What are you currently cutting?
I’m currently cutting a FRONTLINE and finishing up a doc feature called TEENAGE.
Where did you grow up and when did you decide that you were an editor?
Grew up in Washington Heights, NYC. One day I was a PA on a commercial shoot, literally guarding some traffic cones, and said fuck this shit, I’m gonna be an editor.
What was your first cut you were credited as editor?
I don’t remember exactly, most likely either an EPK or a news piece.
What’s one thing you’ve seen in the past 5 years that’s influenced something that you’ve cut?
I can’t say it’s directly affected the way I cut, but DEADWOOD was awesome. The film that’s made an impression on me more than anything else is FAST, CHEAP AND OUT OF CONTROL.
Who gave you your first break? Who’s one person you owe thanks to, for getting you to where you are now?
I was an intern for a guy named David Fuhrer, who owns a place called Production Central. He shared space with Scott Lochmus and Ken Druckerman. I started cutting for Scott, who gave me my first break. Wyatt Smith (an editor on this board) worked with Scott a lot and I stole all kinds of shit from him that are part of my work flow. I then started working for Ken when he was just getting things underway. If there’s anyone responsible for getting me to whatever point I’m at now it would be him. But it all leads back to David Fuhrer.
How did you approach your career trajectory?
Initially, it was all about learning and gaining experience. There’s still that, but overall I just want to work on the best project possible at that given time. That’s generally not available, so I’m content to charge a lot of money working reality.
What’s the most important thing you put into your projects?
Calm. Willingness to make decisions. A little bit of arrogance.
When approaching a scene, what’s your process?
I’m all about structure, that’s what I want first. I pull my selects, wittle them down, wittle them down some more, brick it out and create an arc for the scene. How I actually assemble that arc and map out the scene is more intuition and feel than anything else I guess.
What’s your degree in?
Just a B.A.
What do you look for in a good AE?
Someone who’s capable and actually interested in being an editor.
The one project you’re most proud?
THIS AMERICAN LIFE. The John Smith episode in particular.
Stock Music Libraries?
They’re pretty much all garbage
Match Frame key?
Mouse, Tablet or Track Ball?
Sitting or Standing?
Sitting. Considering a standing for the home setup.
FCP, Avid, or Premiere?
Avid. FCP, unfortunately, for a lot of doc stuff.
Mac or PC?
Easier to Cut: Comedy or Drama?
I don’t think there was one particular movie or show that made me want to work in the industry. My mom got me a video camera one year, that did the trick.
Yes, Mr. Spielberg I might be available. Let me check with Mr. Scorcese.
Joe is a member of New York Editors Collective