×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Return’s Improv Nature Challenges Editors

The much anticipated ninth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which debuts on HBO on Oct. 1, ends the socially caustic comedy’s six-year hiatus. The long layoff posed a special challenge for picture editors Steve Rasch and Jonathan Corn.

Rasch has been cutting the series since the pilot, with Corn stepping in to help during season two. “Everyone’s been wondering how we’re going to get back up to speed after the break,” says Rasch. “We justify it in the first episode and don’t pretend it’s an immediate continuation from season eight. Other than that, the show is the same as it was before.”

“Curb” uses no script; instead the actors improvise their dialogue based on a bare outline. Two opposing cameras simultaneously record the action, and then in post the editors must comb through all the footage to find the beats of an episode that can take up to three weeks to finish. Creator Larry David and series director Jeff Schaffer are both heavily involved.

“We’re trying to pluck together the best stuff into a coherent scene in the funniest way possible,” says Corn. Adds Rasch: “Our goal is to make great sentences, not great edits. We make scenes sound natural — as if they were written that way.”

The editors will sometimes use different takes to finish sentences based on performance or what’s deemed funnier. Cutting on specific consonants — like s, t or p — is a trick they commonly use to combine two takes into one sentence. They’ll also turn to the opposing cameras as a way to cut around the actor’s face. “The lack of b-roll is one of the challenges in this show,” notes Corn. “You wish you had something to cut to because it would be convenient editorially, but at the same time, we want to keep a docu feel.”

As for “Curb’s” soundtrack, David first heard the eventual theme music, “Frolic,” composed by Luciano Michelini, in a bank commercial. “Music is our tool to bring the mood back up and cue the audience to laugh,” says Rasch, who also serves as music supervisor. “It’s this enjoyable circus track that has good energy and counterbalances the sour humor in the show.”

More Artisans

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]

  • READY PLAYER ONE

    How Writer-Crew Collaborations Are Changing the Script for the Creative Process

    In traditional filmmaking, once a script is written, the director and department heads break it down and figure out the costs and logistics of production. But if the screenwriter collaborates during the creative process with key crew members, the entire production can benefit.  Such collaboration offers the prospect of help on many fronts. For example, [...]

  • avengers infinity war

    'Avengers,' 'Lost in Space,' 'Ready Player One' Lead Visual Effects Society Nominations

    The Visual Effects Society announced nominees for the organization’s 17th annual awards on Tuesday. Leading the way in the film and TV fields, respectively, were Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and Netflix’s “Lost in Space.” Each picked up six nominations. Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” received the most nominations among animated feature contenders with five. “Ready Player One” [...]

  • Dynasties BBC Vundu Pack

    Bush Guides, Night Cameras Help BBC America’s ‘Dynasties’ Catch Unique Moments

    Just getting to one of the locations of BBC America wildlife documentary series “Dynasties” — presented by David Attenborough and following the lives of endangered animals — requires an 11-hour flight from London to Johannesburg, a two-hour connection to Harare, Zimbabwe, an hourlong chartered Cessna 206 trip to Mana Pools National Park airstrip and an [...]

  • The Masked Singer Costume Designer

    Meet the 'Masked Singer' Costume Designer Behind Those Elaborate Looks

    Fox’s “The Masked Singer” is a talent competition with a difference. The series, which drew 9.2 million viewers in its Jan. 2 debut, is not looking to find America’s next big star. Instead, it’s about hiding them as they perform covers of chart-toppers in masquerade. Twelve celebs compete, with one singer eliminated each week as identities [...]

  • Black Panther Production Design

    Editing Duo Worked Together to Raise ‘Black Panther’ to Blockbuster Status

    Debbie Berman brought Marvel superhero experience to the table. Michael Shawver contributed his longstanding relationship with director Ryan Coogler. Together, the duo edited “Black Panther,” a cultural phenomenon, critical success and, oh, one of the most successful films of all time, which has grossed over $1.3 billion internationally and is now a major Oscar contender. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content