I cut a few episodes for a new show on Food Network, 'Viva Daisy', at the end of 2008. Daisy Martinez is a cook who specializes in a range of Latin cuisine; Food Network aired six episodes to see if she would find a audience. As it turns out, Daisy did, and a new season is in the offing for 2009. I was one of two editors on this show, Mayra Bustamente being the other, under director Herb Sevush. We got to build a show from the ground up, experimenting with fonts, graphics, musical underbeds and show structure to meet Food Network's standards. This is an excerpt from the last show I cut, 'Sofrito Sisters', in which Daisy makes a dinner for her girlfriends. This segment concerns making a fish, yellow rice and red pepper dinner for them to nosh on while drinking Cava Sangria. You can check out 'Viva Daisy' on Food Network, with a new slate of shows in Summer '09.
Lincoln 'A Humble Man'
Upon returning from a three month sojourn in India, I started editing for A&E at their HQ in Stamford, CT. At the time, History Channel was preparing for the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, producing a series of videos that addressed various stages of his life. Directed by Terri Randall and overseen by Carter Figueroa of A&E, these cuts were shown at the Smithsonian Museum in DC. Employing still images, re-enactments and Lincoln's letters, we explored his hardscrabble childhood, family life as an adult, Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, and his eventual assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth. Narrated by Edward Hermann, this excerpt focuses on his family life and his use of photography to advance his political ambitions. Check out Terri Randall's work at terrirandallproductions.com.
'This Day in History' - Assasination of RFK
One of the most interesting gigs I've worked on was a ten-month project by History Channel to make 366 one-minute documentaries (don't forget the leap year!) of the most notable event on a given day of the year. I was hired to lead a team of five editors, working under Supervising Producer Teresa Giordano and A&E Executive Virginia Kuppek. This was my first effort, and it still gives me goosebumps. I ended up cutting about 64 episodes, ranging from the Jonestown Massacre and the Scopes Monkey Trial to the closing of the Roswell UFO case.
'Seven Miles Alone'
I cut the boxing scenes for Topaz Adizes' 35mm feature 'Seven Miles Alone' in fall of 2004. Topaz and I got along very well, and his film, concerning two brothers who end up pitted in the ring against one another, was well-received. My principal contribution to this scene, other than 'punching up' the tempo of the boxing, was to cross-cut the scene which led to the brother's feud in with the bout. Topaz Adizes' work can be found at topazadizes.com.
'Speak Up New York'
I got my first paid edit in the fall of 2002, through a friend named Duncan Cameron. Duncan led the edit for DCTV for an hourlong program to be shown on PBS, titled 'Speak Up New York'. The documentary-style program followed a team of young activists who drove through 23 cities in New York State in 22 days, trying to increase youth turnout for the state elections. The team traveled in a tricked-out bus which doubled as a production studio, beaming interviews with young voters across the state. Led by Jon Alpert, DCTV has been winning awards since 1972. Working with Duncan and the team of volunteers, led by Matt O'Neill, was a great experience and led to a New York Emmy in editing for Duncan and me! Quite an auspicious start . . . You can learn more about DCTV at dctvny.org.
'On the Grind'
I met Tika Sumpter in the fall of 2007. Having gotten her start on 'One Life to Live', Tika was looking to move into producing shows for broadcast. She wanted me to cut a teaser segment for a proposed show about the everyday life of professional surfers on the WQS, the 'World Qualifying Series'. We set about cutting a sample segment, centered around two friends who travel the world trying to accrue enough points to get through the WQS and onto the major tour, where big bucks and bigger waves await. Titled 'On the Grind', it showcases one weekend for Federico Pilurzu and Sean Ward, as they try to win the last event on American soil, the 'Cold Water Classic'. You can check Tika out at tikasumpter.com, and can learn more about the WQS at aspworldtour.com.
'As the Call, So the Echo'
I edited Keir Moreano's first feature documentary, 'As the Call, So the Echo' in 2005; it had a limited release in NYC in 2006. We managed to whittle a svelte 74 minute tale about an ENT surgeon who donates modern machinery to a rural hospital in Hue, Vietnam, from over 130 hours of footage. Truly, feature-length documentary tests the skill set and mettle of any editor...The New York Times' review of the film can be found at asthecall.com; you can learn more about the director at keirmoreano.com.