Commerical and TV Show Editor Tia Hoover Shares What It’s Like Working From Home.
Even with the pandemic turning our lives upside down, post-production work is still happening in Hollywood. While many films have been postponed, the entertainment industry is doing its best to continue providing us with an escape into our favorite movies or television shows.
Those working in post-production have packed up their offices and moved to a work-from-home setting. In the case of TV editor Tia Hoover, that meant bringing her computer and editing equipment to her kitchen table.
What is Tia’s editing role on these popular shows?
Well, she takes raw footage and “makes it pretty,” she says. Tia adds the music, the transitions, cuts the scenes to fit, and gives it the drama we’re looking for. A story team, including the directors, figure out just what the story arc will be. They watch EVERYTHING. That’s hundreds of hours of boring, not so boring, and downright shocking footage. “They cut out the fat and then give us the main stuff,” Tia says. “We (editors) make it pretty, engaging, entertaining, and watch for the stuff to create the most drama or tension.”
Tia loves that part of the editing process. Since she was in high school, Tia has been doing her own type of editing, adding transition music to high school plays and creating stories. She loves putting scenes together to “make people feel something,” and that’s really what a good editor does. They take the raw footage, trim the excess, and help bring the right amount of emotion to a story.
Without savvy editors, especially on reality TV, things can get boring
Just like most everyone in the entertainment industry, Tia didn’t start out as the sought-after editor she is today. After moving to Los Angeles from Texas, she found odd jobs and internships before becoming a production assistant and an assistant editor.
“I was a runner and a PA at a post house,” she says, “and then I became an assistant editor—a really great assistant editor—so I got more positions.” By proving herself as a great assistant, the story teams trusted her instinct and her skill. Now, Tia is a highly recommended editor in television.
Working from home during COVID-19 as a film and TV editor
Moving her work home and setting up her editing workstation at the kitchen table has had its good and its bad aspects, Tia says. When we asked her what she likes about working home during quarantine she replied, “Well, first off, I am currently wearing pajama pants, and you don’t know,” said Tia.
Not having to travel downtown or on any roads in Los Angeles is a perk. “My commute is 50 feet,” Tia says. And since there is a lot of downtime for editors—waiting on notes or footage to come in—working from home means she can squeeze in a workout, watch a show, or grab a bite to eat while she waits on other people.
The other thing Tia likes is setting her own hours. “I am a night owl,” she says. “It’s when I am most creative.” Since much of editing is a one-woman job, she can work till one in the morning without any problems.
But setting your own hours also comes with its own challenges. “When you’re in the office, you have office hours. Now, since I have my work home with me at all times. It took me a while to learn that I had to set my hours and set boundaries.” Just because people send emails on a Saturday afternoon doesn’t mean she needs to respond. “I’m going to respond Monday because these are not appropriate hours. I need a break, too.”
And having to work from home often means that general self-care gets pushed aside. When you live where you work, things like eating lunch, going outside, and turning off email notifications takes effort and planning. “And I get stir crazy. I need to remember to get out and go for a walk, actually see the sky once in a while,” Tia says. She also lives alone (with her adorable pup), so having human interaction is important.
Right now, Tia is working on editing some education videos for Kaiser Permanente Hospital. They produce films on everything from online anti-bullying campaigns to STD prevention and other physical or mental health resources. Tia is editing Kaiser’s latest campaign to look like people on video chat or a Zoom call.
Tia has taken her education and talent to carve out a space for herself in the editing world. She often gets calls from producers asking her to work on projects. “That’s the interview,” she says. “They call me and ask if I’m available and I say yes or no.” But that kind of reputation takes work.
Top three tips on finding success as a film and TV editor in Hollywood:
- Get Avid Media Composer ASAP. “One of the best things I did for my career was to buy Avid as a student—use that student discount!” Tia immediately began experimenting, training herself, so when she got a real job, she already knew what to do. As an editor, she uses software like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and Photoshop, but the number one software is Avid.
- Work, work, work. You know how we mentioned people call her for editing jobs? Well, that didn’t just happen. Tia worked hard at every job she had. She did what she was asked and went above and beyond.
- Be kind. “Relationships with people is how you’ll get jobs,” Tia says. “I get most of my jobs because people are like, ‘I worked with Tia. You should hire her.’ Never be afraid to go up to a person and give them your email address, either.” People know that Tia is great to work with. She gets the job done, and she’s respectful while she’s doing it.
Whether you’re a film student or just starting out as a film and TV editor, take Tia’s advice: “Keep hustling, be kind, and buy Avid.”