What are you currently cutting? (Or your most recent cut?)
Currently working on some lifestyle webisodes for the NEW YORK TIMES. I just finished a show called GIRL CODE for MTV. Pretty much the same demographics.
Where did you grow up and when did you decide you that you were an editor?
I still haven’t decided that I’m an editor. And I still haven’t grown up.
What was your first cut you were credited as editor?
I started out in commercials, so my first “client” was NUTRISYSTEM. They kept me solidly booked for about a year and a half before I came in one day and heard that NutriSystem had filed for chapter 11 and all their office doors were padlocked. That ended that.
What’s one thing you’ve seen in the past 5 years that’s influenced something that you’ve cut?
This is going to sound cheesy, but I am continually influenced by and learning from my colleagues in the industry. I worked on a Discovery show last summer where an editor named JIM GAYNOR took an act I had cut and gave it a polish and did some really nice stuff to it. It always pisses me off when someone thinks of things that I didn’t, but that kind of thing always reminds me that as much as I complain, there’s always a way to make it better – and there are always editors out there who will do it if you give them a shot.
Who gave you your first break? Who’s one person you owe thanks to, for getting you to where you are now?
There are SO MANY people I have to thank and it seems like more of those people appear every day. But I think for my first break, I have to thank GREGG SUSKIN and JOHN PALESTRINI for hiring me as a “Backup Messenger” (not even a full messenger!) at Palestrini Film Editing some 20 years ago, and then giving me the opportunity to play with the editing equipment and learn from so many masterful editors.
What’s your degree in?
TV, Radio Film Production, believe it or not.
What do you look for in a good AE?
There are so many inappropriate answers to this – but I’m gonna play it safe and say a can-do attitude, a willingness to learn and tenacity not to give up if they can’t figure it out the first time. Everything else is gravy.
How did you approach your career trajectory?
My career continues to feel like a roller coaster – not only in its ups and downs, but in how little control I have over it. You just have to sit back and enjoy the ride, no matter which way you’re going. Easier said than done.
What’s the most important thing you put into your projects?
Time. And I say that because, as my career is leading me more into TV instead of Commercials, I find that the most coveted asset in an editor is speed. I’m fast, but I don’t enjoy being fast. I’d much rather watch all the footage, find the gem moments and know that I have the best cut possible. More often than not, it seems like that is not possible working on a TV show. I have a lot of respect for editors who can blow through a cut superfast. I’ve been starting to do that and am getting better at it, but I really don’t enjoy it.
When approaching a scene, what’s your process?
When I have the time, I really like to watch all the footage, pick selects, and really know the film before I start cutting. I always end up with a better product that way and it generally makes the back end revisions go much faster. Sadly, I almost never get a chance to do that any more.
What’s the one project you’re most proud to have your name on?
I think π, which I did 15 years ago, still opens the most doors for me. More recently, I did some films for a a world premiere of a set of Phillip Glass pieces with Benjamin Millepied that I was pretty proud of – mostly because I thought I really brought something to them creatively. I always feel more satisfied when I feel like I’ve contributed.
Stock Music Libraries. Is there one that you actually like?
Propeller Music – but mostly because the main composer, Doug Hall, is a genius.
Where is your Match Frame key mapped?
F2 of course! It was F1 (where it SHOULD be) but that doesn’t work on PC's...
Mouse, Tablet or Track Ball?
Mouse, although I have dabbled with tablet – it’s what all the kids are doing these days.
Sitting or Standing?
Sitting but Stand-curious.
FCP, Avid, or Premiere?
FCP and Avid. I think I like both equally now.
Mac or PC?
Easier to Cut: Comedy or Drama?
I’m gonna go with drama because it’s so hard to know what’s going to play as funny. Drama you just throw in some music and Bang!
Childhood movie/show that made you want to work in the industry?
I decided I wanted to work in this industry after attending a taping of LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN. (Yes, Late Night – not Late Show). The way the crew flowed like clockwork amazed me.
Anything I can direct. Or anything involving nudity.
How long have been an editor?
20 years. Oy.
Oren Sarch is a member of New York Editors Collectve.