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: Meet the Southeast Creative Summit Presenters: Scott Simmons
A continuing series to get to know your Southeast Creative Summit Presenters. In this episode: Scott Simmons!
How did you get started as a freelance editor?
I was an assistant editor after film school back in the early 2000s. The advent of Final Cut Pro and affordable Avid software (as well as DV!) gave me the confidence to try freelancing. I freelanced for 7 or 8 years before going on staff at a Nashville post-production house. I stayed as a staff editor for 6 years before returning to freelancing in April of 2013. The ability to assist for several years meant I was able to meet a lot of people and make a lot of mistakes. I was also fortunate to work with a lot of good editors who were happy to teach. Now days I try to do the same.
Can you tell us about a creative challenge you’ve had in an edit recently? How did you overcome it?
Last year I had a series of 30 second spots that supplied nearly 14 hours of footage. Massive amounts of footage isn’t unusual today but this was an unusually large amount of footage for a short edit. Luckily I had an intern available at the time who was able to do some of the initial logging of the footage but for me a large part of the job was logging. I was diligent in logging the footage and using a combination of subclips, notes and comment in the bin, a star rating system and clip colors to to get through it. The properly logged footage meant it was easy to sort and find footage but as I was cutting alone but, more importantly, when the director and agency was in the edit with me.
As a freelancer, you work on all types of projects. How do stay organized when the needs of each project are so different?
I tend to approach all my jobs the same way: First talk with the director and get an idea of the project and what their vision is as well as what they experienced on the shoot. Next it’s watching the footage, organizing the footage and making notes on the footage; all before starting to cut. At that point it doesn’t matter what type of job it is as you’re approaching them all the same. Of course once you start to really build a cut your mindset will probably be different from a music video to a corporate piece to a documentary. But if the editor is organized within the NLE (and maybe on a notepad as well) and familiar with their footage they can easily move between different type of projects. We’re working outside of Hollywood here so it’s often necessary to be able to cut different types of things.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given during your career?
It’s hard to pin down one specific piece as being the best advice I was given but I think one of the most important was the advice to pick something in the film / video / tv profession and focus on doing it to the absolute best of my ability … and that was editing. In today’s world of multi-hyphenates where you have a single person doing everything from pre-production all the way through post-production the dedicated editor seems quite rare. Even with ultra-cheap gear for both production and post I still believe in the collaborative nature of filmmaking and that extra set of eyes and talents that a dedicated editor can bring to a project is of vital importance.
What can people expect from you at the Southeast Creative Summit?
I hope to stuff a lot of good information into my sessions. I tend to talk fast and jump through a lot of topics so I love for people to ask questions if there’s something they miss or if they would like me clarify or expand upon a topic. I love for attendees to ask questions at any time during a session as questions can often lead into something that I might had not thought about or planned on covering. So please … ask questions! While the Southeast Creative Summit sessions aren’t about learning a particular piece of software, I’m an editor who cuts on all the major NLEs so my sessions will touch on all three of the major NLEs.
Sign up for the Southeast Creative Summit and use the code creativecow2013 for $100 off admission.
Early Bird runs through Sept 25th and is just $495 with the code! http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/registration/