Q1 2024

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37 W I N T E R Q 4 I S S U E F E A T U R E falls through the clouds after encountering Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) in the World Between Worlds, we discover that it's now the younger version of Ahsoka in a flashback. I experimented with add- ing reverb to the voices and adding and manipulating explosions, lasers, drone sounds, and the score. All of that helped with the tone of that scene and gave me a feel for when to stay longer on certain shots, etc. Ultimately, all our cuts provide a good starting point for the Skywalker team and our composer, Kevin Kiner, so they can go in and work their magic. James: At the beginning of episode 6, wefind Ahsoka and her droid Huyang riding in the belly of a Purgil (flying space whale) migrating across a new galaxy. Dave heard the scene with a temp cue and said "James, let's try a version without the temp." He didn't mean play it dry, so Icreated a melody of whale groans and movements to get us into the scene and sometimes fill spaces in the dialogue. Everything I needed to sound-design the scene was in the Lucas- film library. Typically, whale sounds have the ocean attached, but this is StarWars, not your typical show. Cinemontage: Tell us about your assistant editors and how, in the spirit of an apprentice training under a Jedi master, they collaborated with you in the edit? Dana: My assistant, John Ott, is no strangerto the Star Wars Universe, so he was incredibly helpful with his feedback on my cuts early on, and we bounced ideas o of each other continuously. I'm kind of an old-school editor; I liketo watch every frame of footage in every take so I can really focus on performance and story and try various ideas. After getting John's stamp of approval, I would move onto another scene while he would embellish the cuts with sound effects and music. If my assistants have the time, they are able to cut scenes, and I love to oer those collaborative oppor- tunities. John was definitely able to oer his hand at that. Rosanne: My assistant editor, Caroline Wang, and I worked together on three other projects before "Ahsoka," so she knows how I work. I usually play my first cuts to her because she's my sounding board. And she's excellent with temp sound work, so we'd collaborate a lot on that together. And when she has the time, she would also cut scenes and we'd review them together. With a show like "Ahsoka" where tight deadlines are plentiful, I believe a good editor/assistant editor relationship is vital. James: Augustine Rexach was my assis- tant and we collaborated on many projects before. He's followed Star Wars for quite a long time, so he has a deep understanding of the overall mythology, but more specifically, "Clone Wars" and "Rebels."His knowledge was helpfulwith how my cuts were landing and working on a basic dramatic level, espe- cially for newcomers to "Ahsoka". Cinemontage: On occasion, you were able to cut at Skywalker Ranch. What was that like? James: It was pretty magical. It's in a pastoral setting that inspires creativity everywhere you look. I remember when we were invited to Skywalker Ranch for early screenings of all eight episodes in the very theatre where George Lucas sat.Not having seen each other's work prior to those screenings, we gained a lot of insight into what was working. Dana: No words can describe what it's like to be and work at Skywalker Ranch, other than it's simply magical. I feel in- credibly lucky to have been able to work with Dave at the place where he built his career.When the three of us traveled there as a team to watch the entire series, it was like taking a movie to preview: It was not only helpful, but it also gave us all a boost of energy and excitement to see each other's work on the big screen. Rosanne: When we screened our cuts in the theater, I'd get goose bumps. Usually, you don't get to view things that way for a TV show, especially when the cuts are not even in the finished stages. We could see right away what was working and what wasn't, and then we'd go back to the cut- ting room to work. The whole experience was extraordinary. Cinemontage: What were some of the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards? James: One of the biggest challenges came in episode 6 because it's almost a mid-season pilot with so many new charac- ters. With thelong-awaitedarrival of Grand Admiral Thrawn, the challenge was to sonically establish the power and mystique of his character before his reveal. The most satisfying moment came in episode 8 when witnessing Sabine finally has the confidence and training to force pushEzra onto Thrawn's Star Destroyer. It's a full circle moment from episode 3 when Ahsokatells Sabine "The force resides in all living things, even you." And you get to see Sabine unlock the force several other times when it's needed most. Dana: Episode 1, directed by Dave Filoni, was challenging because it's the pilot and helps set the tone, but also rewarding for the same reason. In episode 4, directed by Peter Ramsey, it was a challenge to keep so many lightsaber fights interesting, but the episode's reward was that we were able to interweave the stories successfully, keeping the flow of the episode constant, slowing down when necessary for key moments and speeding up when necessary to keep the episode alive and energetic. Rosanne: One of the biggest challeng- es came with editing episode 5, mostly because of how unique the episode is but also because it's directed by Dave Filoni himself.There were great character-build- ing scenes, beautiful dream-like flashback sequences, World between Worlds mixed in with lightsaber duels, and even massive flying space whales. It had everything, and Iwanted to make it the best I could. Lastly, I think the biggest reward is seeing how the fans get so excited about something we all worked on for so long. That means a lot to us. ■ A.J. Catoline, ACE, has edited numerous television series including "Ted Lasso" and is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild board of directors.

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