Editing 101: 5 Rules (#41-45)
JJ Lask
Issue: March/April 2019

Editing 101: 5 Rules (#41-45)

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 41 - Cheap Trick
Never be cheap. Whether in the edit room or in life, always go all out. For example, in the editing room, instead of having the best monitor from 10 years ago, have the best up-to-date monitor for your clients to view your work. And in life, whenever the Yankees are in the World Series, I always take my best clients. I could buy upper deck tickets, but I don’t. I go all out and get box seats. You always need to impress your clients in the edit and with everything else. And most importantly, you need to impress Yourself.

Rule 42 - Music Is Your Friend
Music is your third best friend in editing. It can hold your cut together and give it direction. You must know everything about every genre of music. I used to think punk music was unlistenable. Now I love the distinctions between death metal and hardcore. Listen to college and public radio stations from Seattle to New Jersey. Listen to podcasts about music. Just today, a Joan Armatrading song I had never heard knocked off my socks. 

Great editors know the differences between Kansas City Jazz and Kansas City Blues or Bronx Hip Hop and Queens Hip Hop.  

When I was a young assistant editor, I was riding the elevator with Joe Pytka. He turned to me and asked what I was listening to. I introduced him to Weezer. Then, we worked together on over 20 projects, how awesome is that?

Rule 43 - Think Like A Kid
The best editors don’t think like editors. The best editors are still 10 years old at heart. Editing is arts and crafts. Your 10-year-old self is a lot more creative than your adult self. Attack your own pretensions and your client’s hierarchy with wit and experimentation like a 10-year-old would.

Rule 44 - No Sound
Make a list of your top 10 films, commercials and music videos. Watch them without the sound.

Rule 45 - Confront The Spectacular
There are so many times where I’m watching dailies and something spectacular happens in the performance or in the camera work but there’s no way to include it in the story in a way that makes sense. Screw the story. Confront the spectacular; the spectacular is the story. 

Check out JJ's past postings:

Rules 31-35