Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stargate Universe - Joseph Mallozzi's Blog: Mike Banas Answers Your Questions

From Joseph Mallozzi's blog update for July 8, 2010:

(Please follow the link for the complete EXTENSIVE blog update.)

Maverick (a.k.a. Mike Banas, P.I.) fires back at ya!

When he’s not editing or working on his deck, Mike Banas is answering YOUR questions! No doubt intimidated by the fact that I would be visiting him to start work on my producer’s cut of Resurgence today, Mike magically turned around that outstanding Q&A we’ve all been waiting for. And it’s a good one. As is Resurgence, is latest labor of love. But you can judge for yourselves when it airs in about ten months.

Over to Mike…

Well, hello everyone. First off I have to thank Joe for the invitation to participate and of course thanks to all of you for your thoughtful questions.

Also, I should apologize for taking so long in answering. I usually get a bit of a breather between episodes to get caught up on emails and what not, but this time I finished Joe’s latest and greatest: “Awakening” and instantly launched into Rob Cooper’sMalice” with no down time.


A brief excerpt:

Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Mike Banas:1. What was the most challenging episode of SGU to edit?”
MB: I’d have to say, by far, the pilot – Air pts. 1 & 2. It was challenging to edit mainly because we were working with more of a clean slate in terms of ‘look’ for the show. Having no template to work from opened up a lot of possibilities. Since we were all on a learning curve it took a lot of work to find the show’s style. What made my job easier and still does today, is our incredible cast. The performances are consistently spot-on, which allows me to focus on other things while I’m putting the show together.

“2. How involved are the directors and writers in the editing process?”
MB: Very. During the shooting of an episode the editor cuts the raw footage, or ‘dailies’, alone. We do communicate quite regularly with the director and producers during the shoot but the editor produces the first cut of the show, which contains everything that was scripted. After the Editor’s Cut, the episode’s Director comes in and spends a few days reworking the cut. Often they remember things from the shoot that really grabbed them, like a particular camera angle or line reading. So when he / she is happy we release the Director’s Cut for the producers to watch and then the supervising producer (usually that episode’s writer) comes down to editing to work with me for a few days. After that it’s off to the network for their thoughts then the show gets ‘locked’, which means there will be no more picture changes, that’s when the sound and Vfx folk get busy. The whole process for the editor takes roughly a month for an hour-long episode.

“3. Is there a scene you’ve done in which you’d like a second go at it?”
MB: Yes, plenty of scenes. We have a saying: “you never really finish a show, you just stop working on it.”

“4. Any other job in the production you’d like a go at? Directing?”
MB: Sure. Directing sounds fun.

“5. What do you do for fun in your spare time?”
MB: I like to snowboard (winters off in British Columbia can be amazing).

I am also a T.V and Film addict (I’m watching “The Wrath of Khan” while I’m typing this – Kirstie Alley!).

“6. What music do you like?”
MB: I grew up in the eighties listening to and going to punk rock shows. My tastes have broadened, but I am still drawn to bands that exist more or less on the fringe. Current favs are “Future of the Left” from Wales and “Titus Andronicus” from N.J.

“7. I’m curious about the editing for the SGU ep Lost compared to Pain. The scenes going back and forth between the characters in Lost was more abrupt than in Pain…what was the reasoning behind this? While I liked Lost it felt a bit like a tennis match…Pain I loved! The transition between scenes was brilliant. Thanks for you hard work…you should get on twitter with is..”
MB: Unfortunately I can’t really speak to the editing of “Pain” or “Lost”. We have a three-editor rotation, so I cut every third show. Rick Martin and Brad Rines (two of the best editors in Canada) cut those shows respectively. What I can say is every episode is unique and the script and material more than anything dictates the style.

As far as joining Twitter.…maybe….perhaps….well….the thing is, the idea of spending more time on my computer or phone than I already do scares me.

... Well I think that’s it for me. I thank you all for your awesome questions and I appreciate the interest in what we do. People tend to forget about postproduction because we work in dark little rooms by ourselves like trolls. So it’s nice to shed a bit of light on the process now and then.

Thanks go out to Joe for setting this up. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the amazing editing department:

Jon Anctil who keeps the shows coming and going on time. Troy Mac Neill who manages to keep a very complicated system running well. Bob Dewald whose eagle eye catches every potential problem. Ryan Malone and Steve McLeod for having to deal with me every day. Kerry McDowall who keeps the train on the track. And, of course, Jen Johnson who keeps us all in line.


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