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10 fun editing how-to’s from Sean Stender

Cut+Run’s Sean Stender has been a working editor for nine years, but that wasn’t the professional path he initially set out on.  After graduating college, his goal was to be a director of photography.

“I always had a fascination with photography, but never took it seriously or really studied the craft until I was in college,” he explains. “I worked for Clarimont Camera as a sales assistant while a student, and I was able to leverage those contacts to get my foot in the door at various commercial production companies.”

After working as freelance camera assistant for a couple years, Stender (@smstender) soon realized that being on set wasn’t right for him. Shortly after, he took a job at production company Reactor Films as a vault manager. This is where he started cutting his teeth as an editor — he started cutting director’s cuts for Steve Chase, Chris Applebaum, Warren Kushner and Thom Higgins. A few years later he decided to make the jump to post, and the managing director of Cut+Run, Michelle Eskin, brought him on board in 2008, where he has been editing ever since.

Levis_5-2
Levi’s and XO Mints

Over the years Stenger, who is based at Cut+Run’s LA studio and uses an Avid Media Composer, has cut projects for Neato Robotics, ARCO, Starbucks, Levi’s, Fiat and XO Mints, among other humorous commercial campaigns. During this time he picked up some valuable experience, and is sharing it here as lighthearted tips. Enjoy…

How to break a creative block…
Pull your assistant into the bathroom for a mid-stream brainstorming session.

How to get a break after 12 hours behind the screen…
Pound on the keyboard and walk out of the room while yelling for your assistant to come in to re-start the Avid because it “crashed.”

How to work through lunch…
Order a smoothie with a long straw (hands free).

How to successfully pull off the all-nighter…
Berocca, hand sanitizer and lots of PG Tips (wonderful British tea).

How to keep smiling in difficult situations….
Make sure your desk is facing a wall.

How to nudge your client down the right creative path…
Break out the Blueberry Kush.

How to help your family forget the holiday(s) you missed…
Adopt a puppy.

How to keep cutting great creative work…
Surround yourself with amazing talent.

How to end a project on a high note….
Nobu.

How to succeed in life….
Work hard and be nice to everyone.

A little more about Sean Stender: His favorite show is PBS’ California’s Gold and his podcast queue includes WTF With Marc Maron and Freakonomics. In his spare time he can be found at Dodger Stadium, behind a still camera or hanging out with his French bulldog named Sammy Davis Jr. 

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