Off to the races with Jockey editor Parker Laramie

Clifton Collins Jr as Jackson Silva in “Jockey”.

Image by Adolpho Veloso. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Jockey, which first premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, follows an aging rider who hopes to take home one last championship title before he retires. As he prepares for his final ride, his dream is complicated by the arrival of a young rookie who claims to be his son.

Adobe spoke with Jockey’s editor Parker Laramie, who was in the film’s editing saddle, to discuss his workflow and how Premiere Pro helped take this feature across the finish line.

How and where did you first learn to edit?

My father was an editor, and he bought me my first editing software when I was 14 after I co-wrote and edited a short film with a good friend of mine. I mostly learned the craft from taking jobs (often for free, working nights). Then, I co-edited a few documentaries alongside Elisa Bonora who really gave me the space to try things and figure out how to put a story together. After that, I learned a ton from Pedro Kos who taught me how to work with music and edit dialogue. Working on so many documentaries really gives you confidence that there’s always a way to make something work in the edit as long as it serves the film as a whole.

How do you begin a project/set up your workspace?

I have a set up at home that I’ve built up over the years that feels really comfortable and streamlined. I surround myself with way too many monitors, but it allows me to spread things out and know exactly where to reach for things when I need them which makes it much easier to achieve that “flow state.” I usually start a project like I imagine everyone else does — by watching dailies and taking notes.

Clifton Collins Jr. as Jackson Silva and Moises Arias as Gabriel Boullait in “Jockey”.

Image by Adolpho Veloso. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Tell us about a favorite scene or moment from this project and why it stands out to you.

My favorite scene in Jockey is what we always called the “Pico de gallo” scene, which is towards the end of the film when Gabriel (played by Moises Arias) loses his temper at Jackson (played by Jackson Silva) right before the final race. In the script, Gabriel stood up to Jackson in a pretty controlled and noble way, even if it was still a bit naïve. On the day they shot that scene, Moises was having a rough time and kept losing his focus and getting more and more frustrated. I REALLY identified with his frustration, especially as a reaction to someone forcing themselves upon you as a father figure, so I figured out a way to use those outbursts in the cut to capture that feeling (which I’ve had quite a bit at various points in my life).

What were some specific post-production challenges you faced that were unique to your project? How did you go about solving them?

Greg (writer, Jockey) & Clint (director, Jockey) are in Texas and I’m in Los Angeles, so much of the editing was done remotely even before COVID hit. Luckily, they’re pretty comfortable technically so we were able to use a combination of webcams, Zoom, Dropbox and Vimeo to pass a lot of our feelings and ideas back and forth. The best stuff happened when Clint and Greg were with me in person.

“Jockey” Premiere Pro Timeline.

Image by Parker Laramie.

What Adobe tools did you use on this project and why did you originally choose them? Why were they the best choice for this project?

I used Premiere Pro exclusively on this project, which I had only ever used for short form work before. I ended up really liking it because it’s more flexible than Avid, plus Clint (director, Jockey) prefers it and he wanted to be able to jump in and play with things. Working with sound and music is a huge part of my cutting process, and audio editing is very fluid in Premiere Pro.

What do you like about Premiere Pro, and/or any of the other tools you used?

I do a lot of slowing down of both video and audio, especially on this film where we really wanted a lot of atmosphere. I would slow down the temp music to create that rhythm so it could carry us through the film without getting in the way or calling too much attention to itself. I find that’s really important when working with temp music so it leaves room for the composer to bring something that elevates the film rather than trying to just match the temp. So much of this film was adlibbed so I would stretch reaction shots in order to get moments to work just right or to keep things locked in on Jackson’s point of view. Premiere Pro makes it really easy and fluid to do this in a pretty high-quality way really quickly, so we don’t have to guess how something will look or sound when it’s processed properly in the online later.

What’s your hidden gem/favorite workflow tip in Adobe Creative Cloud?

Now that Premiere Pro has the Productions feature, I find that putting the project on cloud storage and sharing that with the whole team makes working remotely much more seamless. It pushes the capability of Premiere Pro way up for me and how I like to work.

Who is your creative inspiration and why?

I think my biggest creative influence might be Frederick Wiseman. He’s able to craft some of the funniest, most clever scenes in his films, and they feel truly immersive and seamless. The things you can do with a script are fantastic, but the things you can do when you internalize what a film is about and just let people follow their instincts are truly magical, and I think his work is the most pure version of that kind of filmmaking.

What’s the toughest thing you’ve had to face in your career and how did you overcome it? What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers or content creators?

The toughest thing for me on any project is drawing boundaries. I can be a real obsessive workaholic, and so I tend to work with people who are the same. While that can be incredibly fulfilling, it can also be horrible for your health and wellbeing — and the project itself. Stepping away and giving yourself space from any project so you can look at it from a distance with fresh eyes is probably the most valuable tool anyone has. Do whatever you need to do to build that into your workflow.

Share a photo of where you work. What’s your favorite thing about your workspace and Why?

I just moved into a new place so I still have some work to do on the lighting and the clutter so it’s still a work in progress. I love being able to look out on my jungle of a backyard at any time of day.

Parker Laramie Workspace.

Image by Parker Laramie.

Jockey is now playing in select theatres and will be available on digital March 29 as well as Blu-ray & DVD April 5.