Tag Archives: Cut & Run

Jay Nelson on editing Bryan Buckley’s The Pirates of Somalia

While Cut+Run editor Jay Nelson’s list of credits includes many high-profile commercial spots — such as the Emmy-nominated and AICP-winning The Chase for Grey Poupon, as well as those for Xbox, Skechers, Hyundai and Heinz — he is no stranger to feature film editing. In fact, he most recently collaborated once again with director Bryan Buckley on The Pirates of Somalia. Buckley, who has an Oscar nomination under his belt for the 2012 short Asad, has directed over 50 Super Bowl spots since 2002, many of which were edited by Nelson.

The Pirates of Somalia, starring Evan Peters, Barkhad Abdi, Melanie Griffiths and Al Pacino, follows a young journalist who travels to Somalia to write a book on the country’s pirates. Nelson used an Avid Media Composer to cut the film. Let’s find out more.

Jay Nelson

What were the biggest creative challenges in editing the film?
I’ve had a lot of experience editing with subtitles and foreign languages. Personally, I find it to be unpleasant because you can’t just freeform flow the edit and the dialogue; you have to be cognizant of the translations and the tone. On this film, Bryan wanted to approach these scenes in an original way and not make the viewer have to work through subtitles. The challenge was to integrate Barkhad’s on-camera translation into the dialogue without being clunky, to keep the dialogue flowing from Somali to English.

It’s essentially a dialogue between two people, but with a third person adding their own character into it. Two of the scenes took close to half the time I edited the film in order to get them just right. The scenes went from an initial 12 minutes apiece to about three or four minutes, and I think they work incredibly well. I learned a lot, and I think the approach contributes to the uniqueness of the movie.

Any technical hurdles, expected or otherwise?
Honestly, the hurdles in this film were pretty standard stuff, which is refreshing. The language and the clarity of dialogue throughout is something I spent a considerable amount of time dialing into shape. We didn’t have to “fix” anything. Bryan and his crew just laid it all out beautifully.

As someone who is known for largely comedic narratives, what did you learn on this feature about dramatic content?
I don’t draw too much distinction between editing comedy and editing drama. I just take it one minute at a time when making a feature. But Bryan is a very funny person, and naturally it’s easy for him to infuse humor into things, and it’s natural for me to want to accentuate that because he and I both like to laugh as much as we like making other people laugh. The challenge with this and all things I get to create with him is making sure the humor is deftly placed and balanced with the drama. We spent a lot of time determining the right balance. It is a film with a message, and it’s often gripping to watch. So we paid attention to our beats and reminded ourselves never to cloud the purpose.

How long have you been working with Bryan, and what are some of your favorite collaborations?
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with Bryan for five years now. The first project was an incredible spot for Grey Poupon called The Chase. I think I grasped his vision and we agreed on everything. In fact, rarely do we not see eye to eye. He makes my job easy. I can’t honestly pick a favorite collaboration. We’ve done all manner of media together (including the 2015 feature The Bronze). When I do get to work with him, it’s always purely about the love of doing what I do with someone who is a master at what they do. It’s about the friendship and the laughs for me. I’m lucky to get that on anything I do with him.

How has your process together evolved?
He’s a great communicator and is always available when it’s about the job. I wake up to his emails and get cracking. All great collaborations are about synergy and removing the guesswork. I can relate it to sports or music — the more you practice with someone, the easier it is to know what they’re thinking and what they intend. That’s the evolution, and it’s always been free of the BS and insincerity. I genuinely love the way he sees things. He’s taught me a lot about improving at my profession, and I’ve learned a lot about life from him as well.

Any advice for short-form editors looking to expand into features?
Take it one minute at a time, and don’t be overwhelmed. Any other advice than that might come across as jaded. Features stand the test of time when they’re good, and they actually mark periods of your life as all great works of art should when you suffer for them. There’s a lot of reward in that legacy. But not every editor is cut out for features. It’s a different discipline, the politics are different, and so is the discipline of objectivity. Choose your projects wisely. There’s nothing worse than being two weeks in on a feature and realizing that maybe it’s not your cup of tea, or you don’t connect with the execution. We sacrifice a lot when we vanish to make a film, so make sure it’s worth it and it’s really what you want to be doing.

From having projects at film festivals to editing ads for the Super Bowl, you’ve had an exciting career trajectory. What’s next?
When I started my pursuit of an editing career I vowed to approach it like I was training to be a surgeon. I wanted to understand all the jobs of the people I’d work with — producers, VFX artists, assistants, reps, directors. In some form or another I’ve embodied all of those roles along the way. Part of that vow was to embrace the notion that one is forever a student of the craft.

As I continue that pursuit this coming year I’ll be taking improv and acting classes because I’ve just never done it. I don’t have designs of being on-screen, but I know it will only round out my understanding of editing performance. Beyond that, my fundamental goal as an editor is to expand my knowledge of the language of film — I’m constantly searching to discover that treatment to add a technique to the dictionary of editing — to approach something in a whole new way. There’s an expanding universe of techniques out there, and I’ll keep doing this as long as I feel challenged and retain that desire to search. Inspiration from collaborating with the likes of Bryan Buckley will also keep the sails full. Long may it last.

Editor Eve Ashwell now at The Assembly Rooms

Eve Ashwell has joined London-based The Assembly Rooms as editor and partner, in both Europe and the US.

Ashwell is well known for her comedy and narrative work, regularly teaming up with directors such as Daniel Kleinman and Pete Riski (Rattling Stick), Noam Murro (Biscuit), Charlie Crane (Knucklehead) and Mark Mulloy (Smuggler). During the past 12 years as an editor and partner at Cut + Run (working with all its locations) she won a multitude of honors, including recognition from the AICE Awards, British Arrows, D&ADs and the Creative Circle.

The Assembly Rooms has been active in the US market since the beginning of this year, when it brought on New York-based executive producer Mary Knox. Her representation company, Minerva Content, handles The Assembly Rooms nationally. Ashwell, who has a growing reputation with US-based agencies and companies, helps their name recognition in the States.

While she is based in London, Ashwell has worked with such US agencies as Deutsch, Wieden + Kennedy and Energy BBDO. Recent projects includes ads and content for brands such as Coca-Cola, Ikea, Zillow, Axe and McDonald’s, as well as an emotive new spot for Wrigley’s Extra Gum that has received over 70 million views online.

2015 AICE Awards: Cut + Run’s Sam Ostrove wins Best in Show

At the 2015 AICE Awards, held May 14 at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, the four-minute Volvo Vintersaga (pictured below) film from the Swedish ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors, edited by Sam Ostrove of Cut + Run, was named Best in Show. The film also won Ostrove the AICE Award in the Automotive category.

AICE Best in Show Vintersaga from VolvoAICE_BestInShow_Vintersaga_Volvo3main

Editors Graham Chisholm of Married to Giants, Chris Franklin of Big Sky Editorial, Joe Guest of Final Cut, Nadav Kurtz of Cutters and Adam Pertofsky of Rock Paper Scissors each won two AICE Awards. Chisholm won in the Public Service category for work for Cundari’s CIBC Run for the Cure and in Best of Toronto for the Toronto Raptors. Franklin won in the Dialogue/Monologue/ Spoken Word category for American Express and in National Campaign for E*Trade. Guest won in the Montage category for Lurpak and in Storytelling for John Lewis. Kurtz won in the Online Campaign category (which he shared with Cutters editor Cameron Yergler) for CVS and in Under 50K for Wingmate. Pertofsky won in the Fashion/Beauty and Best of Los Angeles categories for his work for Levi’s.

Rock Paper Scissors editor Damion Clayton won for a Beats by Dre spot in the Alternative Media – Over :90 category while editor Biff Butler won in the Best of New York category for work for Adidas.

Beast editors took home three AICE Awards: Blake Bogosian won in the Alternative Media Category — :90 and Under category for Johnny Random; Karen Kourtessis won in Comedy for Hayden 5’s Hello Flo; and Jai Shukla won in Spec Spot for New Balance. Cutters editors were recognized with three AICE Awards; in addition to the winners for Kurtz and Yergler, editor Louis Lyne won in the Best of Detroit category for Ford.

The Mill editor Adam Scott won in the Color Grading category for Axe White Label, while the company’s Lisha Tan and Andrew Proctor won in the Design category for work for the Texas Lottery. Winning the Visual Effects award were Phil Crowe, Chris Bayol, Robert Sethi, Becky Porter, and Jacob Bergman for their work for DirecTV.

The full list of winners is available online at http://www.aice.org/?section=events/aice_awards_show/winners/&view_by=year:::2

Pros share what they are thankful for this season

By Randi Altman

I admit it, I am one of those people who takes the meaning of Thanksgiving for granted. At quick glance, I think Thanksgiving is about turkey, over-eating, family gatherings and a parade featuring ginormous flying cartoon characters, but the real meaning sometimes gets lost in all of that.

This year I made it a point to think about all that I have to be grateful for, and there is a lot, including, of course, my family. In addition to them, I still get giddy about having all my music on my phone and just a click away. My wrists and I are also thankful for my Wacom tablet. It’s amazing. Oh, and Colin Firth. Don’t judge me.

Work-wise, I am very grateful that I got to re-invent myself with postPerspective and how just Continue reading

Cut+Run ups Amburr Farls to head of production

Cut+Run has promoted senior producer Amburr Farls to head of production for its Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin offices.

Since joining Cut+Run in 2013, Farls has produced projects for BK Subservient Chicken Returns, Pepsi (World Cup), Turbo Tax (Super Bowl) and Miller Lite. She was previously senior producer at Arcade Edit and at Beast. She also enjoyed successful producer tenures at both FilmCore and Trailer Park.

US managing director Michelle Eskin had this to say about Faris: “She has a wide breadth of production experience gathered during her tenure in the industry. Our Cut+Run culture is an important part of our overall brand philosophy and success. Amburr enhances this with a wealth of ideas and dynamic energy each day. Additionally, Amburr will oversee our production practices and team in an effort to hone continuity and efficiency.”

“Her work on complex projects, budgeting and adept skill with clients, along with her creative cultural ideas, have helped raise our C+R bar even higher,” agreed EP Carr Schilling.

In addition to editing services, Cut+Run offers resources for visual effects, design and finishing services for advertising, entertainment and art content.

Editor Stephen Berger joins Cut+Run

Cut+Run has added editor Stephen Berger to its staff. His addition is part of the company’s strategic growth over the past year, which includes expansion into San Francisco and Austin.

Berger will be available to work from any of the Cut+Run (www.cutandrun.com) offices, including Los Angeles, New York, and London.

“Stephen is known for his creativity and has a diverse, compelling body of work,” notes US managing director Michelle Eskin. “But beyond the accolades and his talent, he naturally fits with our editing family. As we continue to grow we stay focused on a personal approach rooted in the creative; Stephen is trusted by agencies and directors for his vision and care he puts into every project.”

“I felt it was time to take the next step in my career and had some very specific ideas of what that meant and looked like, and Cut+Run checked every box for me,” says Berger.

Berger’s resume includes work for Activision, Xbox, Logitech, BMW, and Sony. Among his other high-profile projects is the Chevy Volt Super Bowl spot directed by Filip Engstrom, and a Battlefield 3 spot directed by Noam Murro, as well as the BMW clean diesel launch directed by Raf Wathion, and Ugg spots with Tom Brady directed by the Guard brothers.

He has also gained attention for “Logorama,” which earned the Academy Award for “Best Animated Short”; two Spike Jonze short films “I’m Here” and “We Were Once A Fairytale”; and Patrick Daughters’ Grizzly Bear music video “Two Weeks” which won a Yellow Pencil.

He comes to Cut+Run having just edited a Target holiday campaign via 72andSunny.