Lisa Hough grew up on Auckland’s North Shore. At Birkenhead Primary School, future actors Martin Henderson and Stephanie Tauvehi were a year ahead of her, and at high school her friends included future TV host and director Scott Hindman. "So a career in television was very much on my radar."
Instead she completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Psychology at Auckland University, with the plan of becoming a clinical psychologist. Hough is pleased that she didn’t opt for such a serious job. She considers herself lucky to work as an editor, as "even on a bad day working in television you are still playing essentially and being creative".
Hough’s first television job was as a tape operator at TV3, duplicating tapes of talk shows. Soon she graduated to the thrill of live news and sports broadcasts, where she babysat a temperamental tape machine which had a habit of jamming during the prime time news. The machine had a robot arm which grabbed the required tapes, like a jukebox; Hough has memories of "frantically trying to prise open this glorified wardrobe and retrieve the right tape cartridge" before the newsreaders introduced the report.
While recovering before the next news bulletin, Hough got to know Chris Tegg. "I used to watch him edit; he was working on the only Avid in the building, a computer-based edit suite which was then relatively new technology." When Tegg got the chance to edit Rob Tapert shows Cleopatra 2525 and Jack of All Trades, he took Hough on as assistant editor. The gig got Hough hooked on the idea of editing drama. "It was a fun gig — a comparatively high budget American show, shot on film, with stunts on wires and visual effects".
From 2001 to 2002, Hough worked as an assistant editor on South Pacific Pictures show Shortland Street. On the side, she was cutting music videos, including two clips for pop-punk band Rubicon; Rockstar (Yeah Yeah) and Energy Levels.
In 2003 Hough began a two year running editing on Shortland Street. In June 2005, she left to edit 13-part police drama Interrogation. She found the jump from the serial drama format of Shortland Street to Interrogation "a huge leap" professionally. "Suddenly the shackles and expectations of seven pm were off and there was handheld camera, lens flares and sweary dialogue".
Hough remembers Interrogationas "a bit of a guerrilla outfit". The production offices were in "some old derelict buildings at Hobsonville Airbase" and much of the filming was done in a former aircraft hangar. The show's visual style was informed by Denmark's pared-back Dogme 95 movement. Hough won an award for Achievement in Editing for her work at the 2006 NZ Screen Awards.
After Interrogation, Hough was nominated for a Qantas Award for her work on boy racer drama Ride with the Devil (she edited the last three episodes, with Mark Taylor handling the rest). Hough was also cutting her first documentaries — including an episode of Discovery Channel's Man Made Marvels (and later, Tainui Stephens doco Requiem for Charlie).
From 2008 Hough worked on a string of hit drama shows for South Pacific Pictures. She edited two episodes on season four of Outrageous Fortune (between 2008 and 2010 she would cut eight episodes of the award-winning show). She went on to edit season three of Go Girls, and episodes of Gods downunder series The Almighty Johnsons. Hough has also dipped into comedy (Diplomatic Immunity and Sunny Skies).
Hough has worked on a number of projects with director Katie Wolfe. The pair first on Shortland Street, and reconvened for Wolfe's short films This is Her (2007) and Redemption (2009). Black comedy This is Her screened at multiple festivals globally. Its awards haul included Best Film at Kiwi fest Show Me Shorts and Best Comedy Film at Colorado's Aspen Shortfest. Hough recalls that Wolfe won a raffle at Sundance which offered production services at NBC Universal in Los Angeles; "She took that prize and decided to make something that wouldn't necessarily get funded through conventional means, and so Redemption was born".
The coming of age tale was "shot and on a plane to LA for finishing, all inside a week". It was shot on a RED camera, then a relatively new format. Hough and flatmate Zane Holmes took turns staying up all night, transcoding footage and synching up dialogue. They had only a couple of days to edit the short before Hough drove Wolfe directly to the airport with the hard drives, just in time to make her flight to LA. In hindsight, Hough wonders how they ever pulled it off. Hough worked with Wolfe again on 2010 TV movie Nights in The Gardens of Spain, an adaptation of Witi Ihimaera's novel (it screened at overseas festivals as Kawa).
Other telefeatures Hough has edited include multiple feature-length instalments of detective hit The Brokenwood Mysteries, teen fantasy Skyrunners and drugs drama The Tender Trap (2021). Earlier, she cut four episodes of the Kiwi version of Underbelly.
Hough has also cut children’s shows for Nickelodeon and Disney. Her many Power Rangers credits include being season editor on Power Rangers, Megaforce, Super Megaforce and Super Ninja Steel.
Her short film credits include Hauraki (co-edited with Paul Maxwell), which played at New York's Tribeca Film Festival, and Aidee Walker’s Friday Tigers (2013) which won two prizes at the NZ International Film Festival.
Even when not editing, Hough feels compelled to be creative and use the visual part of her brain. She has a particular interest in fibre arts. The creative aspect is what attracts Hough to editing as well. She enjoys how editing is multi-layered. "It’s that fusion between image, music, sound, technical stuff, and emotions; all to serve the story. I love the moments when you forget what your hands are doing and you’re lost in an actor’s performance".
Profile written by Emily Moss; published on 28 April 2021
'Lisa Hough' Internet Movie Database website. Loaded 28 April 2021 Accessed 28 April 2021