SNL editor Adam Epstein opens up on the incredibly fast workflow of editing for a weekly sketch comedy show.
Adam Epstein is a freelance editor. For the last five years, he’s worked with the Saturday Night Live film unit, editing parody pieces of all kinds. He’s just begun a nationwide workshop tour with “The Cutting Edge Post-Production Tour,” a day-long seminar covering techniques, theories and editing insights.
Epstein: In my experience, it’s never a direct path. I started out in school, working on a student-run sketch comedy show, and we were able to get our hands on some of the first gear that you were able to shoot and edit with in a reasonable amount of time without having to hire someone. That’s where I got hooked on manipulating pixels and story, and the fun that comes along with that, both from a filmmaking and a tech geek perspective.
In college I had an internship at NBC in their promo/on-air department, and after that a job as a writer, producer and editor in on-air promos in Los Angeles. A lot of people think of on-air promos as less than serious, but for me it was a great place to learn how to make something out of nothing. You’re working with not the best footage, not the best shows, and you have to use your brain to come up with a story and make the footage better. After that I moved into commercial post-production, which had a more traditional, big-budget, real film workflow. That was a real learning experience as far as how to work with multiple houses for sound mixing and color, a real trial-by-fire high-pressure environment. When I came to New York and the SNL opportunity presented itself, that combination of environments gave me a wide range of experiences and styles to pull from.
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