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Check Out Julia “Editz” Brock’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia “Editz” Brock.

Hi Julia “Editz”, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Everything starts in your hometown, so I guess I’d begin with growing up on my parents’ vegetable farm in Northern California, in a rural little town of merely one thousand residents. Not a single stoplight, no 7-Elevens (or any chain stores, for that matter), no movie theaters, etc. just miles of beautiful nature populated by a kind, loving community. So how did I go from farmwork in a town of 1,000 to a filmmaker in a city of millions? Let’s start the adventure! When I was 10, I had saved up enough money from helping my parents around the farm to buy a crappy camcorder from the nearest city. Between our 3 TV channels and the local market that rented out movies, I had seen enough films to want to direct my own. I’d take my camcorder outside and film my dog, my friend, and myself running around the farm, going on mischievous adventures. After filming, I’d log that footage on our dinosaur eMac, which came pre-loaded with a copy of iMovie HD. We had dial-up internet, so the ability to look up tutorials on YouTube or even tips as to how to use the program was nonexistent. Nevertheless, I cut together short trailers, even scoring it myself with less-than-melodious drumming and humming. Throughout the rest of Elementary school, I bounced between creating claymations, hand-drawn animations, and Photoshopping moving pictures.

At this time, one of my teachers, Mr. Mendosa, had been letting me use his computer lab (complete with much faster internet) to work on some of my projects. When I entered Jr. High, he also successfully got me into his high school-level film class . The class was around ten students (which was normal – my graduating class was 47 people), but we had camcorders, a green screen and Final Cut Express to get creative with. I’m so grateful that he fostered such a productive environment for all of us, and was always there to support my filmmaking. Then, around this time, I started really getting into electronic dance music, specifically Skrillex, Porter Robinson, Dillon Francis, Deadmau5, etc. and I envisioned music videos I wanted to create for their songs. Outside of school, I’d wrangle together my best friends to partake in these “fan-made” music videos that I wrote, directed, filmed and edited. This became our “thing” we did as a friend group, and it was my way of getting closer with the people I really cared for. We’d make several of these projects per year; at the forest, the beach, the school; filming fantastical stories about fairies, aliens, mermaids, and much more. Aside from my family & teachers, they’ve been some of my biggest supporters, and I surely wouldn’t be the filmmaker I am today without my best friends. Then, when I started sophomore year, it came time to be thinking about what was next. For me, the answer was clear: Film college in Los Angeles. Though my parents do honest and fulfilling work as produce farmers and teachers, film college was astronomically out of our family’s budget. Not to be kept from my dreams, I made the decision to start community college in 10th grade to take advantage of the huge discount they offered for high school students, with the plan to transfer those general education units to the film college of my choice.

By the time I graduated high school, I had finished a full year of college… And that still was not enough! I knew that I had exhausted all the resources in my town when it came to filmmaking, and if I ever wanted to grow and improve as a filmmaker, I HAD to go to LA and get a proper film education. Though I love my community more than anything in the world, I couldn’t just stay in my small town, I wanted to go explore the exciting big city and the industry at the center of it all. Kicking it into an even higher gear, I tirelessly entered every scholarship I could. I can’t tell you how many personal statement essays I wrote, how many “About Me” videos I made. Then, in the final quarter of 12th grade, I won a very selective $32,000 Northern-Californian student scholarship, and combined with other smaller scholarships, what my parents had been saving for me since I was a baby, and my year’s worth of transfer units, I graduated film college in June 2020 with absolutely 0 debt and a priceless bank of new filmmaking knowledge. My years at the college were extremely pertinent to my growth, and I’m so thankful for everyone I met, worked with, and learned from, especially Mark Sult, who taught me a whole new side of editing. Now, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Cinema: Video-Editing. A dream come true! After graduating, I moved into my own place near Downtown and Hollywood, where I’ve picked up freelance work editing for production companies. I wake up and get to do what I love every day, and that is so important to me. I’ve worked very hard my whole life to get where I am now, and I will always keep setting goals for myself because no matter the obstacle – if you can imagine it, you can achieve it. The possibilities are limitless, it all depends on the amount of effort you’re willing to put in.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Smooth roads don’t make for good adventures… There were snafus every step of the way, but obstacles somehow stir up a fury that pushes you to work even harder than you thought possible. You can imagine how intimidating it was to be 15-year-old in college classes with 20-somethings, trying to discuss Geography, Psychology, Philosophy, etc. And I didn’t get into community college easily. The first class I applied for, the teacher wrote me and blatantly told me he didn’t allow high school students into his “serious” college class — as if it was a joke that I had even tried to join. When I finally got into the courses, I juggled them with 7 other high school classes. I biked to the elementary school (where my mom worked as a 4th grade teacher, in addition to farming) so that I could use the fast internet to do classwork. This was how I spent my after school hours, weekends, and summers. I won’t lie, it was hellacious at times. But the thought of my ideal future propelled me through all of it. And I watched my plan pay off! Nothing in the world is more rewarding than that. Another aspect that didn’t go smoothly was applying to scholarships. I tried incredibly hard to win the full-ride award to the film college that they offered for incoming students, but of course, it wouldn’t be that easy to just cover college all in one go. Although I didn’t get that one, nothing was going to stop me from piecing together possibilities from every different source I had to fund my dream.

And with our income, student loans and financial aid weren’t a risk my parents wanted to take because we couldn’t afford to get into debt. So everything came down to one scholarship; the $32,000 Northern California Scholarship Foundation award. After applying, I was selected for an interview with them in Oakland, and my mom and I drove 2 hours, got lost around the city, and nearly missed my interview. I arrived within a minute of being called in. Despite the pressure of knowing that this was the deciding factor in whether I could go to my dream college or not, I performed well and was awarded the scholarship. Lastly, it was a struggle to fit in at the college. A decent amount of my classmates had grown up in or around LA with connections, family in the industry, and general knowledge of the industry. I had a lot of catching up to do, but I made up for technical knowledge with fierce passion. I wanted to prove that kids like me, who didn’t grow up with the same opportunities or financial ability to use state-of-the-art editing programs/equipment could still adapt quickly and succeed in the industry.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Thank you! I like to refer to myself just simply as a filmmaker, but to be more specific I’m a director/editor. I’ve done both since the age of ten, and for a long time I only placed emphasis on my video-editing skills. It wasn’t until I arrived in film college that I really focused in on my directing as well. People affectionately know me as “JuliaEditz” though, that’s my stage name. What I do takes a lot of good work-ethic, refusal to give up no matter how tedious the challenge, and the ability to remain positive through it all. Music has also helped a lot with this, there were a lot of times when I wanted to give up, but music helped me keep a positive attitude and keep working towards my dreams. I really want to make content for the labels that inspired me to keep going. Whenever I felt discouraged, I’d watch music videos from labels like OWSLA, Mad Decent, UKF — the perfect fusion of music, film, and imagination just makes me so happy and motivated. I think what’s great about what I do is that it doesn’t matter at all where you come from, it’s about where you’re going. I think my upbringing definitely sets me apart from others in this area. I’m thankful to have parents who chose to raise their children in such a nature-filled environment, where although beautiful, nothing came easy. They taught me that I had to work hard for everything I want, that it was just going to be given to me, but that I could still have fun and be a kind person along the way. Growing up in a small town like mine poses a specific set of obstacles but gives you an infinitely more valuable experience and the satisfaction of building yourself from the ground up. I’m so grateful for my family, community and hometown making me into the person I am today.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Oh gosh, yes. I learned that a lot of us don’t like to be stuck with ourselves. But I think that’s what we all needed. In focusing so much on filmmaking, I was getting a lot done project-wise, but I wasn’t improving my inner self very much. When you’re forced to stay home, all your classes and work online, and with nowhere to go, you almost HAVE to work on yourself because there’s no other distractions and nowhere else to turn. I took a really good look at my inner self and what I could always improve upon. For me, there was a lot of pent-up anger inside me, that I knew was there but I never really tried to work on it. However, quarantine allowed me to find really constructive ways to re-direct and alleviate it, including painting, writing in a daily journal, and (no surprise) video-editing. I started unlearning the social view we have on anger as a “taboo” thing, and looking at it as a normal, human emotion that we need to address and stop pretending we don’t have. I think something that we can all learn from Covid-19 is that we should always make time to better ourselves. After this pandemic, will we still be as introspective? Will we still set aside time to bake, meditate, and write? Will we be as in touch with our mental health when we’re able to go out more often and be busier? I don’t think we should lose the tremendous progress we’ve made getting in touch with ourselves during this. Because although there are so many crazy things going on around us, the most important thing, always, is to be happy. Nothing’s worth the trouble if you’re not happy. I hope Covid-19 has shown a lot of people that their mental health, and happiness above all, should come first.

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Image Credits:

Images by Carlos Castañeda, Hannah Brock, Shay Holien

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