Matthew Prescott’s career as a film editor developed progressively over time and now he’s working on one of the most watched shows on the CW network, All American, which has been renewed for its sixth season. The teen sports drama, about a high school football player who lives in South Central LA but goes to school in Beverly Hills, has been praised for how authentically it tells stories about a wide spectrum of Black experiences.
Matthew eventually found himself working steadily on the hit show after paying his dues interning at the Sony Television post production department during his junior year at UC Santa Cruz, then interning again the following summer at Blumhouse Productions, also in post-production.
“It was there where I really was able to learn a ton and make a huge number of connections,” he says. “I worked my way up for four years to be the in-house assistant editor helping on almost every project they worked on in some way. Avi, one of the editors I had met there, brought me on to work with him as his assistant on season seven of The Walking Dead. I made the transition from being a facilities guy to having a position where I could now focus on the craft. He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. After a season of The Walking Dead, we jumped to a first season show, The Brave. After that show got canceled, we did the All American pilot and the rest is history. I got the opportunity to cut the season three finale and then for season four, I got bumped up to full time editor on the show.”
My mom is from Argentina and my dad is Black so I grew up with a unique cultural identity
Matthew chose to attend UC Santa Cruz due its production program. A native of Southern California, he was also awed by the natural beauty of the campus and knew it was the right place for him to pursue his film studies.
“I grew up in Los Angeles, California,” he says. “I'm an only child and my parents separated when I was around seven, so I spent my time split between West Hollywood and Mid-City. My mom is from Argentina and my dad is Black so I grew up with a unique cultural identity. My family has always been extremely supportive of me and allowed me the freedom to follow my passions in life.”
He has many cherished memories from his time at UC Santa Cruz, including going on a field trip to Lick Observatory for an astronomy class where the experience left a lasting impression on him as he gazed into the cosmos, feeling a special connection to the universe.
I thought it was really cool to see Latino and Black professors at the top of the program
Many wonderful teachers also influenced him. “I was really inspired by the film department teachers,” he says. “Although I never got to take a class with Gustavo [Vazquez] or Larry [Andrews] I thought it was really cool to see Latino and Black professors at the top of the program. I loved learning how to edit from Eli [Hollander]. Directing class with Cam [Archer] was also a favorite because he was relatable and walking the walk, having directed some cool projects. I also really learned a lot from Soraya [Murray]. She made critical theory really interesting.”
Matthew continues to be passionate about art and being able to learn new things, and loves to travel and play a variety of sports. He advises students who want to have a career like his to find good mentors to guide them. “I'm extremely grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way and all the people who believed in me and supported me. Take the time to keep your network strong and never forget where you come from.”