Editor Izzy Ehrlich: Breaking Out With Style

Izzy Ehrlich

Youthful subcultures are often identified and distinguished by elements such as fashion, music, beliefs, slangs or behaviours. Youth isn’t afraid to flip the bird to the power of the bourgeois hegemony. Like the subculture that Izzy Ehrlich sprang from, she too isn’t afraid to be a little unconventional in her pursuit of creativity.

As a youth, Ehrlich always liked to make things. She started out making films by cutting clips together – cartoons, documentaries and videos – from tape to tape using a couple of VCRs and worked part time for a local television station. Upon her graduation from Conestoga College’s Radio and Television program she began her career in a symbolic fashion by editing pornography. Driven insane by the lame-o porno music tracks, Izzy joined the establishment, and the commercial postproduction world, when she joined School Editorial as an assistant. After School, Ehrlich worked long hours, earning her way into an editor’s chair at Rooster Post Production.

At Rooster, Ehrlich has worked on a wide variety of nationally aired spots and music videos. Music videos are an editorial venue that allows commercial editors a longer format to work in than the traditional 30 or 60-second spot. Some editors shrink away from them, while others embrace them. Ehrlich is one who embraces them.

Says Ehrlich, “I grew up listening to oldies. I first heard Black Sabbath “Master of Reality” on vinyl when I was 10 years old. Sabbath changed my life. I’ve been playing guitar/drums since I was 14 so I’m comfortable in the music genre.

As we all know, music videos began as a way for recording acts to sell albums and songs. What began as a subculture, became popular culture. Now it’s evolved into a representational art form in the age of new media. If you want to know what the latest styles and techniques in the film/video/commercial world are, you should still look first to the music video.

“I think editorially music videos make editors much better at their jobs.” Says Ehrlich, “Music videos allow you to go wild in ways that aren’t typical in commercials. However, these same techniques can be applied to commercials in a more sophisticated manner.”

Many bands have to shoot their videos on a tight budget. This can sometimes be a challenge for the editor. “It can get challenging because it seems like there are never enough cutaways. I often have to create different shots from existing shots and make them look completely different.”

Ehrlich’s freshman reel features a solid line up of spots for clients such as Telus, Agent Provocateur, Nordstrom and Little Trees. One thing you notice is another subculture influence at play: fashion. She has worked with noted established stills photographers turned directors Tom Feiler (Little Trees), Michael Williams (Agent Provocateur), and Shin Sugino (Telus). One wonders if fashion and music videos have an influence on commercial work and vice versa. Says Ehrlich, “Absolutely there’s a huge influence. I think I’ve just been lucky enough to meet these amazing directors and end up clicking so well with them.” Ehrlich says while her own fashion sense runs to jeans, t-shirts and Converse, she’s very much into fashion’s influence on the editorial world as you can see on her reel.

Client commissioned work mean a bigger budget, shorter format and an entourage of ad agency personnel with high expectations, overseeing every step of the process. For commercial editors organization is key. “I have to know every single frame of my footage and where everything is as my selects get tighter. The rest just comes together.” Says Ehrlich, “My favourite part of the process is cutting with my clients. Sessions don’t usually feel like work, which is pretty cool. Final client approval is always a euphoric feeling.”

“Never work with animals or children,” or so we’ve all been told. Always willing to turn a deaf ear on convention, Ehrlich has both featured prominently on her commercial reel. When asked which spot on her reel posed the greatest challenge editorially, Ehrlich replied, “I think I’d have to say Telus. Only because I’m not used to working with animals while they are on a white background. They have to be manipulated so much and you need to find that half a second where they say something to the viewer with their eyes, toes or even a bit of hair moving on their little backs. I got the hang of it though and am really happy with how Taxi’s Telus spots turned out.”

So where does this rising star see herself going in the next few years? “It’s a really competitive business … if you’re not on top of your game you’re gone. I’m off to a good start and I know that I’ve got what it takes to make it in this business because I love what I do … to me it’s not work. It’s beyond great. Not many people can say that. To see Izzy Ehrlich’s full reel click here

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