REEL WOMEN: Zoe Schack, Editor for Final Cut

(Zoe Schack of Final Cut)

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 REEL WOMEN. During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready, they are making “Herstory.”

Zoe Schack joined Final Cut after following her childhood dream to move to Los Angeles. She has edited commercials for Audi, Infiniti, Doritos, and Dollar Shave Club and music videos for Swae Lee and Whitney Woerz. Zoe has worked with some of the best directors in the world including Dougal Wilson, Ava DuVernay, Michel Gondry, Craig Gillespie, Spike Jonze, and Steve Ayson.

Originally from a hamlet north of New York, Zoe studied film at RISD and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her love for documentaries led her to intern with renowned filmmaker Albert Maysles and then produce the Bicycle Film Festival in Portland, Oregon. She edited the short documentary, Dosa Hunt and a pilot series which was featured in many film festivals.

Together with Jeff Buchanan, she edited Spike Jonze’s Beastie Boys Story. Zoe is a firm believer that any problem can be solved over a cup of tea.

What Did You Originally Want to be When You Grow Up?  Growing up, I dreamed of being a sculptor or an artist of some kind.

How Did You Get into Commercials and Film? Connections made during my college summer job led me to intern for the documentary legend, Albert Maysles. I also edited a performance art piece for free, the director suggested I apply for an assistant editor position at an NYC post house. I got the job and that began my career in the commercial editing world.

Who Were Your Mentors? Albert Maysles inspired me and I learned so much from the wonderful editors at Final Cut: Jeff Buchanan, Joe Guest, and Rick Russell to name a few.

Name Your Biggest Achievement My biggest achievement is a recent one. Together with Jeff Buchanan, I edited Beastie Boys Story directed by Spike Jonze. The first short documentary I worked on, Dosa Hunt, was also a huge achievement for me.

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Biggest Disappointment Not as much a disappointment, but when I moved to Los Angeles, my biggest struggle was finding my footing. Not knowing too many people, it took longer than I had hoped to break into the industry. I applied to many companies and didn’t hear back, but I persevered and was lucky to finally find my work home and have been here at Final Cut ever since.

Name Your Biggest Pet Peeves One of my biggest pet peeves is that with tighter and tighter schedules editors are given less and less time for their first cuts. There are many benefits to giving the editor time, which are unfortunately often overlooked. Time gives me the chance to get to know the footage, explore different options, work through any continuity or story issues, and deliver a much more polished cut.

I also wish that sets could be more environmentally conscious. One solution that I have seen work is handing out reusable bottles if people didn’t bring their own. That way we can be less wasteful.

Predictions for Advertising over the Next Decade More things will be voice-activated, there will be TV/internet ads where you can choose your own adventure.

More interactive commercials with multiple edits/endings.

More targeted content based off of data algorithms created for specific preferences, i.e. Cambridge Analytica for commercials. I’m not endorsing this but it seems likely.

Hopefully, the proliferation of subscription packages will all be simplified so there is only one login!

Name a Job You Had that Would Surprise People I briefly worked as a podiatry assistant in high school.

Which Marvel or DC Superhero Do You Get to Play? We’re Judging. I don’t really see myself as a superhero but if I had to choose one, a female version of Bruce Banner. The internet says that already exists: his cousin, She-Hulk.

Do You Talk to Yourself? Sometimes I talk to myself in the car if I need to come up with a creative solution to a problem. Also, when writing emails.

What do You Wish You had More Time for? I wish I had more time to be tactile, I love sculpting, drawing, baking vegan desserts, riding my bike, and gardening. I would also love to have more time to go to music and art shows.

What Inspires You to be Creative? Nature inspires me to be creative. So does meeting new people and catching up with good friends. Being in a creative field where I can keep exploring the world around me is a gift

Follow Zoe:

Instagram: @zoeschack