Accidental Editor

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Geordie Anderson, like many people after high school, didn't know what he wanted to study at university, so he followed some guidance from his father and enrolled in the economics and commerce department at University of Technology in his native Australia before leaving on a summer surfing trip. When he got back, he realized that the three-letter code that he entered for his major was very close to the code for chemical engineering, and found himself in the science department completely by accident. "I really didn't have any inclination towards one or the other so I figured I'd give it a go," Anderson says. After performing miserably for the first term, he transferred to the communications department, and got hooked on editing after his first assignment, a clip of two cowboys fighting. "The actors weren't really hitting each other, but cut just the right way it worked," he says. After school, Anderson edited for five years in Australia, where he worked at Sydney-based Karl Marks, cutting spots for Coke, Visa, Ikea, and AT&T, and he also cut short films in his spare time. Two months ago, he joined Blue Rock in New York, where he's tackled a Chrysler director's cut with Partizan's Gary McKendry.

According to Anderson, he's a collaborator without a specific style, preferring to watch rushes on his own and then talk to the director about his vision for the spot. On the day of this interview, workers came in to rearrange his new edit suite so that he could face clients while working, because he is deaf, and he turns off his hearing aids at the beginning of a project, something he humorously calls "tuning out. I cut mute initially and imagine the sounds in my head, then put the music on at the last minute," Anderson says. Because of hearing aides and lip reading, his deafness is surprisingly incidental to his job. In fact, his hearing aids plug into the Avid and give a perfect mix every time, helping out with sound design (mixing is the only thing that he's unable to do).

When starting to cut, he makes clean and specific edits, adding detail afterward. While his reel contains spots with varied paces, from a speeding Ford Falcon clip set at the racetrack, to a comparatively languid Motorola spot about a painter, they all feel instinctive, highlighting visuals that help the viewer focus much like an authoritative guide. "It's kind of magical and mindless," he says. "I just let things happen. If I think too much, it doesn't work." His first spot in the U.S., AT&T's "& is Good" with Chelsea Pictures' Simon Blake directing, is sprinkled with quick cuts and editorial surprises that enhance the visual effects and titles, slowly bringing them into sharper focus. "In Australia, editors do everything-sound design and sometimes effects," Anderson says. "The U.S. likes to classify." However, he adds, "It's the best job in the world. I don't know how to do anything else."

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