Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 by Jim Norrena
"Rob and Jeff showed me traditional storyboarding techniques. . . . They really work!"
It's a story about a recent California College of the Arts graduate who scores an internship working with his former instructor, an Academy Award–winning filmmaker. The intern makes such a strong impression he's put to the task of editing extra scenes taken from his instructor's latest feature film for its upcoming DVD release. (It should be noted the film was the opening feature at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.)
Despite looming deadlines and a celebrated filmmaker's reputation on the line, the intern knows what he has to do. With the clock ticking, he reviews the film selects. He storyboards the outline. He puts the clips together. He masters the color calibration. He corrects the sound. The rough cut becomes the final cut. It's an undeniable success. The intern, confident and hungry to advance his career, stands triumphant and declares he's off to Brooklyn to start his own film production company.
CCA's Erinn Clancy (BFA Media Arts 2010) assures himself a life spent working with video—selecting footage, assembling the story, narrowing the clips, relating the images with the dialogue, finding the “great little moments,” working with sound, color correcting, organizing the rough cut, and launching the final cut—is his intended career. Now thanks to Film Program chair Rob Epstein, who hired the recent graduate as a film editor to compile the extras for the DVD release of his and Jeffrey Friedman’s feature film Howl, Clancy’s story—about a graduate who lands a career-catapulting internship—is one worth telling!
Clancy is a 24-year-old multifaceted video artist (director, producer, teacher, film editor, entrepreneur) who is about to head off to Brooklyn to start his own production company, which he’s named Shot and Cut Productions. His recent film project, Planet XQ, a six-minute music video, screens August 21 at the 10th annual Nevada City Film Festival and will screen September 11 as part of the San Francisco International Festival of Short Films, the latter of which Graphic Design associate professor Jim Kenney founded and serves as executive director.
Yet it’s Clancy’s current project—editing the scene extras for Oscilloscope Laboratories' January 2011 DVD release of Howl, which had its world premiere as the 2010 opening-night feature at Sundance Film Festival—that we hope will catapult the talented alum in his career. The film, produced by two-time Academy Award–winning filmmaker Epstein (with filmmaking partner Friedman), offers a star-studded cast: Hollywood heavyweight James Franco (as the young Allen Ginsberg), David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Bob Balaban, Treat Williams, Alessandro Nivola, Mary-Louise Parker, and Jeff Daniels. (Look for Howl to be released in theaters September 24.)
CCA's Faculty/Student Collaborative Relationship
“One of the joys of working at CCA, for all of us who teach in the Film Program,” shares Epstein, who himself started as an apprentice before working professionally, “is having the opportunity to mentor students outside and within the classroom. In our personal careers, we who teach in the Film Program work in a wide range of film and media arts practices, so students are exposed to all sorts of career possibilities.”
Clancy honed in on the opportunity and took hold.
“CCA has been great,” admits Clancy. “Critiques are really big there, and I miss getting feedback from faculty and students. My program was small, so many of us were in the same classes, which formed a supportive community. I knew their work; they knew mine. Same with the instructors.
Among the Film faculty Clancy tips his hat to are former faculty member and 2007 Rome Prize awardee Caveh Zahedi, who was “a big influence for me in terms of the creative process”; Cheryl Dunye, an “amazing inspiration who brought a whole new attitude and energy into my filmmaking process" (and whose recent film, Owls, brought to two the number of Teddy Awards she’s received from the International Berlin Film Festival [The Watermelon Women was awarded a Teddy in 1996]); and assistant chair Brooke Hinton, who “was extremely influential in terms of developing my technical skills.”
Collectively speaking, all of Clancy's influences helped build skills that captured Epstein's attention: "Production of any kind requires the ability to collaborate well and apply social skills, which Erinn excels at. All of us in the Film faculty took note of Erinn’s talent as an editor in his personal work. His potential is vast. He expressed interest in further developing these skills and took the initiative to do just that.”
About Interning at Telling Pictures
Clancy started his internship at industry-renowned Telling Pictures in May. The production studio, founded by Epstein and Friedman, is located at the corner of Arkansas and 16th, just mere steps from CCA’s San Francisco campus. Upon entering the quiet and charming courtyard, it’s difficult to imagine the collective media frenzy Telling Pictures has generated for more than a quarter of a century; between the two filmmakers they have received two Academy Awards, five Emmy Awards, three Peabodys, as well as Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships, among numerable other national industry accolades.
Yet don’t think the ubiquitous prestige of Telling Pictures escapes Clancy’s notice, either; the aspiring video artist has to pass by this resplendent array of awards every day—an inspiration and a daunting measurement of success alike. Choosing inspiration over intimidation, the so-called walk of fame becomes merely a symbolic portal between his life as a CCA undergraduate and his first “real” gig, which just happens to be as film editor working under the wings of two maverick filmmakers who saw his potential and gave him a chance.
“I’m totally honored to be working with such filmmakers,” admitted Clancy. As for his thoughts on Howl itself: “It’s like no other movie I’ve ever seen. It’s really three films in one: a courtroom drama (from the Allen Ginsberg obscenity trial transcripts and records); an interview process with Ginsberg (taken from historical archives); and beautiful, psychedelic, poetic animation depicting Ginsberg’s poetry.”
Your Education Is Only as Good as You Make It
When asked about working through stylistic differences on a collaborative project, Clancy demonstrated a firm grasp on the realities of the professional film industry: “You can always make suggestions, but when you’re working with the director . . . the director gets the final say.” Good answer, kid.
Based on Epstein’s praise of Clancy, it’s difficult to imagine there were any visionary roadblocks. “While first working as an assistant editor, Erinn showed himself to be hard working, skilled, and professional, which led to editing the extra documentary materials for the forthcoming Howl DVD release,” Epstein explained. “Erinn was the perfect candidate and a good fit. We were the lucky ones. . . . With this first professional job under his belt, we hope he is well on his way.”
And before heading off to New York, Clancy offered incoming Film students the following focused advice based on his POV: “Take advantage of the film community that CCA has to offer. Collaborate with your peers. Pick your instructors’ brains for creative input. Use as much film equipment as you can. Your education is only as good as you make it.”
Cut. That’s a wrap! Next stop—red carpet!
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