Transparent: A conversation with editor Catherine Haight
By Ellen Wixted
Amazon Studio’s original series
Transparent has made history for its representation of the trans community, but it may be having an even bigger impact on the way the entertainment world does business. With 11 Emmy nominations — including for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for A Comedy Series — and five wins,
Transparent validates the company’s original programming strategy as it goes head-to-head with the likes of HBO and Netflix. With Season 2 of
Transparent set to “air” December 4, the show’s enthusiastic fan base (myself included) may be scheduling a weekend of pre-holiday binge watching.
Using an approach that’s been described as very “un-Hollywood,” Amazon Studios is setting out to change both the relationship between the studio and the creators — the studio is touting an openness to developing great stories from visionary directors and outsiders alike — and with audiences, by using innovative approaches to invite audience feedback. When Jill Soloway sold the
Transparent pilot to Amazon in 2013, the studio had yet to make waves. With
Transparent, Amazon Studios is now squarely on Hollywood’s map.
I spoke with veteran editor Catherine Haight, a long-time collaborator of Transparent’s creator Soloway, about her path as an editor and the experience of working on the show.
After majoring in art with a concentration in film at Occidental College, Haight began her career as a production assistant, then spent time logging footage and learning how a cutting room works before becoming an assistant editor. Haight began working with Soloway when she edited her short film
Una Hora Por Favora, and then edited Soloway’s independent film Afternoon Delight (which premiered at Sundance in 2013). The two continued collaborating on Seasons 1 and 2 of
Transparent. “Jill and I communicate well, and because we have a long history of working together, I know what she’s looking for,” Haight notes.
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