An interview with Tag Simler, Contributing Editor
I came onto In the Shadow well after the editing had begun, as opposed to What’s the Use? where I was involved at a much earlier stage. But in both films, Nicole and I worked in pretty much the same way. I was allowed a great deal of freedom to inject my own ideas and feelings about how the story played out. It was a great collaborative process.
What sort of creative challenges were inherent in What's the Use?
The biggest challenge for What’s the Use? in my opinion was in its scope. While In the Shadow had its own challenges, I felt it had a much more streamlined story with very few key characters, whereas What’s the Use? was primarily an ensemble. Sara is our lead in What's the Use? and it’s her story we’re ultimately telling, but we also had to juggle a lot of other plot lines and shifts in tone.
How would you describe this film?
On the surface it’s amazingly quirky and bizarre, but with some dark and tragic themes underneath. The cast was just phenomenal, and a huge reason why the film worked.
What got you into editing?
I went to The University of Texas at Austin and eventually transferred into the film program. I remember someone there telling me that editing was the one thing that hardly anyone wants to do, so I thought, what the hell, I’ll do that. It was that simple. But it wasn’t until I started taking editing courses and cutting projects in the years to come where I really started to understand just how important it was, and that I actually felt I was good at it.
How did you become part of Blue Paper Film Works?
I worked on a live show on The CW with Michelle Keffer, who was the lead actress in In the Shadow. She told me they needed someone to be the on-set editor in Puerto Rico. While I unfortunately had other commitments at the time and couldn’t be there, I connected with Nicole a little deeper in the post-production process on that film.
What are some of your personal favorite editors?
I honestly can’t say I have too many favorite editors, because I feel like the art of editing is so closely tied to the director as well, but people like Dody Dorn, Pietro Scalia, and Lee Smith are just a few names that spring to mind in the last decade or so. Additionally, films like Drive, Argo, and Whiplash are just some examples of superb editing that I’ve seen in recent years.
What are your favorite films as of late?
I’m an enormous fan of the sci-fi genre, and I love a good mix of Hollywood and indie material, so Interstellar and Under the Skin were my two favorite films from last year.