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September/October 2022

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ditor Jeff Buchanan has worked on commercials, films and televi- sion projects, including HBO's Barry, for which he received two Emmy nomina- tions. Recently, he was named partner at Final Cut (, which has offices in New York, Los Angeles and London. There, he leads the editorial roster as well as serves as a mentor. Here, Jeff shares insight into his career path and experiences. What is your background and education that led you to editorial? "I took a few film classes at Georgia State University in 2000 and 2001. We were mainly learning how to shoot and edit on 16mm film. Our first films were edited on flatbed systems where you'd cut the film with a razor blade and tape the shots to- gether. It would be so cool if I said, 'From that experience, I learned the beauty and finesse of editing. Holding the film in the palm of my hands changed the way I view cinema.' But really, it was very difficult, and most of my films were poorly edited. Around that time, Final Cut Pro came out, and I taught myself how to edit on that. That was much easier. My films went from really bad to just normal bad." What were your early positions and what did you learn from them? "The first real job I had…was helping out a filmmaker in Portland, OR, named Lance Bangs. I met Lance when I was driving a tour van for David Cross, and Lance was making a documentary of his tour. Lance was filming all of David's shows and getting tons and tons of behind-the- scenes footage in the van and at all of the venues. I asked Lance if he needed help editing it and he said sure, so I moved from Atlanta to Portland and just started showing up at his house. Lance was doing a lot of documentary work at the time, so I would hold the boom pole on shoots, help him film bands, do sound for interviews, and edit anything he was filming. I learned so much in those years." Is there a project that boosted your career? "In the mid-2000s, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Chris Cunningham released a compilation DVD set of their music videos and short film work called The Directors Label. Lance, who had been shooting behind-the-scenes documen- taries for Spike, was hired to do all of the interviews, commentaries and short documentaries for the supplement ma- terials on the DVD, so he and I traveled all over the world interviewing musicians, filmmakers and artists. Those interviews were turned into films that I edited for the series. I edited audio commentaries and some 'making of' short films for Spike's DVD, but my main collaboration was with Michel Gondry. We made a 60-minute experimental documentary about his life called I've Been Twelve Forever. It incorporates animations, photos of his childhood home, re-en- actments filmed in the town he grew up in, interviews with the artists he worked with, and interviews with his family. Michel and I worked day and night on the film to finish in time for the DVD release, and through that became great friends and collaborators. About a year later, he asked me to come out to New York to edit Dave Chapelle's Block Party, and I ended up moving there and working with Michel for the next decade." You're now a partner at Final Cut. Tell us about your new role and responsibilities? "I have been so extremely lucky to work at Final Cut for almost 15 years now. The amazing Eric Zumbrunnen brought me into the company in 2010 and intro- duced me to the world of commercial editing. Rick Russell, our founder, asked me to be a partner last year…Mainly I'm just trying to talk to all the editors and assistants, and listen to what their needs and wants are. I feel like you can really tell when people are not happy at work, and it reflects in their performance. So, I try to make sure people are heard and feel taken care of. We have a great group of young up-and-coming editors and assistants who have long careers ahead of them, and if I can share any stories or advice with them…I'm happy to help." What is some advice you'd offer to up-and-comers? "Read the room! My answer used to be 'live cheap' or 'say yes to everything.' Then I went through a phase where I was saying 'work on as many different kinds of projects as possible.' And all of these things are still true, but, I find that there's an epidemic in this world, and it's the inability to read the room. It's so import- ant in an editing room. So much of what we do is working with people and collaborating. It is a giant part of the job that I don't think gets talked about enough. I find that it's so important to listen and observe, try to anticipate what people's reactions might be, and adjust accordingly." FINAL CUT EDITOR/PARTNER JEFF BUCHANAN BY MARC LOFTUS LISTEN, OBSERVE, ANTICIPATE: ADVICE FROM A SEASONED EDITOR E CAREERS 28 POST SEPT/OCT 2022 Jeff Buchanan I've Been Twelve Forever Barry Extra gum's For When It's Time

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