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Film Editor Steve Mannella (COPA 2010)

The journey from production assistant to editor

Steve ManellaSteve Mannella (COPA 2010) felt he needed to move to where most feature film post-production happens, so this September the former cinema and digital arts major accepted a seven-month position and made the move to Los Angeles. He’s working until April as a post-production assistant on Abduction, a thriller filmed in Pittsburgh in 2010 and set for release in 2011.

Mannella credits his former professors Andrew Halasz, Chris Sepesy and Liz Richards for his early success in editing, his chosen field, and says Point Park provided a strong education and opportunities to get started working in the film industry.

The University is great about informing students about projects coming to town, for instance.

“The prospective work notices are extremely valuable for the development of young filmmakers,” he says, noting that the University provided leads on internship opportunities and paid positions as well as hands-on experience inside and outside the classroom.

Mannella became interested in Point Park when Fred Johnson, current dean of the Conservatory of Performing Arts, spoke to his high school class. The Harrison City native entered the University the next year and made the most of his time on campus.

During his sophomore year he worked on Shannon’s Rainbow, first as an office intern, then as an assistant editor. Summit Works Films shot the independent film in Washington, Penna. As a student he also worked on a commercial for the Pittsburgh Penguins and on a segment for the television series Shaq VS. He also worked on the feature film Warrior, which was shot in Pittsburgh in 2010 with Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton.

Mannella started as office intern on Warrior before he moved out of intern ranks and into the editing room as a “night guy.” For three months he worked the overnight shift taking footage shot and putting it into the editing system so the next morning the production crew could start cutting it.

Typically the assembly cut is the only editing work done on location. That’s why Mannella is headed to where most feature film post-production work gets done. Moving up the editing ladder will mean serving as a production assistant, then on to be an apprentice editor and assistant editor and finally an editor.

“It’s an ongoing journey from post-production assistant to editor,” he says.

View Steve Mannella’s senior thesis film and other video links at http://vimeo.com/13926821.