Suzie Moore is an editor at Utopic (www.utopic.net) in Chicago, where she’s built a reputation as a go-to editor for car commercials. Here, she reflects on her background and education, as well as the opportunity that gave her, her first big break in post production.
I got my start in video editing in the early 2000s. My husband and his friends were all DJs. And while I did grow up around music (albeit a different beat — my grandfather, mother, and elder brother were all classical musicians), spinning records and making electronic music was not my thing. I needed something to do when our friends would all get together and throw down. So, I started dabbling in VJing. I bought a projector, hooked it up to my laptop and added visuals to the equation. I threw just about anything into a VJ set — from chopping up my favorite anime films, to bits and pieces of old school archival educational films from the 1940s/’50s. I would go out and shoot random city things, lights/shadows, etc. I became obsessed with telling whatever stories I wanted to tell — to the abstract energetic beats that my friends were spinning.
Nissan Altima "The Package" from
To backtrack a bit, in tandem to all of this, I graduated from college with a degree in philosophy. Shortly after graduation, I came to the realization that I probably wasn't going to make a living wearing a toga and talking to people about why we think, the fact that thinking exists, what is a ‘thought’ or what it means ‘to exist.’
Aaaaaanyway, I took a job at my alma mater/DePaul as a budget manager. I crunched numbers by day and took classes at night — accounting, database programming, until I noticed a class that was offered in video editing. It seemed right up my alley. DePaul was just opening up a degree program in digital cinema. From there I laser-focused in and learned everything I could about post. It felt like the puzzle pieces were falling into place!
Anxious to get to work, I quit my salaried budget manager job and I applied for unpaid internships at just about every post house in town. I was lucky enough to get a call back from one of the bigger shops. It just so happened that three weeks after I started, the receptionist quit.
Here's my chance! I literally threw myself in the door and applied for her job, and got it! Between calls, lunches and after hours, I got to know everyone and asked as many questions as I could. A few months later when one of the assistants got promoted, I got the chance to be an assistant to one of the top-billing editors.
After assisting for five years, and doing some shop-hopping along the way, I started as an editor at Utopic in 2013. One of the jobs that came my way was a one-off video for Nissan at an international auto show in Frankfurt. It was my first car gig — big, sexy beautiful machines, on giant size enormous screens. How cool! I delved right in. This year we wrapped up the 21st consecutive global show for Nissan. These projects are always a creative and logistical challenge as the screens would change in physical size and shape, therefore changing creative and deliverables along with it.
I give the same love and attention to all projects that come my way, but I've grown to realize a real passion for editing cars. Watching dailies of running footage is so elegantly hypnotic. As with any project, you lose track of time sifting through footage, weaving the fabric of the narrative — in this case with the main talent being this gorgeously intricate, complex piece of machinery. I've been extremely fortunate to get the opportunity to collaborate with such talented directors and creatives, working on broadcast/content campaigns for Nissan and Porsche, looking back with gratitude for the opportunities that have come my way and looking forward to the road ahead. Top down — sunglasses on — engine revving — all systems go.