From Oscar and Emmy nods to one of the best spots of the year, 2008 was a pretty good dozen months for L.A.-based editorial house Rock Paper Scissors and editors Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter.
First and foremost for Wall and Baxter is the Best Film Editing Oscar nomination for their work on David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The film was Baxter's first full-length feature job (he had worked on parts of Fincher's Zodiac with lead editor Wall) but he says the transition from the shorter form was smooth. "When you're working in single scenes, in some ways, it's just like doing a spot in that you're just trying to connect a small area," says Baxter. "Then when you think it's right you pull back and look at it within the whole thing. The only real difference is the connection of scenes and the overall flow of a film. It also helps incredibly when I have David Fincher sitting on one side of me and Angus Wall on the other."
Wall, who co-founded RPS in 1992, also nabbed an Emmy nomination for work on titles for HBO's John From Cincinnati and cut Creativity's top spot of the year, Nike's "Fate," also directed by Fincher. In addition to Wall and Baxter's success, their RPS cohorts enjoyed a bright year as well. Directed by editor Adam Pertofsky and edited by David Brodie, The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306, about the Reverend Samuel "Billy" Kyles and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., earned a Best Documentary Short Oscar nomination. Also, RPS editor Biff Butler cut the Will.i.am "Yes We Can" video in support of Barack Obama, which has been viewed over six million times.
Wall, on the differences between cutting a film vs. a spot: "We always talk about not looking up at the mountain, just staying focused on our feet walking. Spots are kind of like a wind sprint, while a movie is a marathon. You edit a movie several times, once to just get all the pieces in there, then to look at the whole thing to start to understand the super-structure of the film and see how you can re-structure things. In many ways that's the fun part, looking at the big picture and saying, 'What do we need to tell the bigger story?'"
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