Steve Teers – editor

It’s been a long and winding road that’s led me to where I am now. The old adage of ‘being in the right place at the right time’ seems to have been the story of my life, but then you have to be able to deliver, with a ‘can do – will do’ attitude. And say ‘yes’ to everything…

After graduating in music and dance I spent 10 years as a professional musician, playing piano and percussion for contemporary dance; including Ballet Rambert and LCDT, in various indie bands; The Human Cabbages who were featured on John Peel’s Radio 1 show and several gigs playing trombone with a young Wayne Hemingway – later Red or Dead designer/Vintage promoter – of which more later, and theatre. During the mid 80’s I borrowed an uncle’s video camera and started offering to make ‘simple videos’, I hadn’t much of a clue at the time but was a quick learner. A chance meeting in a Wimbledon pub led me to a group of like-minded but slightly more experienced media folk who I started to help out, working on low budget corporate videos, music promos and a bizarre political EPK for the SDP featuring David Owen as Max Headroom. The director, Richard Hill, passed my name on to his contacts in Soho and in 1986 I had what I think of as my first proper paid job – runner on Spandau Ballet’s ‘Through the Barricades’ (£25 for 24hrs non-stop work, dropping xerox paper on the band… and picking it all up again!). After several more big budget music video running jobs my career went off at a bit of a tangent as I was asked to teach a series of workshops on an estate in West London. A 12 week course turned into 7 years running a community video project, which in 1994 evolved into Diva Pictures Ltd, a facility and production company, bringing the first Avid editing system to Ealing Studios where we were based for nearly 20 years.

Diva Pictures grew rapidly after a series of lucky breaks – I was asked to film a musical tour of Mongolia, yacht racing for Champagne Mumm, and Hilary Clinton at the White House. Somebody I bumped into in a corridor at Ealing Studios saw the rough cut of the Mongolian documentary, liked the edit and offered me 26 weeks editing a cable TV cooking show with Nannette Newman – curiously the director John Tagholm’s son Theo is now a Blueberry editor! While working on the cooking shows I met Lambros Atteshlis of Glasshead who became a regular client as I went on to cut several series of his Channel 4 education programmes… and through him I met the director Jaine Harmston Green. This is where my broadcast career really took off as with Jaine I edited about a dozen one hour ob docs for BBC, C4 and C5, generally about extreme characters on issues such as anorexia, tourettes, witchcraft and middle-aged mummy’s boys. We also made music docs for Take That and Jennifer Lopez – ‘JLo Behind the Behind’. It was during this last edit that I realised one of my proudest achievements; by day I edited JLo but by night I co-produced and edited the independent doc feature ‘Jeremy Hardy vs the Israeli Army’ featuring the Radio 4 satirist’s sardonic observations as he was shot at whilst marching with unarmed demonstrators attempting to bring peace to the West Bank.

As you may guess, running the business side of Diva Pictures was never my priority – I was always happier at the coalface, getting my hands dirty on the edit. I employed the occasional assistant and freelance editor to help pay the rent but after expanding to three Avid suites at Ealing Studios I began to downsize. I still ventured out on the occasional shoot and another highlight of my career was being part of the camera team and editing the Vintage at Goodwood event in 2010 for my old band mate Wayne Hemingway – a weekend spent chasing old pop stars for interviews; Ronnie Wood, Alvin Stardust etc, and filming aerials from a Cessna. A good tip would be – always keep it sweet, you never know who you’ll bump into again in some other incarnation!

About five years ago I signed up with Blueberry. My first job with them was simply an honour – on the team editing ‘Steve Jobs – iChanged the World’, a fast turnaround tribute put together within days of his passing. Since then work has been a pretty much continuous stream of broadcast credits covering crime, disaster, science, drama docs, nightmare neighbours, benefits, teen mums and most recently, additional editor on ITV’s ‘Our Queen at Ninety’.

I’m definitely more selective in the projects I take on these days. With a young family and a small farm in Transylvania to keep an eye on certain times of the year, school holidays primarily, I’m out of the picture. But I’m always up for a challenge and it seems my extensive experience in finding narrative editing solutions and salvaging a desperate production, to craft watchable, compelling tv, is ever more in demand.

Editing for me is something that requires a wide range of skills, a lot more than just operating software. My early experience performing music and learning about choreography has proved invaluable in making pictures sing, along with a general knowledge derived from extensive travelling and awareness of the world. Above all, though, the editor has to be a diplomat, to tiptoe the fine line between edit producer, exec/series producer and channel, as well as be infinitely patient and know when to meticulously craft or rapidly assemble.

View Steve’s full portfolio