Moving Pictures
Mar 22, 2024, 06:29AM

Monica’s History in Film Editing

Many lifetimes working anonymously in Hollywood lead a hen to a young man in Baltimore.

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A thin strip of film. A shallow cone of light. A purple haze running through the room up to the projection booth. Our projectionist, Bennington, is lighting himself on fire one feather at a time. He’s trying to dye himself brown. Rooster runs into the booth and stops the projector, upsetting everyone, and then extinguishes Bennington, upsetting everyone. These were the days of our lives in the screening rooms of dailies and showrooms on the Hollywood backlots we used to work for in the 20th century.

My whole life has been film. You see, I’ve eaten emulsion. I’m quoting Jerry Lewis, but it’s true. I ate a whole roll of film once thinking it was Bundt cake and had to go to the Laurel Canyon Emergency Room. Sal Mineo and Mickey Dolenz pumped my stomach while that faggot from Paul Revere and the Raiders watched. What a horrible “scene, man.” I was never too good at crafting stories for myself. Mostly I let my husband do the talking. Any sensible and semi-regular reader of mine will be able to infer whether I am telling the truth.

In fact, I got my first job as a film editor on the set of Trackdown, a previously obscure 1976 revenge film starring Christopher Mitchum that Quentin Tarantino wrote about on his movie theater’s website. Once people started seeing the credit “ASSISTANT TO THE ASSISTANT EDITOR MONICA QUIBBITS” the offers came rolling in and it stayed that way, forever. Not. I was a duty saleshen for 12 years before I made guild membership. Still, the A.C.E. does not recognize “non-human participants in the arts,” so my considerable contributions to the art of film editing in America remain uncredited.

That’s why I’m dedicated to finishing this project for Da Boss. He’s told me from the beginning he’ll give me full credit, and he’s made good on his word on his previous two movies. This one is different, though. This one is being made in the editing room, and people will notice. Not just film people—anyone that watches this bizarre fucking movie is going to know that the editor, Monica Quibbits, salvaged discontinuous, unfinished material into a coherent and perhaps powerful piece of work. Da Boss will get most of the credit, and he’ll be in public with it, but my name is on his films, and it’s for what I did, editing. I do love what I do. Did I tell you I ate emulsion? But that was in my salad days.

Now I’m in my steak days. What’s that? I never understood the expression “salad days.” What does it mean? I know it connotes “good times,” but when you’re having “good times,” are you really eating salad? Wouldn’t you rather be eating a big, juicy hamburger or a whole pepperoni and anchovy pizza? Wouldn’t you rather be eating ice cream, drinking Coca-Cola, and maybe having some fucking chicken wings? Wait, shit, never mind, fuck, wait, don’t publish this, oh fuck no wait stop recording wait I don’t want this transcribed wait wait don’t put that into the column come on Nicky what the hell Really Really Really why are you doing this to me? Come on you know I was only oh so now it’s some big thing. Okay cool well you can have another tantrum and I can type it up. You want me to end here? Okay put down the hammer and give me the TASCAM. I’ll send this one in.

—Follow Monica Quibbits on Twitter: @MonicaQuibbits


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