Avid: What did you enjoy the most about working on The Last of Us?
Timothy Good: There's so many things that I loved about working on The Last of Us, Season 1. It's just the thing I think about all the time is that I got to have my assistant editor, Emily Mendez, become my co-editor along side of me and then also get nominated for an Emmy along side of me, which is incredible. I'm so proud of her. I'm just ecstatic that we got to go on this journey together because mentorship is a really big part of my journey as an editor. And to see her sort of flourish in this way has been really, really stunning. But in the end of it, though, the best part about working on this season was that we had this incredible creative collaboration with Craig Mazin. And that's a lot of Cs. I understand. And he's a lovely individual. And the thing that I like so much about working with him is that he's not only is he generous with allowing a sort of creative license to come and bring new ideas, but he's so wise and smart with when he just decides how to tell us how to do a note, decides how are we going to approach a certain sequence. He knows exactly how to talk to us in the way that's how editors think. And so for me, it was always about working with Craig, even though it was the longest and most difficult period of creative collaboration in my career. Once again, many Cs. It was- every day was like a challenge that I was happy to wake up for and just go through the day as happy as I could possibly be.
Avid: Why did you choose to submit this episode for a nomination?
Timothy Good: The reason why we chose Endure and Survive, Episode 5 as our nomination, is for many reasons. I think the success of the Bill and Frank, Episode 3, as soon as we realized how good that was, we knew that this next story with the brothers, Henry and Sam, was going to be an even higher degree of difficulty. Because once again, we had to bring an audience into an intimate relationship with two characters who were not going to survive the episode. And that's really difficult to do. And we also had to deal with the fact that we were also using ASL, American Sign Language, as a separate line of communication. But at the same time, we had to create an emotional connection between these two brothers. And that emotional connection between these two brothers is also an echo between the characters of Joel and Ellie, which is one of the great things about how Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, they write these scripts, is they always have a reason for each character and the dyads that they represent. And so, being able to bring that relationship to life was a major reason. But then we also had a massive battle sequence that took three weeks to film overnight. And of course, nothing went exactly to plan on those things as well, but it in the end became a character-based action sequence, which I'm very, very proud of, because it is a truly structural piece that has everything to do with the emotion of Joel and Ellie as two people that are just in the middle of a thousand extras and how their interaction, their dynamic fuels, and basically drives that entire scene. And so with all those things, there were riots on the street, there was terror, but then there was also intimate sequences between Ellie and Sam and moments where, you know, we had the character of Melanie Lynskey's Kathleen, she has to have moments of introspection and we have to understand why she, as the principal sort of bad person in theory, why she's doing what she's doing. So, all those things required enormous balance and because of that, it was just, it was the ultimate episode to put up. It was when Emily and I were at our peak, we were really working at our very best and it made all the sense in the world to put that up for nomination.
Avid: How did you find out about the nomination and what was your reaction?
Timothy Good: When I heard that we were nominated, I was at home and I was watching the Emmy live stream because I had no idea how it worked and so they said well you have to watch the Emmy live stream and so I started watching it and I realized that they're just naming everything and I said well how long is this gonna be? Isn't this gonna be like hours? And then they said very quickly, and the rest of the nominations are on the website and I was like okay and I looked at my husband and he goes, well go to the website you dummy. So and so I went to the website, and I just decided to take a risk and I typed a find for my name, Timothy, and it showed up and it was the first thing that showed up, and I was just overwhelmed. It was just, it was unbelievable to see that. And then I called Emily as fast as I possibly could. And then we just screamed. We were so happy. And we were so grateful that we were nominated together because it really did recognize the mentorship that went on between the two of us. And I think it's a really big deal to have assistant editors become editors and learn the craft of editing. So, to have us together as nominees really just made the day the perfect day.
Avid: What tools of Media Composer helped you craft this episode?
Timothy Good: The thing I love about Media Composer more than anything is that the tools are always based on like detailed ways of telling a story. And it's all about, you know, the tools are designed for story purpose, which I think is really the thing I love the most. And so one of our favorite tools in our go-to tool is an Avid script. So, we constantly are using Avid script to put all of the scenes and all of the takes and line them all up. You know, in the way you used to do it in the past, you would have to, you know, create a big, long select string out. And then for each one of those lines, you'd have to play them back and forth. And the thing about that was it wasn't very visual. And so the fact that it's a visual digital line script that then Craig Mazin would love to look at and say, oh, how many of these lines do I have? Oh, I have five of those. Great. So, for him, and for me and for Emily to collaborate together, it was just really easy to have the line script right in front of us. We would make decisions very, very quickly and move on with our days. So, it was really an efficient way of working with Avid.
Avid: How has knowing Media Composer helped your career?
Timothy Good: Knowing Media Composer has been literally the most important part of my career because it's the only system I've ever used. 1997, I learned the Avid. Of course, I got my first job as an assistant editor overnight on an independent film. I was of course paid nothing, which was amazing to me. I was just so happy to have any kind of job. They asked me, of course, do you know the Avid? It's this new system that we're gonna be using. I said, yes, yes, I do know the Avid. I did not know the Avid. And so overnight, I read the Avid manual and I made sure that I understood how to perform all of the structural functions of the software. And at that point, that was sort of the backbone of my experience with the Avid. And from that point on, I have never had to look back.
Avid: Would you recommend editing to someone interested in a career in TV?
Timothy Good: When I think about giving advice to young filmmakers who are interested in editing as a career, I actually have been teaching at UCLA for the last 15 years and so I've answered this question quite a few times. And I always start with the most important reason why editing is a great career and that's the absolutely number one, air conditioning. Very simply, you're gonna be in an air-conditioned room and that is the bedrock of an amazing career. And filmmaking, you're never gonna be air-conditioned, so editing is the perfect place. And then of course I answer in real terms and I will tell them what I really think and that is that editing is the primary creative art of filmmaking, and it really is the place where you are the person or persons who get all of the talents of all of the other artists and they're basically funneling all of their talents into this film, and they give that right to you and then you have this incredible honor and responsibility of putting together these stories for the best filmmakers and storytellers in the world. And you get to mold and you get to shape and you get to decode and you get to reveal a character in a way that people trust you, that singular individual or individuals to come up with the best way of telling the story. So, frankly I tell them you are the center of the wheel in filmmaking and everyone else is just feeding you all of this fantastic material. And so why would you not want to be an editor? It's really truly the greatest art in filmmaking, in my opinion, and that's why I say why would you not? And the air conditioning is just a fantastic bonus.