St. Louis U. High alumni excel in a vast array of fields. One such alumnus, Bryn Vytlacil ’01, found his niche in post-production editing for non-scripted programs. At the Children and Family Emmys on Dec. 10, Vytlacil won the category “Outstanding Editing for a Multiple-Camera Program” for his work on Making Fun, a children’s show on Netflix.
Making Fun features Jimmy DiResta, an accomplished woodworker who used to build childrens’ toys. In the show, he builds things based on the outlandish ideas of kids. Vytlacil worked with a team of editors to finalize the show.
As a post-production editor, Vytlacil takes raw footage from the production stage and edits it down into the final cut of the program.
“For every hour of footage shot, that can end up being one minute of TV time,” said Vytlacil.
Still, editors exercise a lot of creative liberty when cutting shows. They have to choose which takes are best for various scenes, so they have some influence in the tone of the final piece.
“You’re crafting the story, and sometimes creatively recrafting the story, to punch up emotions and storylines,” said Vytlacil. “A show or a movie gets written three times: once when it’s written, once when it’s acted, and a third time when it’s edited.”
For Making Fun, Vytlacil prioritized creating a piece that he was content with, not one that would satisfy the network.
“The whole post-production team, we were all more interested in making each other laugh,” he said. “We were never really worried about what the network or production company would think about it. You just do something you’re proud of, share it with someone, and see if they like it too.”
Making Fun was a smashing success. In the editing category, it beat Sesame Street for the Emmy. Vytlacil attributes the success to the fun he and his colleagues had putting the show together.
“If there is a good group of people that have chemistry, you will work hard to impress each other,” he said.
After Making Fun, Vytlacil moved on to the next project. As a freelance editor, he has to seek a new job every three to six months. The Emmy will help him improve his resume to impress potential showrunners for future jobs.
Above all else, Vytlacil believes networking and making friends lead to success in his field. By fostering positive relationships with his colleagues, he has always found it easy to find new jobs.
“I made a decision years ago not to just chase some award, some network, or some specific show, but just to continue to try and work with the people I like,” said Vytlacil. “From that, I keep getting called back.”
Vytlacil found his passion for editing at Indiana University’s Film Program. During college, he interned for MTV in New York, and his first job was an overnight shift in Chicago editing docuseries. Still, he was not convinced that he could make a living in the filmmaking field.
“The recession hit, and companies were shrinking fast,” said Vytlacil. “I went to LA where my sister lived and thought about taking some time off. I got a job in four days and ended up working for that company for six years.”
Vytlacil lives in St. Louis now and works remotely. He is grateful that he stuck with editing and got to where he is today. He attributes much of his success to his continued passion for what he does and curiosity about learning new skills.
“You just have to follow the rabbit hole and just work on always improving your craft, whatever it may be,” Vytlacil said.
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