Fall 2015

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41 FALL 2015 / CINEMONTAGE by Debra Kaufman portraits by Martin Cohen S ince 2010, Rizzoli & Isles has been entertaining television audiences with the snappy banter between its two leads, Detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), and the complex murder mysteries they solve. The series, which is in its sixth season on the TNT cable network, is currently on hiatus but returns to TV after the first of the year. Created by Janet Tamaro and currently run by executive producer Jan Nash, Rizzoli & Isles is primarily about the relationship between the two lead characters, according to editor David Siegel, ACE, who says, "They are the heart and soul of the show." Housed on the Paramount Studios back lot, the series is produced on three permanent sound stages, using other stages as needed, as well as "areas of the lot that double as Boston," explains Siegel, who, along with fellow editors Lance Luckey and Mark Strand, represent the heart and soul of the show's post-production department, also based on the lot. They are ably supported by assistant editors Mike Baiocco, Aaron Campbell, Patrick Magee and Jon Otazua. Luckey and his assistant Magee have been on Rizzoli & Isles since its first season. "We have known Mike Robin, the director of the pilot for many years," says the editor. "He and I worked together in post-production on the first season of L.A. Law — Mike as post coordinator and me as assistant editor. He wanted me to work on Rizzoli & Isles, so I interviewed with Janet Tamaro. She liked that I had both comedy and drama experience as an editor because she wanted the series to straddle both those genres." Siegel and Strand both joined the production at the beginning of Season 3; Strand also knew director Robin, with whom he had worked on FX's Nip/Tuck. Rizzoli & Isles started out as a Final Cut Pro 7 show, explains Luckey. "Owning the systems helped keep our post budget on target and allowed any savings to be put back in front of the lens," he says. "But since we had no media share, the assistants had to make sure each system was a clone of the other, so we wouldn't lose any mixes, visual effects, dailies, cuts and so on." When Final Cut Pro 7 was no longer going to be supported by Apple — and FCP X "did not fit our needs" — editors Kaja Fehr and Strand suggested to co-producer Alfonso Delgado to switch to Avid and a shared media system. "We were getting to a place where FCP needed to be upgraded, and Apple was transitioning to FCP X," says Strand. "Everyone was going to have to learn the new FCP or go to Avid. I came from reality TV and had used ScriptSync a lot, which I found to be an invaluable resource." ScriptSync, however, is not part of the latest version of Avid Media Composer. All the editors agree that the show's tone — a dramedy — sets it apart and makes it sometimes tricky to edit. "Since we are a drama and a comedy, we need to go back and forth in our storytelling styles" Luckey notes. "In the early years of the series, this especially applied when Rizzoli & Isles was a darker drama. It is a challenge to cut from a depraved murder scene and then make the joke at the end funny and not in bad taste. Because of these kinds of scene juxtapositions, Janet wanted to see several variations of scenes, wanting the best drama/comedy effect. This could be challenging, but when the transition worked, it was rewarding." As the series progressed, it became obvious that the strength of the show was the relationship and comedic interplay of the lead namesake characters, according to Luckey. "With that realization, the show's focus still centered on the murder and solving it, but the editing started to lean more toward comedy," he 'Rizzoli & Isles' Mystery Solved Having Post and Production on the Same Lot Makes for a Better-Run Show David Siegel. Clockwise from right, editors David Siegel, Mark Strand and Lance Luckey, and assistant editor Chetin Chabuk.

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