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Episode 13 · 2 years ago

BIRDS OF PREY (2020) with Editor Evan Schiff

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Parth and Trent discuss Birds of Prey with editor Evan Schiff, and learn a few cool things along the way...

Edited by Parth Marathe

So, Trent, what have you been eating after work? Me and my co worker got Greek food. We had baklava and and a falafel gyros and apparently Greek French ries, which are just French rise with like cheese on them. But that doesn't sound particularly Greek. That just sounds like a universal delicacy. So false advertising there, but no complaint. Doesn't seem really ethnically accurate, but it does sound good. I wasn't in a position to ask questions. I was neck deep in French rise and cheese, so I was occupied. What about you? As I believe I said on a previous PODCAST, I've been having lots of pizza as my father has a pizza oven. Pizza Oven, pizza ovan exactly. So we he made garlic bread to today. Does he love his new pizza oven? I could see your father being enthusiastic about that sort of thing. He absolutely loves it. It is he likes it more than either of his children. He doesn't speak to US anymore. Well, yeah, he's he's got his priority straight. Can It only be used for pizza? How hot does it get? No, I mean it's an oven, it's so you can you can make bread. As it indoors or outdoors? We have it outdoors. HMM It. Could it be seasonally relocated? Um, yes, but like I think she came to sho same spot. Yeah, I mean you could move it for like lady. Yeah, and yeah, but it can get up to I don't know what it can get up to, but we have it like nine hundred degrees. So it could. What stuff? What we ously is it would burning. It can be a few things. You can do it on like at like fast tank or well, we've been at first we did it with a gas tank and then now we use charcoal or like not charcoal, like just coal. Yeah, and you can also use like wood burning. So you can. You can use a few different methods, but it's good. These you call fossil fuel. It's Cotwo is great for the atmosphere. We like to support our local coal miners. Yeah, touchy subject part. anyways, Trent, you told me you had some funny story to tell me on our private lines. Yeah, communication, something weird happened at work yesterday and I wanted to tell part but I thought it'd be better to do it live on the airwaves. So his response to be genuine and we wouldn't have to recreate it for this exact moment. So, parth, let me set the scene please. I'm at work and have you seen the shining the movie? I have not. Well, awkward. Well, I'm but I know, like most things, like I know everything about it other than having watched it. This is going to take away a little. So, okay, are you aware of the scene where there's a naked lady? Does that rainbow? Okay, so there's this for the viewers at home. There's this naked lady. Jack Nicholson walks in a room two, three, seven and there she is, sent in the bathtub and he gets infatuated with her and they go and they kiss and then she turns into a monster and then he gets scared and he runs away. But in the meantime she's like sitting in the bathtub fully nude, as one does, and then stands up and you know, like breasts and genitals and all, and so it just looks. It looks kind of like a porno, I mean just from an objective standpoint, like it's a nude person. And so I'm at work and it's on the TV and since I was just flipping through the channels and stumbled upon it. It was on cable. I figured it would be like edited for content, but for whatever reason it it was fully explicit, which wouldn't make sense to me because that shouldn't be accessible to the general public. But so I'm sitting there expecting it to...

...be blurred out. And so it just me and my boss and in the middle of the night, imidst I don't know, business hours. And so then this family walks by and they're clearly like uptight and they have like seven kids, so probably religious because they don't believe in contraceptions and they and so they walk by and see what's on the television and they relue don't recognize that it's like a cinematic experience and they just think these two dudes are like watching porn like together as a group. And so he like presses up against he puts his his seven kids away and he like comes up to the glass and he starts like motioning at us because he's like upset that were watching porn in public. And then we were like trying to communicate with him that it wasn't porn. And then it was just like, you know, a Stanley cubrick like movie and we agreed to disagree and then he left because he thought that we were like creeps. Was that worth your while? But I mean the miscommunication was kind of funny. It was a lot of build up, but it was a worthwhile payoff. I'd hit to disappoint you. No, no, no, of course, Trent. There is nothing in the world you could do to ever disappoint me. It was related to movies. So it's topical to the podcast and you know, is a recent event. It happened just yesterday and I thought you'd like to hear about my my current events. You like to stay updated on my whereabouts and yeah, all that. So let's the show. Now it's time. Yes, shall we cue the intro? Welcome back to craft services, where we talk about movies. Each week we discuss a different film and hopefully have an interview with a crew umber of that film to talk with us about their experience. This week we're going to be talking with the birds of prayer, the fatabalists, emancipation of one Harley Quinn, and with us we have one of its editors, Evan Shiff. You talked so fast. HMM, that was impressive. Thank you, Trent. Do you want to give us what the Synopsis Of this movie is? After splitting with the joker, Harley Quinn joined superheroes black canary, huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime. Lord. Thing's weird that they describe them as superheroes. If anything, aren't they like Anti Heroes? So, yeah, I would say they're more anti here. They're not really super anti heroes either, just kind of. I mean, I guess, other than Black Canary, for the most part doesn't use superpowers. Yeah, I was just going to say, like, I understand there's exceptions, such as Batman being a superhero not possessing powers, but it seems like to use that as a blanket term and then for none of them to really qualify, like all of them are kind of just normal people. Trent, are are we saying we're anti women and Superhero films? No comment, but in the Batman Universe especially, like don't none of the supervillains really we have superpowers? That's not really true. There's there's like killer CROC, there's or poison ivy. Poison Ivy, I guess there's some that are more supernatural. I feel I hear a scientific argument for the existence of MR freeze, but like no one saying that the riddler to face or joker penguin. Yeah, and that's fair, I would say. I would say the main to face, joker scarecrows and lar scarecrow are all kind of yeah, reality base. That's fair. All right. Well, we had an interview, did we not, with a one Evan Shift. See what I did there? I...

Oh, wow, that was a really good segue trend. I think we should leave them to you next time, like in the future. Yeah, we best. Okay, so tell us about this interview. Wasn't it swell? It was fentabulous, if you will excuse the Tan word. Playing Evan Shift was a wonderful guess man. You Tell Mentor about many films. He's at a longdistinct filmography and as you'll hear, so enjoy the show. Hello, everybody, and welcome to our interview with Evan Schiff. He's the genius editor WHO's worked on such films as Star Trek in to darkness, mission impossible was protocol John Wick, chapters two and three. In our topic for today, Harley Quinn, birds of prey or birds of prey, the fabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn, whichever the title of the movie is. But thank you so much for coming, thanks for having me. So we generally like to ask our guests what caught you interested in film. I originally wanted to do special effects. I have some family members that work at Stanminson Studio, had and have worked at sandson studio for decades now and including legacy effects, legacy effects, which is what Standmaston studio became after he died. So anyway, I when I came out to visit family, because I'm originally from Syracuse, but I've a bunch of family here in La so when I would come out to visit them, I got a tour of Stan Winston Studio and that was sort of the first like inkling that I had that you could work in movies as like a career. You know, that it was like these movies didn't just appear, people made them and there were jobs that were associated with that, and so that that piqued my interests and you know, from there it was like okay, well, what's a good path to try to follow? And Not really knowing anything, you know about it. I started researching the US see film program and that's where I got in and then my career started from there. Yeah, I was just going to ask what your time at, you see, at USC film school, was like, because notoriously like Steven Spielberg, went there and it. It's one of the best film programs in the country. So I'm sure that that was strenuous and also a very positive experience. Yeah, I mean go it's I don't know if strenuous, it's fun. You know, it's like it's if you like making movies and you like, you know, spending the hours that it takes. It's not, you know, it's not hard. There are aspects of it that you know that are emotionally challenging. Like there's a class. There's if you're if you are a production major at USC there are three main film production classes that you are required to take, you know, as beginner in your mediate advanced and the beginner one. They don't really tell you this, but if you talk to people who've gone through the program before, you know, I think everybody's pretty much an agree with the beginner one. The point of it is not to make good short films. The point of it is to build up your wall because you go into this classroom with you or come you do like one short film every three weeks and you come in and you show it to the rest of the class and the rest of the car at class in their critique is brutal. So you know, you you by the end of that class, you walk out of there if I feel like at least going like okay, that was rough. My films are terrible. Everybody hated them and they told me that to my face. But now I can take criticism and I think that becomes really important later on in your career. You know,...

...it's it's a skill that I definitely, I know I needed to work on when I was first starting to edit, you know, and having people critique my my actual like professional edits, but getting that that beginner experience that at USC of like having people just absolutely tear you to shreds. You know, that was strenuous and useful. But the rest of it is like, you know, you're hanging out with your friends, you're making movies, you're you know, you're you're in La, so you've got all of that around you and some of the opportunities that that provides to like meet professional filmmakers, you know. So it's fun I had. I had a great time at I see, and you know, I'm still keep in touch with a lot of people that I went to film school with. This goes back a little bit further, but did you learn to edit on film or have you only ever like, worked digitally? I've only ever worked on film. At USC I did a little bit of tape to tape editing when I was in high school and then when I got to see there was sort of a mixture. Like the beginner class I was talking about was all digital, which was fairly recently at that time, you know, converted into a digital class. I was at USC from two thousand to two thousand and four. Then the intermediate class was all film, and we are the last semester to do our both our picture and our sound on film. So we had sixteen millimeter black and white that we were cutting on a flat bed and we had we you know, we had if we wanted sound, we had to transfer it to Magtape and then cut that on the flat bet also. And then the semester after us of that class switch to pro tools for their sound. So then they started doing a sort of a hybrid model and then the advanced class, we went through more of a professional, like tell us any process. We cut an avid and then we had to conform our workprint to the you know, to what we to the cutlast that we generated an avid, and then screen the actual film print. So that was also like a little bit of a trial when you go to the screening and everybody's putting their films up on their projectors, which are not forgiving, you know, and in the middle of your film the like, you have a bad splice in the film rips apart. So there I guess there was nothing that I did as see, that was entirely like digital from start to finish, except for that beginning class. And, as I mentioned, that beginning class is not really meant to you, not really meant to like make films that you're going to send anybody else. That's interesting. We've only ever worked on adobe premiere, so we don't have the experience you do. But just speaking on editing, most people that go to film school and up wanting to write and direct, and you obviously wanted to editing and you spoke about how you first wanted to go into special effects and we were wondering what your time at the Stan Winston Studio was like and how you went from that to editing. Yeah, so I think actually one of the things that helped me get into U se film school was telling them in my interview that I didn't want to direct, because obviously they get a lot of people that show up and they're like what do you want to do and they're like I want to direct, and you know, that's great. There's something wrong with that. But the you know, the film school, I think, was interested in, probably still is, in acquiring a diverse group of students who want different things. So I mean, I don't know, they don't tell you why you got in, but from you know, for me, I feel like telling them that I didn't want to direct, you know, might have been a check in the you know, corner of let's let him into the school, you know. So I my journey at Stan Winston's was through the family members I mentioned. I got an internship between my junior and senior year of high school and I they put me in...

...the Electronics Department under a guy named Glen dairy who is just a genius and I learned a lot from him that summer. Things that were way, way above and beyond it, how my level of education at the time, but I also because I'm a fairly techy guy, I also spent the summer making them a like a part inventoring system and Microsoft access and stand ended up seeing that during one of the company all hands and then, like on the spot, offered me a job, which I deferred a year until I was coming out to La to go to college. So by the time that I was I graduated high school. You know, a year after that, I ten days after I graduated, I moved out to La and started my job at Stan Winston's, which I had for five years. From then on, I went it was sort of my college job for all four years and then I went full time for one year afterwards. To be cleared. This is Stan Winston of Stan Winston Studios that offered you the job. Yes, stand stands great. Stand stand was, you know, it was an amazing, very charismatic and very smart guy and you know, I enjoyed every like every day going into work at you know, you have to sort of pinch yourself be like this is where I work and these are the people that I'm working with. It's you know, it was great. And then two years in my like sophomore year at I see they stand was interested in starting a visual Effects Division inside the studio and they had actually they had an avid that was in a room that like barely anybody went in. They didn't know how to use it. The avids were super expensive at the time, like Thirtyzero or something like that, and so when they started they would use them to like make demo reels and things like that, but they didn't really have anybody full time who would do that. And when they started the visual Effects Division, they realize that they needed somebody who was there all the time to run the avid for cutting in shots that the digital division was making to in order to make sure that they, you know, that they lined up with the edit of the movie that they were working on. And so I volunteered for that because I had a little bit of experience in the avid and nobody else and the studio did. And they're like sure, you know, it wasn't a full time my primary responsibilities at Stan Winston were tech support and, like, you know, network administration, and they're basically like it's you know, as long as you can add those responsibilities to your workload. Were cool with that, and that was generally how they worked. Like if I finished my day and I wanted to go see what the people, you know, in hair and makeup were doing, like there was there was no pushback against like visiting other departments and having them show you what they were doing. So anyway. So, yeah, I became the the network administrator slash visual effects editor around my Sophomore Year of college, and then that was around the same time as that beginner class at SC where, because you're making one short film every three weeks, there have and you have to write it and direct it and shoot it and find actor. You're doing everything yourself them and that. So that coincided with me figuring out that I really actually liked cutting my short films much more than I liked doing a lot of the other parts of the process, and so I when I was taking that class, that's when I was like, I think I'm going to focus on editing, you know, and this opportunity to sand Winston just sort of appeared magically, you know, and then I pursued editing from then on. So by the time that I graduated from college and within a year, you know, my last my last year of work at Stan Winston helped me get into the editor's guild and then from there on I was able to go look for production side jobs, like in the actual editorial department's supposed to individual effects department. So this is a little bit of a pivot. But just talking about our main topic for the day, how...

...did you get involved with birds of prey? Birds of prey came about because they there were some reshoots that they were doing regarding the action scenes, which is pretty typical, and a lot of the you know, the my director from John Wick was involved sort of consulting and helping design the sequence. In his company, Eleven, had done the original action shoots during principal photography and so he asked Warner Brothers if they could bring me on for those reshoots and then, you know, so I could take a look and I could cut those actions scenes and then I hit it off with Warner brothers pretty well and they just they asked me to stay on. It's at the end of the film. So is that something that's sort of common within the industry, of having another editor come on for reshoots? That I mean, obviously we shoots happen with big budget movies, but like do editors sort of come and go. Editors come and go. Yeah, it's normal for editors to come and go for a variety of reasons, you know, if the like on John Mac three I had I had two co editors that were on at different times because it just the workload got so intense in the schedule was short and, you know, I especially as I get older and I have kids and things like that, I am becoming more aware of trying to keep my work life balance and for me at least, bringing on another editor to help out is not a sign of weakness or a sign that there's something wrong, but as actually a savior for my general, you know, personal life, and I don't get precious about you know, about who cut what. So yeah, I mean, editors come and come on and they leave for different reasons all the time on all sorts of types of movies. So this was not unusual in anyway. So as like the lead editor, like could you do it all yourself if you really wanted to? And it's just like getting assistant editors, like for your own like sanity and well being in this case. But like if you were dead set on it, you could edit a movie start to finish. As far as the studios concern, I mean it's always a negotiation. If the studio feels like you need help, you know, they might hire another editor because, you know, to sort of save you from yourself. The majority of the movies that I've cut I've done on my own, dramic to you know, I did on my own dramic three I had helped birds of prey. I had help and I was help on birds of prey. You know, it's I feel like if you are insisting on cutting it yourself, even when the workload is just, you know, drowning you in footage or you just clearly don't have enough time, then you're not doing yourself for the film any favors. So you could try to resist bringing help on, but you probably wouldn't be very successful at it just tends to be that once the idea of bringing on another editor has been, you know, has been brought up, people don't tend to let it go. Because of it's being brought up in the first place, then there's generally a reason for it. Well, just backtracking just a little bit, since you were brought on to birds of prey through your connection with Chad's to hell s ki how did you end up up getting involved with John Wick, chapter two and three, and what was that experience like? So that I was I'm repped at the United tality talent agency and I was working on this small indie romance about Barack and Michelle Obama's first date, called South side with you, and my...

...agent called and I was like, Hey, there's an opening on John mck to. Do you want us to put you up for it? And I was like sure, who does anybody say no to that? And you know which is like for me? I that John mck to is my first studio, like big studio movie that I cut. So it was a little bit of a leap of faith for my agents to sell me to Chad and to the producers and you know, I'm grateful of everybody involved. Chad will tell you that he always likes to look forward. He calls the the person behind the person. So like, you know, instead of getting the absolute a list, you know, production designer, who's the person who's actually like that, the like right hand man of that person, you know, and like so he and I think that comes from being spending much of his career as a second unit director and a son coordinator. You know, somebody had to give him a break to shoot John Wick one or to direct John Mack one. So you know he recognizes that that like there are plenty of talent to people out there and they just need the opportunity to prove that. So they put so UTA sent my resume name to Chad and the producers of John Mack to and Lionsgate. I had a phone interview with Chad on the first day of production and by them, by the time that I heard that I'd gotten the job, they had already shot for like ten or eleven days. So by time I actually got into an edit room in New York, because I had to fly there with my family and my my at that time, like three month old daughter, they were had already shot for two weeks, which is not a great position to be in when nobody when you're like a new editor in a new situation with a new director and new producers and you're coming in through no fault of your own, two weeks behind. You know, I felt a lot of pressure to perform and you know, thankfully it all worked out and they sort of left me alone during production to just catch up on daily's. Nobody really came in and and asked to see very much. But there was within the first week or so there was a second unit car shoot that the second unit director came in to work with me on, and I learned after the fact that that was there. That was their their probation period where they they grilled the second year director after he had worked with me to see what he thought and if that had not gone well, you know, they might have switched me up for somebody else. So just a small question. You worked on the Obama thing. Is it true that they saw do the right thing on their first date? That's I read that somewhere. I think it is true. You know, it's been a few years now. I forget the details of what was true and what wasn't. I know that rich the director, you know he did a lot of research to what their first date was and the types of things that they did and and you know, sort of invented what they might have talked about. So there's a very there's, like a lot of things that are influenced by interviews that they gave. But I think do the right thing was and I think that was an actual event that happened. If I remember right, I just wanted to fact check that. But, more importantly, as I'm not entirely sure, but I believe so. So what is the editors relationship with the director typically, and what was it like on births of prey in particular? The editors relationship with the directors of it's a very personal one. You know, you are in working in a room with your director for, you know, twelve hours a day, sometimes every day, sometimes six or seven, you know, days per week. Everybody forms their own relationship. So, you know, I've got I've worked at a bunch of different directors. I have different...

...types of relationships with all of them. You know, I think above all you need to be open and honest, because it atorial needs to be the place where you can filter out all of the like politics and the drama and the things that are happening outside, you know, of your office and just focus on what is the best for the movie in this particular moment. And in order to have those conversations, you have to not hold back, you know, like I don't. If I think that there that we've made a mistake or there is something that's hurting the film, I will bring that up. You know, quite candidly, you know. But then the tricky part becomes you have to be aware of, you know, when you've pushed your opinion up to the you know, up to the ledge, so to speak, because at the end of the day it's not my job to override the director. It's my job to help them make the best film that I you know, possible and to help them achieve their vision. So oftentimes, if I'm arguing for something and I get over ruled, you know, I might bring it up a couple more times if an opportunity presents itself. But at the end of the day, if I say I think we should do this in the director says no, we're going to do that, then you're like, okay, let me make the best version of that that I know that I can. Coming on two birds of prey, you know, partway through posts, you know I ended up the way. I'll backjack a little bit. The way that these big movies work is that you the director has a ten week period after shooting ends where they are allowed to make the movie, you know, their version of the movie, essentially. So when you hear directors cut, that's what that means. It's the the state that the movie is in at the end of those ten weeks and and within those ten weeks, you know you're you're pretty much left alone. Sometimes you can, you know there are exceptions to that, but for the most part those ten weeks are sort of sacred and it's time for the director in the editor cut. So I came on after that, which means that a time that I came on, the studio has already seen and wait in on the movie and was involved, producers were involved, and so you know, that situation was a little bit different from normal, just because at that point I am when I'm going in a room to cut, I'm actually going to room to cut with a lot of people. It's not just the director, it's that, it's, you know, everybody that I just mentioned, and everybody is seeing those cuts and everybody is weighing in on them, and you get ten sets of notes instead of one set of notes, and any major decision goes, you know, all the way up the decision tree until it's either mutually agreed upon by everybody or, do you know, decided and and or somebody you know decides who can't be overruled. So you know. So that one, that one was a little bit different in terms of in terms of workflow, but you know, I think it worked out in the end. So when you're editing with a room full of people, is it just like you at the computer, like operating, and everyone else seated behind you? They like yelling criticism or praise or telling you when to stop or when to cut? Thankfully, in this lay out they're actually seated in front of me. We had my desk and then then in front of the Abbot was a couch. In front of that was a TV that we are all looking at, which actually like because I nobody's really looking over my shoulder. But you know, it's a lot of it is discussion. So you're like, I wonder what would happen if we, you know, moved this scene there and you know, if it's a quick change, I'll do it in the room so everybody can see it, and those types of, you know, things tend to be like things that I can do right then and there in the room. It tends to be very obvious when you play it whether or not it works. So it doesn't tend to be a lot of like I make a change and then one person is vehemently for it and one person is vehemently against it. You know, it tends to be like Oh, yeah, it's better or...

...yeah, it's not so good. The rest of the time, when I'm cutting in the room, at least, the way that I like to cut in, the way that this thankfully sort of worked out, is that that conversation leads to and, you know, an action list of like okay, these are the what we think are the current problems with the film. Here is one way that we'd like to see if you know some here's a list of solutions that we hope will work, you know, whether it's, you know, move this scene they are cut that out. You know, try to like make this below, make this plot point more clear. You know, try to like pace up this section a little bit. Whatever those notes are, you know, I'll that'll all be decided on during the conversation. Then everybody will leave and I get to do that stuff on my own, and I prefer that because when you are working on your own, I find you tend to discover more creative solutions to things then if you're simply going down a list while everybody is watching over your shoulder. When you're doing that, it's like it might work, it might not. You know, it's like it. You know, does the group think? You know, is it effective? Does it like the chance that they've come upon the exact right answer during the group conversation is low compared to like they might be circling the the right answer. But if I'm left alone to figure out what actually works the best and I don't have that time pressure of like people waiting and, you know, waiting for me to hit play, then, you know, I think the end result is better. So that I prefer where it's like I everybody talks, I hear the conversation, I understand what they're looking for and then it becomes, you know, up to me, as the you know, as the editor in the creative you know, person who is executing these notes, to figure out what actually is the best, like way to solve the problem and tackle that, you know, and tackle the note or the feeling that the group conversation left us with. Well, talking about your editing process, birds of pray, John Wick two and three are very action oriented movies and we were wondering if there's a specific way that you like to approach editing action sequences or if it's just like any other scene. In terms of your process going forward means so much of editing, whether it's action or dialog or Montages or you know, whatever is is. It's intuition, you know, and it's your own personal timing, you know, like your internal clock is going. And so when you're watching a cut, you know some things feel right and they feel wrong, or a shot feels too shorter, it feels too long, or it feels like there's too many shots in a row or sometimes it feels like there's too many shots of the exact same length in a row. I mean all these sort of the things. They stick out to you and probably to you alone initially. So you know there are some constraints that cutting action adds because of the way that they have to shoot it. Action is shot in generally smaller chunks than dialog, you know. So you don't you aren't tiring out the actors doing, you know, an insane amount of choreography in one take. You know that should be divided up into smaller sections that they can do more easily. You know, because if you're doing these super, superlong takes in somebody's screws up at the end, you got to go back to the beginning. You know, and I say that with full knowledge of John Wick is known for having the super long takes, but those are very, very meticulously designed to have cut points, you know, so that the run of moves is not you're not transitioning from, you know, from one move to another in a way that is you know that that is badly designed or that that is you know, is that going to have you contorting your body in some weird way? You know. So there are still cup points designed in the action there, whereas dialog, you know, you could have a eight minute take of dialog if the actors are, you know, are really in it, and even if they screw up, then they just sort of reset and they keep going, you know, without cutting camera. So at that point it become, you know, your edit...

...choices become much more, you know, much more infinite in that like you can it's really up to you at that point to figure out what is the pace of the edit in, you know, in a dialog scene. You know, I have thoughts about cutting action and certainly preferences for what I think works and looks better and is more you know, it's less visually confusing to an audience, but the other thing with action is that it is entirely dependent on, you know, the talent and the preparation and the rehearsal and the execution in the cinematography and like all these things that go into getting those dailies. And so sometimes you don't have the same you don't have the choices that you wish you'd had. If you if you are getting action that isn't shot well, and that's why you might end up with cuttier action than even you want if you have to fix miss stakes. You know, I'm I'm very thankful that, you know, on the wick movies and on birds of prey, pretty much anything that you know, Chad has his hand and you don't really get bad action footage. So that freeze you to, you know, to cut the scene in the way that you want to cut it rather than cutting it to height a problem. That's great. We were wondering how it is to work on us on a film without a finish script. As I understand it, John Wick two and threes endings weren't fully set in stone, and so I was wondering if that sort of changes anything on the editing end or if you're just sort of at the whim of whatever happens. So John Wick Tow's ending is as it was scripted and shot. The things that we reshot in John Wick too, were four problems that came up that and those those were sort of in the middle, sort of between the like act to and act three areas in a little bit. In the beginning John Wick three, it had an ending and it didn't. It didn't end up working as well as, you know, as everybody had hoped, and then sort of as well as it read on the page. And so that one it wasn't that we didn't have an ending so much as that we just rerealize that we needed a different one, you know, and there was a lot of discussion about what that different one should be. A So we went up back for just a one day reshoot, you know, to get the Lawrence Fishburn scene. But you know, the I think that challenge of being an editor is just it doesn't really matter what they wrote or what they intended or what was planned. The only thing that matters is the dailies that you actually get and what you can make with them. And so yeah, I mean sometimes it's challenging, if you like. If they didn't make their day, like I means they didn't finish shooting everything that they wanted to shoot that day and have to move on. You know, you might not be able to make something out of it. You know, and a couple of the things that we reshot in wick two were because we didn't make our you know, we didn't make our days a couple times in Italy, you know, and that left me with like three quarters of a fight scene, you know. So like it's frustrating, but there's also like it's not my you know, it's not on me if they're if the fight scene doesn't end because I don't have the footage, it just doesn't end and we've got it, you know, as a team, figure out a solution to that. But but yeah, you mean, it can be it can be frustrating if you don't get the materially that you think are hoping you're going to get. I also try not to Monday morning quarterback because it's really hard to be a director and to be on set and to have all these things go wrong that you can't anticipate. You know, there's always something that goes wrong, some location that falls through, where some like you know, noise, whom you didn't anticipate because you scouted it on a weekend when there was no traffic and then you shot on a Tuesday and all of a sudden it's rush our like, you know those things,...

...like the practical world inserts itself into your best laid plans at every opportunity, and so you just sort of got a roll with it. There's a quote by like Chris mccrory, which is that preproduction is the movie you want to make, production is the movie you think you're making and post is the movie you actually made. So it's like the screenplays never actually done being written. The edit is the third draft. Yes, actually, yes. And and we editors, do you know? We do a lot of writing. We write, you know, we write atr lines for people we like. We you know, we're in those rooms as reshoots are being discussed, as torment. Okay, what do you know? What do we need to get ourselves from? We have a gap between a and D and the story. How do we, you know, fill, fill through? You know, B and C, and so you know it. Yeah, it definitely flexes a lot of muscles, you know, being an editor and being responsible for trying to come out of this process with something that feels cohesive and complete. So we were looking at your IMDB and we were just stunned by the amount of movies we like that you've worked on, and one of the notable ones I had a question on was your involved. You're credited as productions of or on Star Wars, the Force Awakens, and we were just wondering what it was like to work on a star wars movie, because isn't that every kid stream? It's yeah, I I think I worked on on force awakens, and probably the best way possible, which was just enough to like to have worked on it, you know, to say that I worked on it and to have seen the movie, you know, Multiple Times before it released, but not enough where I got like burned out or was hitting the end of the project being like I never want to see this movie again, you know, which does happen after you've worked on a movie for a year. You're just like the movie comes out and you're like okay, well, I'll never watch that again, but you know so, yeah, I working on that. Was it definitely a you know, a dream come true to like be inside bad robot and to be helping them out. You know, I just I was. I I worked for like a week here and there to look to consult with their like tempt sound mixing process, you know, as they're getting ready for screenings, and you know, that was great. I have I don't know if you've seen but I had. There's a story I told on twitter, I don't know a month or two ago, and it was my first day coming into BAD ROBOT TO WORK ON FORCE AWAKENS. It was super busy at the time. The guy that hired me was the post production executive at bad robot and Rosenblood, and so I come in in the end and my job at like that first week was all nights because the building was so busy that the equipment that, you know, I needed was not available during the day. So they're like comeing in the afternoon, you'll watch the movie to get up to speed on where we're at and then you know by the time you're done watching the movie that like the day crewel of, you know, gone and they'll be computer, you know, available at night. So but it's so busy that there actually isn't a single avid that's available for the entire duration of the movie. So I keep getting moved from room to room to room and finally I end up watching the last like forty five minutes of the movie in Mary Joe Marky's room after she's gone home for the day, and I'm sitting there and like, you know, faces like inches from the screen, you know, as as Han Solo and Kyli render facing off on that bridge with the chasm beneath it, and I like have sort of heard like a door open a couple of minutes ago, but I didn't really pay attention to it, and there's somes of people that come in and out and you know, some of my friends were the assist editors on that. Well, you know, came in and like checked on everything was going couple...

...times. So I like didn't really pay attention to it. And then, you know, Kylo Kills Han and Han falls off that bridge and just like like this fucking close to my ear, there's this voice that goes wow, that's really fucked up, and I turn it is jj, and Jj's been watching me watch his movie, you know, for who knows how long, which was even more terrifying because you didn't know I was in the building and even though I'd worked on a bunch of bad robot stuff at that point. I hadn't really ever worked like one on one with him, so I was like the guy that he like. He knew that I was like a round and like I was a person he'd seen before, but we hadn't really talked, you know. And here I am watching like in even within bad robot that the ending of force awakens was not something that was like super widely known, and so like, if you're going to talk about the movie at all, you had to do it inside of an office. You couldn't do it in the common areas, you know. So here I was like some duty doesn't know, you know, for the like has never hasn't seen working on this movie before, like in his editor's office, watching the end of his top secret movie, you know. And one of the things that, you know, is very endearing about Jj's like, rather than like coming in and stop me, being like why are you here? You know, he was just like he'd just he decided to, you know, to fuck with me instead, and it was terrifying and hilarious at the same time. That's an amazing story. Thank you for telling it. Going off of the Star Wars train a sort of tangentially, you worked as an associate editor on mission a possible ghost protocol, which was edited by Paul Hirsch, who is a little editor who's worked on some indie films like Star Wars and empire strikes back. Among many Johnny hughesmobiles carry mission of possible one. You know. Yeah, you name it, pauls. What was that experience like and what was your role? So associate editor is sort of a it's a it's a think you credit. My actual title was first assistant editor, you know, which is a which is a big role, you know, in editorial. But associate editor is a is a credit that you can give to a member of the your assistant editor team, you know, if they sort of go a little bit of and beyond. But the it's not a union covered credit, unlike additional like additional editor, in order to get credit is that you have to be paid as an editor by the studio for a week. And so if you but you know they're as an assistant editor. Sometimes, like editors will throw you scenes to cut and you know and you'll do some editing even though you are not actually you know, that's not your primary job responsibility. And so associate editor is a way to sort of recognize like you, worthies verst, assistant editor, but you also, you know, helped out with some of the editor attributed a lot. Yeah, exactly. So that's what that credit is about. But you know, working with Paul is it's it's just it's it's like working for the, you know, the like world's best editing teacher every day, you know, and and it's not even like Paul is like calling you in and saying, look at this thing and this is how I'm going to cut this. It's more just like you, you're watching it happen, you know, and then if you can, I mean you can ask him whatever you want, but like you, if you ask him, you know what he's doing or why he did that. You know, then you get into a deep conversation. You know about his his editing beliefs, in his editing styles, and you know, there's just no way to work with him and not pick up, you know, a lot of like very useful techniques and knowledge and perspectives and you know, I was just amazed also how fast he is, because he does have a very particular way that he likes his material prepped. And so the other systems, and I would spend...

...you know, half a day or whatever, getting the previous days daily's prepped for him to cut, and then I was constantly running into the situation where I was not prepping it fast enough for how fast he could cut it, which, you know, it which, as an editor, makes you sort of frustrated. Did like you hit when you are in a groove and you're cutting something and you're done and you're ready to like cut the next batch of dailies and it's not ready for you yet. It's a frustrating thing. So now, being editor, I you know, I see that. But yeah, he was. I learned. I learned a lot from him that I definitely took into cutting John Wick movies and too, running an editorial apartment, you know, and his voice, some of his, like Paul Hersh's Ms or you know, are in my head just floating around on there, you know, various moments. So you worked as an animatic editor on baby driver and an assistant editor for pants labyrinth, and we were just wondering about like what your job responsibilities were under these descriptions. Also, I love baby driver, so talk about that. So baby driver, baby driver started with making a ripplematic. I don't do you guys know what that is? Tell us. It's called a rippomatic and when you were going when if you were director and you're going into a studio meeting to pitch a movie that you want to direct and you want the studio to pay for, it's often helpful to go Chad actually doesn't like doing this, but most directors do. It's helpful to go into the room with a video that's sort of cut like a trailer for the movie that doesn't exist yet. And so in order to make that you start ripping a bunch of other movies and movie scores and cutting them together into trailer form, finding, you know, lines that are applicable from a bunch of other movies and I've done this a few times before. I did it on baby driver, and they're usually like, you know, two to three minutes, like normal trailer length, and maybe you've got, I don't know, ten or twenty sources that you combine together them and baby driver. That's what Edgar said that he wanted and he his normal editors are UK based and and Edgar has a house here in La and that's where he was living and working out of at the time. So he wanted an la editor that he could work with to make this thing and I we had a couple of friends in common who connected us, and I showed him the thing that I'd done and he's like okay, yeah, great, I want something a little bit different as yeah, I find whatever, and he sends me this list and it's like Gargantruan. We ended up with at least a hundred and twenty different sources, plus plus some like youtube clips and like really obscure things that we had to go hunting down and we created in order to pitch baby driver, this mood reel, which essentially took all the songs that were written into the script and made a rippomatic kind of for each one to try to convey the feeling of the movie while that song was going to be playing. So if it's like, you know, if it's if it's, you know, part of the heist, you know, then you know, we play the song and you find a bunch of heist movies and and sort of tell the story of a heist, you know. Or if it's like, you know, if it's like baby falling in love, then you know, then we play like whatever the song was written in that part of the script. He'd like get thirty seconds of that or whatever and and find movies that had that the feeling of that sort of like youthful love. And so we ended up cutting together like a fifteen minute real which I think Edgar wanted because the concept of the movie was so tricky to describe that he needed as much as he could. Like he went in with not just the video that we made, but a bunch of other, you know, a bunch of other materials that he...

...had collected on his own and at other people create. But yeah, this video was designed so you could watch it and understand that the movie was going to be set to music entirely all the way through and that these are the different emotions that he would be taking you through and this is sort of how the syncopation of actions to the you know, to the music would work. And so we did that and it was like involved Edgar like coming over to my apartment, you know, for a couple months, and then he pitched a few different places. I finally got picked up at Sony. I caught it together a couple other reels for him and then once the movie was greenlit, then he started storyboarding and that's where the animatic editor title came in. So, since it had been a fairly successful, you know run up until that point and his other editors were still in the UK and still, I think, busy on other movies, I cut together ninety percent of the storyboards for the film and those were like they storyboarded everything. Even dialog scenes were storyboarded in. The tricky thing became that I got John Wick to like this is a long, multi year process and it and I got John Wick to somewhere in the middle of it, and so I went to New York to start cutting John Wick to while there were still storyboards flowing in for baby driver. And so there were a couple there's like a couple of months where I was cutting Daili's for John Wick at the office during the day and then coming home and trying to bang out, you know, the next set of storyboards for Edgar at night, because they didn't want to like. That was a scenario, going back to what you're asking earlier, where I was like I'm not going to let and I'm not going to have another editor unless it's, you know, unless it's Paul macklis. I'm not going to have another editor come in and take this over, you know, until it's the editor of the film, because I knew it that, you know, that I wasn't going to be editing the actual film baby driver, and so I did. Yeah, I did all the storyboards and put sound effects everything to them, and they sent went out to all the different department heads. Of that the department heads and the people working on I could get an idea of what the movie was going to be about and how it was going to be shot and what was important to think about as they were doing their jobs. And then, thankfully, Paul called one day. You know, I was like tearing my hair out because I desperately didn't want to let Edgar down, but I was also drowning in footage from John Wick. And so when the day that Paul called and was like, okay, I'm coming on the movie. You know, send me everything you've got, I'll take it from here and thanks for everything, I was like, Oh, thank God. And so they were in Atlanta and so I Fedex and my you know, my heart drive and my avid project and everything that I'd ever done, you know, for Edgar, for that movie, and you know, and then that was that was it. And then they invited me to, you know, to the premiere couple years later, when when it came out. What's the process of editing story boards, as you were just describing? So it's mostly like you're editing a flip book together. HMM, you know. So it's in these in this case, we have the song and Edgar would edgar would send me the you know, the storyboards and tell me the song to use and then say, a minute and ten seconds into the song we have to be on storyboard number fifty, and a minute and forty seconds we have to be at storyboard number two hundred and thirty, and then in between that it was up to me to figure out how long each frame should last, you know, how to give a sense of motion, how to get a sense of timing or of like tension or of a chase or you know, whatever the the needs happen to be. And but yeah, you're basically you're cutting a flipbook and then adding sound effects and music underneath it so that when you're watch it, you can actually watch some of the storyboards that I cut on the baby driver TVD during the extras. You know, you're trying to give a sense of you know, of timing and of what, you know, what angles are working and not working. You know, an interesting exercise for me was watching the final film and realizing where I had been spot on and my timing and where I had been wildly off or where there were things that came up...

...during production that nobody had anticipated, that needed, you know, that necessitated to change, you know, from the animatics that I had cut, and there was a good mixture. There is stephinely. There's some sequences in the movie where I'm like, Oh, this is like literally exactly the timing that I came up with and in storyboards, you know, and I'm still waiting to sit down and have a coffee with Paul for a couple hours where he can tell me, you know, more in detail what was useful and what wasn't useful for him, you know, as he was getting the live action footage. But then there were also, yeah, other sequences were I was like, Oh, this is wildly different than we thought I would be. And again, that's those are the practicalities of production and of trying to guess all of the stuff in advance, getting in the way. Backtracking a little bit too, back to John Wick two and three I have to ask what it was like cutting together the pencil scene and the knife fight and what that was like. I mean the knife fight is going to be on my demo real for eternity, as it turned as it should be. I I can watch the knife fight, like generally I don't tend to watch the movies that I've edited after they come out in theaters. You know, I like I'll see them opening weekend or with friends and at unlike. Sometimes there's they'll have like friends and family screenings where you can like get the cast and crew together sort of more privately than a premiere and watch it with a bunch of people that you know you care about. But after that I don't tend to watch them again because I know them so intimately there's no point in spending your time doing that. Really in no desire, but the night the knife fight is one where I'm might. I enjoy watching the knife fight. It's basically what you're seeing is almost exactly the first assembly. It just came together there's the only section that we ended up changing a little bit was what we call the snowball fight, which is just when they're just chucking knives at each other. You know, furiously and you can't even really keep track of how many knives there are. That's actually a double action. So we so Keyana chucks his knives at them and they chuck their knives at him and then we switch to the reverse, you know, behind their shoulder, and they do the if you're looking, it's actually it's exactly the same choreography, but it's just repeated to make the to extend the moment so that they just adds like CG blades or something like that. Yeah, most of the night, most of the knives are are computer generated. All of the glass that you see, all the glass that breaks, that's all CG. You know. They like a couple times they'd have a knife handle that had no blade and we would put a blade on it, like when he's stabbing the dude in the eye at the end, and there are cut like there was one take where they did throw a rubber axe at Roger, who's the guy that takes the last act, to the head, which we didn't use. Those more of a reference for vfx has to like how an axe might fly, but they did hit him with it and port of like bounce on the floor and sment his face. But yeah, pretty much, you know, everything that's sharp if you're doing action like this, every anything that's sharp is going to BECG. You were credited working in the special effects apartment on Durussic Park three and I love that movie and I thought I would ask what that was all about. So all of those like early credits are from my days at Stan Winston's. It's cheating a little bit because when I, you know, when I started looking for assistant editor work, I had a resume that had all of these credits on it. But you get the credit just by being in the building when the company works on the movie. So it's not like I went like, I didn't go to the Jurassic Park three set. I was just on the team at Stan Winston Studio responsible for keeping the studio running while other people made the dinosaurs and puppeteered them and set to work on it. So yeah, you know, I it's it's certainly fun to be at stands one. They're working on a Jurassic Park movie and you know, I think ai is one...

...of the movies that sticks out most is like the creativity that was on display as they were putting that movie. You know, all the robots for that movie together, you know, and actually did get to like help do some soltering on that. That stands out. But I don't have like a Jurassic Park three story because, yeah, that that credit is for for attendance and not really for a like work done. Yeah, I was going to ask about Ai. You're credited as the Mecca electronic controller. Is that what you meant by the soldering? Am I actually forgot what I what I am credited as. Yeah, I guess that would be pretty close. I, thoughdered some wire. I satted some multicolor led's into the cheek skin of a robot. That was one of two choices for Stephen Spielberg to pick and he chose the other one. So the work that it was actually not seen in the movie, but actually I was. It was like my freshman year of college. I grabbed a buddy from my dorm because it was just it was one of those all hands on deck weekends at Stan Winston's and they're like, do anybody you can sat our? Bring them over and so, like, you know, they paid us and I was already in the job that they paid him and you know, and we have, we spend a weekends, you know, twisting wires together and Satterering leds into place. It was yeah, it was good. That's awesome. One of one of the questions I just sort of spontaneously have is ours. Are there any examples where you in in editorial decided to make a choice that was completely different or kind of altering what was on the page and like how how that came up, how that sort of would have come about? And if you have instances? Yeah, I mean that that those happen all the time. They'll often happen. The idea as will happen during the assembly phase, but the execution of them can be delayed, because one of the things is that even if I know, like I'm going to cut a scene or this scene, you know, if I know a scene needs to be cut, I still have to cut it together and show it to the director so that they can agree that the scene needs to be cut. And so these things are all, you know, they're all. It's all a conversation, in a collaboration. You know, I would say that like on wick to we the like guns, suits and maps. Montage was not a montage in the script. It was just, you know, a bunch of scenes of Keano going to different places and having full, like a full conversation and then leaving that place and going to the next place and getting his suit and leaving that place in the next place and getting his map, and it was, you know, fifteen minutes of him walking around Rome and it was one of the dullest things. And I that was one of the thing where, like, I chat and I hadn't really talked about it, but I knew that I was just deathly bored during that sequence and there's just no way that that could survive in that form. And so the like first week of the directors cut, I was like, I need like three days to work on something to show you and just, you know, leave me alone during that time and I'll call you when I've got something, you know, to present. And I mean it was sort of that was one of those things where, when I presented it, I was like, okay, I know this wasn't in your plan at all, but I think we really need to like turn these three scenes into something much shorter. You know, the minute he saw it, he's sort of like S it's he'll sit down on the couch and he'll like think of all the different scenarios that I might not have thought of and then ultimately come back to be like no, okay, yeah, you're right, this is the way it needs to be. You know, proceed. So will start wrapping up. We like to ask all of our guests how, you know, the coronavirus and the quarantine has affected your ability to work and how quarantine has been treating you anyway. Strangely, I actually started working on a movie right when La went...

...into lockdown and I wrapped it two weeks ago. It's called nobody. It's an action movie starring Bob owed and Kirk well and and yeah, it was. It was great. I jumped onto it again. It was like a movie that I came on, you know, partway through post. So I jumped onto it in early March and I was able to cut from home, you know, almost the entire time up until we went to the final mix and then when we needed to mix. That was we started mixing in early July, and then I did have to go to the universal lot, you know, every day for about three weeks, and they there were ten of us, including the we're doing final mixing and color correction, so including the mixers in the colors and the music editor and the director and everything. You know, they're about ten of US and they tested US twice on just you know, as a precaution over the course of those three weeks. And you know, everybody wore a mask all the time and you know there's tons of hand sanitizer everywhere and you know, so it felt as safe as it could be. You know, there's risk in everything and you're always aware of that. But you know, we came out of it. We came out of it okay and nobody, nobody got sick during or after, you know the process that I know of. So it turned out okay. And now I have a three year old and a five year old. My five year old is supposed to start kindergarten next week, but it's going to be all virtual and now that I'm unemployed, doming I'm going to be helping, you know, teach kindergarten. But yeah, for the most part my days right now are keeping the kids busy. My mother in law takes some tice a week, which is how I'm able to have this uninterrupted interview, but they yeah, the rest of the time is, you know, going to the park and kicking a soccer ball around with them. We're, you know, trying to set them up with art projects and things like that. That's great, Trent. You have any more questions you got? Are Know. I think that's it for me. You've been a wonderful guest. We really appreciate you coming on and giving us your time. That was Evan Shift, who worked ON BIRDS OF PREY, John Wick two and three, among many other great films that you should all check out. Thank you for join us. Thank you. So that was our interview with the birds of prey, or the fin tape, its emancipation of the one Harley Quinn editor, Evan Shift. Thank you, Co editor. I don't want to take credit away from another talented editor, but thank you, Evan Shift, for coming on. It was an absolute pleasure. You were very nice. So part what comes next for this little program does this podcast continue much further, or is this the end for us? I think we have a future. Next week we're going to be discussing our own feelings on the film and we shall reveal who our next guest is for the next two weeks, so make sure to catch our next episode. Stay tuned. FULIO's all right. Well, that was a great interview. See You, guys, Next Week.

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