I have been working in late night television for Conan O’Brien for nearly 10 years, currently as the lead editor for Conan on the TBS network. Late night television has an extraordinarily demanding pace. An old colleague of mine used to refer to it as the “speed chess” of editing. It demands that your first instincts when editing are the best ones. The pace also puts extraordinary pressure on your writers and producers. I like to think of editors as the pilots hired to bring the plane in for a landing that may have already lost an engine, so it’s important that you maintain balance and focus.
I am the father to three amazing kiddos with special needs. My first daughter was born with the amyoplasia form of arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. She is also nonverbal. My youngest daughter was born with amniotic banding syndrome. For her, it means she only has a few fully developed fingers and a prosthesis on one of her legs. We’ve addressed her physical challenges through surgery and she has lots of fun sprinting around with her “robot leg,” which is what we call her prosthesis. We are in the middle of adopting our son and hope to bring him home in the fall. He has similar orthopedic challenges to our second daughter.
I take my jobs as editor and as a father very seriously, but it is also important to note that I am happy. Here are some things that I have learned over the years. I have made mistakes in every one of these rules, but I try every day to be better.
On January 11, 2018, Donald J. Trump, the sitting POTUS, called the Caribbean nation of Haiti a “s***hole.” The mainstream news outlets did little more than give airtime to the usual talking heads clapping back, while most of the late night talk show hosts capitalized on the ready-made monologue material.
But at a time when a few humorists are doing some of the most important journalistic work on TV (John Oliver and Bassem Youssef come to mind), Conan O’Brien decided, right then and there, to travel to Haiti in order to set the record straight. It wasn’t an unprecedented move—he’d previously done shows from Mexico, Israel, Armenia, and more.
What was different was the time frame.
In which I review an easy (and free) app from Digital Rebellion that easily lets you trash, backup, and restore preferences for your creative software. (Sorry about the mic and my voice. i've been sick all week.)
In which I review the free audio plug-in iZotope Vinyl and end up singing Gershwin terribly.
Description from their site:
Simulate the dust, scratches, warp, and mechanical noise reminiscent of yesteryear for FREE with Vinyl. Perfect for music production and audio post, Vinyl lets you control each nostalgic element independently, giving you all the vintage turntable sounds you love, save for the headache.
In which I review LumaFusion by Luma Touch. Pretty much the best video editor for the iPad right now. Disagree with me and I will fight you (please don't disagree I am frail).
Description from site
LumaFusion is the most powerful multi-track video editor ever created for mobile devices. Used by mobile journalists, filmmakers and professional video producers to tell compelling video stories, LumaFusion gives you all of the power and flexibility to create your video story, and our tutorial videos make it easy to get going quickly and master its amazing tools.
In which I take a look at Adobe PaintCan which fools everyone I know into thinking I have an ounce of artistic capability. I wish I was Bob Ross.
Description from site:
With PaintCan you can create beautiful paintings from your favorite photographs within minutes. As children we used to love to paint because it was fun. As adults, we too often stop expressing ourselves creatively because we think we lack the skills or time to do so. PaintCan lets you reclaim your creativity.
Five years ago, my daughter was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis as well as additional cognitive delays. My wife quickly gravitated towards the internet support community to learn as much as she could, while I was feeling stuck, asking myself the larger questions about my daughter’s path in life. Right after her first birthday, we found ourselves attending a National Support Conference for Arthrogryposis. It was there I met “Scarman.”
Ward “Scarman” Foley was born with arthrogryposis and has spent the last 30 years giving speeches across the nation and abroad. He is also a published author and hospice volunteer. He spoke at that conference and engaged new parents, old parents, teens and adults who had never met another person with the same condition. These were his words:
My name is Robert James Ashe. We’ve never had the pleasure of meeting but I’ve been a huge admirer of both, you and Apple, for a very long time. I’ve worked in film and television for the past 20 years using Mac products to plan, design, edit and create works to entertain the viewing public. In my household, you will find Macbook Pros, iPads, iPad Pros, iPhones and a really old mac pro used by myself and my wife. My oldest daughter uses her iPad as her voice. One of the biggest things I’ve always admired about Apple was their commitment to giving people with disabilities access to your equipment. It is because of this fact that I am writing you today to make one small humble request. I am requesting that you add medical terms to the Mac’s spelling dictionary. The word I personally am after is “arthrogryposis.”
In which I take a look at ProLost Handcrank which is preset for After Effects that authentically mimics a hand-cranked film camera. It's by Stu Maschwitz.
Description from site:
Handcrank is more than just a filter. It re-times your footage according to a virtual, varying frame rate that you control, creating a powerful editorial energy that feels both organic and modern.
My first daughter was born with the amyoplasia form of arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. She has extremely low muscle tone on all four of her limbs, no bicep movement in her arms, her elbows don’t bend all the way and her knees don’t straighten. She is also nonverbal and currently participates in ABA therapythroughout the week.
My youngest daughter was born with amniotic banding syndrome, for her, it means she only has a few fully developed fingers and she had to have her leg amputated. She’s addressed her physical challenges through surgery and has lots of fun sprinting around with her “robot leg,” which is what we call her prosthesis.
I take my job as a father of a child with disabilities very seriously, but it is also important to note that I am happy. I have two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife.
Here are some things I have learned along the way that I think can help anyone who knows a family like mine:
In which I take a look at Monkeybars which is an script for After Effects available on aescripts + aeplugins for making quick and automated text boxes for lower thirds.
Description from site:
MonkeyBars specializes in creating text box animations, the kind used in viral videos, info graphics, lower third supers, and subtitles. Great if you do high volume work. The Monkey Scripts are designed with both the novice and professional in mind. They can save hours, or even days of work by helping to automate the creation of motion graphics. In a world of shrinking budgets and tight deadlines, Monkey Scripts are an indispensable part of any designers toolkit.
In which I take a look at SpeedScriber which is an automated transcription service and app for the Mac.
* Make sure your captions are turned on or this video won't make much sense. It's that CC button on the player.
Description from site:
SpeedScriber transforms transcription for content creators by combining the unique capabilities of our macOS app with the performance and scalability of our cloud-based transcription service.
In which I review Visual Differ (because copying files with finder stinks).
Visual Differ: http://visualdiffer.com
Description from their site:
Visual Differ compares side-by-side folders and files using colors to visually show differences. From the Folder view it's possible to make operations on folders and files like copying or deleting. It's possible to compare quickly directories choosing base folders from the context menu. Using the File Filter feature is possible to hide from visualization specific files like .git, .svn directories or the omnipresent .DS_Store files.
In which I review Digital Rebellion's Post Haste (it's free).
Digital Rebellion's Post Haste: https://www.digitalrebellion.com/post...
Description from their site: Post Haste is a free project management tool that allows you to setup file and folder templates for your projects. Create a new project and everything's organized, ready for you to start.It's suitable for photographers, video professionals, audio professionals, graphic designers, web designers and anyone who needs to keep their projects and assets organized.
We also give special thanks to Conan O’Brien for being an entertaining host extraordinaire. He lit up the room with laughter and wit. The short video created by Robert Ashe of Conan’s team was a succinct and moving telling of the CHI story. We give thanks to all who participated in the making of the film.
We are not given a bad life or a good life. We are given a life and it's up to us to make it good or bad". Scarman is a short documentary about author and public speaker Ward 'Scarman' Foley. Directed by Two-time Emmy Nominee Robert James Ashe.
After raising almost $18k on AdoptTogether, Rob and Angie Ashe took the 15 hour flight to pick up their little girl Fiona from China. When asked why they chose to endure the gauntlet of hardships to adopt a child with special needs from China, Rob simply replies "Because my daughter was in China."
Don’t believe what Fiona Ashe may tell you. Her parents did not purchase her at Target, though after hearing that claim enough times, her mother finally agreed to it.
“Two weeks ago in the car,” Angie Ashe says, “she was like, ‘Where did you buy me from?’ I just kind of chuckled. ‘We didn’t buy you from anywhere. Do you mean where were you born?’ ‘No, where did you buy me?’ I couldn’t answer her correctly. I kept saying, ‘You were born in China; we adopted you.’ Finally, I said, ‘You want me to say we bought you from Target?’ She just smiled. ‘Yeah, you bought me from Target.’ OK!”
As charming a story as that would make, the truth is equal to it—and considerably more plausible. It starts with longstanding plans that Angie and her husband, Rob, had made to adopt a child. “That was on the table even before we got married,” Angie says. Their intentions became more focused after their daughter Elliot was born with arthrogryposis, a disease that disrupts joint movement. Elliot’s case is extreme: Born with her arms stuck straight and her legs bent, she has been a patient at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles since infancy, undergoing numerous surgeries and years of physical therapy.
We were tired. It was a long day.
We had decided to take our daughters for a surprise afternoon trip down to Disneyland. They love that place more than anything any of us has ever loved in our lives. Our visits to Disneyland are usually magical. We vowed to never take preschoolers, yet somehow we’ve been there four times in the last year.
This trip was different. The drive was an unusually brutal two-hour journey that got us there in the late afternoon. It was also our first trip to Disneyland with our oldest daughter in a wheelchair. She was born with a condition called arthrogryposis, and she has to wear braces in order to walk. She enjoys walking, but she’s been recovering from a major surgery and hasn’t been allowed to walk much over the last three months.
This was also our first trip to Disneyland for our youngest daughter’s prosthetic leg. She was born with a condition called amniotic banding syndrome which has left her without a usable right foot. Thanks to surgery in December, she’s now running around with her new “robot leg,” as it’s called in our household.