On June 10, 2017, Sight, Sound and Story celebrated their fifth annual Post Production Summit at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway. Over 300 filmmakers, editors and post-production professionals gathered for a full day of panels focused on the art of post-production. This year’s panels included “Anatomy of a Scene: Deconstructing Documentary Films,” “Cinematic 360/VR Panel: 360 Degrees of Storytelling,” “TV is the New Black: Television’s Cinematic Revolution” and “Inside the Cutting room with Bobbie O’Steen;” for an in-depth discussion with acclaimed film editor Dylan Tichenor, ACE. The day-long summit was followed by a two-hour networking party sponsored by American Cinema Editors (ACE.)
Manhattan Edit Workshop president Jason Banke said, “Sight, Sound and Story is a unique opportunity to bring people together, learn from some of the best in the industry and build community. Each year we are blown away by the panel discussions and we’re fortunate that companies such as OWC, Vimeo, Blackmagic Design, Boris FX, EditStock, American Cinema Editors and Padcaster make events like this possible for the industry.” Banke added, “We look forward to presenting this event for years to come and returning this December with our annual evening devoted to the art of cinematography.”
During the “Anatomy of a Scene: Deconstructing Documentary Films” panel, editor Amy Foote (The Work, Mavis!, A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt) explained some of her editing techniques and how she often begins her documentary edits with a verite scene and no VO to pull the audience in. When initially watching the footage, Maya Mumma, ACE (O.J.: Made in America, Restrepo) said she remembers the moments that ‘hit her in the gut’ and holds onto them because “they will hit the audience” too. Editor Sam Pollard (Four Little Girls, When The Levees Broke) also mentioned that editors sit with footage for so long that they can feel ownership of it and sometimes have to “step back and see another view.” Mumma added that when editing documentaries she looks for how the smaller stories can connect to reveal the bigger story.
The second panel, “Cinematic 360/VR Panel: 360 Degrees of Storytelling,” began with a discussion about what VR and 360 degree video actually means. Senior editor at The New York Times Graham Roberts said that VR is a “brand new medium. It’s just getting out of the gate.” When Julina Tatlock started in VR, she explained that it was difficult figuring out what the VR production rules were and which ones they could break. The story focus is vital in VR especially in emotional breaks within the story and knowing where to look.
The “TV is the New Black: Television’s Cinematic Revolution” panel started with a pre-recorded introduction from long time collaborator and actor Sarah Jessica Parker, introducing moderator Michael Berenbaum, ACE (Sex and the City, The Americans, Divorce). As the conversations began, it became clear that Kabir Akhtar, ACE (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Arrested Development, New Girl) and Julius Ramsay (The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, Outcast) had known each other from very early on in their careers. They spoke of their editing war stories as they climbed the ladder in the industry and encouraged the audience to seek out people doing the kind of work you want to do. Suzy Elmiger, ACE (“Mozart in the Jungle,” “Master of None,” “Casual”) spoke of her longtime feature film editing career and how she has found diving into the online and television programming to be invigorating. She mentioned that a film can get bogged down, but in TV you have no choice but to keep moving.
This year’s headline panel, “Inside the Cutting Room with Bobbie O’Steen,” featuring Dylan Tichenor, ACE (There Will Be Blood, Brokeback Mountain, Boogie Nights, The Town) went into an in-depth discussion on how Tichenor cuts particular scenes, the challenges he’s faced and his path through the industry. Tichenor said he got early breaks mostly by showing passion and saying “yes to doing things.” Speaking on technique, he mentioned that when a scene feels rhythmic or is cut to the music; breaking that rhythm is what keeps the audience’s attention. In editing the opening sequence of Magnolia, Tichenor found challenges establishing character introductions, their connections, rhythm and theme.