April 23, 2018
Jose Laya has been one of our go-to editors for years. He brings passion and good humor to each project, and his collaborative insights lend an energy that often translates into his work, where he weaves his signature rhythm and pace. Consistently, Jose cuts punchy, exciting, and resonant edits. He has become an essential creative on our longer title sequences such as Rats and 15 Septembers Later, as well as our latest promos for Fear the Walking Dead. He’s also edited all of our spots for DirecTV Ligas, which enabled him to use his bilingual skill-set.
Jose is truly a delight to work with, and we’re excited to share how he came to be the editor he is today.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an editor? How long have you been editing?
I grew up and went to college in Venezuela when there were only a couple of places where you could edit on a computer. This was the era before Final Cut, so we had to sneak into my friend’s office late at night if we wanted to cut our personal projects, and I’ve loved it ever since. When I moved to Miami in 2004, I started working as a writer/producer, and shortly after there was an opening for a junior editor position. I jumped on the chair and stayed there until now.
What makes you love what you do?
Being a freelancer gives me the opportunity to work with new people all the time: animators, creatives, producers, other editors. It’s one of my favorite things about working in the industry. I’ve made many long-lasting friendships, and that is priceless.
How do you determine the success of a piece?
Obviously a very important part is delivering a piece that the client loves and that’s on time and under budget. But it’s also cool to see the reception online, since a lot of the pieces I make end up posted on social media. It’s easy to see the engagement, and it’s always gratifying to read positive feedback from people who weren’t involved.
What perspective do you bring to the industry / what makes you different?
A lot of my education in college was related to social sciences, and since then I’ve always focused on the importance of making sure that the ideas are being communicated clearly. It’s a common issue to try to say too many things at the same time while not really focusing on the main message. I also like doing projects with very short deadlines — it forces me to be more creative, and because there’s no time to waste, everybody has to get on the same page from day one.
What is your ultimate goal as an editor?
Creating work that’s effective and compelling. There’s too much information out there and too many options, so for me it’s important to not waste my audience’s time. If I have only 30 seconds or whatever of their time, I don’t want them to be thinking about skipping.
...for me it’s important to not waste my audience’s time. If I have only 30 seconds or whatever of their time, I don’t want them to be thinking about skipping.
What/who has influenced you the most?
I’ve worked with some great editors who helped build my skills, and most of my friends are in the industry and provide a constant source of inspiration. Lately I’ve also been interested in indie productions on YouTube and other online platforms. I find a lot of good content that’s being produced independently with lots of creative freedom, and it has opened a huge Pandora’s box of new ways to create content and tell stories.
Do you have any side-projects you continue to work on?
I’ve been doing comedy and improv for the past couple of years, and it’s a great creative outlet, and very useful when the working environment is tense and somebody needs to tell a joke. Even if I bomb, it’s still fun.