Behind the Scenes with Maura Corey: The Visionary Picture Editor of Gen-V's Jaw-Dropping Finale

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

In the realm of television editing, few can match the skill and creativity of Maura Corey, the lead picture editor for episodes 104 and 108 of Gen-V, including its jaw-dropping finale. Her remarkable ability to seamlessly combine dramatic and comedic scenes has resulted in a show that is both emotionally compelling and uniquely entertaining. Maura's distinctive approach to editing, where she lets the footage guide her creative decisions, makes her work stand out. "I am the show's first audience, so the best days are when I get to laugh or cry at work depending on the sequence of scenes," Maura reveals. Join us as we explore her innovative process and the challenges of crafting a series that defies easy replication.

PH: As the lead picture editor for episodes 104 and 108, including the series finale, of "Gen V," you played a pivotal role in shaping the culmination of the series. Can you describe the unique challenges and opportunities you encountered while editing these critical episodes?

Maura Corey: The fun thing about being a picture editor is that there are different challenges depending on where you are in the episode lineup. For “Gen V” being in the middle and at the end was great. In 104 I had the pleasure of introducing a new character “Tek Knight” and got to explore how we were going to express his powers.I got to set up Sam and his mental health issues. It was important to show that he’s seeing these puppets and that it is all in his head. It was also the first time we see all our heroes fight together to contain Sam. We also see Emma big and have a huge cliffhanger where everyone loses their memory which is a pivotal plot point in setting up Cate’s involvement. The challenge was keeping the pacing and the fighting as tense as I could while still balancing super powers and Sam and Emma’s emerging romance. Where in the finale it was about the culmination of all the storylines. The finale was challenging to keep the pace of this college campus attack while also landing the emotional moments with Andre and his father, Emma and Sam’s break up, and Marie becoming the hero she knew she could be. It was really fun to make sure that all the action and all the emotion was landing.

PH: Your ability to seamlessly combine dramatic and comedic scenes in "Gen V" has been widely praised. How do you approach balancing these different tones during the editing process to ensure a cohesive and engaging narrative flow?

Maura Corey: I love cutting comedy and drama together. It is a fine line to walk to make sure the satire is landing, the jokes are landing and then really feel the dramatic moments. When we come to the dramatic moments I approach the footage and find the grounded humanity of our characters. Finding the best reads and best cutaways to find empathy for them. And then when the comedy beats come, timing is king. A joke works mostly because of the set up. So if you can set up right, the joke will land. The humor is finely woven in so there isn’t emotional whiplash when we switch gears.  

PH: In your editing process, you've mentioned allowing the footage to guide you and being the show's first audience. Can you walk us through how you interpret the footage to make editing decisions, and how does your emotional response to the scenes influence your editing choices?

Maura Corey: I’m very lucky to work in television as I love watching TV. So being the first audience I watch every take and every frame to see how it makes me feel. In a dramatic scene I’ll look at the takes and the one that touches me the most is what I start to build around. Or there might be a look that strikes me most and I use that as the key to the scene. Actors do amazing things and happy accidents can be the thing that makes the whole scene work. So once I’ve looked at all the footage and know where the core of the scene goes, I then go through what I call “what do I want to see next”.  And then I start shaping the scene. So say I start with a wide shot, what I want to see next could be a close up. For instance in 104 in the Tek Knight interrogation scene of Marie in the classroom, I started wide and as he interrogated her. She looks relaxed and Tek looks relaxed and the room is open. As the scene progresses, I use closer and closer shots to create a sense of being boxed in and then cut faster to create anxiety until he breaks her. Then we go back wide after the tension breaks.  And in 108 for the Sam & Emma scene in the theater it was all about the timing. For Sam and Emma’s break up to feel really horrible,  it was important to make these huge weighty moments land and hang in the air. So much so when he leaves she is alone in the frame and she shrinks because she feels small. And then end on that super wide of this tiny person in the middle of a stage. Which then makes the sad turn funny.

PH: Episode 108 serves as the series finale, a culmination of the show's themes and character arcs. How did you approach editing this episode to provide a satisfying conclusion while also leaving room for the unexpected?

Maura Corey: 108 was all about a ramping up to chaos. Which was so much fun. I mean we start slow and work our way up to the Rihanna “Desperado” montage which lights the candle. And then it was all about how to keep the driving pace of danger going. We did a bunch of restructuring to maintain that pace. Which is the fun part of editing. A script is a jumping off point so when all the pieces come together scenes and beats can be moved for the best possible version. Editing really is the last rewrite.

PH: Comedy often relies heavily on timing and pacing. Can you discuss your approach to editing comedic scenes in "Gen V," and any specific techniques you use to enhance the humor and comedic timing?

Maura Corey: Comedy editing is all about timing. Comedy is usually face paced. However it can also be a slow burn. Sometimes comedy works because the timing changes. It all depends on the joke.  So it’s best to find the sharpest way in and out of a scene. Cutaways are huge in informing comedy as well. Timing can be controlled by cutting away at the right moment. And I always look for cutaways that have active listening. Like a tilt of the head, a raise of an eyebrow or the perfect deadpan. Comedy also works in odd numbers. Like three cutaways or five cutaways. Weirdly, even numbers aren’t funny. 

PH: "Gen V" has been praised for its unique blend of genres and its ability to defy traditional storytelling conventions. How did you as an editor contribute to this innovative approach, particularly in episodes 104 and 108?

Maura Corey: “Gen V” is great because it’s open to non-traditional storytelling. It leans into the jump cuts and puppets and strange music choices. I think it allows me as an editor to look at the episodes with a more creative mind because I’m not locked in to rules. If it works…try it. Take big swings. They may not work but that’s the fun. Like in 104 I got to put my unscripted skills to work in creating those “Tek Knight” show snippets picking the cheesy BRoll and tacky music and use jump cuts in the end when Tek has sex with the bathroom hand dryer. That was not scripted. And the actor crushed it and I got to jump cut it and put it as a tag. So funny. 

PH: As the series finale, episode 108 likely contained several key moments and revelations. How did you work to ensure that these moments were effectively communicated to the audience through your editing choices?

Maura Corey: 108 had a lot of moments but the one that jumps out to me was Marie at the end when she uses all the blood from the corpses to save the people in the helicopter. It was a huge moment for her. I love the way it was shot but we also wanted it to feel like the whole season lead up to that so we decided to put in the flashbacks to show her journey. It really solidifies that moment before she throws the blood shards. It also shows how strong she is and how tough her journey has been. I love how the camera, the VFX, the sound department and the music came together to really make that moment sing.

PH: Collaboration is essential in the editing process. Can you discuss your collaboration with the directors, writers, and other members of the post-production team to ensure that your editing aligns with the overall creative vision of the series?

Maura Corey: I absolutely love collaborating. It’s such a fun part of the process. I am very vocal in the bay. I like to pitch ideas. I love when others pitch ideas so we can make the show better and better. I have an open door policy with my AE as well to pitch. I especially love working with the same people on multiple projects. Michele Fazekas and Eric Kripke are fantastic collaborators. I’ve worked with Michele on a few projects and we have a great shorthand and I’m very excited to work with her and Eric again on Season 2 of “Gen V”

PH: Looking back on your experience editing episodes 104 and 108 of "Gen V," what are you most proud of accomplishing, and were there any scenes or sequences that posed particular challenges?

Maura Corey: I’m most proud I was asked to work on such a fun show. I am proud of my work and proud to be a part of a franchise that is so smart, funny and good. As far as challenges, every show has them and it’s not so much about the challenges but the stories we get to tell. 

PH: Finally, as an editor, what do you hope audiences take away from your work on "Gen V," especially in terms of the emotional impact and storytelling prowess displayed in the series finale?

Maura Corey: I hope that people take away a feeling of fulfillment after watching our heroes in action. I love “Gen V” as a story on how hard it is for people to navigate this crazy world and I hope the people who connect with the show know they are not alone.

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