- When will Aaron be available next? Spring 2021. While that’s a ways off he is already starting to consider projects. If you're on that type of long lead timetable… drop him a line. It's most efficient and productive if you include a link to a trailer/demo, and a pitch deck of some sort that includes the synopsis of the film. Pro-Tip: messages without information about your project that ask for him to call you to learn more will probably not be answered.
- Where is he based and does he travel for work? His home base is in Chicago but since 2014 he has worked on features from London (BURDEN), San Francisco (THE BANDIT), LA's East-Side (BEST of ENEMIES, WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR, and THEY'LL LOVE ME WHEN I'M DEAD), and LA's West-Side (GENERATION WEALTH). While he is excited to work with teams from around the world, his desire at the moment is to collaborate on projects where a substantive amount of editorial can take place in Chicago so he can be with his family more often. If you are an out-of-town director considering Aaron for a project, take note that FINDING VIVIAN MAIER was edited from Chicago for an LA based Co-Director... and that turned out pretty well.
- When is the best time to bring an editor like Aaron onto my project? It usually works out best when 70-85% of production is complete and a significant amount of work has already been done with an assistant editor to organize the raw materials. Ideally that would include having all existing footage imported into your edit, having transcriptions/logs and translations completed, and the director having spent the time to highlight their selects on transcripts and having worked with an AE to organize those selects into stringouts.
- What edit system does Aaron use? His preference (at the moment) is Adobe Premiere but he has recently cut features on all the major platforms. THE BANDIT and HAIL SATAN? were both cut in Premiere, BURDEN was FCP7, and both GENERATION WEALTH and WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR were cut with AVID Media Composer.
- How long is a typical edit for a feature? It depends on the complexity and goals of the project. On the low-end 6 months seems reasonable for a very organized project but it usually ends up taking longer than that. Sometimes projects can take as long as a year. Aaron's also very open to working in Co-Editing situations when a project is on a tighter timeline for completion.
- Does he have time to watch my rough cut and give notes? Typically, no. When he's deep into editing a film it takes a lot of focus and it can be hard to make the time to do much else. There are two amazing formal programs that allow for feedback on rough cuts: KARTEMQUIN LABS, and Rough Cuts.
- I'm just getting started as an editor. Can you suggest some books or other resources for me to checkout? Absolutely. First off, read these excellent essays with career advice from George Monbiot and Penny Lane. Then, here are a few specific books you can read that have been influential: Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir, Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, Lynch’s Catching the Big Fish, Murch’s In the Blink of an Eye, Wired for Story, Stein on Writing, & Long Story Short. There is a new book out focused on documentary editing by Jacob Bricca, ACE called: Documentary Editing: Principles & Practice. Aaron was interviewed for this book along with many other luminaries in the field and it’s a great resource. Lastly, Aaron's reflections on editing can be found in this recent interview for the POV's Documentary Blog.