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Editor Josh Porro uses Adobe Premiere Pro to cut Tribeca Film “Cinnamon”

Image source: Tribeca Film Festival

Filled with intrigue, music, and heart, “Cinnamon” follows an aspiring singer, played by Tony nominee Hailey Kilgore, and a small-time crook (David Iacono) on a journey to change their lives. The noir thriller was brought to life by editor Josh Porro using Adobe Premiere Pro.

This is Porro’s first feature film and since then, Porro states “every new project I take on – that’s my choice – is being cut on Adobe Premiere Pro.” Read on to learn more about Porro’s workflow and his advice for aspiring filmmakers.

Can you tell us about your experience as a filmmaker and how you got started in the industry?

The first time I got paid to edit was at the American Film Institute. I started off as an assistant in the communications department at AFI, and when I saw an opening in the production department (producing the AFI 100 Years… 100 Movies series, etc.), I became an insufferable nag until they gave me a position editing. I worked at AFI for eight years full time, and continue to work there freelance. I learned everything I know about editing there.

How and where did you first learn to edit?

I had the opportunity to study abroad my senior year of undergrad at Dong-Ah Broadcasting College, just outside of Seoul, South Korea. We were six American exchange students, the first group to travel there. We were basically thrown into the deep end of having to make six-episodes of a TV show, take animation and film history classes, as well as getting to make a short movie on actual film — cutting it on an old Steenbeck. Best way to learn is just having to figure it out.

How do you begin a project/set up your workspace?

I usually start out every project in a mild version of a panic, little bit of self-doubt, etc. Then I settle down, try to come up with a plan, a few achievable goals for that day/week… and just start plugging away.

Tell us about a favorite scene or moment from this project and why it stands out to you.

I think my favorite part of the film is the opening title card shot. Mostly because we (Bryian, the director, and Dan Wilcox, the music supervisor) spent so much time looking for and arguing over the opening title track. Listening to great music all day – and getting paid to do it — is probably the best job ever.

What were some specific post-production challenges you faced that were unique to your project? How did you go about solving them?

Honestly anything I really would call a challenge on this film would come in the form of trying to edit the story in the most impactful way possible. The movie uses its first act to set up a budding romance between two characters who decide to do something crazy, and then we spend the rest of the film with them apart from each other, as they deal with the consequences they set in motion. I think we all just ended up trusting what Bryian had written and trying to stick as close to that as possible.

What Adobe tools did you use on this project and why did you originally choose them? Why were they the best choice for this project?

This was the very first project of any substance I cut on Premiere Pro, and it was also the first feature film I have ever cut ever, so I was intimidated for sure when I was told we would be cutting on it. To be honest, if it was up to me, in the beginning, I wouldn’t have chosen it. But I’m very glad it worked about, because cut to a year later, every new project I take on – that’s my choice – is being cut on Adobe Premiere Pro.

If you could share one tip about Premiere Pro, what would it be?

My favorite thing in Premiere Pro is mapping the ‘Mute/Unmute Clip’ function to “shift + a”. I know it seems like a tiny thing, but coming from another software where I had to use my mouse to right-click in order to mute a clip (at least I couldn’t figure out how to make a shortcut easily), this was a massive creative timesaver for me. It lets me audition different takes and audio options that I’ve laid on the timeline in a flash.

Who is your creative inspiration and why?

George Saunders, who has written a ton of master-work short stories and the amazing novel “Lincoln In the Bardo”, is a constant source of inspiration for me. The way he drops you into a story, sometimes mid-thought in the protagonist’s mind, really keeps you on your toes. And in the end his stories always pack such a punch in such a short amount of time. I know he’s a brilliant writer… but I believe he’s probably an even MORE brilliant editor.

What’s the toughest thing you’ve had to face in your career and how did you overcome it? What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers or content creators?

Juggling kids and family life, while trying to give everything else you have to the project you are working on, is the biggest challenge for me. But, having kids and a family make you prioritize what is important to you, in the time that you have, which… if I am getting fancy… is probably an analogy of some sort for editing and storytelling.

Share a photo of where you work. What’s your favorite thing about your workspace and why?

Image source: Josh Porro, Cinnamon editor

I’m sharing a photo of the bay at Sugar Studios in Los Angeles where we did post on “Cinnamon”. I know it’s cheesy, but looking out the window on a clear day and seeing the Hollywood sign while we cut DID NOT get old.

 

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