Behind the Title: Creative editor Ethan Simmons

NAME: Ethan Simmons (@wickedmadcool)

COMPANY: I recently left a full-time position at a small post-house to join The Brooklyn Brothers as their lead staff editor.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Brooklyn Brothers is a small but diverse advertising agency based in NYC, London and Brazil. I would never have thought I’d end up at an agency but they keep all their high end jobs in-house. Most agencies go out of house for their “cool” work.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Creative Editor.

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I edit TV commercials. At least that’s what I get paid to do. I also cut music videos and mini-documentaries but not enough to pay the bills. My job usually starts with viewing storyboards and giving my input on how they are going to shoot a given commercial. Then of course, I take the footage and work with the director, art directors and writers to make the footage into a comprehensible narrative.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
Most people have a general idea what editing consists of and they are basically correct. However, cutting footage is only about half the job. Besides all the technical aspects of editing there’s the human element. There are a ton of people involved in the process even after all the footage is shot. So a lot of my job is being able to work well with people and finding solutions to their ideas.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 12.16.56 PMluggage

From the Anti-Smoking Campaign The Real Cost

WHAT DO YOU EDIT ON?
Mainly Avid and Final Cut 7 and now that Premiere has stepped up it’s game…I’ve been dabbling in that.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLUG IN?
Not a plug-in per se — I don’t do much effects work in the actual editing systems. The edit systems are great for cutting but I find them quite terrible at anything graphical, even just simple type. I’m usually in After Effects even for the tiniest little title. I just like how much more control there is over everything.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
I really enjoy working with directors. It’s great to work with people who really care about a project.  When people let their egos go and just focus on making something really solid you can get some really amazing results.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Late hours. Working weekends. Having to bail on my friends at the last minute.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Right when I get to work is nice.  I get about 15 minutes to myself that I get to do whatever I want.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Probably some kind of carpentry work.  I love building things.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION? HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I knew I wanted to be involved in film but I really had never thought about being an editor. Like most student filmmakers, I thought I would be a director. It didn’t take me very long to realize that I was really terrible at it.  And anyway, I had started falling in love with editing at that time so it was good.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 12.09.50 PMcomic book heaven Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 12.10.19 PMcomic book heaven

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
I recently worked on Comic Book Heaven (pictured, above) which received a Vimeo Staff Pick. I also did a cool anti-smoking campaign and I thought those turned out really well. I’m currently working on some Optimum spots which should be pretty cool.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Definitely Comic Book Heaven. I’ve cut quite a few spots with director E.J. McCleavey-Fisher and he wanted to collaborate on something outside of “work,” something without any clients. It was a lot of fun really since there were no rules. Just simple, fun storytelling.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
– Some kind of smartphone, I don’t care what brand.
– Gotta have some kind of Mac computer.
– And I have to have a Kindle for reading on the subway.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Twitter for work type stuff.  Instagram for family and friend type stuff.  And Facebook for news type stuff.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? 
I wish. Unless I’m making graphics, there’s always audio I have to listen to while editing.  If I am doing some graphics though I’ll throw on some kind of hip-hop. Just listened to Theophilus London’s new album yesterday and that was nice.

Ethan small

Sometimes a beer helps!

YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
On some of those late nights it can be so difficult to go home and just get some rest. Last night I worked until midnight and got home and tried to sleep. All I could think about is the footage I’d been staring at all day. It can be really hard to turn it off sometimes. I find that having a few beers helps me relax, wind down and just put it away until tomorrow.


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