Fall 2015

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73 FALL 2015 / CINEMONTAGE production. His book is a modern, personal story, also relayed in the first person. It is punctuated by many photographs, giving it the feel of a personal album. It may be a jolt for some to realize that his "Top Film Editors" are mostly people who entered the business after 1990, but the 25 years that have passed since then were ample time for them to hone their skills and win awards. Danton himself won an ACE Eddie Award and a Primetime Emmy in 2007 for the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11. For those who feel the need for a bit more eminence grise, the legendary Michael Kahn, ACE, offers a charming introduction with his own essay, "My Life as a Film Editor," in which he credits Steven Spielberg (with whom he edited 25 films) for "inviting me to share his magic carpet." Danton, like Goldman, is primarily a television editor, and although each has also worked on features, the sensibilities, aesthetics and time demands of editing television dominate both of their books. In Cutting It in Hollywood, chapters are devoted to subjects such as Editing the Zip Code (Beverly Hills, 90210) and Surviving Survivor. Danton comes from a Hollywood family — father Ray Danton was a director and mother Julie Adams is an actress, best known for her starring role in Creature from the Black Lagoon — and he was able to soak up filmmaking from an early age. Hanging out at NBC while his dad directed Quincy M.E., he soon was observing in the editing rooms and eventually found himself hanging trims for Geoffrey Rowland, ACE. A chance meeting with producer Barney Rosenzweig led to a post-production PA job on Cagney & Lacey, where he cleared the hurdles to become an apprentice and jumped at the chance to join the Guild in 1982. Danton is proud of his family and his Guild membership, but never lets those privileges diminish his own personal drive to succeed. Leaving a good union job as assistant editor on Cagney & Lacey, he decided to enroll as an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, hoping eventually to be accepted into the School of Cinema Television. Even when offered a job as second assistant editor on the Eddie Murphy feature Raw, Danton chose to take a chance on USC, not even knowing if he would make it into the film school. Fortunately, he was accepted on his second try, based in part on a documentary he made for an anthropology class. Danton's film school tales are among the most interesting of his reminiscences, partly because it was there where he met people who became lifetime friends and colleagues — and whose stories fill the last quarter of his book — but more importantly, because students then were among the first to shoot both film and video. Danton's and his contemporaries' careers span the shifts from film to video to digital, from the Moviola to KEM to Avid and beyond. For this historical record alone, the book deserves praise. He also features younger editors on the rise, outlining the inspirational career paths of these newcomers, as well as established editors. Mark Jones, assistant editor on films like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, made his way from western Kentucky and, without knowing a soul in Hollywood, worked odd jobs, took Avid classes at night and was hired on The Path to 9/11 after meeting editor Rowland at the driving range where Jones worked. Editor Lise Johnson took the film school route at NYU, then made it into the ACE intern program, going on to great success with NCIS: Los Angeles. Danton also profiles editors who transitioned into directing, such as Norman Buckley, ACE, and Chris Peppe. Each of the 20 or so career paths Danton outlines presented challenges and rewards. Every person offers his or her own insights into why and how they edit. Billy Fox, ACE, who rose from editing videotape news, promos and sports: "You don't edit with your eyes, you don't edit with your brain, you don't edit with your finger; you edit with your gut." John Axelrad, ACE: "Emotion and heart — that's what draws audiences into characters." Danton sums up his own take on editing: "The journey to becoming a professional editor is not always an easy one, but for those who stay the course, the reward is a career that offers unlimited creative possibilities." Cutting It in Hollywood celebrates the hard work, perseverance, willingness to take risks, luck and the determination to edit whenever possible — all of which are necessary to fulfill those creative possibilities. For everyone who dreams of becoming an editor, it is an essential read. For more information, visit f

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