Saturday, January 17, 2009

humbling moments

yesterday, i actually got to show the footage from my documentary project to one of the editors of apocalypse now! 

lisa fruchtman was assistant editor on that film until she cut the scene where the bunnies land to do the USO show, and after coppola saw her work with that scene, he hired her on as a full-fledged editor, and in 1979 she and the the three or four other editors were nominated for an academy award. she was twenty-fucking-four. my age. she spoke a little, at my request, about what it must have been like to work on that project, which was male-dominated and extremely intense, and be a woman, and so young. she also said she chose to cut "children of a lesser god" on her own because she knew she needed to establish herself as a talent in her own right. she also talked about her experience winning an editing academy award for "the right stuff". she clearly has a gift, and she is clearly a badass. i felt like kind of an asshole to show her a bunch of crap and be like "yeah so, what do i do?", but she gave me some really insightful concepts to consider and expressed a lot of interest in the topic. she also relieved by anxiety about finishing the project by graduation, by basically saying "may is five minutes from now, and GOOD documentaries take time to find form and focus. DO NOT RUSH THIS." well, i'm convinced.  

oh yeah, and she has this anecdote of meeting kurosawa: she was editing the end of apocalypse now, and was cursing at the film strips strewn around her and he and coppola walked in on her while she had a bunch of film tangled around her neck and he just burst out laughing at her. then he gave her a copy of one of his paintings. eeesh.

also this past week, dan olmstead, our sound editing professor, took us on a field trip to zaentz media center, where lots and lots of entertainment industry professionals, including sam green, my former professor and director of academy award nominated the weather underground, have offices. we met with a professional sound designer, chatted briefly with a documentary picture editor, and toured fantasy studios, where green day's dookie, blues traveler four, and many many others were recorded. the center was founded by saul zaentz, who has produced the english patient, one flew over the cuckoo's nest, etc. etc. the offices are utterly gorgeous. 

did all of this give me something concrete to aspire to? yes. my work hasn't even begun yet. 

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