[Podcast] Ep99: You Think Your Schedule Is Tight? Try Editing SNL.

If you think your deadlines are tight, think again. Imagine waking up Wednesday morning knowing you have a 2-3 minute piece airing on national television in 3 days…and it hasn’t even been shot yet. This is the life of SNL editor Adam Epstein who routinely turns around amazing trailers, spoof commercials, music videos, and parodies for SNL week after week under insane deadlines.

In this episode Adam and I talk about his rise to being the senior film editor at Saturday Night Live, how he manages incredibly short turnarounds, and most importantly his ninja tricks for being as efficient as humanly possible to ensure his cuts never miss an air date (but he’s definitely come close).

Adam was kind enough to even provide screenshots of his digital workspace, bins and timelines. In the bonus guide for this episode you can learn how Adam:

• Organizes his media to access it fast and efficiently
• Lays out the different windows in his digital workspace
• “Pancakes” multiple timelines in Adobe Premiere Pro to edit infinitely faster than working with a single timeline.

Click here to download the bonus guide with all the screenshots

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Topics of Conversation:

  • Adam’s early experiences with filmmaking and his career trajectory toward editing SNL
  • How successful movie-making requires good relationships
  • Cutting with Video Toaster
  • Swinging between short-form and long-form editing
  • The SNL weekly workflow
  • Why Adam edits SNL pieces chronologically, integrating sound and graphics as he goes
  • Avoiding being pigeon-holed into one genre of work
  • Choosing the editing software that works for you
  • Learning to start projects with “confidence keystones”
  • How a history in short-form editing informs long-form work
  • The importance of having a consistent workflow
  • Zack’s “hit-by-the-bus theory”
  • Stacking timelines to increase efficiency
  • How Adam’s renders can keep up with SNL’s crazy pace

Useful Links:

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FiP Question Submission

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FiP Facebook Group

Adam’s Site

Guest Bio:

Senior Film editor at SNL (8th season at the show)
Documentary Now! editor
Commercial Editor at PS260
Currently cutting Why We’re Killing Gunther
32 city post-production tour “The Cutting Edge”
Made of some carbon.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, the show notes were prepared by Jakin Rintelman, and this show is executive produced by Kanen Flowers. We are a member of theTHAT STUDIO podcast network.

The music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Dorian Cheah from his brilliant album ARA.

Zack Arnold is an award-winning film & television editor (Burn Notice, Empire, Shooter, Glee), member of the American Cinema Editors, a documentary director (GO FAR: The Christopher Rush Story), and creator of the Optimize Yourself program (formerly ‘Fitness In Post’). He helps ambitious creative professionals like you learn how to more efficiently manage your time, energy, and attention so you can maximize your creative focus and minimize procrastination, depression, and burnout. After all, what’s the point of killing yourself for the sake of your career if you don’t have energy to spare for the most important people in your life?