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You can do this: Video editing, at its core, is about storytelling

Lauren Horn, 28, is a professional video editor in Toronto. She sees her job as completing a 1,000-piece puzzle — without a picture of what it’s meant to look like at the end.

Laura Horn is a Toronto-based video editor.


Laura Horn is a Toronto-based video editor.

Lauren Horn, 28, video editor, Toronto

Why I like my job

In high school, I’d go around filming my friends and family editing the videos together using whatever program came with my computer. It was a lot of fun, and I saw that it was a viable career option – so I went from there.

I took an undergrad in a bachelor of arts, specialized in motion pictures in Johannesburg South Africa, where I’m from. We were given the option to study any portion of film – writing, directing, cinematography and I fell in love with the editing part of it.

Today, I work with a lot of advertising agencies, primarily on commercials,

At the crux of it, editing is all about storytelling - taking a mass of footage and creating a storyline out of it. It’s about taking the raw material you have and creating something engaging.

On any given day, I’m looking through footage, cutting it together or showing my clients what I’ve come up with. I might have anywhere from three to 10 hours of footage, which we need to get down to 30 seconds. It can take several days. The goal is to get my clients to say, “this is great, and it’s going on air.”

I’m really passionate about my job. We work crazy hours: I can work until 5 a.m. and not even look at the clock because it’s all consuming – which I love. I liken my job to working with a 1,000-piece puzzle and without a picture of what it’s meant to look like at the end and no corners to guide you. It’s really gratifying when you’ve poured your creative energies into something and spent many hours putting it together to see a final product.

How to start

There are a number of different ways people can get into film editing. Some universities, such as York University and the University of British Columbia, offer bachelors and masters programs in film arts, with specialities in the production process.

Colleges across the country (including London’s Fanshawe and Toronto’s Sheridan) and specialty and vocational schools (such as the Toronto Film School) also offer specialized certificates and diplomas. In most post-secondary programs, students can expect to learn general insight into how the film industry works, as well as production theory.

Those specializing in editing will also learn to develop storyboards, as well as how the software works to cut video together. Most programs also offer internships for hands-on training. Those looking to skip school can also learn the editing process on the job, though most positions require some form of previous experience. 

Where you can go

Film editors are most prevalent in Toronto and Vancouver, where the advertising and film and TV industries are concentrated, though there are opportunities across the country.

Those who aren’t interested in working in film, television or advertising can often find jobs in many newsrooms, while big corporations will often employ video editors to handle corporation communications.

The basics: Film or video editor

$45,743: Median annual salary for a video editors. Experienced film editors can expect to make upwards of $74,858.
14%: The amount of growth expected in this field over the next eight years.

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