Nina Erb Interview: ‘Insecure’ editor
“The scripts always get better and better each season,” declares Emmy-winning editor Nena Erb ACE (“Project Greenlight”) about why she thinks she scored her first Emmy nomination for “Insecure,” which she shares with colleague Lynarion Hubbard.
“I’ve always loved the show, my friends have always loved the show and everybody I’ve introduced to the show for the first time, they’ve always loved it. I feel like we had the benefit of a lockdown and the season dropped in the middle of it and people were just hungry for content and people found the show and I’m so glad they liked it.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Erb above.
“Insecure” stars Emmy nominee Issa Rae, which she co-created with Larry Wilmore, and loosely based on her YouTube series “Awkward Black Girl.” The series follows the highs and lows of life for a contemporary African-American woman and her friends in Los Angeles. It co-stars first-time Emmy nominee Yvonne Orji alongside a strong cast that includes Jay Ellis, Alexander Hodge and Kendrick Sampson. This year for its celebrated fourth season, “Insecure” scored eight nominations across the board, finally ascending into the lofty Best Comedy Series category for the first time.
A hallmark of “Insecure” is how its tone shifts from irreverent to heartfelt in each episode. For Erb, those tonal shifts are thanks to the writing and the performances. However, pressed to take some of the credit for how the show balances humor and pathos so effectively, Erb admits that “a lot of it will depend on pacing and the performances that you choose and how you tow the line and balance it out.”
Erb is nominated for her editing of the episode “Lowkey Trying,” directed by fellow Emmy winning actor and now director Kerry Washington. The episode features a number of emotional scenes as best friends Issa and Molly’s friendship has been strained for some time. The episode ends tearfully as Molly admits that their friendship has felt forced lately, while Issa accuses her of not putting in any effort. Molly snaps back that maybe they “just don’t fit anymore,” with a heartbroken Issa getting into her Lyft and leaving Molly alone on the street.
Erb was careful about how she edited the episode to get the most out of the laughs and the tears. “Honestly, I just go with my gut. If it’s making me laugh, I make note of it,” she explains. “Sometimes it’s an embarrassment of riches. I just go with my gut. The one that makes me laugh the hardest is probably the one I’m going to use,” Erb says.
“I don’t get emotional a lot when I’m watching dailies but the very ending when Molly and Issa part ways, I was looking at the dailies and I got emotional. I was like, ‘this never happens, what’s happening?’ And of course the one that got me the most is the one that’s in the edit.”