Chris Franklin

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Editing a dialogue spot is pretty straightforward if it's well written, according to AICE winner Chris Franklin of Big Sky Editorial, but like a good joke, the secret lies in the pacing. Appropriate to its subject matter, Franklin's AICE Award-winning editing for "Announcer," the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld's 2002 documentary Comedian, plays like a classic standup act with a patient setup followed by punchline emphasis that builds up to uproarious rapid-fire cuts. In typical Seinfeldian nature, the trailer examines the mundane and subversively attacks its subject-movie cliches-as it shows the instantly recognizable voice actor Hal Douglas fighting over a script with his director, played by comedian and co-writer Tom Papa, in a sound studio. While Douglas dramatically purrs intro phrases such as "in a world where laughter is king" and "now more than ever," a frustrated Papa shoots them down, telling him and the audience that "it's not that kind of movie." Helping to elevate the tone, the cuts follow the dialogue and accelerate when it does.

"The spot was so quiet that we set up the feeling of being in a sound studio, which has that dead sound," says Franklin about the longer atmosphere shots that open the spot. "We took our time setting it up, having Hal sit down and put on his glasses. That way, once it comes to a screeching halt and he's stopped, you really get the rug pulled out from under you. Once we got into the faster cutting, you focus on the performance more than anything, and that's fun." Like the writers and director Christian Charles of Bridgnorth Films, Franklin worked on the feature as well, translating its chemistry into the trailer. Though he sent different cuts to Charles during the editing process, the final cut chosen was in fact the first rough one.

Though he won two AICE awards on May 13, Franklin has a hard time accepting acclaim for his work, instead thanking director and friend Jim Jenkins for the film he is given. "Quite frankly, any footage that he does is an absolute gift because he covers things so beautifully," says Franklin. "It's hard to screw it up." Winning the award for Best National Campaign Editing with his work for the Food Network through Jenkins' agency Nicebigbrain, he also says that having a trusting relationship with a director who gives a lot of options helps them to find the funniest moments. The spots are filled with great performances that apply to the campaign's tagline, "Food lovers made fresh daily." "Masai" features two couples, one American and one African, who have traded places but find that their food tastes the same. In "Delivery Boy," a couple orders takeout from France. "Young Love" is about the disbelief of twentysomething friends who realize that their buddy has proposed to an elderly gourmet, and "Park" shows a man who feeds businesspeople like pigeons by tossing cocktail shrimp at a preppy flock. Franklin's favorite spot to edit was "Young Love," because of an editing choice that he and Jenkins made together. "There is always one little thing in a spot that just cracks us up," Franklin says. "It's usually something that nobody sees but us, but it will make the spot. In 'Young Love' it's the way the old lady waves with her fingers, and we just get crazy over it."

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