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Winning the inaugural ASE Student Editor Award a game-changer 

When Alan Chambers thinks about being named the 2023 Most Outstanding Student Editor for his short doco ‘Dare to Dream’, he pauses and says “I felt humbled … it was pretty humbling and overwhelming. I was also extremely excited and grateful that my film and work was recognised and that it was validation that I have a place in this industry”. The Perth based emerging Editor is speaking here to Petria Wallace, about what happened next.

Alan Chambers (centre) receiving his Blackmagic prize from Chairperson Meredith Watson Jeffrey ASE (right) and Lawrence Silvestrin ASE (left)

Petria: After the high of winning, has the Award helped at all, as you build your early career?

Alan: Yes it has. It really has opened doors.
I wasn’t able to be in Sydney for the Ellies so the WA Branch Chairperson Meredith Watson Jeffrey ASE presented me with my certificate at their Xmas Party. They also invited the WA Screen Academy Director and my lecturer along. I received the Blackmagic prizes - a Resolve Editor Keyboard and Resolve Studio software package, which was perfect timing to edit the Screenwest funded short film ‘Joan’ this year. I also met Lawrie Silvestrin ASE and both he and Meredith have been mentoring me. Lawrie also put me in touch with Steven Sanders the 2023 Ellie Documentary Feature winner. I’ve had some long chats with Steve and he gave me feedback on my winning short doco, as well as feedback on the fine cut of the short film I edited this year. It’s been incredible.

Petria: What’s happening for you right now? Where to next?

Alan: I’m 2 weeks into a 5-weeks Screenwest Edit Assist Attachment under the mentorship of Meredith, at Prospero Pictures. I love the work Prospero do so to get inside that space! Meredith is the Series Producer on a doco series.
The Friday of the first week I was asked to start cutting grabs. So I was suddenly in a suite and I hadn’t worked with Avid for a while so I quickly had to refamiliarise myself. This week I was putting an assembly together. It’s quite intense but incredible.
Already I feel much more fluid on Media Composer. I’ve sat with two Editors and watched their work flow and picked up tips from their technique. I’ve seen Meredith working with the Editors as Series Producer and seen how they communicate.
I can’t really speak about the show but it happens to be something that’s really interesting and personal to me.
Recently I also began a one on one mentorship with Jon Barrie from Adobe. We’ve already had one great session on Premiere Pro work flow and once I finish my attachment there’s more to come. He’s really knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

Petria: What would you say to current students or recent graduates who are thinking about entering for the 2024 Award?

Alan: Go for it! Regardless of the outcome, just the chance to have your work seen by the judges – well known Editors - is great. To be nominated? I was thrilled by the nomination.
I actually didn’t even know I could become an ASE student member for free. The WA Screen Academy contacted me. They wanted to nominate me. I also get slightly awkward with recognition. I’m not very good at networking and putting myself forward for things. I’m extremely grateful to the WA Screen Academy and to the ASE. I’m so glad it happened. It has changed the trajectory of my whole year.