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October 2014
Issue: December 1, 2010

SWOT: Zoic on Commercial Editorial

By: Dmitri Gueer

STRENGTHS: “It is fair to say that in today’s world of commercials that rely heavily on visual effects for storytelling purposes, there are a lot more creative people who understand this medium in its entirety than in the past. In fact, in the last five years I have seen a significant increase in established and up-and-coming directors who not only command a great visual style but a full hands-on attitude towards multiple desktop applications that are so commonly used by visual effects companies, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects.

“New digital artists/directors/filmmakers only enrich the creative process as they are able to convey their logic and ideas through the language and techniques that are easily understood by their creative partners. Thus, nothing gets lost in translation.

“Yet, when it comes to VFX editorial, the process of editing visual effects, especially when live footage is involved, may still be a bit of a challenge. The skill of interweaving a compelling story through a maze of CGI is something that is mastered over an extensive period of trial and error by editing commercials with heavy visual effects content.”

WEAKNESSES: “It goes without saying that the economic impact of the last 2-3 years was felt by everyone in the industry. Maybe such a shake-up was necessary to retool some outdated standards and explore new venues of generating profit, but all in all, the steady diet of lean budgets does not necessarily provide for the best creative environment. When it comes to visual effects, you either go creatively all out or back down and settle for something sub par. There is hardly any room to play it safe.

“It is important to remember that what editors do is not just a job but something we are really passionate about. When done well, we are in a position to promote visual trends, styles and tastes that can gradually become part of pop-culture, and ultimately a part of people’s lives.”

OPPORTUNITIES: “I have always considered editorial as one of the most stable platforms in the entertainment industry because it is so modular. At the core of any creative project there will always be some kind of a story, and where there’s a story, there’s always a need for editors. Historically, editing has always been the driving force behind any post production pipeline. So as new types of mediums, such as interactive and consumer generated content, gain in popularity, as an editor, I welcome them with open arms because all of them need to go through some kind of editorial process.

“Now is a perfect time to start getting excited about the future of commercial editorial. For if you watch commercials on TV, it is easy to see that they are becoming bolder, more risk-taking and most importantly more fun. People are talking about commercials again. Interesting concepts and taglines are slowly creeping back into pop-culture. And while there is still a fundamental need to evaluate new business models so that work is done more efficiently and within clients’ expectations, the drive that we all have for what we do should always be a priority.”

THREATS: “The word ‘cool’ in my mind, is something that is dangerously misused by many people to describe popular trends or pop-culture happenings. This is why I think that we, as artists, should not be consumed by trend-chasing of what is ‘cool’ in the ‘now,’ but rather carefully evaluate new trends against the old ones to gain better understanding of what ‘cool stuff’ stands a chance of surviving the test of time. Staying relevant is difficult. But there is something to be said in favor of not obsessing about whether you are ‘cool’ or not and instead defining yourself for who you are and what you stand for creatively and artistically.”

Dmitri Gueer is a Senior Editor at Zoic Edit ( www.zoicstudios.com ) in Los Angeles.