Careers: Bandit editor Peter Sabatino
Peter Sabatino
July 3, 2024

Careers: Bandit editor Peter Sabatino

I’m not sure how anybody knows what they want to do at 18 years old. I was definitely one of those kids that had no clue. I went through and tried different ideas — even criminal justice briefly, because I was fascinated by the psychology of criminal profiling. A big part of that was my love of movies, like Silence of the Lambs. I quickly realized that film was really my true passion.  

My undergraduate degree was in both film theory and production. Despite becoming very adept at production and making a few short films, I saw myself taking the academic route and teaching film and media theory at the university level. I went to graduate school at The New School in New York, still thinking about academia, but again, I kept gravitating toward production. Over my studies I discovered I was especially good at editing. I just happened to have an eye for the craft. I finally hopped on that train, built out my editing prowess, got an internship and the rest is history.

Yes, the rest is history, because the very company where I secured my first internship is the same company I work for today. At the time it was called Fluid, now Bandit. In the beginning, I was very interested in learning everything I could about editing and worked with one particular editor, Greg Letson, who taught me not only the craft of editing, but also how to properly and thoroughly run a job. Over time I started getting my own clients and climbed up the ladder within Bandit as part of the company’s future. Bandit continues to allow me to learn and hone my craft every day, and the tenure provides stability and creative freedom I may not get anywhere else. As cliché as it might sound, Bandit is like a family now.

One standout project — to shed light on my day-to-day and how impactful relationships can lead to new opportunities — was the “Daring Moves” campaign by Daring Foods. The ad was produced by Honor Society and directed by Molly Schiot, who is a frequent collaborator. I remember the brief blowing me away with the incredibly high creative concept. Then I learned the Daring Foods in-house creative lead was a friend of mine — the CD Jeff Samson. The job would be hands-off, as both Molly and Jeff were familiar with my work, which is the best collaborative environment for an editor. It became an idyllic project, where everything aligned, where everyone shared creative synergy and where the end product turned out incredible.

Daring Foods' Daring Moves campaign

For new entrants, the post production industry is a much different world than when I was coming up. I arrived on the scene slightly after the transition to digital. Editors were already cutting digitally on Avid and Final Cut, but there was still a lot of analog in use: film, ingesting dailies from tapes, sending DVDs to clients, etc. This required a whole subset of skills that are just not needed anymore. That being said, I am grateful for that experience because the difficulty of the job instilled in me a work ethic that I am proud of to this day. Also, my generation was lucky to have been brought up during this transition, as we were able to learn and incorporate all these new digital tools as they were being introduced.

That’s what I would tell any reader, whether you are a new or veteran editor: keep learning. It’s very easy to get left behind in your role if you don’t learn to incorporate emerging technologies day-to-day, especially with short-form work. The elephant in the room here is, of course, machine-learning technology and AI. AI will be the future no matter how much we resist, but I don’t think human editors can be 100 percent replaced. You may see AI assistants. You may even see AI-driven first cuts. But the clients remain human and their consumers remain human, and so they need to feel and see the humanity in the final product for it to succeed. By the same token, I still think you need to learn how to incorporate emerging tech, like AI. If you can’t stay ahead, or at least keep up, you risk getting run over by younger, potentially savvier editors that can use these tools — rather than let the tools use them — later down the line.

Peter Sabatino is currently senior editor at Bandit Editorial ( in New York City, where he’s been editing for nearly 20 years.