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November 2013

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edit this Alexander Payne's Nebraska E By MARC LOFTUS Senior Editor/ Director of Web Content Kevin Tent details his work on this new B&W film from Paramount 16 ditor Kevin Tent, ACE, was reunited once again with director Alexander Payne, this time on the Paramount feature, Nebraska. The film, which is presented in black & white, follows the journey of an aging, alcoholic father (Bruce Dern), who is making the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son (Will Forte) to claim a million-dollar prize. Tent has collaborated with the director for years. His work on The Descendants garnered him an Oscar nomination for "Best Achievement in Film Editing," and the partnership extends back to the films Sideways (2004), About Schmidt (2002) and Citizen Ruth (1996). Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, Tent details his work on the film, his relationship with the director, and how the film's style, location and subjects influenced his edit. Post: Was it your past relationship with Alexander Payne that led you to work in this film? KEVIN TENT: "That is exactly the reason I was involved. I've worked with him since Citizen Ruth. We are a team. He has his core people that he works with a lot, or as much as possible, and I am one of the core people." Post: How would you describe his directing style? TENT: "I think what he does really well is that he captures the location, and the location becomes almost like a character in the movie. He's really done that from the get go — certainly from About Schmidt on. Locations are very prevalent in the movies: Sideways, the coast and the wine country, Hawaii for The Descendants, and Nebraska. His first three films were in Omaha. And About Schmidt was certainly about the Midwest and its people, and about what they are going through. He finds the location and story. There's a lot of realism with how the characters react within the locations. He goes to locations and spends quite a bit of time there before he shoots, so he knows all the small details of the people who live there and incorporates them in there. I remember in The Descendents, people take their shoes off before they go in the house. I remember there was a point he made that Clooney's character do that whenever he entered someone's house — they would take their shoes off. Small details like that add to the reality of the story." Post: The film is presented in black & white. How did they shoot it? TENT: "They shot on the [Arri] Alexa and Post • November 2013 they had a guy on location who did a great job, who turned the color files into black & white. They uploaded them every night, and we would have dailies the next day. We used the Pix System, and I was able to watch dailies at night on a laptop, and I'd come in, in the morning, and they were ready to cut." Post: Was there transcoding or treatment to the footage involved? Post: You lean strongly to the Avid? TENT: "I do. I have an Avid and I love it. Sometimes I work from home. I have a small system, which is great. Usually, productions have three to four Avids all going at once. And we'll have a Unity or ISIS, so we can share media. "I am absolutely dedicated to the Avid. There have been one or two projects where I Alexander Payne directs actor Bruce Dern on the set of Paramount's new film, Nebraska. TENT: "The Pix files were small files that I could download and watch on my laptop. During the night and early morning, the larger files would come in and be imported to the Avid. I don't know exactly what those were, but they were certainly good enough for us to cut with and good enough to preview with. Basically, once they were in the Avid, we went with those, and went with the color correction that was done. We previewed it a couple of times and screened it, and looked at it on the big screen, and it looked great." Post: So, even early on, you were cutting in black & white? TENT: "Yes, we were. It all looked great. It was beautiful to cut with and look at, and we made it better at the final DI stage, where they fine tuned the black & white." Post: Are you an independent editor? TENT: "I kind of work everywhere. I am a freelancer, but I make myself available to work with Alexander or directors I work with all the time. Basically, people need an editor and look around and go, 'What about this guy?' And are foolish enough to hire me [laughs]." have come in to help out, and they have been on the Lightworks system, but almost everything is on Avid. I am very comfortable with it. People will say, 'Kevin, what are you comfortable with? And what are you and Alexander comfortable with?' When it comes to the versions, it's always tricky. I think Nebraska was 5.5. Version 6 was coming out, but there was some reason we didn't go for it." Post: Where were you set up for Nebraska's edit? TENT: "We started at Paramount, while they were shooting on location. Then, Alexander has offices in Santa Monica, so we rented a few rooms in the building that his office is in and worked there. Everything is so easy to pack up and move that if you find a cool space, you just grab it." Post: Are you the sole editor, or do you have assistants? TENT: "We have assistant editors. Mindy Elliott is my first assistant, who I have worked with a number of times. She's really fantastic. She organizes everything. There is a lot that goes on with turning over cuts and what dai-

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