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Meet Therese DeCleene

Today we’d like to introduce you to Therese DeCleene.

Therese, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am from a small city on the Big Island of Hawaii. During my senior year of high school, I had to edit a short promotional video for my school, which I had no experience with before. It was during that time of figuring things out on my own that I first thought I could make a career out of editing. It was not until my freshman year of college that the idea really solidified. I moved to Southern California to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications Media with an emphasis in post-production at John Paul the Great Catholic University. There, I worked in post-production on over 30 student short films, worked with professors on independent studies that I believed would further my skills in editing, and help me to secure internships.

During the last stretch of my senior year, I enrolled in the college’s LA Quarter summer internship program. I found an internship as an assistant editor, which not only gave me more experience but strengthen my resume as well. After I graduated from college, I moved up to Burbank and applied to many post-production studios. My parents had to fund me for months before I finally heard back from a studio. I started part-time at Headquarters, LLC, being trained as a digital dailies operator. I learned much from them in the short time I was there. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic, work quickly became scarce. I was soon on the search for another job. Some months later, I found a full-time job at The Product Factory, LLC as an assistant editor. I have gained much insight since then and hope to continue learning new things everyday.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Yes and no. I have definitely had my fair share of struggles, from trying to find work to dealing with less than desirable coworkers or bosses. However, I know some people have had worse, so I am grateful for what I have been given. Make no mistake though, it has been hard work just to get to where I am currently. There are no free passes.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I currently work as an assistant editor at The Product Factory, LLC, a studio that works in animation, color, and VFX. While my passion is in live-action, there is still always much to learn wherever I am. Having known very little about animation, it was all new to me as I learned the ropes on the job. However, I caught on soon enough, and I learn something new everyday. During my college career, I had edited short films, most notably Codename Leto (2019) and Frames (2019). I collaborated with a team of hard workers and we put out the best versions of our films that we could. During college, I also learned how to color grade, create motion graphics, and create some basic VFX. Those skills helped me to secure internships and some job opportunities. Through it all though, the two things I have learned that are crucial to a project’s completion are teamwork and diligence.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would not have waited until college to start learning about editing. I also would have done more research on the different kinds of software programs used in the post-production industry, as it will differ from studio to studio.

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