Former video editor Zappia’s debut memoir gives readers a look behind the scenes of some of America’s iconic TV shows.
Born to Italian immigrants, Zappia worked his way up from TV repairman to CBS engineer to one of the most sought-after television editors of his time. During his career, Zappia worked on such classic TV programs as Hee Haw, All in the Family, MacGyver and Who’s the Boss?, among others. Along the way, he picked up two Emmys and doubled his salary with each new job, but he never lost his humility or his desire to learn and refine his craft. For example, after he won his first Emmy Award for Hee Haw, he moved down to an assistant editor position when the show was canceled: “Always be willing to learn by going back and doing beginner jobs. You might learn something new or remind yourself of something you may have forgotten.” On the subject of learning new systems, he writes, “Once again I’ll remind you that it is very important that you learn the tools of your craft…you can edit with confidence and concentrate on the creative side of editing.” Along the way, he also presents a brief history of the evolution of video editing, from film reels to digital devices. Zappia’s asides and simple writing style may be off-putting at first, but they quickly become endearing and occasionally inspiring. However, he includes relatively few stories about his family, which makes their rare appearances feel disjointed; at one point, for example, he mentions that his son became a TV writer, without ever previously mentioning that his son had an interest in writing. However, he also includes original letters and photographs from his editing life that add a personal touch.
A pleasant read that espouses the merits of dedication and gives thoughtful advice to burgeoning editors.