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.
Meg began her editorial career at Whitehouse Post in 1997 and has worked with some of the industry’s top directors including Mark Pellington, Malcolm Venvill, and Spike Lee telling stories for the likes of Skittles, Nintendo, McDonald’s, and Ford. Meg has strong relationships with agencies DDB, Digitas, VML, and Leo Burnett and worked on the Capital One Venture Card celebrities campaign, featuring Jennifer Garner and Samuel L Jackson.
A Chicago native, she spent several years living and working in Los Angeles before returning home to the Midwest. When she’s not in the edit room, her other loves include horseback riding, gardening, and interior design.
What did you originally want to be when you grow up?
I’ve been an animal lover since day one. I had a cemetery in our front yard for any local birds, gerbils, fish, or other creatures that needed a proper burial. I originally went to Kenyon College to become a vet, but after a pressure-filled final exam in a room full of dead cats with a timer counting the minutes, I realized it wasn’t for me. I loved art and switched my major to Studio Art.
How did you get into the film industry?
I wanted to be a DP, so after graduating college I got a job as a production assistant at Chicago Story. I moved to LA a few months later and multiple DPs recommended starting out at a post house so I could learn what editors need you to shoot to create the best piece possible. I joined The Lookinglass editing company as a receptionist/runner and taught myself the Avid at night. I quickly realized how much I loved this craft and never looked back, that was 20 years ago
Who were your mentors?
Wow. This is a tough question. I’ve had some really incredible mentors over the years both personally, and in my career. My whole life my Dad has been a role model, his work ethic and passion for his craft were early examples for me of what it takes to make it in this business. My Mom is also an incredible artist and instilled a love of creativity in my sister and me early on.
At the beginning of my career in LA, it was the senior assistants and editors who took the time to teach me the trade, I had no idea film editing even existed before I began working with them. Whitehouse is known for growing their talent from within and I experienced this firsthand, starting out entry-level and being mentored to become an editor was an incredible process. I remember one day I walked into the edit room & Editor Scott Philbrook had pulled the Wacom and mouse away and said “Ok, go for it. You will be the fastest editor if you know how to use the keyboard for everything.” It was so hard at first, but I’m so grateful for that lesson and feel like I’m a better editor because of it!
I feel surrounded by amazing talent everywhere and being able to easily check out work online has continued to open my eyes. Directors, Editors, DP’s, writers…the passion in our industry is pretty incredible.
What is your greatest achievement?
I feel proud to have worked at the same company for so many years. I love that I started from the bottom knowing nothing and worked hard to become an Editor. I feel lucky to still have passion for what I do. I love that after all these years each project is still a unique challenge and I love collaborating to make the best possible piece. I don’t think I have a single greatest achievement, but there are lots of projects that come to mind when I think of work I’m proud of.
I edited a McDonalds piece for the Olympics where I was given tons of archive footage from past Olympic games and had to select bits I liked to shape the story. Director Joe Pytka shot a few new scenes to fill it out and we had a killer track, it all just came together so well.
Another piece is a short film called Cowgirl Manifesto. The Director Brenna Rae Eckerson found me online and reached out to me to edit her piece because she knew I loved horses. To be able to cut a piece about something I’m so passionate about, with gorgeous footage, and incredible music by Tift Merritt was a great moment for me.
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What are your biggest pet peeves?
Time is precious, so I don’t like it when people are late or don’t show up, we all need to value our time!
What are your predictions for the film industry over the next decade?
I’ve seen so much change since I began as an editor, but some things don’t change. I think over the next decade we’ll continue seeing content lengths shift and the platforms we view them on will change. Something that won’t change is the importance of storytelling and editing, no matter where we watch or on what, a well told story is what matters.
Name a job you had that would surprise people.
I sang on commercials when I was younger! Huffy bike, Wonder bread, Raisin Bran cereal, etc.
Who plays you in your life story?
People used to tell me that I looked like Drew Barrymore. If I’m just picking a favorite actress that I admire it would either be Michelle Williams or Audrey Tautou.
What do you wish you had more time to do?
I really adore working in a creative industry, it fulfills me so much. Of course I wish I had more time with my 3 girls and husband to explore museums and nature or create our own little films. I shot and edited a music video of them singing “Roar” a few years back, and it is one of our favorite things. I have all the tools to do more things like that, just not enough hours in the day!
Do you talk to yourself?
Nope. When I need to, I go to the beach or take a walk in nature for guidance and hopefully some clarity.
What inspires you to be creative?
I am surrounded by inspiration at my job, movies, music videos, incredible tv series, I find myself easily motivated by others. Music is a big one for me, it drives me emotionally and when I hear a song I like, I immediately see stories in my mind. Also watching my girls experience the world and pursue the things that drive them, that is endlessly inspiring.