Editing for Success

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The professional development programme for this year is well underway at DEGNZ. I wanted to let all the editors in the Guild know about the opportunities available so that you stay on the lookout for them as they arise.

Editing Workshop
Firstly, we have our Editing Workshop. This is something we have run over the last three years and we currently have a call out now for a workshop with one of NZ’s leading editors and our former president Peter Roberts. This is a hands-on workshop across two days in mid-April, in which Peter will give insight into his process and work, focused this time on editing drama. As well, you will have the opportunity to cut material he has supplied for individual and group review. The deadline is coming up on Wednesday 28 March, midday so if you are interested, get your application in.

Feature Film Editing Attachment
Second, a new initiative launched this year with the support of the NZFC is our Feature Film Editing Attachments. We have one about to start on a telefeature being edited by Paul Sutorius, and directed by John Laing. DEGNZ would like to congratulate Anastasia Doniants for being the successful applicant for this inaugural attachment.

The intention of the attachment is to put an emerging feature film editor who wants to make a career of editing features into the room alongside an experienced editor, and not working in the role of the assistant editor. With the changed nature of the role of assistant editing ushered in by digital technology, we are seeing the assistant editor’s role becoming much more specialized in the preparation and technology arenas, resulting in a lack of opportunities for assistant editors to work alongside and learn from the editor.

There will be more attachments to come as and when we can find a willing editor and production to attach to.

Assistant Editor Workshop – Mandatory Skills
Third, another new initiative targets assistant editors, and the skills and knowledge they need to be most effective in their role. In the second half of this year we will run an Assistant Editor Workshop also supported by NZFC, focused on going through everything an assistant editor needs to know and do to be most effective in their role. The workshop content was planned by one of NZ’s top editors Jonno Woodford-Robinson, who has a particular bent for the technical as well as the creative.

Training with Andy Day
I would like to mention for those who are relatively new to editing or wishing to learn more advanced technical skills that we have a members discount arrangement with Andy Day for creative software training.

Andy is a 25-year industry professional who is an Apple Certified Master trainer for Final Cut, Logic Studio & an Apple Certified Consultant, an Adobe CS6 Certified Instructor and Lead Instructor for Maxon’s Cinema 4D. Andy also taught for many years on Avid. If you want to take advantage of this, just get in touch with Andy via www.handytrainingonline.co.nz and tell him you are a member of DEGNZ.

Finally, I would like to ask all our editor members out there who have festival or award success to keep us updated so that we can celebrate your work and achievements. As you know, it’s often hard to identify editors from festival announcements and we depend on you to make us aware. Help us keep an eye out for you.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Call for Applications: Editing Drama with Peter Roberts

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DEGNZ invites editors to apply for an Editing Drama Workshop with Peter Roberts, award-winning editor and former President of the Guild. The 2-day workshop will be held on 14-15 April in Auckland.

Learn about narrative feature-length editing and dramatic storytelling from a highly experienced New Zealand editor. The workshop will also combine teaching with practical editing exercises. Applicants require basic skills in Avid to attend*.

Peter Roberts has cut a prolific range of documentaries, shorts, features and TV shows. In 2014, Peter edited the drama feature film The Dark Horse, documentary feature Hip Hop-eration, and the short film Dive. All three won Best Film locally and each earned him a nomination for best editor. Follow-up projects have ranged across the globe: from ensemble drama Vermilion, shot in Auckland, to American indie drama For Izzy (produced by Kiwi actor Michelle Ang) and Kiwi-Chinese fantasy Into the Rainbow. Recent TV credits include telemovie Jean and Australian drama Cleverman. Peter was the first editor president of DEGNZ.

When:
Saturday 14 April, 9am – 5pm
Sunday 15 April, 9am – 4pm, followed by post-workshop drinks

Where:
South Seas Film and Television School, Auckland
A travel allowance is available to some DEGNZ members travelling from out of town.

Cost: DEGNZ members free, Non-members $100. Lunch will be provided each day.

 

Application Deadline: Wednesday 28 March, 12 noon

TO APPLY please send your application in ONE PDF or DOC to tema@degnz.co.nz with ‘Editing Drama’ in the subject line. In your application, please include:

  • your CV with filmography
  • links to samples of your work
  • a maximum one-page letter explaining why you would like to attend the workshop
  • your capability with Avid: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced
  • your mobile number and any dietary requirements.

* If you are new to Avid Media Composer, a free 30-day trial is available for download to familiarise yourself with the software ahead of the workshop.

This event is brought to you with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Call for Applications: DEGNZ Selects with Mary Magdalene Director Garth Davis

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DEGNZ Selects presents this special director’s masterclass on 21 March with Lion and Top of the Lake director Garth Davis. Garth will discuss in depth the making of his latest feature Mary Magdalene, to be released in cinemas on 22 March starring Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix. Participants are encouraged to watch Mary Magdalene before the class – see below for advanced screenings.

Garth is BAFTA- and Emmy-nominated for Top of the Lake, DGA Best First Feature winner for Lion, and Gold Lion winner for his TV commercials work. This masterclass is a rare opportunity to engage with a much sought after director on the international scene.

mary magdalene

When: Wednesday 21 March, 9am – 12pm

Where: Hawke Sea Scouts Hall, 55 West End Road, Herne Bay, Auckland

Cost: DEGNZ members free, Non-members $50.

 

Application Deadline: Wednesday 14 March, 6pm

TO APPLY please send your application in ONE PDF or DOC to admin@degnz.co.nz with ‘DEGNZ Selects’ in the subject line. In your application, please provide:

  • your CV/bio with filmography
  • a maximum one-page letter explaining why you would like to attend the workshop
  • your mobile number.

 

Thanks to Garth Davis, The Equity Foundation, the New Zealand Film Commission and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their support of this event. 

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Advanced screenings of Mary Magdalene:

Preview Screening + Garth Davis Q&A
by The Equity Foundation
Mon 19 March, 6pm
Rialto Cinema Newmarket
Free to industry guild members – Register here

Film Talk with Garth Davis Q&A
Sun 18 March, 5pm
Rialto Cinema Newmarket
$12 discounted tickets for industry members – Buy here

Wellington – Rehearsal & Performance with Director Michael Duignan

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Rehearsal & Performance logo

DEGNZ invites directors and actors to register their interest in the first Wellington edition of Rehearsal & Performance, taking place on April 7.

Director Michael Duignan (Go Girls, The Blue Rose) will share his insights into how directors and actors can work better collaboratively to achieve great on screen performances.

This is a practical half-day workshop focused on giving participants tools to build better director/actor relationships. Participants will spend time exploring and rehearsing a scene in groups (one director, two actors) in a safe and non-pressured environment with guidance from Michael.

The selected directors and actors will be expected to do some preparation beforehand – DEGNZ will provide the scene in advance.

Directors and actors register via Eventbrite by Friday 23 March, 12 noon. Spots are limited to four directors and eight actors. If selected, DEGNZ will contact you directly to confirm your participation.

What: Rehearsal & Performance with Director Michael Duignan – Wellington

When: Saturday 7 April, 9am – 2pm; lunch provided

Where: Te Aro, Wellington

Cost: Free; workshop is restricted to members of DEGNZ and Equity NZ only.

Register at: Eventbrite

Michael Duignan

Michael Duignan is a writer/director creating film, television, commercials and photography. His short films have screened all around the world including the New York Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival and many others. Michael has directed episodes of top rating and critically acclaimed shows The CultGo Girls and The Blue Rose which was nominated at the 2013 Monte Carlo TV festival alongside Breaking Bad, The Killing and Homeland. He was recently awarded a writing residency at Studio One Toi Tu where he continued to develop a number of feature film projects.

Rehearsal & Performance is hosted by Directors & Editors Guild of NZ and supported by the Equity Foundation. This series is made possible with funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.

RNZ Minus?

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When Broadcasting, Communications & Digital Media Minister Clare Curran announced her plan to ramp up Radio New Zealand to RNZ+ with additional funding of up to $38 million, there were a lot of smiles out there including on my dial. I love Radio NZ and spend all of my driving time—and that’s a lot of course in Auckland—listening to it.

Equally, there is a lot of concern about what this actually means.

Nobody including me wants to see large chunks of money spent on hardware to build a free-to-air public media TV station to play out linear programming. That sentence there has a number of conundrums worth exploring.

Is it expensive to actually build a TV station? Not necessarily. Having peripherally or directly been involved in three digital channels, I can unequivocally tell you there would be a lot of change from $38 million. However, to feed a TV station with content is like feeding a beast. It consumes everything in its path 24/7 or however many hours you are programming for.

The best way to do it is to buy already made content, which generally comes from offshore because it’s cheaper than making it. Then you can of course rotate it in blocks of four or multiples of, to fill a 24-hour day, and introduce new content to whatever your change in/change out strategy is. That doesn’t help local content makers, though, which is why we have NZ On Air.

You could of course hold up the Maori TV model and say, look at all the local content they are making with the $33 million they get. The immediate reply would likely be, look at the quality of the material that often comes out of there and what Maori Television Service has done to budgets and rates of pay for the programme makers who do the work—that’s potentially the path to devastating the whole industry and certainly not what we want from any RNZ+.

A more important question doing the rounds right now is why build a new channel at all? TVNZ is government owned and TV One could be the free-to-air public broadcaster it should be. This had been proposed by NZ First. It would seem the Minister views the commercial culture of the organisation as a key reason for that not happening, and therefore the need to build a public broadcaster in the screen space out of RNZ.

The simple suggestion mooted in some quarters to fix TVNZ is to replace the board and top management and everyone else in the organisation will fall into the public broadcaster line that the new lot would institute. There are a lot of sceptics about this thinking, including Clare Curran obviously. But it’s not as simple as it sounds, I believe. There would be a lot of complexities involved in moving ONE from it’s commercial positioning to a public broadcaster, which may or may not see change from $38 million. But worth looking at perhaps if it hasn’t been done already?

Then you have to consider what free-to-air actually means. In the People’s Public Media Report, a joint effort between Action Station and the Coalition for Better Broadcasting, presented to Government in December 2017, panellist and independent producer Kay Elmers wrote this:

As we move away from using public money to fund content for free-to-air broadcast delivery platforms, and increasingly fund content that is delivered online only, we have a fundamental problem that this publicly funded content is no longer freely accessible to all citizens.

In talking to Kay about this, she explained that if you have to pay to have data or Internet access to get online content then that’s not free-to-air—with TVNZ or Radio NZ, you only need the hardware to receive the programming. This is a key point of differentiation.

Another key consideration is what does public media mean? Wikipedia’s take, which comes from the widely accepted British definition, has as principles:

  • Universal geographic accessibility
  • Universal appeal
  • Attention to minorities
  • Contribution to national identity and sense of community
  • Distance from vested interests
  • Direct funding and universality of payment
  • Competition in good programming rather than numbers
  • Guidelines that liberate rather than restrict

But, when you read the paper put to cabinet by Minister Curran or the terms of reference provided by her for the just appointed Public Media Advisory Group who will look into the role and scope of the mooted Public Media Funding Commission, you can see an emphasis on news and current affairs and less on the wider content scope that makes up public media in totality.

Drawing on the People’s Public Media Report again, this time from panellist and long-time news and current affairs broadcaster Mark Jennings:

It [public service media] is now seen as perhaps the last bastion of independent, quality news and current affairs, in a media world that is collapsing under a deluge of click-bait and the impact of failing financial models.

So is the Minister throwing out the baby (broad public media content that keeps many of us employed) with the bathwater (TVNZ) to provide quality, independent news and current affairs on an energized Radio NZ (RNZ+)? Here’s hoping the Public Media Advisory Group looks into this. Or do the redacted bits in the cabinet paper (apart from those hiding the group member who withdrew) make RNZ+ a fait accompli?

Another conundrum to discuss: Is there a need for a public media linear channel for RNZ?

When asked by STUFF about it in October last year:

“RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson said RNZ was doing ‘television-like things.’

“We see that growing and improving

“Whether that translates into a fully-fledged, ‘old-style’ linear channel, I am unclear and I probably think it is not necessary given where the market and technology is going.

“Even before taking the new policy into account, we were moving down a path of having more audio-visual delivery of content live and on-demand,” he said.

“This policy would probably accelerate the development of our multimedia plans, but the definitions of what a television channel is and what audiences want and need is changing really quickly and we would have to take that into account,” he said.

Thomson reiterated this in a boisterous select committee hearing last week reported by NEWSROOM, although Curran wasn’t letting them completely off the hook when she added that a free-to-air linear station might be an option “down the track.”

I for one subscribe to Thompson’s approach to the RNZ+ offering. It won’t require major infrastructure spending, and would mean the majority of the new funding RNZ would get from the $38 million could be spent on news and current affairs content.

More importantly, this tack would leave NZ On Air as it is and hopefully provide them with a significant chunk of the $38 million to spend on other local content that is not news and current affairs, rather than receive insignificant funding, which won’t do anyone any good.

There’s a conspiracy view out there that a coterie of grey-bearded academics, embittered former public broadcasters and others have it in for NZ On Air and want it done away with entirely. Every working person in the screen industry I have spoken to about this so far feels that would be absolutely disastrous. As much as we bemoan NZ On Air when they say “No” to our proposals, there is almost universal agreement in the screen industry that it’s efficient and effective, must be kept, and given a lot more money to play with.

We all need to keep a close watch on developments around RNZ+ to make sure we will continue to get a good volume of quality NZ content, including independent news and current affairs, and a real public media offering, all the while ensuring we don’t slide into screen poverty with lower budgets and rates.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director