If you want a job in commercial editing, become an assistant

Below is a blog I wrote for a client a few weeks back. I have been so busy this summer blogging for others that I realize that I am neglecting my own blog … a state of affairs that I will have to remedy.

A few days ago it was announced that celebrated creative cheerleaders/co-chief creative officers Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin would be stepping down from their long-time post at Ogilvy & Mather Toronto. Their new venture, Swim, is dedicated to helping solve the widely acknowledged lack of creative leadership in their own industry – and, they hope, other sectors as well. Mentoring – a role that Nancy & Janet have excelled at over the years, will likely play a big role at Swim. Reading the article the other day made us remember the importance of mentoring in the commercial editorial industry.

Rooster and Track & Field Assistants

Mentoring plays a critical role in the editorial industry. Editors might be born to edit, but before they are awarded a room full of clients, they must first get their feet in the door. Usually they are hired as editor’s assistants. As an assistant, their job jar is always full … and there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. To succeed, assistants have to have a sense of humour, to put up with the demands that come with being the low man on the totem pole. They make coffee. They schlep pastries. They keep the edit suites neat and tidy. They work long hours, often turning tasks around on a dime. They have to be flexible, as issues like unplanned client meetings, last minute cut revisions and technical issues can throw a wrench into a carefully planned day. Having great organizational skills is a must … they’re there to help the editors, keep the workflow on track and to act as a 3rd and 4th set of hands. And if that weren’t enough, they have to have editorial chops. And love the advertising business.

In return, editorial assistants get the chance of a lifetime … to learn their craft from some of the best editors in the business. They get to meet those agency clients who will one day, hopefully, become their clients. They get a front row seat to watch the good-natured theatrics of presentation, and learn the diplomacy needed to navigate differing creative points of view. And if they are really dedicated and work hard … one day they get to join the ranks and become editors themselves. Very few industries promote this way anymore.

At Rooster and our VFX sister shop, Track & Field, our assistants are an important, but unsung part of our team. In the spirit of Nancy & Janet’s legacy, we’d like to say thanks to our Rooster VIP assistants … Candice Bowers, Deb Gurofsky, Nick Martin and Jesse Unruh, Rooster Exec. Assistant Yumi Suyama, and to our Track & Field assistants, Lauren Rempel and Greg Benedetto.


About Jill Atkinson

From concepts and smart headlines to original content and transmedia storytelling, to television pitch materials, directors treatments, long format writing, blogs and web copy with SEO, I write it all. I'm a writer, copywriter, and a content writer. My job is to help you say it better with ideas and language that get noticed. With copy and content that engages customers and audiences and ideas that make a connection with them. Ideas that generate a response. Materials that can sell a pitch. When you work with me you're working with the big boys: Maclaren, BBDO, Taxi, Sharpe Blackmore and also a great bunch of mid-sized agencies, b2b shops, a national television network (CBC), 15 specialty channels (History Channel, National Geographic, Showcase, Action, IFC, BBC Canada, + many more) and start ups who have taught me everything I know about how to get you noticed, remembered and sold. Or clicked. Or talked about. There are lots of ways to try to sell your products or to sell people on your offer or to engage them in your content and your show. But there is only one way to get it done right and on strategy. My experience is a foot in the door for your brand or your television idea . And no matter the size of your project, my commitment and attention to detail remain the same, big or small and always on deadline. Great conversations have to start somewhere. Give me a call or shoot me an email zookeepersboot@sympatico.ca Check out my work at http://jillatkinson.com
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