Tag Archives: Behind The Title

Behind the Title: PlushNYC partner/mixer Mike Levesque, Jr.

NAME: Michael Levesque, Jr.

COMPANY: PlushNYC

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We provide audio post production

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Partner/Mixer/Sound Designer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
The foundation of it all for me is that I’m a mixer and a sound designer. I became a studio owner/partner organically because I didn’t want to work for someone else. The core of my role is giving my clients what they want from an audio post perspective. The other parts of my job entail managing the staff, working through technical issues, empowering senior employees to excel in their careers and coach junior staff when given the opportunity.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
Everyday I find myself being the janitor in many ways! I’m a huge advocate of leading by example and I feel that no task is too mundane for any team member to take on. So I don’t cast shade on picking up a mop or broom, and also handle everything else above that. I’m a part of a team, and everyone on the team participates.

During our latest facility remodel, I took a very hands-on approach. As a bit of a weekend carpenter, I naturally gravitate toward building things, and that was no different in the studio!

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
Avid Pro Tools. I’ve been operating on Pro Tools since 1997 and was one of the early adopters. Initially, I started out on analog ¼-inch tape and later moved to the digital editing system SSL ScreenSound. I’ve been using Pro Tools since its humble beginnings, and that is my tool of choice.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
For me, my favorite part about the job is definitely working with the clients. That’s where I feel I am able to put my best self forward. In those shoes, I have the most experience. I enjoy the conversation that happens in the room, the challenges that I get from the variety of projects and working with the creatives to bring their sonic vision to life. Because of the amount of time i spend in the studio with my clients one of the great results besides the work is wonderful, long-term friendships. You get to meet a lot of different people and experience a lot of different walks of life, and that’s incredibly rewarding for me.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
We’ve been really lucky to have regular growth over the years, but the logistics of that can be challenging at times. Expansion in NYC is a constant uphill battle!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
The train ride in. With no distractions, I’m able to get the most work done. It’s quiet and allows me to be able to plan my day out strategically while my clarity is at its peak. That way I can maximize my day and analyze and prioritize what I want to get done before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
If I weren’t a mixer/sound designer, I would likely be a general contractor or in a role where I was dealing with building and remodeling houses.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I started when I was 19 and I knew pretty quickly that this was the path for me. When I first got into it, I wanted to be a music producer. Being a novice musician, it was very natural for me.

Borgata

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
I recently worked on a large-scale project for Frito-Lay, a project for ProFlowers and Shari’s Berries for Valentine’s Day, a spot for Massage Envy and a campaign for the Broadway show Rocktopia. I’ve also worked on a number of projects for Vevo, including pieces for The World According To… series for artists — that includes a recent one with Jaden Smith. I also recently worked on a spot with SapientRazorfish New York for Borgata Casino that goes on a colorful, dreamlike tour of the casino’s app.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Back in early 2000s, I mixed a DVD box set called Journey Into the Blues, a PBS film series from Martin Scorsese that won a Grammy for Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
– My cell phone to keep me connected to every aspect of life.
– My Garmin GPS Watch to help me analytically look at where I’m performing in fitness.
– Pro Tools to keep the audio work running!

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I’m an avid triathlete, so personal wellness is a very big part of my life. Training daily is a really good stress reliever, and it allows me to focus both at work and at home with the kids. It’s my meditation time.

Behind the Title: Arcade Edit’s Ali Mao

NAME: Ali Mao

COMPANY: Arcade Edit in New York City

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Arcade is a film and television editorial house with offices located in Los Angeles and New York City.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Editor

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Being an editor is all about storytelling. Whether that means following the script and boards as designed or playing outside the parameters of those guidelines, we set the pace and tone of a piece in hopes that our audience reacts to it. Sometimes it’s super easy and everything just falls into place. Other times it requires a bit more problem solving on my end, but I’m always striving to tell the story the best I can.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
For a lot of people who don’t work in the industry, they think editors just sit in a dark room alone all the time, and we do sometimes! But what I love most about editing is how collaborative a process it is. So much of what we do is working with the director and the creatives to find just the right pieces that help tell their story the most effectively.

Aflac

Once in awhile the best cuts are not even what was originally boarded or conceived, but what was found through the exploration of editing. When you fall in love with a character, laugh at a joke, or cry at an emotional moment it’s a result of the directing, the acting and the editing all working perfectly in sync with one another.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
I love going through dailies for the first time and seeing how the director and the cinematographer compose a particular scene or how an actor interprets lines, especially when you pick up on something in a take that you as an editor love – a subtle twitching of an eye or the way the light captures some element of the image – that everyone forgot about until they see it in your edit.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Not having enough time to really sit with the footage before I start working with the director or agency.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME OF THE DAY?
Early in the morning even though I’m not really a morning person…but in our industry, that’s probably the quietest time of the day.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Bumming it at the beach back home in Hawaii.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION?
During the summer before my junior year of high school, I stumbled upon Vivacious Lady (with Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers) on AMC. I don’t know what it was about that movie, but I stayed up until 2am watching the whole thing.

For the next two years, every Sunday I’d grab the TV guide from the morning newspaper and review the AMC and TCM lineups for the week. Then I’d set my VCR to record every movie I wanted to see, which at the time were mostly musicals and rom-coms. When my dad asked me what I wanted to study in college I said film because at 5’4” getting paid to play basketball probably wasn’t going to happen, and those old AMC and TMC movies were my next favorite thing.

When I got to college, I was taught the basics of FCP in a digital filmmaking class and fell in love with editing instantly. I liked how there was a structure to the process of it, while simultaneously having a ton of creative freedom in how to tell the story.

Tide

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
In January I worked with Saatchi on their Tide Super Bowl Campaign, editing the television teasers and 15s. This was the second year in a row that I got to work with them for the Super Bowl, and it’s one of my favorite jobs every year. They do some really fun and creative work for their teasers, and there’s so much opportunity to experiment and get a little weird

There was the Aflac Ski Patrol spot, and I also just finished a Fage Campaign with Leo Burnett, which went incredibly well. Matt Lenski from Arts & Science did such an incredible job with the shoot and provided me with so many options of how to tell the story for each spot.

DO YOU PUT ON A DIFFERENT HAT WHEN CUTTING FOR A SPECIFIC GENRE?
I think you put on a different hat whenever you start any project, regardless of genre. Every comedy piece or visual piece is unique in its story, rhythm, etc. I definitely try to put myself in the right head space for editing a specific genre, whether that be from chatting with the director/agency or doing a deep dive on the Internet looking for inspiration from films, ads, music videos — anything really.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
I worked as an editor on a documentary called Undroppable. It was about the school dropout rate across the US and followed students from different parts of the country, focusing on the challenges of graduating high school.

The film had already been edited by the time I got involved, but the producer felt it needed fresh eyes. I loved a lot of what the previous editors had done, and felt like the one thing I could bring to the film was focus. There were so many compelling stories that it sometimes felt like you never had a chance to really take any of it in. I wanted the audience to not just fall in love with these students and root for them, but to also leave the theater in active pursuit of ways they could be involved in our country’s education system.

As someone who was cutting mostly commercials and short films in Final Cut Pro at the time, doing a feature length documentary on Avid Media Composer was daunting, but so very, very exciting and gratifying.

WHAT DO YOU EDIT ON THESE DAYS?
Avid Media Composer.

ARE YOU EVER ASKED TO DO MORE THAN EDIT?
Every once in awhile I get a job where I’m asked to create an edit that is not in line with the footage that was shot. In those instances, I’ll have to comp takes together in order to get a desired set of performances or a desired shot. I try not to make the comps too clean because I don’t want to put our Flame artist out of a job.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
iPhone, computer, Roomba

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I just had a baby, so coming home to my son and my baby daddy is a great way to end the day. I also play on an all-women’s flag football team in a co-ed league on the weekends. The first game we ever won I QB’d while I was eight weeks pregnant; it was my Serena Williams moment!

Behind the Title: Whitehouse editor David Cea

NAME: David Cea

COMPANY: Whitehouse Post in New York

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Originally, we were an editorial shop that has grown into a one-stop shop for all things post production.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Editor

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Being the one responsible for expressing the creative vision in filmmaking. The film editor takes all of the hard work and ideas and gives it shape and form for the world to see.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
The human component. I find a large part of what I do is making my clients feel comfortable. Filmmaking is a tough and sometimes exhausting process. Just shy of the finish line is where I come in. I want to be the one that helps relieve some of the stress from the process. As a former bartender, I learned how to be a pseudo-therapist. Keeping everyone positive and showing them that all of their work will lead to a great end-product is important.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Creative problem solving. Inevitably there will be a missed shot or last-minute client ask that seems impossible. Finding a way to fix it with what I have in front of me keeps things interesting.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Second guessing. When anyone on the creative team, myself included, begins to doubt their instincts, I feel the end product starts to suffer.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME OF THE DAY?
5:30pm… much to my wife’s chagrin.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
In an ideal world, a surf instructor in Costa Rica.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
In college I knew I wanted to work in the film industry in some capacity. I took an editing class and was sold from there. Editing also seemed to be the sanest leg of the process.

Target

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Target’s fashion forward rebranding campaign
– A short film for Mercedes featuring Mariel Hemingway and her daughter Langley Fox
– A skate film for the Loke app launching soon

YOU HAVE WORKED ON ALL SORTS OF PROJECTS. DO YOU PUT ON A DIFFERENT HAT WHEN CUTTING FOR A SPECIFIC GENRE?
I certainly have to place myself in the right mood when cutting each specific genre. It may be a certain type of music during the selection process or watching the works of the masters of the field to gain inspiration. I try to put myself in the director’s shoes: “Why was this shot done this way? What is the broad feeling he or she is trying to achieve?”

While I do get into a different headspace when cutting different genres, I definitely borrow from each style no matter the project. Not being married to a specific genre is key to keeping me engaged and making for a more well rounded end product.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
The Jeep 4×4 Ever Super Bowl spot. This a spot that went through a several evolutions until it was the final piece that won the big game spot for FCA Chrysler that year.

Ford

WHAT DO YOU USE TO EDIT?
Avid Media Composer

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLUGIN?
Waves Pitch Shift. It will make even the dullest scratch VO talent sound like Sam Elliot.

ARE YOU OFTEN ASKED TO DO MORE THAN EDIT? IF SO, WHAT ELSE ARE YOU ASKED TO DO?
Yes. Many projects you see coming through the door nowadays are comprised of found footage. Sometimes all we get is a script. This is sometimes fun because we are then in essence put in more of a directorial role.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
– Wireless silent mouse — Since I don’t use Wacom tablets to edit, this is key to not drive the people in the room nuts with constant clicking
– Noise-cancelling headphones — the streets of NYC become downright pleasant when wearing them, smells aside
– Swell bottle — that’s technology, right?

DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Plenty of screen-free time with the family.

Behind the Title: Senior compositing artist Marcel Lemme

We recently reached out to Marcel Lemme to find out more about how he works, his background and how he relaxes.

What is your job title and where are you based?
I’m a senior compositing artist based out of Hamburg, Germany.

What does your job entail?
I spend about 90 percent of my time working on commercial jobs for local and international companies like BMW, Audi and Nestle, but also dabble in feature films, corporate videos and music videos. On a regular day, I’m handling everything from job breakdowns to set supervision to conform. I’m also doing shot management for the team, interacting with clients, showing clients work and some compositing. Client review sessions and final approvals are regular occurrences for me too.

What would surprise people the most about the responsibilities that fall under that title?
When it comes to client attended sessions, you have to be part clown, part mind-reader. Half the job is being a good artist; the other half is keeping clients happy. You have to anticipate what the client will want and balance that with what you know looks best. I not only have to create and keep a good mood in the room, but also problem-solve with a smile.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love solving problems when compositing solo. There’s nothing better than tackling a tough project and getting results you’re proud of.

What’s your least favorite?
Sometimes the client isn’t sure what they want, which can make the job harder.

What’s your most productive time of day?
I’m definitely not a morning guy, so the evening — I’m more productive at night.

If you didn’t have this job, what would you be doing instead?
I’ve asked myself this question a lot, but honestly, I’ve never come up with a good answer.

How’d you get your first job, and did you know this was your path early on?
I fell into it. I was young and thought I’d give computer graphics a try, so I reached out to someonewho knew someone, and before I knew it I was interning at a company in Hamburg, which is how I came to know online editing. At the time, Quantel mostly dominated the industry with Editbox and Henry, and Autodesk Flame and Flint were just emerging. I dove in and started using all the technology I could get my hands on, and gradually started securing jobs based on recommendations.

Which tools are you using today, and why?
I use whatever the client and/or the project demands, whether it’s Flame or Foundry’s Nuke and for tracking I often use The Pixel Farm PFTrack and Boris FX Mocha. For commercial spots, I’ll do a lot of the conform and shot management on Flame and then hand off the shots to other team members. Or, if I do it myself, I’ll finish in Flame because I know I can do it fast.

I use Flame because it gives me different ways to achieve a certain look or find a solution to a problem. I can also play a clip at any resolution with just two clicks in Flame, which is important when you’re in a room with clients who want to see different versions on the fly. The recent open clip updates and python integration have also saved me time. I can import and review shots, with automatic versions coming in, and build new tools or automate tedious processes in the post chain that have typically slowed me down.

Tell us about some recent project work.
I recently worked on a project for BMW as a compositing supervisor and collaborated with eight other compositors to finish number of versions in a short amount of time. We did shot management, compositing, reviewing, versioning and such in Flame. Also individual shot compositing in Nuke and some tracking in Mocha Pro.

What is the project that you are most proud of?
There’s no one project that stands out in particular, but overall, I’m proud of jobs like the BMW spots, where I’ve led a team of artists and everything just works and flows. It’s rewarding when the client doesn’t know what you did or how you did it, but loves the end result.

Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
The obvious answer here is other commercials, but I also watch a lot of movies and, of course, spend time on the Internet.

Name three pieces of technology you can’t live without.
The off button on the telephone (they should really make that bigger), anything related to cinematography or digital cinema, and streaming technology.

What social media channels do you follow?
I’ve managed to avoid Facebook, but I do peek at Twitter and Instagram from time to time. Twitter can be a great quick reference for regional news or finding out about new technology and/or industry trends.

Do you listen to music while you work?
Less now than I did when I was younger. Most of the time, I can’t as I’m juggling too much and it’s distracting. When I listen to music, I appreciate techno, classical and singer/song writer stuff; whatever sets the mood for the shots I’m working on. Right now, I’m into Iron and Wine and Trentemøller, a Danish electronic music producer.

How do you de-stress from the job?
My drive home. It can take anywhere from a half an hour to an hour, depending on the traffic, and that’s my alone time. Sometimes I listen to music, other times I sit in silence. I cool down and prepare to switch gears before heading home to be with my family.

Behind the Title: Start VR Producer Ela Topcuoglu

NAME: Ela Topcuoglu

COMPANY: Start VR (@Start_VR)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Start VR is a full-service production studio (with offices in Sydney, Australia and Marina Del Rey, California) specializing in immersive and interactive cinematic entertainment. The studio brings expertise in entertainment and technology together with feature film quality visuals with interactive content, creating original and branded narrative experiences in VR.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Development Executive and Producer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I am in charge of expanding Start VR’s business in North America. That entails developing strategic partnerships and increasing business development in the entertainment, film and technology sectors.

I am also responsible for finding partners for our original content slate as well as seeking existing IP that would fit perfectly in VR. I also develop relationships with brands and advertising agencies to create branded content. Beyond business development, I also help produce the projects that we move forward with.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
The title comes with the responsibility of convincing people to invest in something that is constantly evolving, which is the biggest challenge. My job also requires me to be very creative in coming up with a native language to this new medium. I have to wear many hats to ensure that we create the best experiences out there.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
My favorite part of the job is that I get to wear lots of different hats. Being in the emerging field of VR, everyday is different. I don’t have a traditional 9-to-5 office job and I am constantly moving and hustling to set up business meetings and stay updated on the latest industry trends.

Also, being in the ever-evolving technology field, I learn something new almost everyday, which is extremely essential to my professional growth.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Convincing people to invest in virtual reality and seeing its incredible potential. That usually changes once they experience truly immersive VR, but regardless, selling the future is difficult.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
My favorite part of the day is the morning. I start my day with a much-needed shot of Nespresso, get caught up on emails, take a look at my schedule and take a quick breather before I jump right into the madness.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
If I wasn’t working in VR, I would be investing my time in learning more about artificial intelligence (AI) and use that to advance medicine/health and education.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I loved entertaining people from a very young age, and I was always looking for an outlet to do that, so the entertainment business was the perfect fit. There is nothing like watching someone’s reaction to a great piece of content. Virtual reality is the ultimate entertainment outlet and I knew that I wanted to create experiences that left people with the same awe reaction that I had the moment I experienced it.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
I worked and assisted in the business and legal affairs department at Media Rights Capital and had the opportunity to work on amazing TV projects, including House of Cards, Baby Driver and Ozark.

Awake: First Contact

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
The project that I am most proud of to date is the project that I am currently producing at Start VR. It’s called Awake: First Contact. It was a project I read about and said, “I want to work on that.”

I am in incredibly proud that I get to work on a virtual reality project that is pushing the boundaries of the medium both technically and creatively.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My phone, laptop and speakers.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
Yes, especially if I’m working on a pitch deck. It really keeps me in the moment. I usually listen to my favorite DJ mixes on Soundcloud. It really depends on my vibe that day.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I have recently started surfing, so that is my outlet at the moment. I also meditate regularly. It’s also important for me to make sure that I am always learning something new and unrelated to my industry.

Behind the Title: Weta Workshop’s Jason Aldous

NAME: Jason Aldous

COMPANY: Wellington, New Zealand’s Weta Workshop

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
A weird and wonderful (emphasis on wonderful) collection of artists, craftspeople and some of the most creative minds I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Any one day can have leading costume designers, sword-smiths and game creators working under a single roof.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Project manager for communications & media production.

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
On the surface it sounds pretty straightforward: product marketing and product packaging. But like a lot of things at Weta Workshop, once you jump aboard the train it turns out to be more like a roller coaster.

On a daily basis this role could involve product design, presentations, photo shoots, brainstorm sessions, client visits and modeling. But the heart of the role is making sure we’ve got everything we need (information, planning, resources and inspiration) to make sure every project meets the Weta Workshop standard.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
This is the type of role that can scale up or down in responsibility depending on the size of the project and the size of the team. In a smaller team on a small project, you could spend time being involved in planning, creative, copyediting and graphic design. In a larger team on a big project you keep it to the basics while the team cover their bases.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
When the schedules fall into alignment, everything is perfectly balanced, and the team is creatively challenged.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
When we’ve made way for an urgent request and everything is looking steady and then… a second urgent request rolls in. With such a wide and varied company with clients, fans, employees and projects from all over the world, the surprises are unavoidable, but it’s pretty rewarding to deliver on too!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Afternoon walk. There’s always someone thoughtful enough to round up a few people at a time for a walk. It’s a good time to get fresh air, talk about work, not talk about work and generally give your head a bit of a refresh before truckin’ on to the end of the day.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I’d be getting back to planning some short films. Ideally ones that involve food.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I wasn’t initially looking to re-enter the field of graphic design, but I saw a compelling role that I fit the bill perfectly for. The appeal of working at Weta Workshop helped push me out of my comfort zone in editorial to keep developing in another field.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
The Art & Craft of Weta Workshop exhibition in Wuhan — sharing the work we do with people who might not have the chance to visit us in Wellington. Also brand development for the Mini Epics line of collectibles. I really love the product packaging we’ve come up with and I can’t wait to see it on shelves.

GKR: Heavy Hitters was my first time working on a board game. Plus, it’s an IP of our own, created by three artists who I had admired from afar for a really long time!

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Recently, Middle-earth: From Script to Screen. I can’t claim a great deal of ownership over this project, but to have been involved with a team of experts detailing how the world of Middle-earth was built for screen has been an absolute privilege and an adventure.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Fujifilm x100 (taking photos)
iPhone (viewing photos)
Printing press (properly viewing photos)

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
I stay tuned to Twitter personally and professionally. But my favorite place for social media content is Instagram.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy has been my go-to night shift and focus-inducing music for years. There’s always a place for The Commodores on the late-night playlist too!

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I used get out for a run on my lunch break, if I could. I think I’ve taken a change of pace and moved onto dog walks. But nothing can beat a multi-day hike in the New Zealand bush!

Behind the Title: Union VFX supervisor James Roberts

NAME: James Roberts

COMPANY: London-based Union (@unionvfx)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Union is an independent VFX company founded on a culture of originality, innovation and collaboration.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
VFX Supervisor

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Overseeing the VFX for feature films from concept to delivery. This includes concept development, on-set photography and supervision of artists.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I sometimes get to be an actor.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Working with creative artists both on set and in the studio to develop original artwork.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Answering emails.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
1am

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Professional dog walker

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION?
My mother was an artist and my father was a computer programmer… I didn’t have many other options.

My Cousin Rachel

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS?
T2 Trainspotting and My Cousin Rachel.

WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
’71 and The Theory of Everything.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Headphones, Side Effects Houdini and light bulbs.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Instagram — I’m @jjjjjjames

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
Yes…… anything and everything.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I spend time away from work with nice people.

Behind the Title: Alma Mater EP/producer Ben Apley

NAME: Ben Apley

COMPANY: Alma Mater

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Alma Mater is a visual studio dedicated to design, live action and animation. Our work has a strong foundation in design, and includes projects in traditional commercial advertising, as well as entertainment, and often includes digital extensions, branding and experiential executions.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Executive Producer/Producer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
As executive producer, I target new opportunities, work with sales reps to strategically figure out how to pursue new business and manage the overall flow of the office from a business and resource standpoint. As producer, I manage production workflow and communicate project goals, needs, etc. to our clients.

My primary responsibility is putting the creative team in the best possible place to succeed. If you do that, then everything else kind of falls into place.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
There isn’t an established “right way” to try to do this job. The role really does shift around a lot based on where you are in the sales and production cycle, and you have to be comfortable adapting to immediate needs while still planning for longer-term business strategies.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Closing on new business.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Turning down new opportunities when we’re too busy. That kills me.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
After my children go to sleep.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Pursuing a career as a professional basketball player.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
When I was in college, I had a journalism internship at a news agency based in Washington, DC, one spring, and then a production internship in Chicago later that summer. I realized during the production internship that everyone on the crew appeared to be pretty happy while the journalists I followed always seemed kind of angry. So I decided to pursue production.

Rough Night

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
We just finished a campaign for Lennox, the title sequence for the movie Rough Night and a series of commercials launching the 2018 Ford F-150.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Early on in my career, I produced the original Marvel theatrical logo animation. I remember being so excited to see something I had worked on in the movie theater.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My phone, my computer, and my car.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
Sometimes I like to play “Everyday I’m Hustlin’” by Rick Ross while I work on bids.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I have three children who bring me back to reality on a regular basis.

Behind the Title: PS260 editor Matt Posey

NAME: Matt Posey

COMPANY: PS260 (@ps260nyc)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
PS260 is a boutique editorial house (with offices in Venice, California and New York City) specializing in commercials, music videos and features. We also have a motion graphics and visual effects department. We’re a small team that fosters real creativity and experimentation in the work that we do.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Editor

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Editing is essentially taking video, audio and images and crafting them into the most effective telling of a story. It is an extremely collaborative process that involves many components — understanding the technology, working with directors/writers/creatives, coordinating sound and effects — but at its heart, editing is telling a compelling visual story over time.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I suppose for people who aren’t a part of the post process the most surprising thing might be how drastically a story can change in the edit. There’s that saying that a film (or short, or commercial, or whatever) is written three times: first as a script, then as it ends up being shot and finally as it’s edited. Very rarely does a final product end up as “boarded,” and I still find it amazing how such small changes can completely change the viewer’s idea of what’s happening on the screen — what if we held this shot so the character blinks weirdly one more time? Or how about we add a sound effect of his keys rustling? What if we open with the other character so now we’re in their POV for the rest of the scene?

Depeche Mode

Editors can frequently act as fixers — with the stress and unpredictability of productions, things don’t often go the way they’re planned and the editors are then tasked with making sense of a puzzle with missing pieces. I love being challenged to find some outrageous way to tell the story, and we want to tell it with the material that’s in front of us.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Sometimes these creative solutions to production problems work really well and sometimes they feel a bit lacking. It’s at these times you know these problems could have been solved if editorial was involved earlier in the process. I’ve been lucky to be involved in some projects through pre and post production and, along with minimizing prep in post and allowing for more time to be spent on creative editorial, potential issues were caught and ironed out before they became bigger concerns.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Lunchtime is always a pretty great thing. PS260 makes sure we’re all well fed.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Probably desperately trying to garner YouTube hits for my speculative fiction essay videos.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I’ve been editing since I was a kid, re-editing Star Wars audio books on cassette tape to tell new stories. Later, I began capturing analog video that I shot or recorded from the TV with a Dazzle Movie Star box and editing in Adobe Premiere 5.0 (I never thought I’d go back to Premiere almost 20 years later, but I did). I always knew I wanted to work with video and loved to experiment with new effects and ways to craft a story, so I went to art school and got a degree in video art. After that I found I needed to make rent, so getting paid to do what I love was the easiest decision I’ve ever made.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Recently, I’ve done a lot of video work for Depeche Mode. The director Tim Saccenti and I created the live visuals for their current tour, along with two performance music videos and three 360 music videos, which should be out very soon!

I’ve also just finished a wonderful feature documentary, Illustrated Man (left), about tattooed men and the history of tattooing in NYC, with director Sophy Holland. Currently, I’m working on some videos for Elizabeth Arden, starring Reese Witherspoon.

YOU HAVE WORKED ON ALL SORTS OF PROJECTS. DO YOU PUT ON A DIFFERENT HAT WHEN CUTTING FOR A SPECIFIC GENRE?
The goal of every project is the same: to make the audience feel what you want them to feel, whether it’s laughter or sadness, or that rush of adrenaline as they’re making their way home from the theater. But each project comes with its own set of limitations.

With TV spots, you’re confined to 30 or 60 seconds and you have to temper your grand ideas of how best to tell the story with the economy of time, not to mention the sometimes limiting concerns of the brand or product you’re representing. Long form and features can allow you all the time you may need, but you have to be mindful of the audience’s attention span.

The best thing you can do is continually learn, and have at-the-ready techniques to help you with a specific form or genre, like knowing when to be in a wide or a close-up shot, using the camera’s distance to create tension or reveal emotion. Or in a comedy, for example, knowing not to reveal new information right after a big joke because the audience will miss it while they’re laughing (thanks Ren & Stimpy).

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
My first feature, We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew, was an incredible learning experience for me. It taught me so much about how to cut dialogue, build out a scene and carry a character’s emotional arc across 90 minutes. Plus, it’s just a really cool film.

WHAT DO YOU USE TO EDIT?
Right now I’m using Adobe Premiere CC 2017. The recent updates have finally stolen me away from Avid and Final Cut.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLUG-IN?
This is like asking someone what their favorite book or movie is, so it’ll probably change depending on the day of week. Right now I’m into using stock reverb plug-ins, or things like iZotope Vinyl to mix in sound elements in interesting ways. Tomorrow it could be star wipes.

ARE YOU OFTEN ASKED TO DO MORE THAN EDIT? IF SO, WHAT ELSE ARE YOU ASKED TO DO?
Definitely. Because of the progression of technology, clients are expecting more and more, and the divide between offline and online is narrowing. I do a lot of the online effects in the edit, whether it’s motion graphics, correcting eye lines when the actors stray, or comping split screens.

In the features and music videos I work on, I have a lot of freedom to work on bigger CG shots and effects set pieces, which is always a lot of fun.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Of course, no one can live without their phone nowadays. It does help a lot for my job as well, allowing me to remote in to my workstation to check on a render or reference an EDL at a session.

The other two would be my corded Apple full-size keyboard and Logitech M500 mouse. They’re amazingly simple tools, but they make things so much easier.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
It’s all about having a good work-life balance, which is an issue most editors have to grapple with. Fortunately, I have some amazing people in my life who make sure to occasionally pull me away from all the screens.

Behind the Title: Broadcast Management Group’s Todd Mason

NAME: Todd Mason

COMPANY: Broadcast Management Group (BMG) with offices in DC, NYC and LA.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Broadcast Management Group (BMG) is a video production company that focuses on music, news and entertainment events. We work with networks, event companies and digital media companies on multi-camera productions live to air or live to the web. We handle all of the technical design, engineering and management for each production as well as all the crewing, transmissions and overall logistics.

Additionally, we provide creative and editorial solutions as well as broadcast consulting services. We like to think of ourselves as a one-stop-shop for live production.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
CEO and Executive in Charge of Production.

Live streaming for Mashable during SXSW was one recent job for BMG.

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
As CEO, I’m involved in all of the day-to-day activity for the company as well as long-term strategic planning and client development. During our live productions, I serve as the executive in charge of production, in which I’m responsible for all aspects of the production. My job is to ensure that everything is running smoothly – from a technical, editorial and personnel perspective – and deal with any last-minute changes.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
Like most CEOs, I’m involved in all facets of the company — business development, accounting, marketing, etc. I think people would be surprised by how much of the hands-on work I participate in.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
It’s hard to explain to people outside of the industry, but there’s an adrenaline rush that you get during a live production. That’s my favorite part of the job. At BMG, we like to say that we’re adrenaline junkies.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Being on the road constantly is a challenge for me and my family.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Early morning before everyone else is in the office and there aren’t any distractions.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Growing up I wanted to be a truck driver. I don’t know what it was that drew me to that, but I always told my parents it was something I wanted to do. Luckily, I found television production instead.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
When I was growing up, the church I attended started to televise their weekly church services. I was fascinated by all of the technology and the live production aspect. I was able to negotiate my way into being on the production crew — even though I was younger than the required age limit — and I was immediately hooked.

The Oscars party for IMDb.


CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?

In February, Broadcast Management Group produced a live Oscars Watch Party for IMDb. The program consisted of a 30-minute pre-show, 30-minute post show and a three-hour second screen show that ran concurrent to the Oscars broadcast. The show streamed live on Twitter and Twitch and drew 13 million viewers. After that, we produced live programming for Mashable during SXSW in Austin. Our program streamed live on Twitter and featured interviews with actors, celebrities and musicians. Currently, we’re in the middle of two large consulting projects for TD Ameritrade and Verizon and will be producing some additional live programming at San Diego Comic-Con in July.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
About a year ago, we completed a consulting project for the International Center for Journalists. We built out a full production operation in Karachi, Pakistan at a local university. It was designed to train aspiring journalists and newsroom crews and allow them to hone their craft. It was great to be part of such an ambitious project, especially one that has a positive impact on people’s lives and contributes to the broadcast community as a whole.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My iPhone (since I’m always on it), my laptop and Google Drive (which I’ve just learned to love).

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
LinkedIn and Facebook mostly.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
I do. Mostly whatever comes up in my iTunes playlist.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Excersing and keeping up with my landscaping at home.