As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, Blueberry spoke in-depth with TV Editor Rita Kaye, whose credits include ‘Come Dine With Me’, ‘Teen Mum’ and ‘Love Island’. We discussed her career journey so far and future ambitions.
Where did you train as an Editor?
I studied at the Kingston School of Art, which is one of the country’s most renowned art schools and prestigious film courses.
How did you get your break in the industry?
At 18, I turned up at the production office of the companies I wanted to work for and refused to leave until they hired me.
You’ve been with Blueberry for 5 years now. How’s the experience been?
It’s been a special experience. I’m so happy to be part of the family! My editor friend Jason Bowes recommended Blueberry many years ago when I was still an Assistant Editor. I remember thinking ‘wow, being a Blueberry editor is the coolest job imaginable’. Sure enough, it’s been every bit as wonderful as I’d hoped. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work on many great shows. I’ve certainly come a long way from when I joined!
What recent projects are you the most proud of?
It has to be Love Island. It’s the pinnacle of the industry. It’s a one billion pound format: it doesn’t get much better! That stunning, clear-cut precise look. I’ve always longed to work on a show where every little detail matters. After so many years of hearing ‘stop fiddling with it Rita, that will do, no one can tell the difference’, it’s such a relief to know that YES, it does matter; every shot matters, every frame matters, every pause matters. I would never cut in a shot if I wasn’t convinced that it was the right one: hundreds of millions of fans are watching!
What is your day to day schedule like when working on a series such as Come Dine With Me? What is the workflow like?
Come Dine is one of my favourite shows to work on. I love cooking and the format is sheer perfection. Henry Hainault is one of the most inspiring senior producers I’ve ever worked with. The edit schedule is tight but workable. We have a week to cut an episode: we start on Monday, the first rough cut viewing is on Tuesday evening, the final cut viewing is on Wednesday and the cut goes to the channel on Thursday. Friday is for changes, coming up/next time teases, shot and music pass and polish.
Is there much room for creative control?
It depends on the show and the edit producer. It’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get! Some turn up prepared with a clear vision, whereas some turn up and expect you to take the lead. I prefer to work with edit producers with a writing background because they usually get the structure right straight away and we can spend the rest of the edit time crafting and polishing the cut.
What advice do you have for other women pursuing a career in post-production?
Charge Bectu rates from day one of your career. Financial security will help you weather the dry patches and buy your initial kit; when you’re transitioning from assistant to editor, it will enable you can turn down assistant jobs and solely focus on editing jobs, and once you’re an established editor with a family, it will offset your childcare costs and therefore keep you working. So many women have to leave the industry because they can’t weather the dry patches; so many get stuck and can’t step up because they’re not in a position to turn down assistant jobs, and so many leave the industry and never return when they have a family because their salary is too low to offset the sky-high childcare costs. Charging union rates will help you get through the most difficult stages of a woman’s life, such as breaking into a new industry against the odds, stepping up from assistant to film editor and juggling family and a highly competitive job. If you choose not to have a family or a partner, it provides you with a safety net that you really need as a single, self-employed person; and as an older woman, it will allow you to work less and retire comfortably.
What’s your next five-year plan?
I’m in a very good place in my career. The next five-year plan is to carry on with exactly what I’m doing. After Uni, I landed on my feet and was given great opportunities. I toured the country working on regional shows, meeting TV makers and making industry friends. I’ve loved every minute of it, but after seven years it may be time to slow down a bit. I feel I have the maturity and the experience to focus on further developing and polishing my style and technique. I’ve come a long way from pink-haired wild child to experienced Soho pro. I enjoy what I do tremendously. In all honesty, it’s the best job in the world!