I really liked it because it was somewhat unexpected for the subject to come up with such a serious story from his life, given how brash and macho he is otherwise.
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.
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.