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January/February 2020

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Page 26 of 43 25 POST JAN/FEB 2020 ative process, which I really, thoroughly enjoy. And also, it is very daunting." Where were you working on this? "Well, when we were shooting in London, I had a cutting room at Pinewood, where they were shoot- ing. And [I'd move] to a cutting room on the set, because they, a lot of times, were on sets. And then from the set, I moved on to a little mobile unit, like ten feet from the camera. So JJ could come and see what he wanted to see whenever he wanted to see it. And also, I was right there, so we could have vi- sual effects meetings as we were trying to develop these scenes or [were] shooting these scenes. And I cut something together, and then we could bring the visual effects person over and we could talk about it." When did you get involved on this project? "I got involved probably two weeks before produc- tion, or a little before that, I got to read the script. I read it and made notes, and then we'll talk about it and talk about how we want to work. We've done it so often, a lot of that is short hand. I know how to work with JJ…They started shooting August 1st or 3rd, 2018." You had a co-editor on The Rise Of Skywalker. How did that work? "Yes. Stefan Grube, who was also incredible. Our thing was, get the scenes cut and get a version to JJ, and get the dialogue going. On this [film] in particular, Stefan and I were like, 'I'll take this.' I'll be working on, say, the speeder chase, and then if another sequence started shooting before I finished that, he would take that sequence. And then while he was doing that sequence, I would take the next sequence that came in. And then we'd get JJ's notes and I'd make changes in something I've done, and he'd make changes. And then sometimes I wasn't available or would be doing something else, and he'd make the changes in those scenes. I'd make the changes in the scenes he cut. It was a real team. He and I discussed a lot. And when we got a scene to a place where we got notes from JJ or JJ was in the room, we all talked about it. This particu- lar experience was a great collaborative effort." You are cutting on an Avid? Is that the system you typically use? "Yes, I am. For me, I have no need to change. I try to keep up with technology. I'm really story driven, so the Avid is really a tool for me to try and just get it done." How often are you communicating with JJ Abrams? "If I'm on the set, obviously I see him all day long. And he comes and goes as he can. He's got a million people constantly asking him (questions) so he's quite busy, so I'm just there when he needs me. Otherwise I'm working away on something else. And if I have a question, of course he'll answer. I've probably talked to him at least every day, if not more. With texting and email, there's no block to communication these days." Who was handling the dailies? "Company 3 in London. We were shooting on film. The film went to them and they provided the files." There's so much action going on throughout the film. Is there a scene that you would call attention to? "I guess the whole end battle. The balance between what's happening below to Rey and what's happen- ing above to the resistance. And then there's the side plot of what's happening to Finn and Jannah, and then the galaxy showing up and the emperor underneath, goating her. And then, obviously, Ren showing up. We were really editorially careful about at which emotional point we left each scene to join the other scene. We didn't want to bounce anyone's emotions around too much, but we wanted there to be this balance like, you're winning — now you're not winning. And I'm really proud of the way that came out. I think it feels well balanced. . "Whenever I cut a sequence like that, I kind of try to let it hit me so I can feel my way through it, as opposed to force it to be something, one way or another." Avid editor Maryann Brandon Brandon shared editing duties with Stefan Grube.

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