To be totally candid, it was really born out of a panic attack the summer between my sophomore and junior years, when I realized I wasn't going to graduate in four years unless I somehow managed to glue together all the courses I'd taken. That said, I'm really glad I did it, 'cause it was really fun, and I was able to just take whatever the hell I wanted.
I worked as an assistant editor, actually, for a few years. That was right when I was just starting to get out at night and do a lot of stand-up, improv, and sketch work in New York. It really is invaluable. I think it pounded into me an awareness of what an editor wants and needs, in terms of clarity of a moment, where and when to start and stop a line.
I went to Oberlin College, and they don't have a film major, but they do have what's called an individual major, where you can sort of pitch to a committee your own course study, and if they approve it, you have essentially just designed your own major. So Oberlin doesn't have a film major; they do have a film minor.And then my spring semester of my junior year, I went off to NYU film school as a visiting student - they have a program for kids from other schools to come in for a semester.
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Going into editing when I got to New York was part of that. I guess I just kind of wanted to know as much as possible. But I have a real love of the whole process, from start to finish. So right now, I fit into the acting part of the process, but I wouldn't rule anything out. I'm enamored with how the whole thing works.
As an editor, you're constantly dealing with the best way to convey an exchange between two people. So when I'm shooting that, I'm just aware in the back of my head what an editor might want. And also, the problems editors run into when trying to edit performances - it helps me head that off at the pass a little.
You make adjustments according to the specifics of the character.It's something I feel like a lot of my comedic heroes have always done. It's not even necessarily vulnerability, always, but it's an earnestness, a genuine desire to actually do the right thing, but then still make really misguided, stupid decisions along the way.
I'm glad to always have that connection to a part of the country that doesn't really have anything to do with what I do. That said, there seems to be a lot of production drumming up in Atlanta these days. It would be kind of a dream come true to go back to Atlanta to work on a movie, but we'll see what happens.
I found myself often asking the question, "Who deserves to be made fun of?" Depending on your mood, the answer can be no one or everyone. It took me a while to understand the math of how those field pieces came together. I don't think that ridicule is ever funny, but there are times when that gets the biggest response.