National Stuttering Association

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Leigh GastonAssistant Editor

    Leigh Gaston

    Los Angeles, CA
    Assistant Editor
    Paramount Pictures

    Briefly describe your daily job duties.
    I am currently working on a new production of The Spiderwick Chronicles that will be airing on Disney+. I handle and organize all the dailies from production. I am responsible for the sound design of the episode and I also cut scenes. Once each episode is locked, I prep everything so it can be finished and ready for air.

    As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
    Communication between departments and staff is very important. I work closely with the Director, Showrunner, and other Executive Producers. Being able to express artistic concepts and execute them requires me to talk often and maintain professionalism.

    What are your long-term career aspirations?
    I am working towards becoming an Editor full time and my ultimate goal is to Direct. When I was younger and stuttered so much, I never thought I would actually get this close to directing and it seemed foolish to even think about holding a position of such authority where you had to talk so much.

    Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
    I have not talked to anyone here about my stuttering. Usually in my life, if the subject ever comes up I don’t shy away from being open about it. I just haven’t felt the need to explain myself yet and I just go with the flow of my speech, whatever it may be on that given day. Everyone has unique aspects about themselves that I don’t believe need to be explained before you get to know them on a personal level.

    What is your proudest moment at your current company?
    This is the first show I have worked on within my favorite genre (Science Fiction/Fantasy), and when the team is receptive to my creativity that gives me great happiness!

    Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
    The experience I have had with stuttering over the course of my life has made me very resilient, and that resilience helps when the workload is heavy and the workday goes long. I think stuttering also makes me very empathetic, which helps in this line of work. Being able to imagine what will make the audience feel a certain way is very important.

    What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
    It may seem impossible to imagine sometimes, but if you pursue your passions and take it one day at a time there’s no reason you can’t achieve your goals in life and in your career. I didn’t know how I would even get to where I am today but I trusted that if I worked hard, stayed patient, and remained positive that things would most likely unfold in the way they I hoped. Be brave!

    bryant andersonchris heathwood