Jon Anderson is a freelance Editor with over 13 years of experience working with a large variety of content for networks and major brands. He edits primarily in Adobe Premiere Pro. Recent promotion work includes ESPN Fantasy Football, Showtime’s Billions, and Epix’s The Contender. Visit his website and watch his demo reel.
How did you get your start as an editor? My first editorial decision happened at a very early age. At the age of 4, I was bored with the current entertainment I had, so I decided to see what would happen if I put a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the VCR. What I learned was that it did not create fun dancing food like on Sesame Street. The VCR got fixed and ate tapes from time to time — I had no regrets. I spent my school years bartering with teachers to allow me to make videos instead of traditional essays. Some of them obliged, which was amazing. My best friend and I spent our high school years making silly videos long before the thought of YouTube was even a thing. Maybe with some begging that material may see life on the internet.
My professional editing career began as an eager intern at Viewpoint Creative looking for any editorial work I could get my hands on. They provided me with the opportunity to edit Bridezillas web content and I continued to work on more projects from there. As I learned and grew within the company, I continued editing promotions for many different networks including Discovery Channel, HBO, Showtime, National Geographic, and many more. I learned to welcome new challenges and continued to hone my craft.
What project are you most proud of and why? There are many projects that I am extremely proud of. My favorite project was a few years ago with Viewpoint Creative. I edited a sizzle reel for AMC Network called “Life Imitates AMC.” The piece was intended to showcase many fan art creators of the core three shows that were on the network at the time (Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead). I was a super fan of these shows myself, and to be able to celebrate them through the fans was an incredible experience. On top of editing the piece, I was responsible for tracking down some of the key artists, which was really fun. I have been a toy collector all of my life and I managed to track down someone who made customs figure dioramas from the shows, which was a lot of fun. The piece went on to win a gold Clio, a gold Promax, and several others. It was an opportunity for me to celebrate the television that I love, which was a truly special experience.
How do you prep before a big project? I walk into every project trying to keep a unique perspective. Having worked in promotion editing for over 13 years, it is easy to fall into using the same bag of tricks. I like to try something new or experimental whenever the project permits to keep things interesting for the client as well as for myself. I do my fair share of research on each project before kicking off as well… whether it’s looking at references or finding new music tracks.
What’s a keyboard shortcut you can’t live without? I have certain keyboard shortcuts that I live by. Many of which are unique to me from my use of various editing applications in my career. Whoever uses the edit suite after me must hate me for sure. I love stacking different clip options in a timeline so I live by the clip enable keyboard shortcut (I made it Shift + C for myself). I love to toggle between my options! I am also always riding the audio levels so I also live by the audio gain shortcuts (I have these programmed to be apple + option + L). I tend to do a crazy amount of sound design, so fast access to this tool is crucial for me.
How do you keep yourself fueled/your favorite snack when you’re in an epic edit session? I was formerly an editor that fueled off of Steak and Cheese subs, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and Snapple. Nearing my mid-thirties made me mend my ways and now I fuel up on coffee, water, and yogurt.
Where do you turn for creative inspiration? I find creative inspiration everywhere. I am a movie and pop culture fanatic. I spend a crazy amount of time watching television, movies, and listening to music. I tend to surround myself with the things that I love and am inspired by, so my work space is almost always littered with toys and collectibles of all kinds as a constant source of inspiration and nostalgia.
What do you do when you start feeling creative burnout? I tend to go for a walk. Some of my best ideas come when I walk away from the edit suite and clear my head in a different place. I also like to take my dog out to different locations to reboot and explore. I usually work through creative roadblocks in my head and when I get back in the suite I am ready to solve away.
What’s your favorite film and/or TV series? That is a really tough one to answer. If I had to boil it all down, I am a sucker for the original Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones, and Lord of the Rings. Aside from the big trilogies/franchises I really love just about anything except horror. When it comes to television, I, of course, love the earlier mentioned AMC shows. Beyond those, I really love a lot of what HBO has to offer. I am not sure what I would do without my HBO Go account.
If you could collaborate with any director/producer/editor living or dead, who would it be and why? It would be a dream of mine to collaborate with Guillermo Del Toro. I find everything he does to be incredibly well thought out and designed. He is also a big-time memorabilia collector, and he owns an entire mansion that is outfitted with all of his favorite props and objects. I think him and I would get along quite well.
What career and/or life advice would you give your younger self? I would say to never get comfortable! Always push beyond what you think you are capable of and do not be afraid to try new things in life and in your career.
What are your go-to Boris FX plug-ins (Continuum, Sapphire, Mocha Pro) and which effect/features do you rely on most? I use the Sapphire Film Effect far more than I should. Many times I end up with a LUT that does not hit the mark or my colors just don’t work right. Somehow the Film Effect with some tweaking can come up with some very visually appealing looks.