[Frame of Reference] with Editor Tom Daigon


Today we have a short and spicy interview. We go inside Tom’s head to learn about his process and why he chose to become an editor. Enjoy!

“After trying to pursue a career as a rock and roll guitarist (still play) I realized the lifestyle would soon kill me, so I got a scholarship to attend San Diego State University. Taking TV/Film production classes and working at KPBS on the crew was a great experience. After graduating I got a dream job offer at a large production facility in Salt Lake City. It had all the stuff I always wanted to work with like CMX, Grass Valley, Chyron, Avid.etc. I started as a junior editor and worked my way up. It was a great way to learn the craft. I worked there for 18 years until the video production landscape started to change. I moved to Las Vegas and worked as the senior editor at a small boutique for 8 years. Then the economy plummeted and I discovered the world of freelancing. So I built a great edit bay in my house with the latest everything. I started my career as a cutter , then realized motion graphics would be a good thing to learn. Currently I am expanding on that by adding some skills with Cinema 4D. Its a good thing I like learning new stuff since there is so much to learn in this business”.

What got you interested in editing?
As a little kid I always liked making collages. In college I worked at the radio station then transferred to San Diego State to get my degree in Film and TV Production. But I never got real hands on until I went to work as an assistant editor at a very large facility in Salt Lake City. It had million dollar edit bays with all the bell and whistles. I was hooked.

How did you get started in editing?
At SDSU I got an internship at Cox Cable which gave me my first taste of linear tape based editing.

What is your preferred NLE(s) of choice? Why?
At this point Adobe Premiere Pro is the one I prefer. I love its innovation and integration with AE and PS. And Adobes attitude of listening to what editors want is refreshing.
Give us a run through of your editing process
Talk to clients to get their vision then help shape it. Review all material. Come up with some kind of unifying concept (music, graphics, cutting style) and DO IT!

What tips were you given that was really helpful?
Never assume anything and be organized.

How organized are you?
Its my nature to be organized. As an editor in a large facility that traded off projects to various editors, it was a requirement.

Can you work without a script, finding the story and building it on your own?
Yes. I can improvise on the guitar AND in the edit bay.

What is your favorite film? Favorite Tv show?
Bladerunner. Law and Order (Burn Notice a close second)

What style of editing have you done? (Narrative/Documentary/News/Corporate/Wedding/Etc)
I’ve done them all.

If you could meet any editor, who and why?
I actually enjoy meeting any editor that enjoys talking about their craft.

What advice can you offer to get through complex edits?
Learn to deal with stress. I’m still working on that one myself  😀

Which plug-in(s) do you find most useful? Why?
I can’t limit it to one so I will say the Trapcode Suite.

How does the director-editor relationship work for you?
It’s great when there is synchronicity.

How do you deal with problem clients/directors?
The older I get, the less I suffer fools. But I am very diplomatic, to a point.

What’s your overall philosophy about editing?
Try to sculpt out the central message or story from the mountains of content.

Name one thing that you would tell an aspiring editor
Love what you do because these days it’s a difficult way to make a living.

For more info on Tom, you can visit his website or follow him on twitter.

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