Want a Job in Commercial Editorial? Become an Assistant …

A few days ago it was announced that celebrated creative cheerleaders/co-chief creative officers Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin would be stepping down from their long-time post at Ogilvy & Mather Toronto. Their new venture, Swim, is dedicated to helping solve the widely acknowledged lack of creative leadership in their own industry – and, they hope, other sectors as well. Mentoring – a role that Nancy & Janet have excelled at over the years, will likely play a big role at Swim. Reading the article the other day made us remember the importance of mentoring in the commercial editorial industry.

Rooster and Track & Field Assistants

Mentoring plays a critical role in the editorial industry. Editors might be born to edit, but before they are awarded a room full of clients, they must first get their feet in the door. Usually they are hired as editor’s assistants. As an assistant, their job jar is always full … and there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. To succeed, assistants have to have a sense of humour, to put up with the demands that come with being the low man on the totem pole. They make coffee. They schlep pastries. They keep the edit suites neat and tidy. They work long hours, often turning tasks around on a dime. They have to be flexible, as issues like unplanned client meetings, last minute cut revisions and technical issues can throw a wrench into a carefully planned day. Having great organizational skills is a must … they’re there to help the editors, keep the workflow on track and to act as a 3rd and 4th set of hands. And if that weren’t enough, they have to have editorial chops. And love the advertising business.

In return, editorial assistants get the chance of a lifetime … to learn their craft from some of the best editors in the business. They get to meet those agency clients who will one day, hopefully, become their clients. They get a front row seat to watch the good-natured theatrics of presentation, and learn the diplomacy needed to navigate differing creative points of view. And if they are really dedicated and work hard … one day they get to join the ranks and become editors themselves. Very few industries promote this way anymore.

At Rooster and our VFX sister shop, Track & Field, our assistants are an important, but unsung part of our team. In the spirit of Nancy & Janet’s legacy, we’d like to say thanks to our Rooster VIP assistants … Candice Bowers, Deb Gurofsky, Nick Martin and Jesse Unruh, Rooster Exec. Assistant Yumi Suyama, and to our Track & Field assistants, Lauren Rempel and Greg Benedetto.

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