S.A.G.E.: Nothing to do with Herbs, Wisdom or Mystics

Congratulations to all you hard workers in post-production. It’s been a tough financial year with companies shutting down left right and centre, but we editors have prevailed.

If you don’t already know about the South African Guild of Editors, go to the website for more info: www.editorsguildsa.org. Here is a summary of what S.A.G.E. offered its members in the past year:

In 2011 S.A.G.E. delivered a workshop, panel discussion or shop-talk-social every month, enabling post-production professionals to exchange the sort of knowledge that makes normal people politely panic.

The following subjects were covered in workshops: Digital workflows (by HD Hub and Visual Impact); digital workflow options for getting a film on the big screen (by Tracey Williams, Refinery); working between offline picture and sound departments (by Andrew Spitz in Johannesburg and Barry Donnelly in Cape Town); advice for students wanting to crack assistant editing in the feature film industry (by Petr Geertsema and Jenny Hicks), online editing and specific plug-ins (by Riaan van Wyk, S.A.G.E.); and Final Cut Pro X (by Labspace’s Mike Brennan).


Hollywood editor Megan Gill showed extracts from and discussed her work, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This year’s masterclasses took place at the Cape Winelands Film Festival, and panel discussions and screenings included ROSCAR-finalist editors at WildTalks, Encounters International Documentary Film Festival editors (two of whom won the Sundance Film Festival documentary editing award) and Focus Features Africa First initiative.

S.A.G.E. orchestrated a massive shoot-out between Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro, which included the opportunity to learn about post-production hardware such as AJA, various offline and online packages (including Smoke on Mac), and compare workflows for cameras Arri Alexa, Red Epic, Sony F3 and the Phantom. You can view the results on S.A.G.E.’s Youtube channel: SAGE2011TV.

Members can enjoy the regularly updated blog, Cutaway, featuring remarkable editors and their work, linked to S.A.G.E.’s Facebook page. An in-depth, filmed interview with Ronel Loots, a prolific features editor who has earned the S.A.G.E. acronym, can be viewed on SAGE2011TV


S.A.G.E. members and friends of the guild (including local producers and directors) wound down at Cape Town restaurant Maria’s and wished each other good luck for 2012. If you’re a S.A.G.E. member or friend of the guild in Johannesburg, keep an eye open for your invitation to January’s social.

Also watch out for a workshop by William Kentridge and Catherine Meyburgh (S.A.G.E.) who are collaborating on a multi-projection installation for Dokumenta 13 in Kassel, Germany. The workshop will happen in February 2012.

S.A.G.E. is looking for partnerships that would enable it to start a branch in Durban. The guild also has a list of fun and informative post-production workshops, competitions and events planned for next year, including bold representation at film festivals.

If you’re interested in joining the guild, go to the website (www.editorsguildsa.org) and follow the steps. Your CV will be thoroughly checked before you will be allowed to call yourself a S.A.G.E. member, which means producers can rest assured that you’re the real deal. Once you’re a member, the guild will offer you massive discounts for all S.A.G.E. events, rate cards and standardised contracts to help you negotiate work, help you in tricky situations with clients, represent you at film festivals and make those glum times in the cave glued to Creative Cow seem so much less lonely.

Experienced professional editors are awarded the S.A.G.E. acronym for credits by invitation only. To qualify for use of the SAGE acronym, a full editor, sound editor or online editor must have been a member of SAGE for at least 5 years. To further qualify, the editor, sound editor or online editor must have been considered a professional in their field for at least 10 years. Congratulations to the following editors who have earned the S.A.G.E. acronym: Dinah Arnott, Nicci Bothma, Tracy Clayton, Virgilio Da Silva, Yoav Dagan, Kirsten de Magalhaes, Mike Dicks, Babette Du Toit, Uta Frey, Ziggy Hofmeyr, Alan Hynes, Christen Iversen, Maryke Kruger, Julia Lawson, Jackie Le Cordeur, Erica Luttich, Bronwen MacKellar, Catherine Meyburgh, Este Nortje, Melissa Parry, Susan Scott, Andrea Shaw, Gugu Sibandze, Ashley Smith, Richard Starkey, Micki Stroucken, Kat Turner, Juli Vandenberg. A formal ceremony at which 2011 nominees are presented with the acronym will be held in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, early 2012.

This year S.A.G.E. was supported by Visual Impact, Simonsvlei Wine, Dax Data, AJA, Touchvision, AFDA, Elsies River, and hopes to continue solidifying partnerships with post-production affiliates in the new year. The guild was also thrilled to welcome Gragan Tarlton, Jenny Hicks, Tessa Verfuss and TinaShe Makwande to 2012’s Executive Board. If you spot a S.A.G.E. Exec in the street, buy ‘em a frothy coffee. They work hard to make life better for South African editors:

Joburg Executive:

Dave Olivier
Marina du Toit
Melanie Golden
Nikki Comninos
Catherine Meyburgh
Stephen Abbott
Melissa Parry
Bronwen MacKellar

Cape Town Executive:

Gregan Tarlton
Johan Walters
Liani van Straaten
Kerrin Kokot
Tessa Verfuss
TinaShe Makwande
Jenny Hicks

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