Stuart Lutes is a freelance TV Editor who’s worked on TV shows from Big Brother to Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe – currently he’s editing Series 2. Stuart’s going to be joining 30 of LSM’s industry alumni at ‘Meet the Graduates’ on 12 Feb and he’ll be one of our new media mentors. Somehow he’s managed to squeeze in a story on our blog, too. Thanks Stu, see you next Wednesday – mentoring, Q&A session and networking … whoa!
In terms of employment hints and tips, I’m happy to talk to the students directly but, it generally boils down to getting a job in any profession. Display a willingness to learn, a willingness to work hard (even for free), show initiative and finally, some level of aptitude. The TV industry can be a cruel beast, with everyone working long hours and usually up against tight deadlines so, ‘dead weight’ or laziness just simply won’t be tolerated. On the flipside, if you can demonstrate an ability to listen, carry out instructions accurately and efficiently, be personable and have a tough skin, you’ll be highly valued, employable and most importantly, trusted and you’ll go very far. So, after graduating in 2001, I was lucky enough to leapfrog the nightmare of being a runner and my career as a Video Editor began down in London three months later …
…working for JML. I was its first in-house editor and within three months was editing all of their Xmas TV ad campaigns and in-store videos, such as the Ionic Pet Brush and Slimming Tights! After that, I was tasked with actually producing, directing and editing all of their infomercials and ad campaigns and helped launch JML Direct, the first 24-hour home shopping channel that’s still on-air today. It now has ten in-house editors to cope with the workload!
But, as glamorous as all of that was, the dream was always to be self-employed and work on actual telly. So, in 2005, I took the plunge and flew the nest. What followed were a couple of years of scratching around, doing whatever I could to network and stay afloat. I worked 12-hour night shifts for Sky News, did corporate videos and quickly settled in sport for a couple of years working for Century TV, a small company based at Shepperton Studios. There, I worked on everything from World Cup Football, The Tour of Britain Cycling and Twenty-Twenty Cricket. I had the pleasure of going to the Caribbean and witness the press debacle that was the infamous Stanford 2020 for $20 million cricket match against England.
But, the real break in my career came in 2008. I was given a chance to do a couple of shifts on Big Brother for C4. I somehow impressed and went on to edit for Big Brother’s Little Brother, Big Mouth and have also cut VTs for 4 of its series launch nights. There, I met a whole raft of great producers and directors who would go on to other jobs and take me with them.
Since Big Brother, I’ve worked on large amount of comedy and light entertainment. Here comes the name drop: John Bishop’s Britain, 10 O’Clock Live, Styled To Rock with Rhianna, Through The Keyhole with Keith Lemon, Lemon La Vida Loca, TOWIE (a major highlight), Lee Kerns Celebrity Bedlam, Sweat The Small Stuff, Charlie Brooker’s 2012 & 2012 Wipe, Jamie Cooks Summer and Food Fight Club with Jamie Oliver and I’ve just finished Derren Brown’s The Great Art Robbery, a new comedy pilot called Game Face, starring Rosin Conaty and I’m currently editing Series 2 of Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe.
My job title changes depending on the show I’m working on, really. It can be Offline Editor, Online Editor, Senior Editor, and VT Editor. I’ve been based in London since I graduated in 2001 and I now generally work in and around Soho, where most of the action is. But, when you’re freelance you’ll prostitute yourself out to just about anywhere!