UConn Magazine: The Greatest Career in the World

Cob Carlson ’76 (ED), film editor – and sometimes producer and director – looks back on his favorite projects

Cob Carlson

Carlson says his work on Laurel Chiten’s award-winning documentary “Twitch and Shout,” about Tourette’s syndrome, garnered him wide recognition and led to more directors recruiting him for assignments. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

In the decade after earning his education degree at UConn, Cob Carlson ’76 (ED) taught fifth grade and earned a master’s in education in Hartford, managed a Whole Foods store in North Carolina, and worked for the YMCA in Greenwich, Connecticut.

While doing marketing and public relations at the Y, Carlson realized it wasn’t where he was meant to be — he kept coming back to how much he enjoyed his “American Cinema” course at UConn taught by dramatic arts professor Michael T. Gregoric.

“He talked about this concept called the cinematic correlative; that a film needs a lot of people to get made. He was not a proponent of the auteur theory, where it’s the director’s film,” Carlson recalls.

At the time, Carlson regularly visited an arthouse theater in nearby Norwalk, The SoNo Cinema, with a friend who was a filmmaking graduate student. As they discussed the films, his friend told him she thought he had “a good eye,” adding “you’d make a good editor.”

“That really got my juices flowing about film and I just decided to go for it,” says Carlson. He completed an accelerated filmmaking program at New York University, where he then taught for three years and discovered editing is the part of filmmaking that he likes most.

In the early 1990s Carlson moved to Boston, a center for documentary filmmaking. “The editor is like a hired gun,” he says. “Producers and directors would hire me to do the hands-on work of assembling the film.”

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