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Local Hero: Dave Terman, Sony Pictures’ Supervising Film Editor

The Cut Master is tasked with recutting films for ancillary markets hungry for Sony pics

JOB DESCRIPTION

He’s the honcho of a department that edits hundreds of films each year for broadcast on TV and airlines, re-cutting films to address time constraints and Standards & Practices issues, all while preserving the asset as it travels through the many versions that are created in post-theatrical life. Terman and his team write, edit and direct promo vids, tradeshow sizzle reels and industrials for Sony corporate divisions in addition to editing DVD added-value material, docus, musicvids and screen tests. Terman also works with actors to replace original dialogue with TV-safe alternatives — if actors are unavailable, he auditions sound-alikes to revoice lines — or convinces the original thesps to make it work.

SPECIAL CHALLENGES

For “Beverly Hills Ninja” replacement dialogue: “I went to the actor and shot him in the car while we were driving down Pico Boulevard. He just didn’t have time, and I was like, ‘Dude I gotta get you, we have to do this.’ So he was like, ‘Well, meet me here and we’ll do it in my car as I’m driving to my next gig.’ ” Terman has also had to record in actors’ homes and has flown to the East Coast to wrangle re-edits. “I’m in a spot where I’ve really got to convince people to (redo their dialogue). A lot of actors don’t like doing these TV lines, so it can be tricky to convince them that this is a positive thing.”

BACKGROUND

In his junior year at NYU, where he was majoring in psychology, Terman opted to take a few film electives. “I had a real epiphany in the editing room. I was in there for 15 hours and thought I was only in there for a couple hours. People had always told me that if you find a job that doesn’t feel like work, that’s what you should do.” After some commercial and retail management work, Terman was hired by Sony’s James Honore to assist on an airline edit. “A lot of people ask if I regret being the studio guy — not following my intended path as a feature film editor — but I get to do a much greater variety of work than anybody else I know.”

SIDE INTERESTS

Terman developed and ran his own music education software company for a while, MasterClass Prods., which was sold worldwide. He’s also a musician and has songs in movies, with two recent credits in the Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria-starrer “The Baytown Outlaws.” Songs can be heard for free at ReverbNation.com/TheDaveTermanBand. Terman also recently expanded his role at Sony to become an actor, appearing in a scene with Adam Sandler for Sony’s internal Decoding Digital project, which, he says, generated a major “cool dad” impression for his 11-year-old son.

STATS:

Name: Dave Terman

Title: Supervising Film Editor, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Function: Responsible for the daily operation and P&L of the editing department, as well as editing and re-editing projects

DOMAIN:

Blanche Sewell’s 11- by 12-foot office in Cutters Alley, where “The Wizard of Oz” was edited

YEARS ON THE JOB:

16

NUMBER OF MOVIE EDITS A YEAR:

500+

NUMBER OF FILMS RE-EDITED:

Several thousand

WORKED WITH:

A-listers like Mel Brooks, Julia Roberts and Adam Sandler

(Local Hero is a tribute to the people who are invisible but invaluable: They’re not in the spotlight, but the biz couldn’t function without them.)

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