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Featured Alum: Sara Hillner Class of 2003

Sara Hillner

After Sara Hillner spent a summer interning at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles she knew that’s where she had to move to put herself on the path to achieving her goals. So after she graduated in June 2003, Sara started building her resume and saving money. “My first job was working as a co-manager of a Bath & Body Works in a mall.  Those were tough times,” she said.

After a few months in the mall she began building her resume. She worked as a Production Assistant for TVACOM Productions, while working part-time as an Assistant Editor for Video Features Inc. Eventually she was promoted to Editor at Video Features.

Then in March 2005, Sara packed up and moved to LA. She said, “My first morning I woke up in LA I interviewed for an Assistant Editor position on a VH1 show and was hired on the spot” Shortly after she was bump up to Editor, and has been editing ever since, even carrying the title of "Lead Editor" and "Supervising Editor."

So what exactly does an editor do?

“As an Editor, the job responsibilities vary from company to company and show to show.  As a reality TV editor on some shows you can produce, write, and edit all from the editing bay.  Other shows are overly produced and come together very easily in an edit bay.  Although sometimes the field producing doesn't go as planned, and as an editor you're responsible for coming up with creative story-telling solutions to problems.”

Sara currently works as a freelance TV Editor, mainly in the world of reality, hybrid-reality and docu-reality. She is busy editing a new show for Bravo! called “NYC Prep,” a Gossip Girl-type reality show that follows the lives of six high schoolers on the Upper East Side. On average Sara works a minimum of 50 hours a week (10 hours/day, 5 days/week) but she said she as worked more than 100 hours in a week before. Working as a freelancer she almost never gets overtime or additional pay.

Networking is a key part of booking your next job and having success in Los Angeles.

“I have met the most creative industry freelance professionals at various jobs, and I've stuck with them outside of work to do side projects.”

Sara is working with several people, including E-Media alum Chris Balish, to develop and create show concepts. If one of the shows gets picked up, she will have a hand in producing the story in the field, as well as being the lead editor of the show.

Written by Emily Polak, November 2009