For four seasons of the hit NBC series “The Office,” it was Dean Holland’s job to make molehills out of mountains. As the show’s co-editor, Holland had to condense 40-60 hours of footage into a single, funny 21-minute, 30-second show. It was an arduous task, but one which earned him four Emmy nominations. In 2007, he finally won.
Holland will never forget the occasion—it came six days after the birth of his daughter. When his name was announced at the ceremony, Holland marched onstage, pulled out an 8.5-by-11 picture of his newborn, and thanked the Academy for the second best day of his week.
Holland paved his own road to Hollywood. After graduating from Xavier in 1992 with a marketing degree, he moved out to California and took a job as a cook. The restaurant manager introduced him to a friend in a post-production company, where he started working for $5 an hour. He learned some basic skills, and then took a job as a production assistant with one of the company’s clients. From then on, Holland referred to himself as a “freelance editor,” and he never turned down a job, even if that meant doing things he hadn’t done before.
“The industry is all about convincing people you can do something,” Holland said in a telephone interview from his car in an L.A. traffic jam—where he says the majority of the city’s work is accomplished. “You have to be a salesman for yourself.”
Holland still works on “The Office,” with Steve Carell (whom he describes as “the nicest man in Hollywood”), Rainn Wilson (a real poker-playing, football-talking “guy’s guy”) and the rest of the award-winning cast. But now Holland spends most of his time on another NBC comedy series, “Parks and Recreation,” where he is a producer, editor and occasional director. His new favorite challenge is directing, a job that puts the same fear of God into him as his first Hollywood editing gigs.
“That fear makes me work harder,” he says. “Now when I direct, I have that fear back, and I love it.”