Editing 101: 5 Rules (16-20)
JJ Lask
Issue: September 1, 2018

Editing 101: 5 Rules (16-20)

JJ Lask is a creative editor with PS260 (www.ps260.com), which has studios in both New York City and Venice, CA. His list of credits includes work for M&Ms, NY Lottery, Yahoo, American Greetings, and UPS to name just a few. Each month throughout 2018, Lask will deliver ‘5 Rules’ that editors might consider for both practical purposes and inspiration.  

Here are Rules 16-20:

Rule 16 - Editors Aren’t Switzerland 

Editors are in the middle of a war. You have armies attacking you from all sides. Whether it’s the director, the agency, the studio, the brand or the financier, they are bombarding your edit room, all fighting for their turf in your cut. While editors must impose order among these hostile nations, keep your missiles ready. Editors have weapons. Know your weapons and if you need to, use them.  

Rule 17 - Editing Is Not Junk Food

A fellow editor once bragged that it took him 30 minutes to edit a spot. That’s how long it takes to make a frozen pizza. Never tell them how fast it took you, instead tell them how long the journey was. Describe to and inform your clients of the effort, care and creativity you put into your cut. 

Rule 18 - Expected Or Unexpected

Editors are supposed to find the “right moment” within the moment. Any editor can cut to the girl crying. But great editors find the moment when she is trying to stop from crying.

Rule 19 - Never Wear Shorts 

Always wear pants when you are editing with clients. Shorts are unprofessional. No one wants to see an editor’s leg hair. See Rule 2: Remember, you’re an editor for a reason.

Rule 20 - Proud As A Parade

Early in my career, I was at a bar in Williamsburg when a Pepsi commercial that I had worked on came on the television. The guy next to me said to his friend, “Oh, I love this commercial.” At that moment I saw the power of what we do.

When you are at a bar or in public, and your commercial or film flashes on the screen, what do you do? You scream out to everyone around you “I made that!” They will be impressed! Someone might even buy you a drink. You might get a phone number. Actually, no, see Rule 2.

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