Jazz Tangcay talks to the editors of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs Masisel about Paris, working together and why they love coming to work on the show.
What’s it like working on one of the most beautiful shows on TV right now? Tim Streeto and Kate Sanford – editors on Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel have the answer – they all work in one studio. From editing, art design, production and writing, the cast and crew all work in close proximity. I caught up with the editors to talk about how they edit episodes and set the pace. We talk about editing the telethon sequence and how they cut the Paris sequences.
Read our chat below.
The season opens going to Paris. How did you approach that as editors to give it a Parisian vibe?
Kate: After working on season one, we were delighted. I think our viewers were to, to just go someplace new. Paris was exciting, beautiful and romantic. It was a lot of fun. Last season, I started first and I was able to cut all of the Paris sequences.
They went to Paris and shot all of the scenes that would be located there, all at the same them. I cut episode one and two. When Tim started, I handed him all the scenes for his episodes and he continued and incorporated his material in and we were off.
Tim: It was a thrill. When we saw that they were going to Paris, it was a joy. We got to go to the Rodin Museum and get out there. They’re going to dress Paris for the show, and it was a real thrill.
What’s the process of working together as a team?
Tim: Kate and I have worked together in the past and we alternate shows. We each edit every other episode. Sometimes, she’ll start first and cut. Most of the times, they’ll shoot a whole episode over a two-week period, and we cut it and then we’ll do the alternating.
We’re so collaborative and showing each other the clips and getting feedback from each other. The principal collaborator for each of us is the other, so that’s really great to have.
In episode 2 you feature How are ya Fixed for Love? Talk about the music choices and cutting that scene?
Tim: Amy and Dan have very specific music tastes and often they have songs written into the scripts. For that one, we had a couple of ideas on how to approach it musically. It was always going to end with What a Wonderful World. There were a bunch of specifically staged shots to get there, but in post, we tried a couple of different songs before we landed on that.
The thing about a great song is it’s really hard to cut it up. The songs swell and build in ways, and it’s very hard to cut out a verse and tack on a new ending. The music editing that you can do with other songs just doesn’t work when you have a song so perfect as that. It’s tricky. Every new song we tried in there, we had to re-cut the whole sequence before we got there.
There were some lightbulb discoveries that we tried along the way.
It’s interesting how you reveal it to be so challenging.
Tim: It was.
There’s a lot going on in the telethon scene and ADR, it’s not just the scene, it’s the music.
Kate: That was Dan writing and directing. I think from the first scene of that; it had a unique quality which is that a lot of the humor was going to come from the editing. Even from the beginning, in the diner, I felt Susie is going around the tables. She’s getting information trying to get Midge on this telethon and every time we cut to the next table, it’s almost like it’s a joke because we cut faster and faster until there’s not enough time for her to get to the next location.
I think that’s just part of the humor whether you see that or you just feel it. I think it gets funnier to me, and that was one of the funnier things for me.
Dan wrote that telethon and in typical fashion, he loves repetition and repetition of dialogue and situations. The fact we kept revisiting the control room and having them pop up there, get yelled at was really funny.
The ending of that was pretty challenging because we needed to have enough of Midge’s routine to stretch across all of the reaction shots of everybody around the city watching her. I think it happens a bit on the show where they write something and find there may not be enough dialogue to stretch all the way across what we need to show visually. We try to get it as tight as we can tell the story and we call the writers to add more jokes or off-camera dialogue.
We got it as tight as we could, but we needed to stretch her routine a bit more. There were a few more jokes that came in that were re-recorded in ADR to finish that sequence.
You talk about getting the balance right which you talk about. How do you get that tone right in the editing room?
Tim: It’s tricky because it’s a show where the pace and humor sizzles. There are also some heartfelt moments. I have to say that we follow the lead of the writing that is built in such a way that those moments are really allowed to exist in such a poignant way.
There’s the scene where her father is in the audience. It was such a huge moment for the show. That’s Abe discovering what she’s been doing and just to make things worse, she’s talking about sex, she’s talking about her father and it’s really funny, but it was such a powerful moment. It needed a strong moment.
Kate: We created that moment as a choice. Standup is racing and going and you’re keeping the balls in the air and then it comes to a dead stop right in the middle where they look at each other. I built in some of those pauses. Amy said, “We can have a moment of stop and stammer, but then we need to keep it going.” Even that moment, that stop is filled with perceptible coughing, whispering and chairs scraping. Pace-wise we can come to one full stop per dramatic moment. She has to ramp it back up and keep the balls in the air again after that.
One thing that is so apparent is how much like family you are. What is that environment like for you?
Tim: It starts – because we’re all working in the same place. The writers and the art department are down the hall. The production is down the hall. Everyone is invited to the table reads, and you get to know the crew. You get to know people. Some of us have worked together on other shows, but Amy and Dan are open to having people come and see us in the editing room. Kate and I love it. We love being part of the show. On other shows, you’re in editing and you’re in a post-production place. There’s a movie or a commercial next door and that’s nice in a different way and you have less interruption.
I think Amy and Dan being married; they feel like our parents and there’s such a family feel to it.
Kate: The mood starts with them. The showrunners always set the mood. I’ve been on shows where the table read has tension about it. From the start, when we began, I couldn’t believe everyone on the crew was invited to come and that really set the tone. Everyone comes and has a laugh. They’re big professional actors and you’re having brunch with them and it’s just really nice.
Tim: The ideal work environment is one where you feel like part of a team and you’re included and there’s enough of a demand. You’re doing the best work. You’re pushed to do good work, and that comes from Dan and Tim.