Many people in Marion remember Tony Orcena because of the Marion High School records he set in the 3200m in track and the 5k cross country record, making him a Harding Athletic Hall of Fame member. Or possibly that he was in the top 10 of his graduating class in 1999. Tony went on to the Youngstown State University with athletic and academic scholarships.
Today Tony’s story takes him to California and work in the television and film industry. He moved there in 2006 with the goal to work in editing, without a clue how to do so and without any connections. He had 200 resumes printed and tried to film and television studios. But Tony didn’t consider that you can’t just walk in to leave a resume, so he shifted his focus to commercials. After 200 cold calls in one week, he got a job offer. He started at Lost Planet, a boutique commercial and feature film editorial company led by editor Hank Corwin. But he wasn’t an editor but a runner – the guy who delivers things and gets lunch and coffee for people. Eventually, he moved up to assist Hank Corwin.
In 2010 Tony realized commercials weren’t his passion and left Lost Planet to pursue scripted projects. He partnered with Josh Schaeffer editing out of their homes. First, it was short films and web series with no budget, but then into independent movies, and eventually TV shows. On one of those shows, he caught the eye of a producer on Modern Family. As Tony shared, “I bluffed my way into the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Tony was with Modern Family for 5 seasons. During those five seasons, the show was nominated for an Emmy every season. They even won a couple for the best comedy. One episode in season 6 – “Connection Lost” was called by Sound and Picture magazine “both clever and defining” when talking about using phones, tablets, and laptops to film it. Then over five months, Tony took that footage to edit this innovative episode. The episode has been used at colleges to teach how the editing was groundbreaking in integrating technology and storytelling.
After five seasons, Tony wanted to try new shows and worked on You’re the Worst (FX), Bless This Mess (ABC), and Kidding (Showtime).
But what is an editor’s job? Tony describes it as the following: with three stages pre-production (writing a script); production (shooting the script), and post-production (putting all of the footage together to make something people can watch). Editing is in post-production. He takes the raw footage and picks performances and angles, whether to use the close-up or wide shot and should it move faster or slower. He looks for the best performance or how to fix it. He also adds sound effects and the music. Then he works with the director, and a showrunner or producer to get what you see on TV.
As Tony said, “It’s an interesting job because at first, it’s very solitary. I have to come up with a vision for what this thing will be. Then I start working with people the process becomes very collaborative. I have to integrate everyone’s visions to make it something that reflects all of those viewpoints while making it all feel cohesive.”
About his life in Marion, Tony shared this, “Marion was a fun place to grow up because I always had an overactive imagination with crazy ideas of silly things to do. My family, my friends, and my teachers were always super supportive of that.”
Tony was raised by his grandma Cleo Orsini, who still lives in Marion. It was a big household also with his sisters Tera and Brandy, his aunt Margaret Niederkohr and her daughters Nikki and Katie Markley. His grandparents Ray and Mary Bloomfield and aunt and uncle Phil and Chris Orcena also live in Marion.
Tony has been married to Alyson since 2016, and in January 2020 they welcomed their first child- Josephine. His goals are to be a good dad and to continue to do the work he loves. He doesn’t need to work on the best or biggest show, but wants to work with good people on things that challenge him creatively. Then get home to give Alyson a kiss and tuck Josephine into bed, which are great goals to have.