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Have you ever wondered...?

 

Written by Bridgid  Brousseau

 

Have you ever wondered why we all get along so wonderfully at a concert?

 

Music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desired” ~Boethius~

 

Music interconnects us. As the live music plays, the high fives commence and suddenly complete strangers want to dance with each other.  So why does such disconnect immediately resume as quickly as the venue  parking lot empties similar to that of a pain returning after a medication exits from our system? Why the hatred? Why the racial discord? Why the general lack of empathy and humanity when the music stops? How do we keep the music playing?

 

As Americans we have been convinced that we should bake, smoke or fry a turkey on the same day every year. Barbeque whenever you want but particularly on the fourth of July along with numerous other traditions that symbolize love and unity. However, we are unable to maintain it on a daily basis, hence the racism, violence, crime, conflict and turmoil.

 

It has been proven that music can improve verbal IQ, aid heart disease treatment and evoke colors in the mind. Listening to your favorite music can relieve chronic pain and migraines, reduce blood pressure, improve memory, boost immunity and induce relaxation. It would only lend to logic that if music plays a role in these physical health elements that it should hold the same benefits for mental health if given in large doses and on a consistent basis.    

 

So the next time you’re at a concert, look around, take a deep breath and behold the peace and tranquility that moment brings and carry it with you when you exit the venue.  Partake in as much as needed! Take on an empty stomach or with milk! Become addicted and overdose on some music!      

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REGINA CARTER

The Richard Sorce Project

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“When you work with champions, the best of the best, you have no other choice than to be just like them.” ~Akiem Brown~

While watching a television show or film, one cannot help but hear and enjoy the music. However, it is not too often that we take the time to explore the process and talent behind the music that make the scenes impactful and memorable. Akiem Brown is a Television Editor at CBS Digital. He satisfied my never-ending curiosity providing a glimpse into the action. It is my pleasure to share it with others.

WJM: So tell us your exact title and how long you’ve been in your profession.

AKIEM: I am a television editor for broadcast and currently online for Entertainment Tonight or CBS Interactive. I’ve been an editor for about 16 years and counting.

WJM: How did you get into editing?

AKIEM: I started out directing small music videos for local talent. I learned how to do my first video by doing one on myself. From that point, a position opened up with BET which I completely BS’d my way into by agreeing to do a job I didn’t know how to do. I was given my first assignment and I looked up how to do it online. I did it and the rest is history.

WJM: How did you come upon the particular individual who opened that door for you? That’s the sad and difficult task for so many talented individuals. They cannot find that one opportunity or person to get to that place in which they can grow and build upon their ream career.

AKIEM: God bless Ms. Gina Holland for giving me that opportunity. She is my cousin and had the wherewithal to ask me a question that day. “Do you know anything about post-production?” My response was “Yes! Yes, I do!” I knew nothing.

WJM: What was your first task at BET?

AKIEM: I’ll never forget it. I was an assistant editor under Ms. Sheila Cole who is now currently VP for post-production at "The African Channel." My very first task was to take a sequence that was “low res,"  decompose it and “up res” it. These words were like Greek to me.

WJM: For the readers who may not know, please tell us what that entails exactly.

AKIEM: To save space in a computer you want to ingest something at a very low resolution. When you’re done editing, you must bring it in at full resolution that takes up a large amount of space. All the raw footage is not needed. It’s just the final cut that you need. So once it’s cut and ready you prepare it for high resolution. 

WJM: How did you career continue to blossom from there?

AKIEM: I went from one show to the next. Whenever I am presented with a challenge I have to win. The next challenge was by an editor whom I still admire today. His name is Mr. Colin Taylor. He said I would be an assistant for three years before I step up. I did it in 1 ½ years.  

WJM: How was the transition from BET to CBS Digital?

AKIEM: That was a long road!

WJM: Well, let’s just back it up a little. How many years were you with BET?

AKIEM: I was initially with BET for two years. I’ve left and gone back many times. From there I went to” E Entertainment” where I really got my chops in for broadcast. BET was a boot camp but “E Entertainment” was entirely different. I was first there as an assistant and a gentleman by the name of Cecil gave me a shot at my very first show for “True Hollywood Story.”

AKIEM: Another woman named Grace Reano gave me plenty of jobs from that point on, introduced me to a lot of studio heads. As a result, four years later, I was one of the few editors that could edit “True Hollywood Stories,” “E News,” “Talk Soup,” then “The Soup.” I was able to do all of their Christmas specials and fill in wherever needed. That was my niche. That’s how I was able to stay so long with them.  Then I left to go work with Mr. Steve Harvey in Atlanta.

WJM: How did you get the job offer with Mr. Steve Harvey?

AKIEM: It was from a great gentleman named Ogden Bass. Steve had a radio show that he wanted to broadcast similar to the “Howard Stern Show” except that he would become his characters and put on the actual outfits etc. He had the task of turning that show around in one day and airing it that night. We had to whittle down a six-hour show to 45 minutes. That said, Ogden Bass was the director for that show and we worked together prior on “Whose Got Jokes” with Ralph Farquhar. We remembered each other and he wanted me to be the lead editor. He trusted me and my worked.

WJM: So you relocated from Los Angeles to Atlanta?

AKIEM: I did.

WJM: After your business was done with “The Steve Harvey Show” how did your path lead you back to California.

AKIEM: It was just a temporary move. I will say that the best, 100%, hands down experience I have had in this industry is with Mr. Steve Harvey and Mr. Rushion McDonald. When you work with champions, the best of the best, you have no other choice than to be just like them. If I were to start a company, I would model it after what these men have taught me.

WJM: Alright! So tell us exactly what you do here with CBS Digital.

AKIEM: We cut video for “ET Online.” It’s entertainment news all day, every day. We have to choose the music for each one.  You have the sound effects and then I add the music so you have something to listen to underneath each track. You can barely hear it but you know it’s there.

WJM:  Where does that music come from?

AKIEM: We have an approved music library where they don’t have to pay royalties to every single time. Every show is different. We have one heck of a library in which I can choose from all day long and we can’t and do not go outside of that library.

WJM: So how do you choose the tracks?

AKIEM: From feelings. It depends on the piece, whether it’s upbeat or not. I try to use a variety of genres. Luckily most of our footage is red carpet and I can use more pop tunes. I like the holidays because I get to be creative, especially with sound effects. Creatively, as an editor here, we have to figure out what we want to say within that brief moment in time. I watch the clip first and I lay everything else out. I get a feel for it. If it’s sad piece or a hard piece I decide accordingly. 

WJM: Now we’ve dipped into the hidden musician side of you. What are your deadlines like?

AKIEM: We get about 1 ½ to 2 hours to cut each video with about three to five videos per day.

WJM: How was it for you acclimating to that pace?

AKIEM: “E News” was at that pace but I only had to do one piece. “The Steve Harvey Show” was extremely fast. It was difficult to get six hours down to 45 minutes. Speed was never a question. The question for me and what I had to get used to here is training my eye on what they wanted. Once I got that, it just hits me.  The shot selections just become more in tune the more I do it. Along with that, the ear for the music that accompanies each one of those clips becomes more in tune.

AKIEM: Once I leave here for my next adventure and if it’s not in entertainment news, I have to then learn and retrain my eye and ear for whatever those needs are.

WJM:  I would imagine that pressure can often stifle the creative process. It happens with me all of the time. It’s very frustrating. How about you?

AKIEM: Yes! As an editor here, if you don’t have any pre-builds you’re not going to do a good job here. I have tons of pre-builds. A pre-build is an effect or way to tell the story that you’ve done before and it’s saved it so that you can apply it to the next story.

WJM: Do you have the final say or does someone have to approve the music that you put to a particular scene? 

AKIEM: Editors never have the final say. In film the director’s above you and in television the producer’s above you so it is their “baby” and I’m the “third eye.” Generally, they’re quite pleased with what we have.

WJM: Name some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on.

AKIEM: My thing is more live events and comedy shows and directing which I’m getting back into. I’ve directed three live shows so far including "Wine Glass Comedy." As an editor, doing live shows is almost the same as if you’re choosing shots because we train our eyes to figure out which shots we need. In my humble opinion the best directors are editors because we see the final product. Over the course of 15 years I’ve learned what not to do. If I’m the person guiding that particular project I know what to do. I know what I don’t want and I know what’s not going to work.

WJM: Without being too specific, tell us about an experience you’ve had that you have perhaps regretted.

AKIEM: I was doing a stand-up show that had a horrible music library. There was nothing I could do about it. Every day we would all come in as editors and we would pitch what we wanted to do. Every day we got shot down. That was my second intro into the business of music catalogues. It turned out that the producer owned the catalogue company. He got paid on both ends. He literally made it on his Casio keyboard. It was bad but in that vein of his show it was slapstick humor so nothing was supposed to be taken seriously. So it worked.

WJM: You have quite a bit under your belt. What are your life goals as far as your career as an editor?

AKIEM: I would love to do a feature at least once. I talked to a few gentlemen and I let them know my goals. If I were to go into film I want to be the first black editor to win an Academy Award. Otherwise, why do it? I was presented another option or way of looking at it. Why not do as many films as I possibly can and let my body of work speak for it? At the same time it shouldn’t be what’s driving me to cut film. I love film. But I also want to direct and do more producing. I love comedy and directing comedy. Even if I don’t win an Oscar my body of work will be Oscar worthy. 

  

WJM: Well, I’m certainly rooting for you. Tell us something that we may not know about you that you would like to share.

AKIEM: I went to Bogota, Columbia last year to do a post-production workshop. It changed my life. It was the most amazing trip! I documented everything. I met with wonderful people there. I also met a man that was a former slave who escaped the Spaniards and went into the Andes. These former slaves created their own tribe and created their own language. They did what we in America wanted to do which was fight and run. We couldn’t do that so we fought in other ways via education and teaching our young. It was really deep.

WJM: What is a mantra, original or not that you live by?

AKIEM: Survive. It hasn’t been an easy road.

WJM: I’ll take that! Thank you for your time and sharing so much with Woodshed Jazz Magazine. I truly enjoyed it.

AKIEM: My pleasure!

Woodshed Jazz Magazine

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Written by Bridgid Brousseau

 *Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976,  allowance is made for the "fair use" for porposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholdership and research. "Fair use is use permitte by copyright statute that might otheriwise be infrining. Non-pr0ofit, educational and/or personal use tips the balance in favor of "fair use." 

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