This week we had the pleasure to 'sit down with' Editor Ryan Boucher of Whitehouse Post.
The native of South Africa chats to us about his love of absurd stories, growing up in South Africa and Botswana and spending an indecent amount of money on coffee making paraphernalia...! Oh and we even fitted in chatting about some of his finest moments in editing too.
Over to you Ryan...
1.What inspired you to be an editor?
I went through the process of eliminating every other job in the industry until I figured out what I wanted to do.
Growing up in small towns in South Africa and Botswana in the 80s and early 90s I didn’t know anyone in film, or even that a job in filmmaking was a possibility, but I was obsessed with film and TV. British comedy in particular. I literally wore out VHS tapes of Monty Python and Black Adder. I knew I wanted to do what those people did; telling absurd stories and entertaining people. But those things were being made in other, far away places…
I moved to Australia with my family when I was a teenager and film suddenly started to feel like a possibility. There was much more of an industry there. After Uni, I started volunteering on any film set that would have me. I worked in lighting, camera, the grip department, production, you name it. But it wasn’t until I started messing around with Avid that things properly clicked for me. I got a job as a runner at a post-house and never looked back.
2. What does your job entail?
Sales, logistics, hostage negotiation, grief counselling, diplomatic services and occasionally putting pictures and sound together in pleasing ways. The latter being the most rewarding.
3.What skills do you need to be a good editor?
A good understanding of story most of all. Whether that’s narrative, or just a sense of structure that informs the pattern and pacing of an abstract, visual idea.
Also patience, rhythm, organisation, attention to detail, an eye for composition, and often some mild form of mental illness.
4.What’s your favourite part of your job?
I love getting in the weeds with a director and really testing a cut. That’s usually when the work starts to sing. It’s a trite aphorism, but it’s still true that film is a collaborative art form. The best work is always the result of like-minded people working towards a common goal; a group becoming more than the sum of their parts. When you click with people on a creative level it’s very exciting.
Bernard Garry, a wonderful Australian editor once said to me that we have the best job in the world- sitting in a room with smart, creative people, telling stories. I tend to agree.
5. If there were one thing you could change about your job what would it be?
Time. Deadlines are tighter and tighter these days. I think we’re all pretty fast in this business and can work to a tight schedule, but there’s no replacement for sitting with the rushes for a while or sleeping on a cut and letting the material marinate in the subconscious. It’s often the difference between good and great work.
6. Has your style been influenced by other editor’s work?
I’m sure. No one editor in particular, but I’m a rampant consumer of pretty much every form of moving picture and love to figure out what makes a well-cut piece function. I’ve also been lucky to work for and alongside some amazing editors over the years and I’m always up for a long, nerdy chat about the craft.
7. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an editor?
I have no idea. Hopefully I won’t have to find out…
8. What projects are you most proud of?
This is a tricky one. I’d probably have a different answer every other week. I’m proud of projects for different reasons; some of them because we went through the trenches and they were hard-won, others because they’ve done some good in the world, some of them are just straight up enjoyable and of course a bit of silverware is always nice.
I did a really nice Samsung spot in Sydney recently for the outrageously excellent Paola Morabito that ticks a lot of those boxes. It was a challenging edit, but it had a really positive message and made a decent splash in the press and on social media, as well as winning armfuls of awards. According to the agency’s website, it’s had over 600 million audience impressions. I don’t really know what that means, but it sounds impressive! The creative director has a big montage of tweets and FB and YouTube comments on his personal site and it’s actually really sweet how affected a lot of people were by the film. So you can’t ask fairer than that.
9. What are your latest projects?
A series of Mercedes spots for the World Cup with Rollo Jackson at Anorak, a campaign for Tiger Beer with Campbell Hooper at The Sweetshop and more IKEA for puppet-masters Jonny and Will at Finch / Blinkink.
10. Lastly after a long day of editing what do you like to spend your spare time getting up to?
I’m always pottering around with some hobby or another. I’m a deeply untalented musician, photographer, surfer and scuba diver. I also spend an indecent amount of time and money on coffee and coffee-making paraphernalia.