Michael Black has been working in Los Angeles as a professional editor for over ten years. Black talks about what it was like going to film school during what he calls “the best and worst time to be studying film”, and how sometimes, dropping out of college is the best career decision one can make. He also shares his experience working on 4D interactive animation and explains what makes an editor great, and not just good. All that, career advice, and more…
Where are you from originally and how did you get your career?
My first job was in high school. I got an internship at a little production studio in Austin where I did industrial stuff and local commercials. I started out as a graphics intern, and learned a lot from this UT (University of Texas) student working there at the time. The first semester I was working as an intern, and by the second semester I took over the graphics role and became the only guy working there in that capacity. I was 18 when I got the job. That’s where I learned to edit on Avid and Final Cut, along with my first exposure to After Effects and Photoshop.
What have been your favorite projects to work on?
It’s been fun the past few years working on these 4D animation projects that have interactive elements, the seats move and shake and they spray water on you, stuff like that.
The project I’m working on now, editing as well as directing, HERO FACTORY, is an all animated TV show. It’s been fun because it’s a style and genre that I like. Getting to work on the LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out was the most fun and most stressful because I cared a lot and wanted to get it right. I’m something of a Star Wars fanatic and getting to work on that and go to Skywalker Ranch for the sound mix was nothing short of a dream come true.
Did you go to film school?
After high school I was accepted into the School of Visual Arts in New York City. I wanted to move to New York the summer before school started, and looked up production offices/studios in New York.