Shiman Hu has loved movies for as long as she can remember. The feeling of being whisked to another reality and feeling that you are placed in the lives, the emotions, the reality of others and allowed to experience any motion that the creators of the film desires for you to experience…it’s been said many times but, it’s magic. This led her to investigate the secret behind this “magic” and to a career in film (and television) as an editor. Her skill and her love of cinema also led Yangyang Mu (the production manager of Hollywood Chinese TV) to offer Hu the position as editor for “Hollywood Club.” Yangyang states, “Our program shows the best part of great films within a limited duration. Beyond the other content we present, the demands of presenting these films and matching the original rhythm and message are quite substantial. It required a truly incredible editor and Shiman did an amazing job.” The program aspires to interest viewers in a wide array of movies, not just American films, in hopes of cultivating wide interest in all that the industry has to offer. The same diversity of films that first enchanted Shiman are what she worked to expose in a modern avenue, as a seed to present day and future film aficionados.
The program presents film as varied as: Avatar, No Country for Old Men, Confessions (famous Japanese film), Jurassic Park, and many others displays a range from Science Fiction to Dark Humor to love stories and much more. Hu divides each film into three different sections: the background (the work, the life and the problems encountered in the film), the climax of the film (how the character solves the problems he/she has encountered), and finally, the end of the film (what are they going to do at the end? Is the end good or bad?). As an editor of acclaimed films like The Sound of the Sea, Plus Slash Minus +/-, and others, Hu feels the weight of responsibility in maintaining a congruent tone to the original filmmakers desired message.
Not all films are equal in the challenge to present them in a condensed time frame. “Confessions” starring Takako Matsu was a formidable challenge to edit. A black comedy with a very tight rhythm to it, the film’s pace and excellence caused Shiman to make several attempts at editing it before she felt that she was respectful to both the film and filmmaker’s original intention. Matching the original film’s rhythm and ensuring the integrity of the narrative, she concedes that she learned an increased respect for the original editor’s work on this film…as with many others she has reviewed since. In particular, the early Hong Kong film “As Tears Go By” with its many complex stories, character cues, relationships between characters, and emotional interlacing created a Rubik’s Cube or editing for an editor. Of course, it’s Hu’s love of discovery that first led her to a career in film and challenges like this only stoked the fire.
“Hollywood Club” is not only for cinephiles. This also allowed the editor to exercise her TV editing chops honed during her time working at many different Sino TV programs. Everything from gossip surrounding celebrities like Justin Bieber and others to the top songs on the charts is covered on this program. The program not only plays the songs to the audience, but more importantly, introduces viewers to the background of the songs, producers and singers of the songs and explains the meaning of them. Hu combines the recordings of the songs and dialogue of the hosts, adjusting the appropriate volume and controlling the length of songs according to the time requirement of the program.
All of this means that the breadth of editing work encompasses serious/award-winning films to playful pop culture. Shiman concedes, “The skill required for this program is quite substantial. I might be reediting an existing movie trailer to meet the length of our program. The trailer’s sense of rhythm is very strong. I’m editing a film and distilling it down while keeping the voice of the filmmakers and the story intact. Hosts are presented on green screen and special effects software is used to give a modern look and accessibility that multimedia presentations demand and viewers expect. There are many layers in the editing software of the program. When we are making up the entire show, we pay careful attention to whether there are missing parts. The appearance must be very high-quality in spite of the limited time that we have to produce this. It takes a lot of work to make it look effortless and that is always my goal.”
Shiman Hu’s work on “Hollywood Club” is an example of how the most talented professionals in the production industry can vacillate between mediums, using their skills to better any scenario which they encounter. Whether at work on feature films, television talk shows, or any combination of these, Shiman Hu has carved out a welcome place for herself in the international production community.