Hollywood animation editors Jason Tucker ’90 and Nate Cormier ’09 visited their alma mater April 2 for a discussion titled “The Role of the Animation Editor” with Emerson faculty member and TV producer Kevin Bright ’76.
Both post-production majors at Emerson, Tucker and Cormier worked together on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series as animation editors. To a packed Multipurpose Room at Piano Row, they discussed the differences between post-production in live action and animation, as well as their personal experiences in the field after graduation.
Both joked that they thought their job interviews at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch would be nothing more than a fun anecdote to tell friends, and Cormier said it was “very surreal” to be hired by one of his filmic heroes for the Star Wars series. Cormier worked primarily on the most recent season of the show after being hired by Tucker, who had been with The Clone Wars since the beginning.
“I found out he was an Emerson guy,” Cormier explained about his initial interview to edit for the show, “and we just started talking about our favorite late-night places in Chinatown.”
They agreed that the Emerson connection was valuable in the industry, both as a prospective employee and a potential employer.
Both men shed some light onto the labor intensity of animation editing—showing a scene from The Clone Wars in various stages of the year-long animation process. Tucker reflected on the fluctuating role of a director depending on the medium he was working in, saying, “Some will read a magazine and see if you need anything, others you need to tell to back off and let you do your job,” he laughed.
He also spoke about his experience in editing animation as opposed to his years working in trailers and one-hour drama editing, saying, “You’re there from day one until the very end…the art comes from using these boards and layouts essentially as a blueprint.”
Cormier remembers his class in advanced film editing at Emerson as the one that got his career moving after cutting an entire live-action film together as a final project, allowing him to work with Emerson friends Kevin McManus ’09 and Matthew McManus ’09 on Funeral Kings, an indie feature shown at the South by Southwest festival. Tucker also remembers his time at Emerson fondly, citing his experience with the Los Angeles program as one of his first opportunities to gain industry connections and experience.