It all started in a small drive-in theater in Santa Rosa, California – to paraphrase Ted Baxter from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I got a job as a cashier at StarVue Motor Movies but was more interested in the projection booth. There I learned base and emulsion, cement and tape splicing, and other 35mm basics. Eventually my union brothers and the town’s theater managers were persuaded to let a woman in the booth and the union. This meant I got to run Rocky, Star Wars, and Saturday Night Fever for months and take location assignments doing grip, electrical, and craft service work. Much film through projector and two Bachelor of Arts, I headed for Hollywood and began slipping through studio gates.
My first Hollywood job was as an assistant at a sound hole-in-the-wall, a studio where I transferred 500 tiger growls from ¼” to 35mm on my first day. It was a good place to meet editors and led to my first assistant editor job in the “syncing pool” on the television show That’s Incredible.
I have edited comedies, dramas, documentaries, features, corporate videos, and promos, and cut on every type of medium: film, tape, and digital. Nominated twice for a Cable ACE award for editing a comedy series
Additionally I have taught editing practices and history at Loyola Marymount University and California State Universities at Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Northridge, and have trained hundreds of professionals, independent filmmakers, professors, and students to operate digital editing equipment.
I have also written a handful of feature screenplays, one of which is optioned and another of which won the Scriptwriters Networks’ Producers Outreach Program contest and may yet be coming to a theatre near you. The writing has made me a better editor and vice versa.
I wrote Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video, (published December 2004) to share my knowledge and aid filmmakers in taking their projects from dailies to tube, screen, disk, or the Web. Happily, the book was well-received by editors, independent filmmakers, students and teachers. By 2011 it needed updating so I did just that for Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video, 2nd Edition, adding 90 pages in the process.
Speaking at an author panel (I’m second from left).
My second book, Film Editing Great Cut Every Filmmaker and Movie Lover Must Know, a pictionary of the 50 types of cuts that editors make, is being translated into Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Turkish. More than just a coffee table book, Great Cuts uses text and 600 frames to illustrate how these different cuts advance the story and affect the audience. You can buy both books in print and electronic format from my publisher and the usual places (Amazon, Google, Barnes & Nobel, etc.).
Organizing material – and content – is the common thread in my work as a writer, editor, instructor, and instructional designer. I hope reading my books will increase your knowledge and appreciation of film editing. And, if you’re a filmmaker, I hope the books will help you realize your filmmaking visions. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.