Also during the day, a panel examined what moderator Norman Hollyn (The Cotton Club) calls the "lean forward moment." Hollyn — who is head of the editing track at USC's School of Cinematic Arts — defined this as the moment in a film that causes you to lean forward because it's crucial to the plot. He illustrated this by asking each editor on the panel to select a "lean forward" clip from a movie that they did not edit.
That included clips from Aliens and JFK, but it was Conan's head editor, Rob Ashe Jr., who got the biggest reaction from the audience when he announced that he had selected the "Married Life" clip from Pixar's Up — the emotional montage that shows the joy and heartbreak of a married couple.
By the end of the clip, the reaction was exactly what the audience had anticipated. The lights came up and sniffling and sobbing were heard, with editors wiping their eyes across the room.
Ash recalled how he tried to fight tears when he first saw Up in a theater. "I felt betrayed! I thought, 'You're a cartoon!' " he said. "By the end [of the 'Married Life' sequence] — and I'm not a big crier — I was holding my wife's hand and shaking. That part in the doctor's office, I remember leaning forward."
"It was the answer to my question as to how they were going to make me care about an old man who doesn't like people. Imagine taking that scene out of the movie. Then he's just a cranky old man," he said. "I couldn't think of a more lean forward moment of anything else I had seen."