Interview with Lawrence Gan and Ernesto Matamoros-Cox Editors for Riot Games and Netflix Series ‘Arcane’

Ernesto Matamoros-Cox and Lawrence Gan are long-time friends and collaborators; they are joining us today to talk about their recent project Arcane, which premiered on November 6th. They are two of the editors for Arcane Riot Games, an animated series based on the global video game phenomenon League of Legends. Ernesto’s past projects spans from DreamWorks’ television series Dragons: Defenders of Berk, Jon Favreu’s stop-motion Netflix special Alien X-Mas, and the upcoming animated feature film Lord of the West. Lawrence’s credits include television series and features from Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, CBS and NBC. Lawrence’s directing experience includes the award winning feature film Love Arcadia. Lawrence edited his first animated feature MK Reloaded at 26 and worked on Space Jam 2.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What was your first job in editing, and how did you decide to pursue your craft professionally?

Ernesto: My name is Ernesto Matamoros Cox; I’m a director, writer, and editor.    

Lawrence: My name is Lawrence Gan, I’m a director, writer, and editor.  Most recently Ernesto Matamoros Cox and I were editors on Arcane.

E: My first job in editing was as a part-time Apprentice on NYPD Blue. I was being mentored by Etienne Des Lauriers and Travis Sittard, both of which are prolific live-action editors.

E: I have a background rooted deeply in martial arts. In 9th grade, a buddy asked me to be the villain in a short film he was shooting for class. While going through the post production process, I found myself in the cutting room, where I would spend the next 4 years learning animation and editing basics. I didn’t know then how important this day would be to my future. 

L: My future, as a young boy from a relatively traditional asian american family, was never supposed to be in the movies.  My academic career centered around math and science, movies were just the thing my family did for fun on Sunday nights after dinner.  Then one day, I picked up my father’s 8mm camera, shot and edited a book report on Michael Crichton’s Congo, and inadvertently started my dark love affair with movies and editing. 

L: I moved out to Los Angeles (after getting my obligatory Neuroscience Degree from Duke University) and eventually found my first editing job on an animated feature called “MK Reloaded” – a modern day retelling of the Monkey King story.  It was a fun project where I had the chance to bring some of my asian heritage to the big screen.

Who are some of your favorite long term collaborators?  

E: Lawrence Gan has been an extraordinary collaborator. Lawrence and I complement each other well and have a blast on everything we work on together. Imagine showing up to work every day, doing what you love with an incredible group of creatives, and amongst them is one of your favorite people! We were given a great gift.

L: We have had the extraordinary good fortune of having worked with so many amazing and talented collaborators in the past.  Working with Ernesto on Arcane has been the rare combination of “working with people you like” while “on a project you love”.   It has indeed been a gift and privilege.  Ernesto and I also want to give a shout-out to Chris Cartagena, Sarah Cole, and Ash Brannon, who are long-time collaborators who recently created the wildly successful show Stoner Cats.

What scene was the most fun to work on for Arcane?

E: Every scene we touched on Arcane was pure joy! You’ll see why on November 6th. Every frame could be someone’s desktop background! The Fortiche team out did themselves. The collaborative creative environment cultivated by creators Christian Linke and Alex Yee made it easy to have a voice, where sharing ideas was encouraged.

L: We must also mention the team’s attention to story and characters!  We were aware of the responsibility and honored to be trusted with such a beloved property, where the hundreds of millions of fans around the world would finally get to see their champions come to life on the silver screen.  It’s not everyday you get to work on something this impactful!

What gear do you tend to use, especially in the production of Arcane?

E: Arcane used Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere.

L: What he said.

Who are some of your influences?

E: I’ve had the privilege of working with some talented and creative people in the industry, from Christian Linke and Alex Yee of Arcane to Jon Favreau on Alien Xmas. I’m a big fan of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The pacing of their storytelling and their ability to interweave complex storylines while giving all characters the appropriate amount of screentime required for fulfilling and rich character arcs; is a master class every time.

L: Anime has always been a strong influence for me.  Miyazaki and the way he builds these magical worlds that are somehow still highly relevant to today’s world.  And most recently, I’m completely obsessed with Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan.  It’s a brilliant blend of entertainment and social commentary – and I eagerly await the series finale next year.  It’s one of those shows that I can’t wait to finish, but will be sad when it’s done.

E: We are both anime fans. When we first interviewed at Riot, the promise of a complex yet relatable storyline was something that drew us both in. The proposed challenge was to make a series based on League of Legends that was animated but felt like live action.  Everything from the writing, the music, the sound design, and the edit were crafted with this mandate in mind.

What is your dream project? Dream collaborators?

E: Lawrence and I are currently developing three animated series and a couple of live-action projects we would love to find a home and see on screen.

L: For dream collaborators, Edgar Wright is a freaking monster when it comes to style and pacing.  Scott Pilgrim was one of those movies that simultaneously inspired and humbled me as a filmmaker.

E: Taika Waititi can take the wildest idea and turn it into a masterpiece. That is an art form in and of itself! Also, I feel like Pete Doctor wakes up and says, “I’m going to tap into emotions in a way people never knew they could for an hour and forty minutes, and then I’m going to go grab a light lunch.” He’s a warlock whose work will last forever.

L: And of course we would love to continue collaborating with Riot Games on some of their other champions and properties.

Where can we find you on social media?

7a. My Instagram handle is @nettobetrippin. You can also find me on LinkedIn under Ernesto Matamoros.

My instagram is @lawalaw.  You can also find me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! You can learn more about Lawrence here and more about Ernesto here.

About Jake Stern

I love to write about entertainment, film composing, sound, music, and more. Follow me to stay up to date on interviews with your favorite artists!

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