Despite overseeing some of the most admired and widely-shared cinematic essays on the Internet via his “Every Frame a Painting” series, Tony Zhou isn’t particularly interested in having his own close-up.
The film editor and visual essayist — who has composed thoughtful, instructive videos on a variety of subjects, from Michael Bay’s brand of “Bayhem” (see above) to a recap of how texting has evolved onscreen—generally declines interviews about his working methods and background, preferring to let his short films do the talking. On January 5, though, Zhou emerged from his cone of silence for a four-hour Reddit AMA.
Here are some of the highlights from that epic conversation.
He’s a self-made cinema essayist
Contrary to what you might expect, Zhou isn’t a product of the film school system, choosing to major in English at UCLA, though he did register for several film classes and, years later, spent a year at Kevin Smith’s alma mater, the Vancouver Film School.
“One of my teachers there, John Pozer, was actually the source of the quote ‘Every Frame a Painting,’” he revealed. “[But] I’d wager most of my knowledge was self-taught. DVD commentaries, reading scripts, and then constantly editing stuff were probably my biggest teachers.”