In The Editing Bay With Joe Vallero
making on a Macintosh...
back to our continuing exclusive look at putting together
a horror film. All the footage has been shot and the post-production
elves are slaving away to get the special effects done (and
yes, this may be the only time that anyone will ever describe
Mark Teague as elfin).
man, under the watchful eye of director/writer Scott
Zakarin, has to put it all together. And that man is
Joe Vallero, editor in residence at Creative Light. Though
we'd run into each other in the L.A. offices, it was only
a couple of weeks ago that we finally got a chance to talk
via phone. At the time, Joe was knee-deep in Jekyll editing,
but still very excited and into what he's doing.
enthusiasm has infused everyone I've talked to at Creative
Light Entertainment, and why not? The project looks good.
so, Joe Vallero...
McCaw: What's your background in editing?
Vallero: I've been editing here at Creative Light since
January of 2003, so a little over a year. Before that, I
had edited some short films that I had done in college,
and out of college. Things that I entered in festivals and
stuff like that.
I came to Creative Light, it wasn't in an editing capacity.
I was primarily helping with production. And then a position
opened for editing, and I expressed an interest. The rest
I get a strong sense that if you work at Creative Light,
you get the chance to become a jack of all trades.
That's interesting. I never thought of it that way. The
greatest thing that I've found about the company is that
they allow you to do whatever you're able to do.
example, I started in production. And as I grew in production,
they gave me more and more responsibilities. Obviously not
at any time to overburden you or give you more than you
can handle, but as you grow, they allow you to keep growing.
As opposed to some places where you grow to a certain extent
and then that's where they want to keep you. Because you're
good at what you're doing and they don't want to have to
retrain someone to get to that level.
Light has been good about taking that, and allowing you
to continue, to take on more and more tasks. Grow.
Is there a rough cut done of Jekyll?
Yes. The rough cut is done. Right now we're in the stages
of taking another pass at that. That wouldn't then be the
final cut; it still would need some tweaking after that.
We're kind of taking the rough cut and making it "rough
cut 2," getting some tweaks based on, once we got everything
together, what we saw and what needs to happen now.
How would you describe the process of working on that with
the director over your shoulder?
Not really over my shoulder. It's very collaborative. It's
the beginning stages of getting the footage in, there's
a lot of excitement about seeing what's been happening on
the set. The editing process really started the first few
days when tapes were coming in. While they were on set,
the post-production was getting started and underway.
been going at it for a while now, getting everything prepped
and ready. When you get the footage in, there's a lot of
work that has to be done to get it up to the editing stage.
It was very exciting getting up to that.
with Scott has been really great. He trusts a lot of instincts.
He goes on what he feels, and it's obviously something he's
attached to , having written and directed it. But once we
get into the editing suite, he's open to almost any idea.
"why don't we try that?" and if it doesn't work, we undo
it and try something else.
Can you give me a specific on that?
Off the top of my head, no. Mainly because it's been such
a long process so far. There's a lot that's been happening.
like if there's a line in a scene and I ask if it really
works. Scott will say, I don't know, let's try it, and we'll
take it out. And no, it doesn't work not being there so
we'll put it back.
been some scenes that we've been tweaking, even if it's
just to punch in for a close-up. We try it. It doesn't really
look good. So we go back to what we had and try something
new. We may both understand something isn't working, but
can see when other ideas don't work as well.
You mentioned working in the editing suite from the beginning,
and when I visited the set, you were there with some issues
involving putting together a trailer or demo reel, I'm not
sure. It might have even been a reel for foreign sales.
Yes. We wanted to get a show reel together for some of the
markets, to show off where we were at and what we'd done.
That hasn't been the focus for some time, but we did put
that together with the emphasis that the movie was just
starting post-production. All the footage was raw; all the
audio was raw. It wasn't a polished piece, but it was something
to give people an idea of what we might have.
To quote Eric Mittleman,
"this summer, you can't Hyde!" Do you think that your sense
of the story has changed from when you were putting the
show reel together to what you are now doing?
For a show reel or for a trailer, you obviously want kind
of a narrow focus. You want to show people the most tantalizing
scenes. And that's true of any trailer.
trailer you see, people often go, oh, the best moments were
in the trailer and they get disappointed. Well, that's what
they want to sell so that's what they want to show. The
mindset for that is totally different.
it really is similar. The things we were trying to convey
in that trailer and the things we want to convey here are
still the love triangle among the women and the duality
of Jekyll and Hyde. It's not too different. But the approach
is different with the show reel.
What would you say is the hardest thing about this job?
The greatest challenge for me has been the length of the
project. I've worked on some feature projects here before.
Creature Unknown was one in which I had done some
supplemental editing. I was not the lead editor by any means.
editing means that most of what I was doing was tightening
up action sequences and little effects things after two
other editors had worked on it.
the primary editor on Coming Out Party. But even
that was a little bit quicker of a schedule than what Jekyll
really been a challenge wrapping my head around the entire
thing. Starting in the prep part of the post-production,
taking it through the assembly to the rough cut. From the
rough cut to then being at the point where we'll be plugging
in effects and hopefully locking it in soon thereafter.
really just kind of gearing yourself for the next stage,
not for the whole thing. It's kind of like the idea of a
marathon, not a sprint. A sprint you can see the goal line
right away; a marathon you have to keep getting through
the stages to see where you're going.
Do you guys have a goal for a release date?
I'm not the one to be telling you that. I know when we're
hoping to be done.
What are you using for editing?
We're using Final Cut Pro 4, and we shot on HD, and we've
converted that to DV-Cam. Then we'll put it online back
to the HD masters.
Is this your first time using Final Cut 4?
It's not the first time, but it's the first time on a project
this big. I was primarily using Avid before, which is more
of a finishing editing system. It's more of the standard
in the professional editing arena, though Final Cut Pro
has been making huge, huge strides. Cold Mountain
and Rules of Attraction were done on it. It's growing
in leaps and bounds from what it was, kind of a consumer-type
editing system. It's becoming a professional editing system.
they have another update called Final Cut Pro HD which will
take it to the next system. It's available now and will
really start butting heads with Avid. Neck and neck with
it, instead of trying to catch up.
Have there been any scenes you've had to lose that you really
regret, or are you still at a stage where you can keep it
Right now, we have the luxury of plenty of time to finish
our cut and more than enough material. Scott got all the
coverage that he needed and shot all the scenes that he
wanted. We're putting everything in and whittling back.
We're taking just the core and making the best movie it
What are your long-term goals from this?
Editing, right now, is definitely my primary focus. It's
something I see myself doing for a long time. When I first
came down, and even to some extent now, I would love to
direct and do some of those things. I've done them in school,
never in a professional arena. I've had some taste of that,
and I would definitely love to explore it.
I have no idea when I'd be able to do something like that.
I just take on each challenge as it comes. Learn as much
as I can and keep going forward.
project has been great and had a sharp learning curve. I
can't wait to see what comes down the pike next.