In Conversation with Norman Hollyn

Creative COW by Debra Kaufman

Creative COW's Debra Kaufman spoke at length with Norman Hollyn, who is a Full Professor, Editing Track Head, at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and Editing Track Head. Hollyn, whose picture and/or music editing credits include Meet the Applegates, Heathers and Sophie's Choice, will start a two-year term as President of the University Film and Video Association in September. Hollyn talks about the ways technology has -- and hasn't -- changed the editor's job, what's new in editing and why a film school education still matters to young editors.
Debra Kaufman: What kind of students are you seeing at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. Has that changed over the years?

Norman Hollyn: I've been at USC for eight or nine years and the kind of students that we're seeing apply has certainly changed Unlike at AFI or Chapman, when we accept students as undergraduates or graduates, we don't track them as editors. They're production students and we force them to specialize in at least two things while they're here -- they usually choose directing and something else. Some of these production students find their love for editing and focus on that.

When I first started here, we were actively looking for people with good stories to tell and we attracted some who came out of different disciplines, bringing in a good 20 to 30 a year from outside the media creation world. Now, everyone who comes in has created media at some point. They're very familiar with a lot of technology, such as iMovie or Final Cut or Sony Vegas Pro. They've shot stuff whether it's with their iPhone or some other camera. There are so many more film programs in high school and the technology in general is more accessible. I wouldn't necessarily call these students more accomplished, but they have much more experience in media creation than the students we were attracting when I started at USC.

Because it's so much easier to create and even distribute media, this isn't shocking at all. It's more surprising when we get students who have not picked up the camera than those who have. Students who have not picked up a camera but are good storytellers bring a different perspective. read more...

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