8:00am PT by Carolyn Giardina
How 'Queer Eye' Editors Embrace "Method Editing" to Create the Series' Emotional Power
As with most reality series, the work of an editor starts with sifting through a mountain of footage to craft a tight, well-paced and clear story. But perhaps the greatest strength of Queer Eye, Netflix's reboot of Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which debuted in 2003, is its emotional core.
"It is all about uplifting people, and the entire tone of the series is about making people feel good. We wanted to include the funniest, most informative and most heartwarming moments to make sure that it connected with people," says supervising editor Thomas Scott Reuther, who shared editing duties with his fellow Emmy nominees Joe DeShano, A.M. Peters, Ryan Taylor, Matthew D. Miller and Brian Ray.
Season one of the revival was set in Georgia and introduced a new "Fab Five" — Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk and Jonathan Van Ness — offering their expertise in such areas as grooming, fashion and culture while tackling topics like acceptance head-on. "A makeover is just a haircut and some new clothes, but I see for a lot of the characters, what they really wanted was somebody to connect with," says Reuther, who scored his first career nomination for the show. "They wanted somebody to really hear what they had to say and really get to know who they are."
While each episode is unique, there's a basic structure that's consistent, Reuther explains. Act 1 introduces the subject. This leads into Act 2 — a haircut, a shopping spree and other such activities. The final act reveals the renovation to his or her home and the unveiling of the subject to friends or family.
A challenge to any reality series is the volume of camera footage, which in this case was estimated to be more than 100 hours per episode. It's not just the editors who sift through the footage; at least one producer also reviews it to give the team some direction about key moments from the shoot. "We'd get done cutting something and talk about 'Do we think that we're going to reach more people with this moment? Do we think that this moment is going to affect somebody else?' And if we thought yes to both of those questions, we made sure we presented those moments in the best way possible," says Reuther.
"You put your heart on the line for the show and for the characters," he adds. "The interactions from the Fab Five with every single character were so sincere that it was easy to get caught up in the moment with them. You know, I found myself choked up on more than one occasion, and I'm like, 'I'm just an editor, what's going on?' But we were feeling it."
He jokes that he does "method editing" — where he starts to take on the personality of the characters that he's cutting because he spends so much time with them onscreen in the edit room.
"My wife said she definitely likes me a lot more when I'm working on Queer Eye," he says, adding with a laugh, "I was a lot more sensitive, I listened a lot more. So they definitely have a big effect on me. My wife thanks the Fab Five."
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.