Editing 101: 5 Rules (#36-#40)
JJ Lask
Issue: March/April 2019

Editing 101: 5 Rules (#36-#40)

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. Lask has been delivering his ‘5 Rules’ to Post readers for much of 2018 and continues with his latest installment of ideas that editors might consider for both practical purposes and inspiration.  

Rule 36 - Silence
I have presented cuts over a thousand times in almost 25 years. Editors are the ones that press the long-space-bar button that begins the long, often fraught journey of client comments - most of the time taking a valiant expression of art and turning it into a piece of commerce. But hey, it’s how we all get paid; it’s advertising. After playing the cut down for the first time I was always seeking validation for my efforts.

After the cut would play I would look up from the monitor and scan the room for a reaction. Occasionally, there would be utter silence. The silence was the worst. I felt broken. I was like an addict who needed gratification, especially after getting so much praise in my career.

One day I had an epiphany. The silence wasn’t because it wasn’t good. The silence was because it wasn’t what they were expecting. The silence can be measured by how the client is thinking and how they will have to course correct towards commerce. The longer the silence the better you maintained the art. 

Rule 37 - Advanced Training
The unconscious thinks in terms of content and structure. If you introduce a pattern to your cut, the critical part of the mind will turn off, leaving the viewer in a hypnotic state.  

Rule 38 - Hot Keys
Faster is not always better, but easier is always better. If there’s a way to make my job easier, I’m all for it. Everyday, sharpen your saw. Get your hot keys working for you instead of working for them. Rearrange your hot keys until they’re in the perfect place on your keyboard. Reducing the number of clicks is very important for an editor. That’s why they are called hot keys.

Rule 39 - How Do You Know?
When there is no assistant editor, or producer, or creative, or director or anyone.  When there is not even you. When there is only the characters on your monitor. Then you are in it.  

Rule 40 - The Universe Is Smart
In life people tend to wait for something good to fall into their lap. By waiting, people tend to miss out. Same with the edit room. That great cut isn’t going to just appear into your timeline. However, it does appear close to your timeline. You have to recognize it and get to work on it. It takes time and you need to go get it. It will not come to you. The universe isn’t cruel. The universe is very smart.

Check out JJ's past postings:

Rules 31-35