By Patrick Gibbs
Every year at Sundance Film Festival, Utah is becoming a destination of choice for filmmakers. For Hannah Long, head of visual effects editingr for Marvel studios, Salt Lake is where it all began. “My family moved to Salt Lake when I was a year old,” says Long. “My dad is… a creative writing teacher [and] a poet, so I have always grown up around artists. Long began to do theater, take classes and play To City representative‘s Family theater (now the Parker Theater), but his passion has always been cinema. Hitchcock marathons, and so very young I got interested and I think I knew that was what I was going to do my whole life. I knew I was going to be in the film industry.
Long began to learn editing herself at the age of 12, making short films from clip art and anything else she could find. In her late teens, she got involved with Spy Hop, a non-profit digital arts center in Salt Lake that offers free classes to people ages 9-19. “This is where I really learned to be an editor,” says Long. “All the different aspects of making a film, of producing [to] from directing to production to filming, I learned through them. In fact, I was able to skip college and then jump into it. Long moved to Los Angeles at age 19, where she eventually landed a writing job on Cosmos: A space-time odyssey, a documentary series hosted by Neil de Grasse Tyson and executive produced by Family Guy’s Seth Mac Farlane.
“My dad used to sit me down with the Hitchcock Marathons, and so at a very young age I was interested and I think I knew that was what I was going to do my whole life. I knew I was going to be in the film industry.
This led to a job on the editing team for McFarlane’s goofball comedy. Ted 2. Long then worked for McFarlane for two years, watching him walk into the next room and recording jokes he wrote on the spot. During this time, she was attending “Gatsby level” parties that McFarlane would host for his crews.
But he was working on the Netflix sci-fi movie Extinction that Long fell into the work in visual effects. “It was a low budget movie, so we didn’t have anyone who specializes in visual effects,” says Long. “I mean, it was a sci-fi movie, so of course there were thousands of visual effects. They weren’t planning on having someone responsible for that, so I assumed. the task. This would be the project that would lead to a call from the visual effects producer David Masure-Bosco, who offered Long a job on Avengers: Endgame.
“VFX editors have a relationship with VFX supervisors to help them achieve their vision,” says Long. She started out by editing the preview, which Long describes as “the next level to storyboards.” Once the film goes into production, VFX editors work with the core editorial team to create temporary versions of the effects shots, filling blue screens with placeholder images that can help producers and directors. studio to see the story as it unfolds. They then send these sequences to the visual effects houses which create the final imagery. “And then we’ll bring that back into the cup and make sure it all works together in the context,” Long said.
While doing Avengers: Endgame, Long had a very unexpected advantage when she was immortalized in a sequence in which Scott Lang / Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) searches for names on “The Wall of the Missing,” a memorial to those who were lost when super villain Thanos wiped out half the universe. “It was mostly luck,” Long said, laughing. “I’m very lucky that Long is very close to Lang. They needed a few hundred names, and you must have all the names that you show clearly. Since it is much easier to get permission to use the name from those involved in the production, Long was asked to provide the names of her and her sister. “I brought my sister to the first one. I didn’t tell her it was going to be there, so when it popped up she screamed and was so excited.
Long has since worked full-time for Marvel Studios, working on Eternals and the limited series Hawk Eye, which premieres on Disney on November 24. While visual effects have become a big part of Long’s career, it’s not necessarily his own endgame. She has the ambition to occupy a position of editor-in-chief and eventually to produce and direct. While Long enjoys working for Marvel, she still enjoys small indie movies and dramas, and continues to work on both types. “I still love documentaries… I love movies,” says Long. With an increasingly impressive resume, it looks like Hannah Long will be working on it for many years to come.