Home-based creative juggles the pros and cons of house as workplace

Who says you can’t take it with you? Don’t tell award-winning editor-director Paul Crowder that. Crowder, who cut Stacy Peralta’s skateboarding doc “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and won an ACE Eddie for splicing “Riding Giants,” edited 40% of his own new film, “Once in a Lifetime,” on his laptop, using Avid Xpress Pro.

“We were really on a tight schedule,” he says. “I was working at home on weekends on my laptop, then doing more stuff at work,” using Avid’s News Cutter Adrenaline at a rented space while his new home studio was under construction in Malibu. “I had other trips, so I’d take it on the road with me and work on it. I basically edited it all over the place.”

Crowder previously cut in a spare bedroom at his former home, but looks forward to getting into his new facility, being built in a converted garage. “I’m designing it to be completely self-contained,” with every feature of a proper edit bay, including additional monitors to allow visitors to view footage without crowding around the editor’s. “When you come in, you’ll feel like you’re in an edit bay, not like you’re in someone’s house.”

Even then, Crowder says, technology today permits the same editing process to proceed with or without the director present.

“Media transfer is getting to the rate where we’re able to have media in an eternal place, and work at home, and be able to draw that media to work from, and use video conferencing.

“So a director’s in New York, editor’s in L.A., and they’re editing together and can actually have a visual conversation with each other while working. They each have an Avid on their end, hit ‘Play,’ and they’re both watching the same thing.”

While he misses the camaraderie of other editors down the hall at a post facility, editing at home does have more personal advantages.

“You still have a home life,” Crowder notes. “You can take that couple of hours off to spend with your family, put the kids to bed. And then I can go back into the edit bay and work ’til 2 or 3 in the morning. I don’t have to drive miles home or anything — I just fall straight out and roll right into bed.”

CREDITS

Doomsday Plan (1998)
Influences: From Yesterday to Today (1999)
Behind the Life of Chris Gaines (1999)
Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
Riding Giants (2004) (editor, co-producer)
Once in a Lifetime (2006) (editor, co-director) – about 1970s New York Cosmos soccer team

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