You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Stranger Things’ Editor Talks About the ‘Very Collaborative’ Duffer Brothers Set

First-time Emmy nominee for his work on “Stranger Things,” editor Dean Zimmerman grew up immersed not just in Hollywood but also in the specific career path of editing, thanks to his father, the Oscar-nominated Don Zimmerman. Being in that environment from such a young age, Zimmerman was able to learn about a variety of genres and watch the industry change with emerging technology, which helped lead him to such big-budget features as “Rush Hour 3” and the “Night at the Museum” franchise before turning his attention to TV. “I owe everything to my father,” Zimmerman says. “He has been very blessed to have worked really hard and become as big as he is, and my influence is 100% him. He taught me everything I know, and I credit everything to him.”

Coming from the world of feature films, what made you want to make the jump to the smaller screen with a project like “Stranger Things?”

I was looking for something with a little more of a slower pace than what I had been doing. A very good friend of mine gave me the pilot script, and I read it, and I gravitated toward it. It stirred the nostalgia within me. It felt like a lot of moments from movies that I loved growing up, and I felt it could be something fun.

What were your expectations for the show once you started working on it?

When we started to shoot the series, it all became very clear that we had something special. The kids were really incredible and were bringing performances that were unexpected. I think as we all were heading down this road of finishing episodes and seeing more and more come, we were realizing we had something special.

What was the collaboration like to create the tone and all-important transitions between worlds on the show?

When we started, the Duffers wanted to these Edgar Wright-esque big sound transitions and building big moments, but then cutting to something quiet. So we took that idea and ran with it. As they were shooting we would go to the set, and we would offer some opinions and suggestions and shot ideas, and they were so welcoming for any kind of suggestion. It was very collaborative.

What is one thing your work as an editor requires that you think gets overlooked, or that most people just don’t know?

My father, who’s been in the business forever and has been my mentor and my teacher, describes it like this: A project is a wagon wheel, and we’re the hub. Every spoke leads to us. So, I think the biggest thing for me is just how much we do and what we’re responsible for: making sure the color is perfect, the dialogue is perfect; there’s so many aspects, especially on this series with how fast the Duffers wanted the series to be paced but still have moments where scenes get to play out with dramatic pauses. Those balances are incredibly important. And at the same time, giving the sound team a template, combining elements of different pieces of music to craft the ultimate score, and then also the amount of visual effects we had.

Speaking of visual effects, what extra challenges did they pose on the show?

How many of those shots we could use in a certain scene. Those numbers are all preconceived until you get the actual footage and see what’s what. It was about being very smart in the usage of them. If you can have something that doesn’t necessarily have visual effects, that may have a greater impact. It was walking that delicate balance and being responsible and using them so that they were more of an asset than a crutch.

More TV

  • Brad Falchuk Sets Overall Deal Netflix

    Brad Falchuk Sets Overall Deal at Netflix

    Brad Falchuk is joining Ryan Murphy at Netflix. Falchuk has signed an overall deal with the streamer, which sources say is for four years and worth eight figures. More to come… Related Top TV Salaries Revealed Apple Sits Out This Emmy Season, but Get Ready for a Frenzy of Contenders in 2020

  • A still from Cartoon Network’s “Victor

    Cartoon Network's 'Victor and Valentino' to Debut in U.S., Latin America on Saturday

    The folklore of Mesoamerica will come to life in Cartoon Network’s colorful new series “Victor and Valentino,” which premieres in the U.S. and Latin America on Saturday, March 30. The series follows the antics of the titular half-brothers as they learn to get along while unraveling the mysteries of the quirky little town of Monte [...]

  • Hugh Dancy to Guest Star in

    Hugh Dancy to Guest Star in 'Homeland' Season 8

    Emmy-nominated “Hannibal” actor Hugh Dancy will star opposite his wife Claire Danes in “Homeland” season eight, Variety has learned. Dancy will appear in the recurring guest role of John Zabel, a savvy Washington consultant who joins the White House as a new foreign-policy advisor to the President and a formidable opponent to Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Shares Spike on DirecTV Deal, Renewed CBS Merger Chatter

    Viacom shares soared 10% on Tuesday after the company reaffirmed financial guidance for its media networks wing on the heels of sealing a hard-fought carriage renewal agreement with AT&T’s DirecTV. The stock gain underscored the importance of maintaining its presence on DirecTV and other AT&T channel bundles. Viacom on Tuesday reaffirmed its guidance of affiliate [...]

  • BETTER THINGS "Monsters in the Moonlight""

    'Better Things' Renewed for Season 4 at FX

    FX has renewed Pamela Adlon’s comedy series “Better Things” for a fourth season. The fourth season is slated to air in 2020. “With every season, ‘Better Things’ becomes more vital, engaging and revelatory, cementing Pamela Adlon’s status as one of the most accomplished creative forces in television today,” said John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks [...]

  • Jessica Rodriguez Strictly Business Podcast

    Listen: Univision's Jessica Rodriguez on Shaking Up a Traditional TV Brand

    With new leadership in place at Univision, the network is evolving in ways its fast-growing Hispanic audience in the U.S. might find surprising. Look no further than the broadcaster’s primetime schedule, according to Jessica Rodriguez, CMO of Univision Communications and president/COO of Univision Networks, who relied on audience research to shake up traditional notions of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content