Tag Archives: Kristine Pregot

Catching up with Foundation Edit’s Jason Uson

By Kristine Pregot

Austin’s Foundation Editorial is a four-year-old editorial facility founded by editor Jason Uson. Nice Shoes and Foundation Edit have been working together since 2014, when our companies launched a remote partnership allowing clients in Austin to work with Nice Shoes colorists in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis. So, when it came time to pick a location for our 2016 SXSW party, which we hosted with our friends at Sound Lounge, Derby Content and Audio Network, Foundation Edit was a natural choice.

In-between the epic program of parties, panels and screenings, I was able to chat with Jason about his edit shop, SXSW, remote color, and the tattoo artist giving out real tattoos at our party…

What was the genesis of Foundation Editorial?
I started my career at Rock Paper Scissors, and spent four years there learning from the best. I then freelanced all over Los Angeles at the top shops and worked with some of the most talented editors in the industry, both in broadcast and film. I always dreamed of having my own shop and after years of building amazing relationships, it was time.

What platforms do you edit on?
I am an Media Composer editor. I always have been, but I haven’t touched it in over two years. Apple FCP 7 has been our go-to, as well as Adobe Premiere. They are both amazing tools, but there is something special about Avid Media Composer that I miss.

How many editors do you have at Foundation Edit?
We have two editors: myself and Blake Skaggs. Our styles are different, but our workflow is very similar. It’s nice to have someone with his caliber of talent working alongside me.

How do you usually spend SXSW?
I usually spend SXSW in my edit bay, typically booked on some fun projects. I was lucky enough this year to get Sunday off for the party. I hit up a few movies and shows.

How did the 2016 SXSW party come together?
It was a no-brainer. We are lucky to be in the heart of it all and surrounded by so much creativity. We have a great location that lends itself to hosting our clients, friends and colleagues, but with so many people involved and with SXSW being as big as it is, it was no small fete. It had its challenges, but in the end it was a great success.

The tattoo artist at the party was amazing. 
My partner, Transistor Studios, came up with the idea, and I thought it was a perfect fit for us. We all have tattoos and love the process, and we thought it would be a great addition to the party. Damon Meena, Aaron Baumle and Jamie Rockaway flew our tattoo artist, Mike Lucena, in from Brooklyn.

What’s your favorite thing about Austin?
That’s a loaded question. There is so much to love about Austin. I think it starts with the spirit of the city. Austin is a genuine community of people that celebrate and encourage talent, creativity and artistry. It’s in the DNA of who Austin is. Although the city is growing at a massive pace, and we all see and feel the changes, there is still that heart — that core Austin feeling. Let’s be honest though, the food is a major favorite! I’ll just leave you with some key words: barbeque and tacos.

Before I let you go, can you talk about the last collaboration between Nice Shoes and Foundation Edit?
Nice Shoes colorist Gene Curley outdid himself this time working on See What They See for Walgreens. We created six long-form pieces, three 30-second spots, and somewhere in the area of 50 social videos.

GSD&M’s Group creative director, Bryan Edwards, and his team — Joel Guidry, Gregg Wyatt and Barrett Michaels — worked with associate producer Dylan Heimbrock. They went to Uganda and put cameras in kids’ hands to, “See What They See.” So their campaign needed two “looks.” The beauty of Uganda for the first look, and then our second look needed to not only be beautiful and thoughtful, but different enough to tell the story through these kids’ eyes.

Gene really found that common thread that it needed to be successful. It’s really an amazing service to be able to collaborate with the entire team of Nice Shoes colorists in realtime between New York City and Austin.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.

Sundance 2016: My festival to-do list

By Kristine Pregot

As a first time Sundancer, I don’t have much expectations to be managed. I am simply thrilled at the opportunity to watch some great films and spend time with friends out west, but I do have a few things that are certainly high on my agenda for the week.

Lovesong

LoveSong, directed by So Yong Kim.

1. Promote our film in the festival — LoveSong
I am very excited for the premiere of LoveSong (competing in the dramatic competition) It was a pleasure to work with the film’s director So Yong Kim. Nice Shoes’ Sal Malfitano graded the film in Baselight, working very closely with So and the film’s two DPs to create a natural and wonderful tone for the film through color. The movie was also edited by So, and she established a a beautiful rhythm in the cut. The acting is just so natural — the characters and performances truly stay with you. I can’t wait to hear the reactions from festival goers.

2.  Check Out Sundance’s Brand’s Digital Storytelling Conference
This year, advertising agencies will have a chance to shine and compete in the festival! I am proud to admit that I am an “ad nerd.”  I have a fascination with advertising and how brands reach their audience. In our digital age — commercials are clearly not what they used to be and have expanded with the potential of new technologies.

Sundance has grown into one of the most important gatherings of independent storytelling, and the festival attracts creative thought leaders from around the world. Increasingly, brands and agencies are partnering with storytellers and journalists to create engaging content. So the opportunity to screen and network with the most talented storytellers sounds like a lot of fun. I really admire what brands are doing with short form storytelling and thrilled to see this competition at the festival.

3. Experience the New Frontier (in the Wild West)
The New Frontier exhibit at Sundance is now in it’s 10th year!!  I have heard from festival-goers in the past that this is where cutting-edge technology is experienced and tested by creative/thought leaders. The New Frontier showcases cinematic works and virtual reality installations, which include an extensive line-up of documentary and narrative mobile VR experiences.

I can’t wait to explore the future of our industry and have a sneak peek at what is being developed by these media research labs.

4.  Keeping My Options Open
I am the type of festival-goer who keeps my options open. Yes, there are films I want to see and old friends I will connect with, but there is a magic that happens at festivals when you catch wind of a hot buzz and discover something unexpected.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


‘Fix it in…Prep?’ panel via Produced By: New York

Focusing on the value of getting post artists involved early

By Kristine Pregot

Working as a producer for the past 10 years, I have watched — along with many fellow producers — the enormous changes in technology and post workflows. The days of digitizing Digi Betas are long gone. It is truly an amazing and exciting time for post.

Producers are constantly (sometimes desperately) striving to stay current with advances in post production. So we at Nice Shoes thought it would be great to share the latest post workflows with the New York television and film community by participating in a panel at Produced By: New York, which was held last month at the Time Warner Center. We collaborated with partners FilmLight and Sony to develop this concept and co-sponsor the discussion.

Kristine Pregot introducing the Produced By "Fix It In Prep" panel.

Kristine Pregot introducing the “Fix It In… Prep?” panel.

The panel included experts who shared their tips on how to save time, money and, most importantly, headaches.

The discussion was moderated by Jennifer Lane, post production supervisor/secretary of the Post NY Alliance. She has supervised projects such as Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Into the Woods. Lane acknowledged that while most producers have a strong concept of what they want a project to look like, they don’t always consider editorial, visual effects, music or color grading during the pre-production phase. Bringing post artists into the conversation at the start of a project leads to enhancing imagery rather than “fixing” it in post, she emphasized.

Other members of the panel included Alison Beckett (Kill the Messenger, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Bessie); Brad Carpenter (Vinyl, Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie); Nice Shoes colorist Chris Ryan; Peter Saraf (About Ray, Safety Not Guaranteed, Little Miss Sunshine); Psyop senior VFX supervisor Dan Schrecker (Hail Caesar!, Black Swan); and Tim Squyres (Life of Pi, Unbroken).

L-R:  Peter Saraf, Chris Ryan and Brad Carpenter.

L-R: Peter Saraf, Chris Ryan and Brad Carpenter.

This panel talked about collaborating with their post teams and sharing how the early reliance on their skills and experience expanded the possibilities for the project. There were even a few funny stories of how post saved the day. One example involved a song swap for a key scene that was saved by the editor. Another involved a crafty blend of visual effects and editorial skills that allowed filmmakers to create an exciting new ending for a film that previously ended in a mundane way.

Summing up, filmmaking is a team sport, and with new technologies blurring the lines between production and post, we are all in this together. So, yes, you can fix it in post, but it will cost you!

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


Blog: The Hamptons International Film Festival 2015  

By Kristine Pregot

Recently, I attended the 23rd annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) — one of the East Coast’s best — which offers amazing films along with some gorgeous fall foliage by the ocean. It was a great weekend, one where I, quite, literally rubbed elbows with Alec Baldwin at a film screening — I ended up getting the armrest BTW.

Nice Shoes was a sponsor of this year’s festival, which was founded to showcase independent film — long, short, fiction and documentary — and to introduce a unique and varied spectrum of international films and filmmakers to the New York market. The festival is committed to exhibiting films that offer global perspectives and innovative messaging, with the hope that these programs will enlighten audiences.

Our sponsorship contribution to the festival was an in-kind service of color grading for the festival’s Best Documentary Feature Film Award, which went to David Shapiro for his documentary, Missing People.  It was a compelling story, taking the view deep into dark worlds of art and violence.

The Nice Shoes crew, including

The Nice Shoes crew, including Kristine Pregot, (fourth from left).

HIFF is an Oscar-qualifying festival for short films, and they host various competitions, including a series that focuses specifically on early-career filmmakers. The festival also helps to develop a discussion around their films, both within the film community and beyond.

HIFF also ensures that films screened in the festival garner attention and coverage, by working closely with the New York Film Critics Circle, a group of NY based film writers who come out to screen and recap this year’s buzz-worthy films.

NYWIFT (New York Women In Film and Television) had a nice presence at the festival, with the organization hosting a joint venture for the 13th year with the festival organizers, called “Women Calling the Shots.” This series gives voice to the creative visions of women through film and video, including narrative, documentary, animation and experimental works.

They generously hosted a brunch on Sunday morning where filmmakers gathered to discuss films in the festival as well as upcoming projects. The organization awarded several scholarships, grants and other awards. The brunch made me extremely proud to be a member of the women filmmaking community in New York.

That evening, Nice Shoes co-hosted a party with the festival organizers for the filmmakers at the lovely East Hampton hang, Race Lane. We had a blast chatting with filmmakers about upcoming projects around the lovely fireplace.

In a nutshell, the Hamptons International Film Festival offers an amazing opportunity to connect with an array of talented artists. We can’t wait to do it again next year.


Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


What I saw at the Toronto Film Fest 2015

By Kristine Pregot

For the 40th year, the city of Toronto has hosted one of the world’s biggest international movie festivals. I headed up to the festival to scout and chat with directors about future collaborations with Nice Shoes artists. The streets were swarming with some of the biggest names of Hollywood, Bollywood and stars from the silver screen of China. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) truly lives up to its status as an international festival. Every continent (except for Antarctica) had films showcased.

The festival drew the biggest film enthusiasts (cough, film nerds), from around the world to screen films, meet filmmakers and attend industry panels. The two-week festival shows over 100 films per day… that’s a lot of popcorn sales.

It’s mind boggling to make selections on what to see, because there will always inevitably be FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I started the festival watching the film Brooklyn. It is a beautifully made film, capturing the mood of Brooklyn immigrants in the 1940s. The filmmaker captured the beautiful and diverse melting pot that is New York. The film’s costumes, set design and art direction alone made the film worth seeing. And more than just a few tears flowed while I watched this film on September 11.

I met Cynthia Wade, the producer of Freeheld, at a Producers Guild event, and she talked about how she directed the Oscar-winning short of the same name. She had read a New York Times article about terminally ill New Jersey police officer Laurel Hester and her legal battle to pass on her pension benefits to her domestic partner. Wade sought out the women and knew she had to make this into a film. After hearing her story, I knew I had to add that feature to my screening list. It was a deeply moving film and to hear how it came to be made was a true inspiration.

Out of all the films I watched,  I Smile Back may have been one of the most depressing (in a virtuous way). Sarah Silverman’s character was extremely persuasive and I am not sure I will ever see her in the light, ever again. After watching this film, I felt like I had to go to confession.

By far the best thriller I screened was Green Room. Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier nailed it with this Midnight Madness pick. The film had a gritty tone, featuring punk rock, skinheads, killer dogs and Patrick Stewart — I can’t think of spookier combination.

Green Room's Jeremy Saulnie, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner and Joe Cole.

Panel: the cast of ‘Green Room’

During my time in Toronto, I was able to attend a few panels as well. One of the most educational ones detailed the Canadian tax incentives. Between the exchange rate, and the amazing cash back for post and VFX, it is no surprise so many filmmakers are turning to our friends up north for a hand.

The best tip I can provide for anyone attending next year’s festival is this: be sure to grab a drink at the Shangri-La bar. It is a very elegant hub between screenings — great drinks and fun celebrity sightings. Plus, you can eavesdrop on some of the best “for my next feature” pitching happening all around the bar.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.

‘Live From New York’…. it’s Mari, the doc’s editor

Kristine Pregot, a long-time post supervisor who is now a senior producer at New York City’s Nice Shoes, sat down with Mari Keiko Gonzalez to chat about the editorial process on Live From New York!, an 81-minute documentary focusing on the 40-year history of the iconic television show Saturday Night Live, particularly the early years.

Pregot had worked with Gonzalez (@marikeikog) on Jay-Z’s Live from MSG: Answer the Call, and while Nice Shoes didn’t have any involvement in the film, Pregot thought this was a great story to share. So enjoy this conversation between to working pros and friends.

So I guess let’s just start from the beginning. How did you get involved with Live From New York!?
Executive producer JL Pomeroy and I worked together before. She has this events company called Jumpline — her clients are Cartier, David Yurman, Tiffany and the Costume Designer Guild Awards. So she is a woman who knows how to throw a party.  I met her through a producer who was hoping to turn the Costume Designer Guild Awards into a TV show. And here’s this woman who’s super smart, I mean she’s like the most incredible marketer that I have ever met in my life. Anyway, the first time she ever did a television show — The Costume Designer Guild Awards, which aired on Reelz — I was her editor.

Mari Keiko Gonzalez

So you were her “first.”
Yes. You have your first editor, and that’s like your first love — I’ve just worked with her ever since. During our second year doing the Costume Designer Guild Awards for television, we were editing at Broadway Video (owned by SNL’s Lorne Michael’s), and it happened that Lorne’s costume designer Tom Broecker, who is the other executive producer on the film, was there.

I did think it was interesting that a costume designer was the EP on Live From New York.
Lorne was getting an award, and Tom has a ton of awards — he also was the designer for House of Cards for the first season and set the look for the show that everybody talks about. JL always wanted to do something with Lorne and he loved the costumes vignette in the middle of the awards show. I didn’t edit that package — JL has an LA-based team of people that do those sizzles— but we incorporated that montage into the show. Lorne really loved it and Jack Sullivan, who is the president of Broadway Video, did as well. So I emailed Jack and asked him to meet JL Pomeroy. She had meetings with Lorne and she became really good friends with Tom. She also had meetings with Bob Greenblatt, who’s the head of NBC. Everybody said yes.

She pitched the whole film?  
Originally they were suppose to be like interstitials, but they ended up being welcomed into the fabric of telling the story of 40 years of Saturday Night Live.

All of a sudden we were in 8H shooting all of these people — from Chevy Chase to Laraine Newman to Frank Rich, Bill O’Reilly, Mayor Giuliani, Garrett Morris, Chris Rock — it was amazing. They wanted to talk about Saturday Night Live and how in a lot of ways Lorne was really ahead of his time. He’s a very private person and you don’t really see him on camera much in this film. He was so young to be given that opportunity. The show took form and they became instant celebrities.

They were saying a lot of really racy things that nobody wanted to talk about. Jane Curtin says it too — they were sick of the Vietnam War, they were sick of Watergate and they needed to talk about it. Saturday Night Live was the perfect platform for that. Even Tom Brokaw, who is another one of our subjects, was so candid and wonderful. He was in NBC doing the Nightly News and he would hang out with a lot of the cast afterwards and would go to the shows a lot.

I worked on a show with Chris Rock on Totally Biased, and he would give all the writers lessons by always referring back to Lorne and the “the SNL Comedy School”… how to push buttons and continue to push buttons.  
Exactly. Chris Rock talked about Lorne like, “We’re gonna go toe to toe.” You know, he loves Lorne. Also he’s very appreciative of all the people he learned from when he was there. There is no other show that is live, where they’re building sets every week and people are really part of the whole process. They sew costumes, and things can get cut in dress rehearsal, and then you have to do something else.

Studio 8H

Studio 8H

What was so interesting to me is that the viewer learns that every single person on the crew — the director, the stagehands, the cue card people, the writers, the lighting people — has to be “on point.”
Right, everybody. You can’t miss your mark. You can’t because then the house of cards will go down. You know it’s like everybody’s role is so vital to the 11:30pm time slot. They have a process that they do Monday through Saturday, but every week is different because the content is different. It’s like doing live theater. I’ve been to the show a few times before I worked on the film, and it’s really incredible to see how they wheel those sets in and out and how they build them out in the studio. It’s amazing.

I love that you incorporated so many components of the set creation as well. I didn’t realize how involved the set constructions are.
It’s a big part of it. It’s a huge part of the show. From the performers to the writers, on all these sketches, everybody is working in tandem. It was hard to do that in 81 minutes, to tell that story. It’s really the people that make the show. It’s really about you and your craft.

The movie did such a great job highlighting how Lorne really is the show. How he put it together, and then the year that he left it fell apart.
Yeah, it fell apart. Candice Bergen said, “I forgot what an incredible producer he is. The notes that he gave were spot on.” That’s what he does. He knows comedy. That’s a big task to come to New York as a young Canadian guy and find the best talent. And just because you’re talented doesn’t mean you’ll work on SNL. There are a lot of people that didn’t work well on SNL. There are so many people that got turned away. Again, they have huge careers, but I think it takes a certain kind of person to be able to do that show.

Can you speak to a little bit about the feminist component of the film?
We really wanted to show a lot of the diverse opinions about sexism and it being a boys’ club. I think it depended on the time that you were there, like Julia Louis-Dreyfus said it was absolutely sexist. Whereas Laraine Newman says it was always a meritocracy. John Belushi refused to perform in any sketches with women. He didn’t think women were funny. And he loved Gilda Radner but he and Jane famously didn’t get along. He would always try to get the women writers fired and Anne Beatts talks about that in the film.

Everybody loved Gilda and had the most wonderful things to say about her. Everybody just remembers her so fondly and I mean she’s like Lucille Ball, an incredible comic and person. The part about sexism was really interesting. I think what Tina Fey said is important — that when a room is 70/30 male to female, things are going to play differently than they might to the audience. So if the scales were more balanced, if it was 50/50 in the writers room then the people would receive the material in a different way.

Who are you going to hire? You’re going to hire your friends because that’s who you know. I think it was hard for Garrett, not just because he was African-American, but because of his background. He came from a very different background than everybody else that was on the show. There weren’t really roles for him. Keenan had to deal with that too — since there were no black women on the show he had to play women in drag. That’s what Garrett did all the time too.

I personally find it refreshing when people go to the extreme with jokes.
I think it’s hysterical. I mean look at Margaret Cho. It’s the same thing. You need to be able to make fun of yourself. She has all these running monologues about her Korean mother and it’s hysterical. I don’t think there should be a rule about what you can and cannot talk about. It’s comedy.

How did you not laugh your ass off all day long… or did you? What was it like?
We did! I was present for a lot of the New York interviews. We went to Al Franken’s office, but mostly people came to 30 Rock. They loved being in the building — it’s the history that everyone has such an attachment to. Just the interviews are hilarious and the sketches are so funny. There are ones that you want to see over and over.

You’ve edited a lot of music. How would you compare editing music to comedy?
It’s actually a really seamless transition, because when you’re editing live music or live shows, as with comedy, it’s very spontaneous. You don’t really know what’s going to happen, you sort of have a guide like a click track in comedy. If you know the material, it’s all about timing. You have to know when to edit and when to let it play. Sometimes the silence is what’s so funny. Some comedians are better at that than others. When you’re moving from topic to topic you have to be really mindful to let things breathe a little bit. It’s just a feeling. It’s just like music. People will ask, “Why did you cut it that way?” or “How did you know this was it?” The answer is, “because it feels right.”

Sometimes the editor needs to create space so the audience can enjoy the punch line and not miss the setup for the next joke. It’s about timing.

How long did the editing process take for this film?
We started slowly because we were in the midst of shooting the interviews. At first the title was Live From New York: An Expected History of America. Initially I was just editing down the interviews and pulling other archival source material. Our archivist didn’t come on until months into the movie. I think we finished the offline in 10 months, which again isn’t that long considering the amount of material.

Was that your full-time gig?
Yes, pretty much. Just the interviews alone… some were an hour long. We had Al Gore, Mayor Giuliani and a lot of the show’s writers too. We had another editor, David Osit, come on in the fall and he worked on the back end of the movie. We just kept refining it together.

So what are the next steps? Do you know yet?
It premiered at Tribeca and it’s going to screen at a few more festivals before opening in theaters in June. It’s going to open in 15 cities, which is really exciting. In the fall it’s going to air on NBC primetime.

What was your relationship with this show growing up?
I was seven when it first aired and my babysitters would always stay up to watch it on Saturday nights, and I would sneak in to watch it. I didn’t know the jokes, and I didn’t know who The Stones were, but it was just great because we got to stay up late. I’m a history geek, I’m a New Yorker and I was a political activist. It was great to be able to learn through the comedy and then to revisit that being an adult. Being able to appreciate all that humor, to be like “Oh my God I can’t believe they are saying this stuff.”