Emmy-winning picture editor Nena Erb was up for the challenge of “Genera+ion,” a new HBO Max comedy series about Gen-Z high schoolers. While she hadn’t done much work on shows about teenagers in the past, she was excited by the show’s focus on a racially diverse LGBTQ community. “Growing up, I never saw myself reflected on TV or in the movies so when I heard what this show was about and I watched the pilot, I was immediately drawn to it,” says Erb in an exclusive new webchat for Gold Derby. Watch the full video interview above.
Erb edited two episodes of “Genera+ion’s” first season, including Episode 2, “Dickscovery.” The episode mostly finds the characters confined in the GSA room during a lockdown. It was quite a task for Erb to create momentum through the episode while also devoting enough screen time to each of the main characters. She also admits there was “definitely a lot of pressure” to be handling the second episode of the series, with the pilot having been shot the year before. But showrunner Daniel Barnz encouraged the editors to do something new with each episode, including hers. “He allowed all the editors to experiment and present the episode as we thought it should look,” recalls Erb.
The other episode Erb edited was Episode 6, “The Wheels on the Bussy,” where the kids go on a school trip to San Francisco. While this installment coincidentally had the characters mostly in one location yet again, “it was important to make sure that they didn’t feel trapped this time,” explains Erb. “It was just making sure that you’re with the kids all the time, experiencing this through their eyes and hopefully people aren’t bored.” One of the key decisions she made in this episode was to provide a slow-motion effect at various points, when Chester and Riley are experiencing true infatuation with other characters.
“Genera+ion” is the latest in a run of shows for Erb that center on outsiders who are trying to find their place in the world, from “Insecure” to “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” to “Little America.” While Erb was admittedly not as conscious of this pattern previously, she is now starting to notice a connection. “I am always rooting for the underdog, probably because I also feel like an underdog,” she notes. After immigrating from Taiwan, the editor states that she often feels “in between two worlds,” giving her a feeling of not belonging. “Maybe that’s why I identify more with these stories.”
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