Behind the Title: Nomad editor Jason Kileen

Name: Jason Kileen

Company: Nomad, with offices in Santa Monica, New York and London.

Can you describe Nomad a bit?

Nomad is primarily focused on traditional offline editing. We also offer finishing and have graphic artists and sound designers at our disposal to give a creative vision its life.

What I love about Nomad as a company, besides the level of work we do, is that the culture from top to bottom promotes learning and creativity in every aspect of the job, all the way from management to the vault. Everyone is so supportive here.

What’s your job title?

What does that entail?
On paper, an editor takes the footage that was shot and “cuts out the bad stuff.” Joke! Through my career I’ve found this seems the best way to explain this to people outside of our business, so they can grasp what it is, but there’s so much more to it than just being able to run the machine.

There are many hats to wear: storyteller, sound designer, salesman… and just being able to handle a room full of personalities and multiple levels of pressure without the wheels sliding off the rails at times.

I like having a collaborative and fun environment in the edit room because it promotes a nice stimulus so we as a team can get somewhere that wasn’t possible with one person alone in a dark room.

What would surprise people the most about what falls under that title?
I think it’s the many different creative hats we get to wear. I’ve been a musician since I was 12, and a photographer, and my degree is in Creative Writing/English. When I stumbled upon editing, which was almost accidentally, I was not sure which of these endeavors to pursue. I soon discovered editing is a crossroads of all three of my passions. There’s more than meets the eye in more ways than one, and we get to help control how all of it fits together.

What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is that it doesn’t feel like a job most of the time. I love being able to meet and collaborate with talented, interesting people, from producers to co-workers, mixers to colorists and writers to directors.

It takes a lot of people to make any film, whether it’s a 30-second spot or a two-and-a-half-hour movie… and generally at the end of it all you’ve made some friends in the trenches.

Also, the moment when that unexpected sound or song makes the picture come alive is worth every club in the bag. You can’t put your finger on why sometimes, but you know when it works.

What’s your least favorite?

Our industry has a tendency to pigeonhole editors. Things seem to be easier to digest when they are put into neat boxes. He’s a comedy dialogue guy or a lifestyle editor, when in reality you give either of those guys your footage and they can cut it funny, dramatic, scary or whatever you’d like with the different choices of pace, music and the placement of the puzzle pieces.

Understandably, people are afraid to take chances sometimes when there’s a lot of money or time at stake, but personally I find I’m even better when I’m stretching the limits and finding new ways to tell a story. Creativity gets elevated with the unknown and usually for the better because it’s coming from a different angle.

What’s your favorite time of the day?
Early, pre-dawn, is when I like to play golf, but other than that and that alone, I’m a night owl.

If you didn’t have this job, what would you be doing instead?
Honing my golf game and pursuing any sort of position at Cypress Point in Pebble Beach. I would probably end up raking bunkers.

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Can you name some recent projects you have worked on?
Kit Kat, Baskin-Robbins, Hershey’s S’mores, Budweiser. A short for Tribeca Film Fest.

Name three pieces of technology you can’t live without.
My iPhone, eyes and ears.

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