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Meet Amber Plaster of Edit Monster in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber Plaster.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
It wasn’t exactly a clear-cut path to editing, for me. No childhood dream come true. No role model to inspire the journey.

I was initially hired by a marketing company called “iwearyourshit” a few years ago, when YouTube was hot and Facebook sponsored posts actually reached your audience. The company hired 4 different content creators to help them create daily videos for brands. Which meant I had to act, shoot and edit my own videos. 7 days a week. For an entire year. I had to learn very quickly how to shoot and edit videos. I started with a measly iMovie app and quickly moved over to Final Cut (Rest in Peace). I’m incredibly grateful for that job, because if I had not made that many videos I would have been too intimidated by the learning curve of the software.

After YouTube, I freelanced for the Travel channel, thanks to the referral of a few friends. But a funny thing was happening while I was working at the Travel channel. Actors that I knew kept asking me to fix their demo reels. First, though Facebook (Rest In Peace) then through referrals of people I’d never met before. I enjoyed working with actors and filmmakers. I soon realized my marketing training was useful. I was helping actors become clearer on what makes them more attractive. And I started to get so many requests that I had to create a website to establish a clear cut work flow and pricing structure. I was able to work with another Angeleno, Verona Blue at codebloo.com to create a killer logo and website.

For a while, I was invited to work with the best demo reel editor in Los Angeles at the time – Dave Manship at Edit Plus. He was incredibly generous with his knowledge and I soon was doubling the amount of demo reels I could cut in a day. I was learning how to pull TV episodes that actors couldn’t get for their reels. And I was working with tons of new agents and managers that needed fresh footage for their best clients. It was thrilling, challenging and absolutely life-changing.

After years of cutting reels and working with Actors Access, it was time to launch Edit Monster full time. I’ve been able to hire the world’s best office manager to help me with customer service and my editing queue. I have a team of female editors (yes, they exist!) I can work with when projects swell above my availability. And I have return clients. I cannot express how good it feels to have a happy customer return for a new edit. I’m incredibly fortunate to have as many referrals as I do. Truly.

Has it been a smooth road?
I would say the hardest lesson I had to learn, was quite expensive.

One of the first demo reels I cut for a client ended up racking up hours and hours of notes. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever had a client give me as many notes as this one. In the end, he never paid the invoice. I was out hundreds of dollars and days of time. What happened to his reel? He took the small preview video I provided for feedback and posted it on his website. It’s still there.

After that, I always – ALWAYS take a deposit, upfront. No exceptions.

Protect your work. Like my friend Bonnie Gillespie says “There’s no shortage of people who will ask you to work for free.”

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Edit Monster is a Los Angeles based, woman-owned editing collective.

We specialize in pulling footage from TV shows, films and commercials that actors can’t get. We cut actor demo reels, director reels (or “show reels” as the UK calls it) as well as skill clips.

What are skill clips? Individual clips are incredibly useful for sites like Active Pitch and individual casting submissions. For example, say you have a great demo reel – but it has most horror footage on it. If your agent wants to submit you for a family friendly show, it would be stronger to just submit one comedic clip – instead of submitting footage that might distract from that kind of job.

Skill clips can get even more specific. My client Marta Rymer is a gifted violinist. In addition to her acting reel, she has a violin reel. Yes, a violin reel. She can play folk music at a Ren Faire or on Good Morning America. If you ever need a real violinist on set, and you see her violin playing clip – how could you NOT bring her in?! The work has already been done!

I’m proud of the speed of Edit Monster.

We promise a 48-hour turn around (once we have all your footage & the deposit). We also have a rush fee available for one client at a time. This means we will drop EVERYTHING to work on your project. If a rush order is already being worked on, we will decline the job. I’d rather not make the money than disappoint you with a late edit.

What sets us apart from other editing firms?

We have an easy to navigate website.
We hire diverse editors and administrators who are not only skilled, but friendly!
We hire women.
We have the fastest demo reel turn around, guaranteed.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
The best part about living in LA is being surrounded by the best creatives in the world.

If I didn’t live in LA I wouldn’t be nearly as challenged. I wouldn’t have had to grow or expand. Fortunately, I’m able to edit with clients all over the United States because of the internet and file transferring services such as Vimeo and WeTransfer. So even though I take meetings in LA from time to time, most of the editing can be done remotely. Which is a beautiful time-saver for everyone.

If you’re just starting out, I’d say get your finances right. This city is expensive, but you can do it! You just have to be disciplined with your time.

Next, I’d recommend shadowing or hanging out with people in the field you’re interested in. No one succeeds alone. What can you offer an incredibly knowledgeable creative for their time? What can you do to provide value?

Pricing:

  • Demo Reel Editing is $80/hr (see website for typical rates)
  • Pulling Footage from TV shows starts at $20/HD episode

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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