For four years I worked in a glorified closet otherwise known as my editing bay. My room was approximately 6’ wide by 9’ long. It had neutral gray walls and a desk that squeezed all the way across the back wall.
On my desk sat the mixer, mouse, colorful keyboard and phone hidden way off in the corner. Whoever calls the editor for their opinion? Beside my two 23” monitors were two giant oddly colored speakers. On top of one of the speakers was a picture of my wife and I when we were teenagers sitting by a fountain. There were two fortune cookie fortunes taped to the desk. My goal of finding enough good ones to stretch all the way across was never completed.
I was seated with my back to the wooden door that I accidently got Sharpie marker all over one time when keeping track of a contest with a co-worker. This experience taught me two things. 1) Sharpies bleed through cheap paper and 2) an over-the-door coat rack hides Sharpie on wooden doors very well. I believe I won whatever that contest was.
There were overhead fluorescent lights that were never on. One of the many signals that someone had been in my edit bay was if these lights were on. There were two dimmable track lights that lit the room but not my monitors. I went a year with one of the bulbs out before my production manager turned the fluorescent lights on and fixed it when I wasn’t there.
To my left was a black filing cabinet. Paperwork gathered there to die but it was mainly used to hide snacks and the best K-cups for our coffee machine. There was a white bookshelf against the wall where you entered, which housed all the script books (in alphabetical order), change order sheets and hard drives.
Maybe I’m mildly obsessive-compulsive about my edit bay, maybe not. I could find anything in that room with my eyes closed. Anything.
The edit bay in general has a daunting power about it for those unfamiliar with it. It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and crew enter Oz’s chamber. They are intimidated by what is happening in front of them. How does Oz appear like that? They are scared to touch anything (and rightly so because it’s probably expensive!). He must have magical powers. It wasn’t until Toto decides to pull back the curtain and find an old man simply pulling levers and turning wheels. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
The edit bay alone should intimidate the non-editor upon entrance. It’s dark. There are no windows, an unshaven editor who probably doesn’t want to see anyone or hear their opinions and a keyboard that got dipped in a rainbow. They have no idea, or will ever know, the magic taking place behind the curtains. They should tremble when presenting me that unsized JPEG file like Dorothy presenting the Wicked Witch’s broom. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
The edit bay is where I go to find solace. The whole world can be collapsing around you (I was actually in the edit bay during an earthquake) and if you love your craft you can find peace shutting your door, opening up your NLE and working on your new favorite project for hours on end. You find that moment when the shots come together to tell a story that only you could tell.
I left this job and my edit bay almost 8 months ago. My title has changed, role shifted and the enjoyment in what I do has gone up. I sit at a sleek, modern desk in a big open room. There’s a heavily-used ping pong table and palpable excitement that what we’re doing is going to change the world. The startup life is an adventure everyday.
I still get to edit, but only a fraction of what I used to. Many times throughout the day I think about my edit bay. I think about that place where I could escape by closing the door, putting on the headphones and edit for hours without being disturbed.
My new workspace isn’t the same, but being different isn’t necessarily bad. While I miss the mystique of my old edit bay, I’m now going to make my new space my own. But if I ever need the escape, I’ll just click my heels three times and I’m back to that 6’ wide by 9’ long room with neutral gray walls. For now I rebuild and make it my own.
On top of my shelf is a picture of my wife and I when we were teenagers sitting by a fountain. There’s fortune cookie fortune taped on my cabinet.