July 11 is the day Planet of the Apes fans have been anticipating, as “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” premieres nationwide.
For CSUMB graduate David Kashevaroff, that opening represents the culmination of about two years of work, and an important milestone in his successful career as a film editor.
“It is hard to maintain perspective when you have worked on a project so long. But it is a great story and a beautiful film. I think people will really like it,” said Kashevaroff, who graduated from Cal State Monterey Bay with a degree in Teledramatic Arts and Technology in 2001. He was one of the first wave of TAT grads who are becoming increasingly prominent in the film business.
As first assistant editor on “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” Kashevaroff was on set for more than 100 days of location shooting, primarily in New Orleans, but also in Los Angeles and Vancouver.
Kashevaroff helped take the footage that was shot every day, organize it and put it together in a preliminary cut for director Matt Reeves. Studios want editors on-site to make sure that the production team has all the shots it needs for the final film, and to avoid the expense of having to go back to reshoot any scenes.
Adding to the complexity of this project was the use of motion capture. The movie doesn’t use real apes. Instead, actors' movements are recorded through computer technology and that information is used to create lifelike animated characters.
Assembling all this into a movie takes time. Kashevaroff said the director worked with the editors for 15 months after the footage was shot to come up with the finished product. Deadlines loomed. They saw the final film on June 21, less than three weeks before its scheduled opening.
While the previews and commercials for the movie seem to emphasize its action aspects, Kashevaroff said that is not the whole story.
“It has some action scenes, and in the previews, they are trying to reach a certain demographic. But the director really comes at this from an emotional place. It is an epic tragedy in a way,” he said.
For Kashevaroff, the movie represents an opportunity to broaden his portfolio. Previously, he has worked as an editor on smaller film projects, including the Oscar-winning documentary short “A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin,” as well as a number of reality television shows, including “Top Chef” and “Project Runway.”
“I hadn’t done a major studio feature before. Sometimes it can be hard to cross that bridge,” Kashevaroff said. “But really, I think the skills to put different sorts of projects together are very similar. I would hope this would make it easier for me to go back and forth between reality projects and feature films.”
For now, though, he is taking a hard-earned vacation and doesn’t have his next job lined up.
“I haven’t looked for what I will do next. It can be a little nerve-wracking, but that is just part of the business,” he said.