ASE MENTOR AND MENTEE MUSINGS
Nick Beauman ASE and Jenny Hicks
NICK BEAUMAN ASE – ASE Lifetime Member and Mentor: I have been in film post-production for 57 years; everything I’ve learned has largely been through trial and error, and I realise looking back how invaluable a mentor might have been for ME. I started out as a commercial Editor; but like most of us, my dream was to get in to drama; and then eventually, desperately, hopefully, wishfully, somebody would offer me a feature to cut; and; guess what; they finally did. Very, very exciting I can tell you.
JENNY HICKS – ASE VP and Mentee: I have been in film post-production for 34 years; everything I’ve learned has largely been through being taught by people who know more than me, and I realised looking back how invaluable a mentor might have been for me. So I got one.
NB: Firstly, I think it’s essential that both mentor and mentee feel there is a connection. Speaking in my capacity as a mentor, it's so much more rewarding if I like whom I’m mentoring. Jenny fits the bill. Both parties need to establish a rapport, otherwise the relationship will wither and die.
JH: I think the main reason Nick and I have maintained our MM relationship for the past three or four years is because, one, it is very casual, and, two, we share a similar sensibility and sense of humour. A sense of humour goes along way in this business.
NB: What I think I bring to the table is a vast amount of experience covering all aspects of post-production, which I enjoy sharing, and which I think can be of enormous benefit to the inexperienced. So for me it's a two-way street.
JH: As a mentee, I’m not sure what I bring to the table. Admiration, gratitude and conversation. I bring conundrums to analyse and create wise ways forward. Plus, I can share what I know about who’s who in the zoo, and the state of the game.
NB: I feel incredibly blessed to have had such a wonderful career in an industry that I was so passionate about. Sharing my knowledge and guidance in whatever way I can is, at this point in my life, very rewarding.
JH: Other than discussing life and the universe and film-making over the occasional delicious lunch, I value Nick’s more-often-than-not phone time for two main things. Firstly, to further my skills in The Art of Diplomacy. To negotiate a cut to its best potential requires very evolved people management skills. Cutting is the easy part - relatively speaking of course. The Art of Collaboration comes easily for me, being brought up as an Assistant Editor for many years, in large cutting rooms on big films with hundreds of crew. You have to communicate very well. But being an Assistant Editor, you’re left to your own devices most, not all, of the time. Get in, get the job done, see ya tomorrow.
I find that the high-pressure environment of post-production brings out the best and worst in people. As an Assistant you can dodge certain personalities and most conflict, but as an Editor you are in the centre of the storm, and you have to keep the centre of the storm quiet and calm, make it all OK and enjoy yourself at the same time…. Nick has an innate and well-honed understanding of Human Nature and The Process of Post, so he knows the best things to say and do at tricky times.
Secondly, and it is related to the above – Nick assures me that it is right to hold the line as A Creative, to strive for excellence in every job and to not surrender to the occasional quagmire. He encourages me to stay strong, to believe in my abilities, to be assertive and to set boundaries. He also knows what those boundaries should be. Also, of course, he gives me rallying speeches before I have to turn a job down because they’re not paying enough. And those speeches are REALLY HELPFUL.
NB: I should also point out to those senior Editors that may be thinking of taking on the role of a mentor, it doesn’t necessarily require an enormous amount of input. I have been a mentor a few times and every time it is different, you make it up as you go along. Keep it casual and flexible and work out what works for both of you. The occasional phone chat, meeting over a coffee, editorial evaluation and advice, whatever the support may be, has to be good for them, and by extension has to be good for you.
JH: When it comes to the mentor I was given by the ASE, I lucked out. And there are plenty of other wise souls amongst our members. The ASE needs mentors - Editors and Assistants - Our members are asking for them, we would like to help them out.
NB: Take the plunge and mentor up.
If you're interested in being a mentor - as an Editor or an Assistant - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're interested in being a mentee, please go to the Mentor Scheme page on the ASE website.