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A Newbie's Look at EditFest LA


A Newbie's Look at EditFest LA

Hillary Lewis February 29, 2024


Originally published on August 17, 2017

Presented by Blue Collar Post Collective and Professional Development Accessibility Program

Inside the auspicious event and a weekend with BCPC

Editor's Note: The Blue Collar Post Collective is a 501c3 non-profit organization that seeks to support emerging talent in all areas of post production. BCPC does this through free meet-ups and events, and a financial aid program called the Professional Development Accessibility Program (PDAP). Applications were accepted from individuals meeting income and employment requirements to provide one member flight, accommodation, and a ticket to EditFest LA. A BCPC committee chose Hillary Lewis, a short-form editor three years into her career in Indianapolis, to receive this aid in order to open up geographically limited opportunities to those who would not be able to take part in them otherwise.

Oh. my. God. They picked me .Holy crap! They PICKED me!! I couldn't believe it. Sitting there staring at the email a thousand thoughts went through my head. I pictured myself amongst legendary editors in a beautiful city I've never been to on the Disney Studios lot of all places!!

It was surreal and immediately made me anxious. Could I accept this? Did I deserve it? Could I do this all by myself? The answer, of course, was yes to all the above .how could I say no? So I took a deep breath, spiffied up my website and LinkedIn, and packed my bags.

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. My worst fear was stepping into, what I had heard to be, the LA lion's den. A room full of competitive, out-of-this-world talented people who had no reason to take me seriously. Who had been exposed to more tech, more content, and more workflows than I had ever been exposed to in Indiana. Being an editor from the midwest with a background in short-form commercial work and no film/TV (scripted or unscripted) experience, I would have nothing in common with that world or so I thought. I admit I fell into one of the biggest misconceptions about LA, that it's a dog-eat-dog world. And while that may be the case in other industries in LA (I have no idea), I'm happy to say my experience with the post-production industry and BCPC was far from it. Let me tell you why.

The Build-Up Even before leaving for LA, Blue Collar Post Collective's team was incredibly accommodating. They scheduled my flight, hotel room, conference ticket (as a guest of the incredible film historian Bobbie O'Steen), and introduced me to an array of people to ensure my trip started out on the right foot. Right away I knew their team was extremely organized and passionate about their mission, and I would be well taken care of.

I arrived at Bob Hope airport early on Friday morning and walked out of the plane onto the tarmac like a celebrity my Snapchat was lit. (Exiting a plane without a gangway isn't a common occurrence where I've flown.)

I arrived at Portofino Inn in Burbank shortly after landing, and from there, on the recommendation of Kylee Pena (BCPC's President and my point of contact in LA), I immediately walked over to Frank's Coffee Shop (attached to the lobby of the Inn). Frank's is a classic American diner and has been featured in several movies/TV shows in the past. Larry Crowne, Parks and Rec, CSI, etc. Nothing overly special about the establishment itself besides the cinematic history but if you're a local in LA it's worth the stop-in! Great classic breakfast, good classic coffee.

Shadowing After my historical breakfast I headed down to Hollywood for a day full of shadowing, graciously scheduled for me by Kylee Pena.

Viacom was my first stop shadowing Assistant Editor Noah Diamond doing a ton of digital and episodic content for Spike TV and Comedy Central. Viacom also owns MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, BET, CMT, etc., and had recently moved to their current location in January. The facility was modern and tech-savvy, with motorized desks and a plethora of editing bays.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning their workflow for social media and digital content. From shooting certain content in-house as horizontal AND vertical 4K video to re-purposing all content for every social media platform's dimensions (9:16 Snapchat, 16:9 Youtube, 1:1 Instagram etc.) This workflow resonated the most with me because of similarities that are used in my current job while creating short-form video. I enjoyed seeing Viacom taking their workflows to the next level!

I then took a short trek to shadow Kylee, Workflow Supervisor at The SIM Group, Bling Digital being her place of work and one of the MANY divisions under the SIM Group umbrella (I couldn't name them all if I tried ).

I was given short tours in the production/camera rental department, workflow dailies department, and offline/online editing departments. The building workflow was very efficient. You could try out cameras and equipment downstairs in the rental department, set up a test shot, send your test footage upstairs to the editing department, play with stylizing and color until your shots looked just right, and then take your final choice equipment out to shoot. I was pleased to meet both offline, online, and workflow dailies editors, and got a taste of each of their jobs as well.

I consider myself lucky to be exposed to both companies in the short time I was there, and was encouraged by how much more I understood than I originally thought I would. Coming from a job where the editors are expected to be a complete one-man-band, we ingest, we cut, we color, we create graphics, we add effects, we export deliverables.

Comparatively LA seems to thrive on having one specific set of skills at an expert level. It was refreshing to see you don't have to execu
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