We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Cali and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, how do you think about risk?
I have set high goals for myself since I was young and because of that I am always pushing myself to do my best and nurture my creativity. When I was a kid, my best friend Laura and I started our own production company in my attic. I would write scripts and she would work on costume and set design for our short films. I admired Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and the classic glamour of Hollywood – I knew at a young age I would move to LA and work in the industry one way or another. When I graduated from college all of my friends were moving to downtown Chicago, but I needed to give Los Angeles a try. I found an apartment in Santa Monica and got a job working on movie posters while I worked toward my career goals. A few months into my move I met an editor, Grant MacDowell, who gave me a shot at being his assistant. I absorbed and fell in love with commercial editing. I am fortunate to have a career where I collaborate with people with the same passion. Without taking risks you never know how far you can go in building your career.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The film industry is tough to break into, you have to pay your dues and work your way up. My advice to anyone starting out is to have patience and work hard. Being confident in your talent and taking chances is what it all comes down to… attitude and passion is everything. When I first got started in film, there were very few women editors and I had to work really hard to prove myself. It actually drove me to be better because I wanted to be a part of showing the film industry that women can be valued as editors. I felt intimidated at times, but every experience made me stronger. I have edited with dozens of clients & agencies on everything from national commercials to episodic series. I primarily edit commercials but don’t stick to one particular genre… I love switching it up. Working closely with creatives on content that inspires me is how I continue to grow and keep variety in my editing. I would say my comedy work is the most fun I have though! Whether it is a thirty second spot or thirty minute documentary, I love both the creative & technical process of communicating to the viewers. Bringing out the raw emotion in a piece is what inspires me. Editing isn’t just about telling a story, it is about making you feel it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA is such a fun and diverse city, I love showing friends around when they visit. I have always lived on the westside because the beach lifestyle is what makes me happy. I would start with breakfast at Great White in Venice or Malibu Farm on the Malibu pier, then walk and shop along Abbot Kinney, and spend the rest of the afternoon set up on the beach by the water! I love walking around the boats in Marina Del Rey and seeing the seals… so would end the day with sunset Mai Tai’s at Tony P’s.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am fortunate to have so many amazing people and organizations in my life that deserve shout outs! I met my husband, Nate Cali, who is also an editor through work. He is someone I can turn to creatively while also being the most supportive (and funniest) partner in life. I am forever grateful to Optimus Editorial for jump starting my career & even more so for the people there who made work feel also like family and home when I moved to LA on my own – Grant MacDowell, Therese Hunsberger, Hovig Menakian, Tom Duff & everyone else I met along the way there. After a period of freelance editing, I joined The Den Editorial who have been the best creative team to collaborate with – Christjan Jordan, Mary Ellen Duggan, Rachel Seitel, and the rest of our staff. Shout out to Laura Ferguson, my best friend since kindergarten, for sharing the same passions and imagination. Also to Ashley Gitlin & Cat Kong for being the best friends a girl could ask for in this city. And last but not least, to my family for supporting me along every journey in life and giving me the best advice along the way.
my own photos.