The Drum's 'Unsung Heroes' series is a celebration of the people in the industry who slog hard behind the limelight for brands and clients,
As they are seldom in the spotlight for their contribution to the success of campaigns, this is their time to shine.
Adam Snyder is a video editor at MullenLowe Singapore who says that as video advertising becomes more important for brands in their marketing strategy, video editors are in high demand. However, when a video gets bad press, the video editor is the first to be blamed.
Why is your job important?
It’s no secret that videos are all around us. The TV commercials that people watch and Facebook clips they share, are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we as video editors actually work on.
I’m involved in just about every piece of video content that comes out of MullenLowe Singapore. There are pitches, manifestos, animatics, animations, adaptations… in fact, the videos the public actually sees only accounts for a small part of what we do!
I also contribute to the agency’s global reputation by preparing festival submission films to help win us our nice shiny awards, like last year’s global Effie and our gold at Cannes.
What is the hardest and stressful part of your job?
That would have to be the fact that while all the account folks, creatives, and producers each have their own clients and job scopes, everything eventually gets funneled through the edit suite, sometimes all at once! We’re a fairly small team at MullenLowe, so this can be quite the workload. As a result, there is never a quiet moment!
It can be an invisible job being an editor. If a video turns out great, the edit is often taken for granted while the idea gets all the praise. But, if there are mistakes, it is easy to pin that on the editor.
Of course, it’s sometimes a hard feeling when I think I’ve made a masterpiece and someone else comes in and starts pointing out what they don’t like, but that doesn’t happen often. I’m a bit hard on myself, so if I can actually admit that something I made is pretty damn good, others generally agree.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love the instances where I’m given free creative license, and can really get into it and start becoming attached to the work. In those moments it’s totally worth putting the extra hours and effort in.
I like the editing process, sure, but it’s for projects like these that I love doing what I do. It’s about creating. That feeling of accomplishment that comes over me when the last tweaks are done and I can sit back, watch what I made, and feel truly proud.
First thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them your job?
I’ve taken to always saying I’m a “video editor”, because if you just say “editor,” they think you’re a copy editor for a magazine or newspaper. Two pretty different things.
Once that’s cleared up, people pretty much get it. We’re at the point now where almost everyone is familiar with video technology and YouTube and that kind of thing.
How would you correct/explain to them what you do then?
I usually just try to simplify it by saying I take all the footage from the camera crews and turn it into the finished masterpiece you watch on TV.
Is there anything you want to change in your job?
More time to really experiment and finesse things. As I mentioned earlier, my workday tends to be pretty rushed most of the time. From the get-go, I’m racing against the clock and as soon as something's done, I'm on to the next thing.
It has had the benefit of making me a faster editor, but I sometimes wonder if things that turned out great in the end could have been even greater with a bit more time.
Which is a campaign you've worked on, that you are most proud of?
A couple of years ago, we created some films for the Singapore Red Cross. The films featured a few poignant interviews with underprivileged people in Singapore. Some time after, I went back to the Red Cross building to run an errand, and I saw that they had the films playing on a loop on a screen just outside the entrance.
I felt immense pride being able to work on something of that importance, while simultaneously contributing to society by shedding light on the plight of the less fortunate.
Who is someone you want to emulate in your industry?
I’m still relatively new to the advertising world, having come from TV production only two years ago, so I’m limiting my answer to the fine people at MullenLowe. There’s a lot to be learned from them.
If I were to combine Shengjin Ang’s sheer passion for his work, the ability of Daniel Kee (Our two Executive Creative Directors) to see things for what they are, and the idea-generating ability of pretty much anyone else on the creative team, I’d be better at what I do.
If you weren’t a video editor, what would you be?
It’s very different to what I do now, and most people I work with probably couldn’t see it, but I love being around animals. It wouldn’t matter what the job was, maybe a zookeeper. Throw me in there with the orangutans at the zoo, I think that would be pretty cool!