Andy is a video editor living and working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in South East Asia. He has not always been so.
Andy grew up in Cornwall, England, miles from anywhere even vaguely civilised, and spent much of his formative youth wishing a) he was 2 inches taller, and b) he lived closer to town. These things Andy was not able to control, although he does think he should have eaten more greens. Andy studied all the usual stuff at school, and when it came time to choose a career he filled in a very long questionnaire about all the things that he liked. The answers were fed into a computer which subsequently suggested he become either an astronomer or a spaceman. Clearly computers had a lot to learn, so he decided to do something about it and become a programmer instead. He liked computers, he thought his Sinclair ZX80 was pretty damn cool.
Andy liked college, it meant living in a town for a start … he especially liked the drinking games, the goofing off, and the general hanging out, something he seemed to have a natural talent for … needless to say, many were quite surprised, not least of all Andy, when 3 years later he actually passed his exams. And so it came to pass that Andy started his professional working life as a software engineer, toiling away in the R&D department of a typesetting and graphics arts company. Sadly though, nothing had really prepared him for the amount of actual work that seemed to go hand in hand with this working for a living thing, and he soon decided that “playing” with graphics arts applications was rather more enjoyable than programming them.
Despite himself, Andy wasn’t too bad at what he did and within a couple of years he found himself being headhunted by a competing firm … he very much enjoyed the clandestine meetings in pubs and subsequent contract negotiations, but his growing belief that a career in software engineering was not what he was meant for was worrying … he privately wondered what he was getting himself into, and as a result, that summer Andy accidentally moved to Hong Kong instead.
After 4 years of frog congee, a hefty dose of culture shock and a few unexpected twists and turns, Andy finally returned home to England where he tried to figure out what he was going to do next. It was then that he spotted a notice that had been posted in his local Career Advice centre, by a community service volunteer group, advertising a course in TV & Video production. He volunteered … it was that or the stained glass window making workshop. He’s still not entirely convinced that he made the right choice, but nonetheless, during some quality time at the University of Plymouth’s TV studio, during a particularly cold winter snap, Andy discovered the warmest room in the building was the edit suite, and his fate was sealed.
Bitten by the edit bug, he made his way back once again to Hong Kong, to the doors of Star TV (a great big network that few outside Asia will know of) where he enthusiastically offered to work for free if they’d hire him. Not his finest display of nuanced negotiation, but it worked nonetheless. He did all sorts of everything for Star TV’s broadcast operations, working in many departments with exciting collections of letters in their name (like TX, MCR & CTA). And after much badgering they finally let him into their edit suites … as long as he promised to keep them tidy and turn off the lights when he left.
Over the years, Andy feels he’s worked with his fair share of analog and digital linear edit systems, and is quite comfortable with an edit controller, a switcher and a bank of decks … but he’s content leaving them in the past where they belong. He’s worked with his fare share of non-linear edit systems too. Sit him in front of a Lightworks system, an Avid or a Final Cut Pro machine and he’s a happy man. He’ll freely admit he’s somewhat less comfortable in front of a Premiere system but he’s working in that … he”ll edit you something nice in an Edius suite too, and reasonably quickly so long as you bring him coffee and biscuits. (The nicer you want it the better the biscuits have to be … worth knowing). Andy has freelanced along the way as a studio cameraman for NBC, a creative services “preditor” for CNN and as a linear and non-linear editor for Cartoon Network , and yes, he’s also done his share of corporate and event work … heck, he even cut a stag night retrospective once, but he’d really rather not talk about that. Andy says he “take’s his hat off” to the world’s wedding video editors who surely have “the least rational clients with the highest expectations” (and Andy doesn’t take his hat off often as he says he burns easily). Andy’s better work has aired nationally and internationally … some of the shows have even won awards … but most haven’t, you can’t win them all apparently. So where is he now?
Andy is married to his lovely wife Silver with whom he has two kids, Luci and Dan, and the usual assortment of dogs, cats and goldfish. When he’s not at home with his family, Andy can be found looking after Aljazeera English’s editing and post production needs at their Asia Pacific headquarters. Andy likes living in Malaysia, the food is spicy hot and he thinks having monkeys and monitor lizards in his garden is cool. He is not so sure about the snakes, definitely doesn’t like the leeches, but figures no centipedes is always a bonus. At home, Andy wonders about all the usual stuff, like why his kids watch too much TV and play video games all the time, whether the cat has worms, and if he should have a bash at writing a new plugin in order to complicate his life unnecessarily. Silver rolls her eyes at such displays of absurdity but professes to love him anyway. Dan and Luci don’t care either way as long as they have the wii-motes. At work, Andy’s skills are in demand. His thorough understanding of the technology he works with, due in part to his “previous life”, affords him an insight into applications and workflows that not everyone can easily match. He edits, he supervises, he trains, he designs and where necessary he’ll even program custom software to help make it all work. He attends meetings, he drinks coffee, he wanders the corridors with a piece of paper looking like he’s going somewhere … occasionally he is, but usually its just the pantry. When necessary, Andy patiently explains to film makers why their masterpiece has failed network QC, and then he complains loud and long when his own work fails QC for exactly the same reasons. He is complex like that. Andy often edits on a system that has been aptly described as “Fisher Price for Space Monkeys”, but he likes it … he is not that complex after all.