My aunt, Patricia Sietz-Honig, could be described in many words, but boring is definitely not one of them. She is loving, hilarious, owns many cats and a self-proclaimed medicinal marijuana enthusiast. Perhaps most notably, she is also a multitalented editor that wakes up at 3:00 a.m. daily to work on an entertaining morning show on the FOX-5 NY T.V. channel.
Throughout my entire childhood, my aunt has edited tons of videos and projects for me and the rest of our family, including my parents’ wedding video, my Bat Mitzvah montage and my brother’s first tooth being ripped out by a remote-control car. When I saw my grandmother’s Facebook post that my aunt had won a prestigious Emmy award just a week ago, I thought to myself…
“I know my fun wild and wacky aunt and I know what she does for fun, but when it comes to her award-winning work, what exactly does she do?”
That is my aunt Patti, and here is our interview.
Her Campus (HC): Tell us about yourself.
Patricia Sietz-Honig (PS): I am a video editor at Fox 5 in New York City. I have been there for almost 42 years and I’m the Senior Technician (S.T.), the boss of the room.
On June 8, 1980, I walked in, got hired on the spot and was sent to the tape room to be trained to playback commercials for air and then edit on two-inch tape. I had to make adjustments with a screwdriver and sync up two huge machines, roll them and make an edit. In 2008, we went digital and started editing on the computer. Today at Channel 5, we are working on Adobe Premiere Pro.
Oh. I’m a mom too. My daughter is amazing. I did good! My SarahJane is the greatest project I ever produced. I absolutely adore her, and she is my heart.
HC: What exactly do you do as an Editor?
PS: Well, I’m a PR Editor, which is a producer/editor. I pretty much co-produce everything I edit. I like to say, “They pay me to put pictures together!” But it’s so much more than that. I put video and audio together to tell a story. You, the viewer, will see and hear what I have put together and it will make you smile or cry or move your body. My work gives insight into something you didn’t know about before in a way and you will no doubt learn something. I like to say that I’m an artist.
I work on GoodDay New York. The show is on Monday through Friday from 4:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. I edit the top story for the 4:30 or 5 a.m. show, which is either a political story, a crime story or a COVID story. I then cut the 9 a.m. open. After lunch, I cut my feature story for tomorrow.
Today I cut a story about the new show Kings of Napa on OWN. Christal Young, my reporter/producer (who is also my dear friend) interviewed the star on a zoom. I have to resize their images, put them in the right spot, re-sync their audio and add the natural sound of the show. It’s like a puzzle.
HC: What made you decide you wanted to be an editor?
PS: When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be a director, but then I realized the director couldn’t touch any machines. When I was 11 years old, I went to an editing session with my dad who was producing prize and fashion segments for a televised beauty pageant. He was working with his editor, my uncle Sal. My dad was telling him what he wanted the segments to look like, and Sal was picking shots and making beautiful TV!
I decided I wanted to do what Uncle Sal did. Back in the day, Sal was cutting film with a razor blade and sticky tape. When I grew up, I met my mentor, Marty Rais, who was a news editor at WPIX channel 11. Every day at lunch, I would sit and watch Marty edit the news on 3/4” tape, machine to machine, using a console. I wanted a job like Marty’s.
HC: What was your favorite story that you have worked on?
PS: My favorite types of stories are the ones where I have music and lots of shots to use. I love cutting montages. I love creating beautiful TV!
The stories that stand out aren’t so much favorites, but have made a difference in my world, like serious tragedies. Some of them were The Avianca plane crash in Long Island in 1990; The Pan Am plane crash over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988; The Happy Land fire in Harlem in 1990; The Challenger disaster in 1986 and of course 9/11. I not only worked on this story, but I lived through it also. Our apartment was in Battery Park City at the time, and we were out of our home for three and a half months.
HC: What do you love most about your job?
PS: I love the people I work with; not the people I work for. HUGE difference! I love when I cut a piece and people learn something from it. I love when a piece I cut makes a difference in someone’s life. I love TV and I love making beautiful collaborations with these people.
HC: Is anyone else in your family in the production business?
PS: My mom is a producer of beauty pageants. My dad is a television producer and promoter for commercials and shows. My brother is an actor for T.V., film, Broadway, commercials and as a voiceover artist. My sister worked in a family production company booking musical acts. Finally, my ex-husband is a Rock n Roll session guitarist, adman and producer.
HC: Please elaborate on some skills you have learned from this job that have been transferable to other parts of your life?
PS: I am really good at puzzles, technical stuff, balancing colors on the TV and hooking up electronics.
HC: Brag about yourself a bit… Let us know about some of the awards you have won.
PS: I have won the Governor of Creative Crafts at NY Emmys over two terms (four years); the NY Emmy Award 1996 Outstanding Editing; the NY Emmy Award in 2021; the Nostalgia News: No Production Time Limit award; and finally, the NY Emmy Award Nominations from 1995-2021—23 times!
HC: And now, some fun questions. What is your favorite color?
PS: Periwinkle blue.
HC: What is your guilty pleasure?
PS: Dark chocolate and scuba diving.
HC: If you could travel anywhere in the world that you have not been to, where would you go?
PS: Fiji or Tahiti.
HC: Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?
PS: Four cats, named Shingo McRingo, Princesse Cuddle Muffinz, Sammy and Maxine.
HC: What is a favorite personality trait of yours?
PS: My kindness.
HC: If you could talk to any historical figure, who would it be?
PS: I can’t think of one historical person I would really like to talk to. I would, however, love to spend some more time with my dad. He was my favorite human being ever! The coolest, kindest, sweetest and most loving person in my life that I would like to have had more of.
I know that wasn’t the question, but out of all the “gone” people on the planet, I miss him most.
HC: If you were stranded on the moon, who would you want with you?
PS: Maybe my brother, but I would want more. I would want my boyfriend. Or maybe just Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.)