Winning an Emmy is the highest achievement in television. One Whitley County man, with his team of co-workers, has won one of the coveted awards.
JJ Geiger, formerly of Columbia City, won for his work entitled “Openhouse.”
“I worked as a producer/editor and won the Emmy in the category of ‘Information/Public Affairs Series (more than 50 percent remote)’,” said Geiger.
He worked alongside of Janel Tamares, Julee Margulies Metz and Eric Michael Wong.
“The crew submitted three segments from the show which airs regionally on NBC in 10 to 15 different markets,” said Geiger.
“One of the segments I cut and helped produce was one of the three submitted. It was about Hearst Castle here in California,” he said.
Readers can view the segment at the LXTV Openhouse National site .
Geiger explained the Emmys.
“The Emmy Award show that is broadcast on national television is a completely different area of the Academy of Television Arts and Science,” said Geiger.
“Those are the primetime Emmys. I received a local L.A. Emmy. They have different regions for this as well. For example, New York and Chicago have a regional Emmy Award along with smaller markets like Cleveland. So you unfortunately wouldn’t see me on the award show next to John Hamm, lead actor in ‘Mad Men,’” he said.
Geiger works for Warner Brothers Television in Burbank, Calif., as an assistant editor.
“I left my job at NBC to work at Warner Brothers in July 2010 to work on a show called ‘Gossip Girl’ that airs every Monday on the CW Network,” said Geiger.
On the upcoming April 2nd show, Geiger’s name will appear as co-editor, which is his first editor credit in a narrative format.
“The content I was editing at NBC was more of a magazine or documentary style where there were no scripts,” said Geiger.
“It was really close to reality television in a sense. I work now on a scripted show that some people call narrative television,” he said.
If you are thinking he gets to work up close to stars Blake Lively or Leighton Meester, the stars of “Gossip Girl”, on a daily basis. Geiger doesn’t.
“Gossip Girl shoots in New York and we edit the show in Los Angeles,” he said.
Chances of seeing the actors in person is really slim.
“Besides that, a person in post-film rarely sees talent. When we do, it is when they are doing additional dialog recording (ADR) or visiting a producer or editor specifically. In those rare occasions, it is quite a treat. In any case it is quite surreal at times,” said Geiger.
For the most part, in post-film he mainly works with writers and producers.
“The main executive producers I work for are Stephanie Savage and Josh Swartz. They have run shows like ‘The O.C’, ‘Chuck’, ‘Heart of Dixie’ and of course ‘Gossip Girl,’” said Geiger.
Geiger, who graduated from Columbia City High School in 1999, enjoys his work immensely.
“My dream job was to become an editor since my senior year of high school,” said Geiger.
“It is so very easy to get out of bed in the morning and come into work when you love your job,” he said.
His post department is a small one. It consists of Jonathan Brody, post producer; Amanda Mace, post supervisor and Justin Pittman, post coordinator.
“I share the assistant duties with Amy Flint Catherwood and also work with some great editors, Rachel Goodlett Katz, Harry Jierjian and Marc Pattavina, on a daily basis,” he said.
He said they have all been really supportive in helping him grow as an assistant and hopefully someday a full-time editor.
“The advice from the editors I take to heart because they were all once assistants like myself and now do what they love,” said Geiger.
A video or film editor takes an enormous amount of footage and puts it in a form that everyone can watch and enjoy on television or film.
“Editors choose the best delivery, best camera movements and the best shots to tell the best story,” said Geiger.
“When you boil it all down, its basically story telling with moving pictures and sound,” he said.
“When I worked at NBC, we didn’t use scripts to cut our segments together, so my job was much harder at times because the direction wasn’t always clear. I would cut something together that I felt was at a good place and then the other producers would describe what they wanted specifically. Tweaks would be made and then we would send it to broadcast,” said Geiger.
At Warner Brothers, 99 percent of the work is scripted.
“We may not know how a director has shot the footage initially, but we know from the script what direction we need to edit. Editors typically use the script as a backbone to their first cut. From there the show is altered by the director, the producers, the studio and the network to make the best possible show. Its a big collaborative process to make a television program,” he said.
Before moving out to Los Angeles, Geiger worked in Indianapolis doing corporate video for a company called CMC Media Group.
He also worked as an editor on a low budget feature called “It Came From Trafalgar,” which hasn’t been released yet.
“When I moved to L.A., I started with a show called ‘yourLA’ which lasted a year, but it got my foot in the door at NBC. While at NBC I worked on a side project where I co-hosted a podcast called ‘Ten Minutes with Andrew and J.J.’ We had daily shows and also did a number of red carpets interviews which can be seen at our youtube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/andrewandjj/,” said Geiger.
He is in the process of producing his first web series.
“I plan on releasing it in the Summer or Fall, depending on a few things. We are in the casting process of that right now,” he said.
Geiger doesn’t really have a lot of spare time, but when he does, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend Q Heinrichs, watching shows on Netflix and playing with his cat named Frankenstein.
His parents are Roby and June Geiger, of Columbia City.
Geiger tries to come home once or twice a year.
“It’s actually more often now since I have three months out of the year where I’m not working. Summer hiatus is awesome,” he said.
“I do really enjoy living here in L.A. with 350 days of sunshine; its really nice. Plus L.A. sits in a location where you’re only a few hours from anything. Ocean in 45 minutes, skiing or snowboarding in two hours, desert in an hour and farmland an hour north. There is always something to do here,” said Geiger.
“I would really like to edit narrative programming on a major network like ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX. I’m really enjoying the producing aspect of the industry, so I wouldn’t mind getting my hands dirty in more projects that I can be really creative. I’d really like to get married and start a family,” said Geiger.