Freelance Video Editor: Give your clients all your ideas or let them steal it.


I am a strong believer that you should show your clients all your ideas and sometimes let them steal them. Let me back up...

I have been reading (or should I say listening) to lots of books about winning organizations. Bill Walsh's The score will take care of itself, What would Google Do?, Six Pixel of separation and currently Seth Grodin's Linchpin.


It made me think about workplace dynamics and how people react to my style of work which is direct, honest and opinionated.


I believe that the people I work with generally appreciate it and they are repeat clients or referrer me for other jobs. 

As a freelance media editor, I go from one "Office space" to the next, meeting and collaborating on with a variety of types of workers: The Troubleshooter, The lifer, The Can't-wait-til-the-clock-hits-5o'clock. A lot of the people have lots of opinions but never verbalize them. Even worst, I often give them some ideas that would clearly get them a "gold Star" from there boss, a little suggestion or hint to how to make things more productive and tell them to "steal it from me" and I see them do nothing with it.*

As an editor, you should get use to getting your ideas stolen. It is built into the job, you do get use to it. I don't mind it as long as the project is good, I have never cared about credit, nobody looks at the credits anyway. When is the last time your mom said "wow Thelma Schoonmaker really did a great editing job on Cape Fear remake?"

I believe that an Editor's main job is to show options which will result in a better final project. Not all the permutations but all the possibilities that you think are good, that you are truly passionate about. I think it is important to push yourself to do and explore other options critically. For me that means, listen to people comments, seriously consider them. Do your editing job to ingest and discuss with director what are the options that will make for a better project.

Here are some exemples of Color correction options that I proposed more recently for the Game webseries for Golf Town. (It isn't editing example but it is the same theory)


I showed them some extreme style but I went for something that would have an impact. It is a little extreme but my logic was and always is try to do something visually impact-full. 


The client opted for a more conservative look that was an amalgamation of ideas but it definitely sped up the decision making process and made them sure of what they liked. Instead of the "tell me what you want" attitude that many media creators chant as there mantra. 


* I will wait to let them steal my ideas but after I have let them have some time to "discover my idea" as there own; I will mention it to people in the organization that this would benefit. I have never been told not to speak up with a helpful suggestion or fired for a recommendation. More often the result is that they see that I won't look at the "ship sinking" and not speak up.