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.”