Headquartered in the Flatiron District of New York City, Manhattan Edit Workshop was founded in 2002 with the goal of providing cutting-edge instruction on Apple®, Adobe® and Avid® platforms. Since then, MEWShop has added Digital Cinema Production classes, DaVinci Resolve, Autodesk® Smoke®, Assimilate Scratch, Making the Cut, and Fundamentals of Cinema 4D course to its already impressive curriculum.
To celebrate 20 years with Manhattan Edit Workshop, we spoke exclusively with President Jason Banke about how MEW has evolved over the years, current offerings and what’s to come next.
PH: How did Manhattan Edit Workshop start?
Jason Banke: Manhattan Edit Workshop (MEWShop) was founded in the Fall of 2002 by Josh Apter (current owner) and Estelle McGechie (original co-founder). We initially set out to create a comprehensive editing workshop that would incorporate aesthetics, history and technical skill in both Avid Media Composer and Apple’s Final Cut Pro.
What began as a four-week course evolved into the current six-week workshop with the addition of the “Artist in Residence Program,” a unique and deeply educational element that brings prominent industry professionals to the classroom for feedback on students’ edits, screenings of the editor’s work and real-world lessons from years of experience. We have continued to expand the class to focus on resumes, interviews – and for a number of years have enjoyed a successful internship and hiring program with companies like iTV and Radical Media to name a few.
Our alumni group has expanded so much over the years, that we now have built a new community that helps students after classes.
PH: What does the school offer now?
Jason Banke: In addition to our flagship Six Week Intensive, now focused on Avid, Premiere and After Effects, MEWShop has for years been an Avid, Adobe, Blackmagic, and Assimilate Certified Training Center, offering weekend and one-week classes in various disciplines of editing, sound design, graphic design, color grading and 3D effects. We have also expanded our offerings to include training in video & mobile production, location sound recording and editing film theory.
MEWShop’s enterprise clients include all of the major East Coast production and post production houses. We have been honored to work with companies like HBO, AMC Networks, NBCUniversal, CNN, The New York Times,The NHL Network, NBA, The New York Post, Yahoo!, MTA, NYC Dept of Education, as well as many colleges and universities.
PH: How did you get into the event side of things?
Jason Banke: As early as 2004, when the Six Week intensive added the Artist in Residence program, we launched a free live event series with these editors at the Motion Picture Editors Guild offices in downtown Manhattan, Some of these early events featured talented editors like Tom Haneke, ACE, Larry Silk, ACE, Lee Percy, ACE, Michael Berenbaum, ACE, Jeffrey Wolf, ACE and Christopher Tellefsen, ACE. Each editor would speak about their career, break down selected clips and field questions from the audience. These standing-room only events were recorded and became the first of over 600 videos (and growing) that MEWShop provides free for anyone on our Youtube channel.
In 2008, American Cinema Editors (ACE), looking to expand their highly successful EditFest event series to New York, approached MEWShop to help co-produce these June events at the DGA Theater. This extraordinary collaboration resulted in four years of incredible panel discussions, networking parties and intimate access to true legends of visual storytelling.
As ACE expanded its EditFest series to London, MEWShop continued the tradition of an annual New York June event and introduced the “Sight, Sound & Story” series. We expanded the scope of the panels to include additional disciplines such as Sound Design, VFX, Virtual Production, as well as film Editing. During this time we collaborated with Author and Film Historian Bobbie O’Steen to not only co-produce her standalone “Inside the Cutting Room” events, but also incorporate her unique discussions into our annual “Sight, Sound & Story” program The series became such a success, we expanded on Sight Sound and Story with an additional event in late Autumn to celebrate the art of Cinematography.
PH: How have you adjusted with all the technology changes over the years?
Jason Banke: MEWShop has been fortunate to enjoy strong relationships with both hardware and software manufacturers, as well as numerous production and post-production facilities. This allows us to shift easily and evolve to new platforms and training solutions. Our increased training in products like Resolve and Assimilate was directly related to the increased demand for education in these fast growing and more accessible technologies. Similarly, as production became more accessible and affordable to companies and individuals, we expanded our offerings to include hands-on workshops in DSLR and Mobile video production.
PH: What did you do over the pandemic to sustain the school and your event series?
Jason Banke: When the pandemic made it clear that in-person training would be put on immediate and indefinite hold, MEWShop moved all existing and future classes online. In the first weeks, we experimented with several applications for remote teaching, while making sure to preserve as much of the natural feel of our signature “in-person” experience. By the Summer of 2020, our entire curriculum was available online, and we were able to teach 90% of our core courses with little interruption. Now, two years later, we have shifted back to in-person training at our location, but with the added and permanent benefit of a remote option for any student who would prefer to take a class online.
Our in-person events also evolved into “Sight, Sound & Story: Live,” which allowed us to not only continue delivering extraordinary content, but also to hold them far more frequently. Now a monthly on-line event, MEWShop has the ability to explore more disciplines, and invite panelists from all over the world to join in a virtual event that would otherwise be logistically impossible. “Sight, Sound & Story: Live,” has expanded its reach to a global level, and exponentially increased our audience reach. We’ll definitely be back in person soon, but the online component to our events will remain a vital part of the future.
PH: What else does Manhattan Edit Workshop have in the works?
Jason Banke: Prior to the pandemic, MEWShop launched Filmmaker U, a completely unique, in-depth online training series that aims to continue the film apprenticeship experience in a complex and modern film industry. With partner Gordon Burkell from AOTG.com, this one-of-a-kind training series puts students in the room and with top artists like colorist Eric Whipp (*Mad Max: Fury Road”), editor & filmmaker Sam Pollard (“4 Little Girls”), sound designer Eugene Gearty (“The Life of Pi”) and editor Brian Kates, ACE (“The Savages”) – with new courses from Documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, ASC (Dick Johnson is Dead”), and legendary VFX pioneer Rob Legato ASC, (“Avatar”), available soon.
More About Manhattan Edit Workshop
MEWShop’s signature Six-Week Intensive is a jump-start for anyone looking for a career in post-production, while weekend and one-week courses introduce and solidify core editing concepts. Corporate and group training offer a customized curriculum, either in-house or on-site, for professionals eager to learn a new skill or to build on existing ones. The facility’s focus on small workshops, highly skilled and certified faculty, and a results-oriented curriculum have quickly won it the reputation as New York’s premier post-production teaching facility.
To maximize learning potential, all classes are split between lecture and hands-on learning. Weekend and one-week classes introduce and solidify the core concepts, while custom one on ones let you set your goals at your own pace.
MEWShop’s staff and instructors are dedicated to providing students with the best possible tools and experience to reach their goals. We foster a ‘learn by doing’ approach in an atmosphere where mistakes are encouraged as part of the process and the only silly question is the one that isn’t asked. We love what we do – and empowering other creatives is what we do best.