When Canada’s Ben Kaplan discovered film editing, he found it a way to merge his two passions: technology and storytelling. As an editor, he is not putting pen to paper but rather shaping the direction of the story. He goes through hours of raw footage to find the diamond in the rough, then uses advanced software to create something that will impact his audience.
Kaplan’s impressive resume includes many hit television series, such as Eli Roth’s: A Ghost Ruined My Life, Tattoo Age, History Erased, Dark Side of the Ring, History of the Sitcom, and many more. He has been recognized by the Canadian Cinema Editors Awards for his contributions to his craft, with three nominations for Best Editing of a Docu-series since 2018.
“I’m a very rhythmic editor. Maybe it’s because I’ve been playing guitar for the past twenty years, but I treat my series like my favorite albums. When I’m editing a show, a scene, or even more of a commercial project, I always focus on strong openings, a moving middle, and ending on a high. Editing is all about creating a strong tone and pace throughout a series, and I feel like having rhythm be crucial to my style has only served me stronger throughout my entire career thus far,” says Kaplan.
Audiences can now see more of Kaplan’s work in the new Discovery+ series Trixie Motel. With its premiere on June 3rd, 2022, Trixie Motel is the world’s first drag queen renovation show that follows superstar drag queen, Trixie Mattel as she renovates a rundown motel in Palm Springs. The show features a slew of celebrity guests (Lisa Vanderpump, Orville Peck, Leslie Jordan) to help Trixie on her reno journey.
“I think representation is everything, and we’re in such an exciting era of TV because we’re seeing so many unique voices have their moment in the spotlight. I’m a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and I love the surge of drag content that’s been filling our streaming services,” says Kaplan. “With Trixie Motel, this is the first time Discovery+ is having a drag queen host a renovation show, and I think that representation in such a traditional market should not be overlooked.”
On this series, Kaplan was responsible for editing the premiere episode as well as half the season. Since it was the first season, a big part of his job was establishing the tone and pace for the series through his editing. Kaplan knew he wanted to embrace the vibe of Palm Springs and score the show with the kitschy music of the 1960s, and he was thrilled when everyone responded so positively to that and integrated that sound into the entirety of the show. It really was able to set the mood for such a fun season.
“Editing Trixie Motel was an intensive process. There’s so much color and camp on drag shows and we knew from day one we had to inject that into a series that is also an HGTV production. It truly was a delicate balance, and oftentimes I had to decide whether we needed to lean heavier into a home renovation show or heavier into a drag show. But ultimately, I had to let the footage guide me,” Kaplan describes. “Honestly the hardest part of the series was not putting in certain scenes! Trixie is such a goldmine of content, that every other line out of her mouth is pure gold. You could make another entire show out of what was left on the cutting room floor.”
The series premiered June 3rd on Discovery+ with a total of 8 episodes and will air weekly. It was highly anticipated, having an exclusive preview in Entertainment Weekly, and when Trixie dropped the series trailer it racked up a quarter of a million views in only 6 days.
“Since the moment Trixie shared the trailer on her Twitter, fans have been blowing up non-stop. She’s even been sharing the first act of the premiere episode on her tour right now, and getting to see that real time fan love for the show on social media is nothing short of an adrenaline rush,” says Kaplan.
Be sure to watch Trixie Motel now on Discovery+.
Photo by Brendan McNeill