Though no explosive Donald Trump tapes have yet emerged from “The Apprentice,” editors are sharing what they remember of cutting together the show and its former host, now of course the Republican presidential nominee.
CineMontage, a journal for the Motion Picture Editors Guild, talked to editors who worked on the NBC reality show, who say that the image of Donald Trump “was carefully crafted and manufactured in postproduction to feature a persona of success, leadership, and glamour, despite the raw footage of the reality star that was often ‘a disaster.'”
“We were told to not show anything that was considered too much of a ‘peek behind the curtain,'” one editor, Jonathon Braun, told CineMontage.
The editors say one of their biggest challenges was in the boardroom, making Trump’s often whimsical decisions about who was fired instead look “legitimate.”
“Trump would often make arbitrary decisions which had nothing to do with people’s merit,” an anonymous editor said. “He’d make decisions based on whom he liked or disliked personally, whether it be for looks or lifestyle, or he’d keep someone that ‘would make good TV’ [according to Trump].”
This required creative editing to set up the firings in a way that would make them seem logical, according to the sources, and while manipulative editing is standard in reality TV, this was apparently on another level.
Trump also reportedly had issues with facts – changing the amount of his net worth from scene to scene or misstating the number of show applicants – and the editors had to fix the mistakes.
All of it was part of an overall mission to make Trump looks as good as possible and keep his brand of success intact.
As for the kind of vulgar comments heard in the leaked “Access Hollywood” video from 2005, Braun recalls one particular refrain.
“Trump’s favorite word was ‘drill,'” Braun said. “He was always saying between takes, ‘I’d like to drill her,’ lewdly referring to female crew members working on set. He couldn’t help himself making comments about women and the way they looked. He also had comments about women he found less attractive. There was no question he took the men a lot more seriously than the women.”